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Best things to do in Samoa: A hidden gem in the remote Pacific, Samoa is a paradise land of volcanic explosions, azure seas and verdant rainforests. It is an amazing country with a vibrant cultural identity, unique atmosphere and strong independent spirit. Once you touch down at this diverse and delightful place, you are guaranteed glorious sunrises, midday siestas and starry nights.

From lush tropical forests to world-class beaches, there’s so much to do on a trip to this small island nation. Read on to uncover the best things to do in Samoa.

 

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Visit a Waterfall in Samoa

Samoa is blessed with hundreds of clear waterfalls and shimmering pools deep enough to dive in during the wet season. Visitors can spend a relaxing day between the cooling waters of the Samoan falls and the sun drenched fales.

Float in the pool at the bottom of Togitogiga Waterfall or enjoy a rejuvenating shoulder massage from the flowing water. You can also hike up the spectacular Fuipisia Falls while spotting a diversity of native birds along the way. Close to Apia, the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks offer natural slides that have been formed over time by gentle waterfalls.

 

Experience the Local Markets

For Samoans, markets are a part of everyday life, and at Apia you can find lots to haggle over. On Sunday morning, rise up early for an opportunity to see the bustling fish market in full swing. Freshly caught tuna, eels and octopus are available at unbelievably low prices, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

The produce markets are best visited just before sunset and offer a vast selection of seasonal tropical fruit to sample. The flea markets of Apia offer a wide range of traditional handicrafts that make for great souvenirs and gift items.

 

Get Up Close with a Turtle

You are bound to encounter a few turtles while out snorkeling in the pristine waters around the picturesque Samoan islands. Unfortunately, hunting has led to the local turtle population becoming endangered, which calls for efforts towards their protection and conservation. At Satoalepai Turtle Sanctuary you can swim with endangered green turtles before they are tagged and released into the wild.

Located on Savai’i, the sanctuary is run by villagers who raise infant turtles in a pool until they are grown. Turtle-lovers can also visit the Malua Turtle Feeding Site that’s run by Malua Theological College, where you can feed turtles.

 

Visit the Blowholes in Samoa

For an extraordinary experience on the islands, visitors can watch nature at its wildest at the blowholes of Samoa. Blowholes result from the extreme tidal force of the Pacific Ocean pushing water through eroded holes in the ocean rocks. See the power of the water blasting up into the sky and listen to the sounds of the roaring jet.

Located in the southwest of Savai’i, the Alofaaga Blowholes drive water hundreds of feet up into the air. Join the entertaining Coconut Man and throw a coconut into the blowhole to see how far it is launched.

 

Snorkel Around the Islands

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The waters around the Samoan islands are filled with colorful marine life, along with hundreds of turtles and sting rays. Snorkelers will find plenty to explore along the incredible coastline of Samoa, whether from Upolu or Savai’i. At Lalomanu Beach, you won’t need to swim too far in order to see the brightly colored fish and turtles.

Or take a boat to Namua Island, bring a picnic with you and enjoy the magnificence of its unspoiled reef. The waters of Fanuatapu Island and the coves around Aleipata coast offer beautiful snorkeling spots, with eagle rays and turtles.

 

Take a Hike

With its lush rainforest, volcanoes and rugged coast, Samoa offers an abundance of good nature trails to enjoy some trekking. At O le Pupu-Pue National Park, visitors can explore the old lava tube of Peapea Cave on a guided tour. You can also hike the lava fields around the Tafua Peninsula, trekking around the base of the Tafua volcano rim.

Go on an early morning hike at Cape Mulinu’u and enjoy the dramatic scenery with secluded beaches and towering cliffs. The Falease’ela River Walk offers an amazing way to experience the picturesque beauty of Upolu, hiking through riverbeds and more.

 

Explore the Lava Fields

The island’s biggest attraction, the lava fields of Savai’i are a unique geological phenomenon formed from Mount Matavanu’s eruption. Throughout its three-year long eruption, five of the local villages were buried by the lava, although no one was hurt. Unscathed by the lava flow, the local church and gravesite of the chief’s daughter offer a look into the past.

After exploring the church, you can walk down to the water which is where the lava finally came to rest. Visiting the lava fields is free, however you will need to pay a small fee to visit the gravesite.

 

Attend Sunday Service

Every Sunday, throngs of devoutly religious locals dressed in white attend the beautiful churches across the island for service. The Sunday services across the islands are quite the spectacle with Samoans who love to sing raising the roof. Some of the grandest churches can be spotted along the road to Apia, although village churches are just as stunning.

Samoa’s architectural gem, the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Mary sits proudly in Apia’s center. Stand out features include the beautiful wooden ceilings and a painting of the Virgin Mary dressed in traditional Samoan dress.

 

Go Scuba Diving

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With warm temperatures year round and near perfect visibility, Samoa is a great destination to learn how to dive. Visitors can dive in shallow lagoons, explore shipwrecks and get close to some of the world’s most enchanting seascapes. Just off the coast you will find pristine coral gardens, sea canyons, eagle rays and other colorful marine life.

The Rock is a popular dive spot with an abundance of fish, while Apolima Island offers an amazing coral wonderland. If you visit during the peak season between the months of July to September, you may spot a humpback whale.

 

Learn to Slap Dance

Developed during the 19th century, the Fa’ataupati is a slap dance that is indigenous to the islands of Samoa. A demonstration of strength, the dance is traditionally performed by men for celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. Visitors can watch it performed during special fiafia nights along with fire-dances, and the taualuga sacred dance of the virgins.

Visit Samoa in late August to witness the Teuila Festival which is a much larger annual celebration of this tradition. During the festival, one beauty is crowned “Miss Samoa” and you can enjoy music and a taste of Samoan cuisine.

 

Tour a Cultural Village

Samoa boasts a rich and unique cultural heritage with many strong, traditional practices that remain in use to this day. Learn the traditional customs and get an appreciation for the heritage of the country by visiting the Samoan Cultural Village. Located in the capital city Apia, the demonstrations are given three times a week, taking you through many traditional practices.

Witness the ritual tattoo ceremonies, the ancient way of cooking and the traditional arts of weaving and carving. There are also riveting song and dance performances that offer unique insights into the Samoan way of life.

 

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Written by Lexi
Lexi is a South Pacific expert. She writes guides on cruises, honeymoons and independent travel in the South Pacific.