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Sam's Samoa

by Sam Pryce on 25 April 2012, 17:04PM Sam's Samoa

Travelbag Travel Consultant Sam Pryce was lucky enough to have recently attended a trade familiarisation trip to Samoa. Here he reports back on his trip:

Situated in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, below the Equator, the islands of Samoa are located half way between New Zealand and Hawaii so would be a great add on to a trip to either, or even added on to Sydney, it is just a short haul flight with Virgin Samoa.

I was lucky enough to attend this trip that was hosted by the Samoan Tourismm Authority, we flew with Etihad Airways to Sydney and then on to Samoa. The purpose of the trip was to further educate a select group of travel agents on all that is on offer to  their clients for potential holidays. We were shown round a number of hotels, took part in some fantastic activities and feasted on the wide choice of food on offer, both in the hotels and in restaurants around the islands.

The main attraction to Samoa is definitely its beaches, they are absolutely spectacular. In fact Lalomanu beach was voted one of the top ten paradises on earth by Lonely Planet.

Each of the beaches we saw had sparkling white sand and the bluest sea I’ve ever seen, apparently the coral reefs are home to over 900 species of marine life. Further in-land there are rainforest covered rugged volcanic mountain peaks on the two main islands. There are a number of stunning waterfalls that you can visit at various places over the islands and on Savaii you can explore crater lakes, lava tube trails, ancient pyramid mounds and see the incredible blowholes that really show the power of the Pacific ocean. Savaii is a great place for hiking or trekking, you could also rent a bike and cycle around, Savaii is only an hour’s ferry from the main island Upolu and is one of the largest islands in Polynesia.

Out to sea are scattered the rest of the islands that make up the Samoa archipelago, some inhabited, others with only wildlife such as the national bird, the Manumea which is a toothbilled pigeon, supposedly related to the extinct dodo. There is one inhabited island called Manono which looks amazing, there is just one beach resort on the island and it is car-free, a real desert island experience! It’s easy to do in a day so I would definitely do it when I go back

Amongst all this natural beauty and picturesque valleys and coastline you will find ‘nu’u’ or villages with their churches, meeting houses and open fale or homes encircling the malae or village green. The Samoan people are very welcoming, I guess because Samoa is a bit off the beaten track, it is not overcrowded with tourists, there’s a really relaxed vibe and it’s a very safe destination.
Here is a brief round up of the highlights of the trip:

My Favourite three properties were:
Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
Star Rating - 4.5 Star
I would recommend to families, couples and business travellers
I really liked this hotel [this was actually my favourite] as this was close to all the action and the vibrant capital of Apia, a beautiful town with a deep harbour and home to the resting place of Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson. Even though it was in the main town it was still relaxed, just like Samoan’s themselves andthe rooms were ample sized - pool area was nice and had a BIG bar!!
Seabreeze Resort
Star Rating - 5 Star
I would recommend to couples
This hotel was very remote, located on the South coast of the main island Upolu and so ideal for adults only and those that want to just relax. The hotel had just been given a full renovation throughout - all rooms were sea facing and very modern, although still with the traditional look of a ‘fale’ which is the traditional Samoan design . The pool area was rather small although there were only around 10-12 rooms as it is a boutique hotel so it didn't need to be that large. There were secluded 'honeymoon villas' all having their own facilities and private pools too, ideal for couples.
Savaii Lagoon Beach
Star Rating - 4 Star
I would recommend to couples, Families, Friends
This small, family run property is bang on the beach in Savaii and has exactly what I had in mind of what Samoa would be like. Small restaurant and bar area and a really personal touch. The only downside would be that the property didn't have a pool - although being 10 yards from the sea and turquoise coral reefs helped a bit!
Activities not to be missed are:
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
The Famous author Robert Louis Stevenson came to live on Samoa [Upolu] around five years before he died - his mansion Vailima features many of his belongings including part of his library and travel mementos. The locals names Stevenson ‘Tusitala’ which means ‘storyteller’, they adored him so much they names their locally brewed beer after him. Best of all with a great exchange rate, a pint of beer is only around £1 at a local bar!!
Swimming with Turtles
Swim and feed the turtles of Saleapaga Village. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can see in the pictures on this blog, you get right up close to them.
To Sua Ocean Trench
A great swimming spot set on the south coast road near the village of Lotofagu. There are two tranches one that you can swim in, accessible by a long steep ladder [see picture]. There are lovely gardens surrounding the trench with great views. And at high tide you can follow a track to view some blowholes.
I didn’t get the chance to go scuba diving or surfing, but Samoa is an ideal destination for watersports, as well as holidays makers that just want to relax on a beach or discover a really authentic Polynesian culture.



To speak to Sam about your next trip to Samoa, call him on 020 7001 4081

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