Sightseeing in Samoa
Upolu and Savaii offer some fascinating experiences!
Sightseeing in Samoa........This is another of those fascinating travel destinations where there are many interesting experiences.
There is much more to do and see than just being on the beaches. I will list things I have done, and recommend when sightseeing in Samoa, that are likely to be accessible to the usual tourist visitor.
There are many walks that require a guide, 4WD and knowledge of the area, that is best left to the Samoa Tourist Bureau to give you details on, if you are keen to do more than the usual sightseeing in Samoa. You will find the Samoa Tourism Authority in the fale in front of the Government Buildings on Baech Road, Apia. There is also an information desk at Faleolo Airport. If you are wanting information on sighteeing in Samoa prior to your visit you can email: email@example.com
The Sights of Upolu
Sightseeing in Samoa almost always includes water in some way or another.....................
Piula – a freshwater pool in a cave
Piula is one of my favourite spots, about 40 minutes from Apia. The drive around the coast is some of the most beautiful sightseeing in Samoa you will find. You could take a taxi or bus if you don't have a rental car. This freshwater pool, goes back into a cave. Situated right by the sea, under a church, there is just a rock wall separating the salt water from the fresh water.
If you are very brave –you will need a snorkel and mask, and preferably flippers, you can swim to the back of the cave, and go through a hole under the water, which brings you out on land, to the side of the pool. You pay as you go down the steps.
If you are there late in the day, after the pool shuts at 4.00pm, you will see the women bring all the washing down. The fish also appear from their hiding places as people vacate the pool!
Papasea Sliding Rocks
This is best when there has been a reasonable amount of rain. You can slide down the mossy rocks into a small pool below. Children love this adventure. It is situated in a pretty bush area and worth going just to have a look.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and Mount Vaea Scenic Reserve
Your list of sightseeing in Samoa should include a visit at least to "Vailima".Stevenson is very special to Samoans. He lived his last years in Samoa and "Vailima" - his mansion - has been restored and is open to visitors. You can also do the 30-45 minute walk up the mountain to his tomb where you will get wonderfully expansive views over Apia.
Tongitogiga ( Tongeetongee) Falls
The Falls are a lovely cool spot for swimming and picnicking. Situated up in the rainforest in the hills above Apia, they are well worth a visit, if you have a rental car. Especially if there has been rain.
These Falls were a popular spot with locals living in Samoa. You can also do the 4 hour return walk to Peapea Cave from the Falls entrance. Take a torch, water and a guide is the advice from the tourist bureau!
As you drive up into the hills above Apia, there are several falls you can visit. Check local maps for directions.
Visiting the markets is on most peoples list when sightseeing. In Samoa there are many markets, and Apia has three main markets, each specialising. The market on Beach Road is for clothing, jewellery, woven baskets, tapa cloth, wooden ware including kava bowls, mats ,lavalavas. Many stalls have similar products, so you can look around and compare prices. They are generally similar.
NOTE: They have an interesting way of putting you off doing a deal – two for a lesser price. I was twice told- “oh I am sorry but my boss is not here at the moment so I can’t make that decision. “They actually seem to prefer to let the sale go, rather than drop the price. In other words................they don’t barter.
Marketi Fou on Fungalei St is a separate fruit and vegetable market and a fascinating place when you are sightseeing. In Samoa the markets are the focal point for all the produce sellers.......... it is a lively view of life in Samoa.
This is found behind the Beach Rd market and best visited early morning, before 11.am.
Swimming Pools - Not usually recommended when sightseeing in Samoa, but well worth a look for both the architecture.........and something of a surprise, in such a small country!This huge swimming pool complex was built for the South Pacific Games by the Chinese.
This pool complex has two large outdoor pools, including one for children, and one for competitions. There is a massive indoor competitive pool and diving pool. Open each afternoon, there was one person swimming when we went! It would rival anything New Zealand has to offer. Unfortunately it may not be well used. It is on the outskirts of Apia.
Our sightseeing in Samoa was not enhanced by the relatively new advent of touters, ( often young children) bailing you up as you sat at an outside table in central Apia. They were selling a whole range of things. I did buy a woven fan, and others I saw bought lavalavas. Leai – (Lay-I) means “NO” It is worth using if they keep bothering you.
Savaii is the more traditional island for sightseeing in Samoa. You will drive through villages, along stunning coastline rimmed with crystal waters, and have the opportunity to see some unique features. Easily circumnavigated in a day, there is plenty to see and do along the way. You can spend much longer, taking time to hike in the lava fields and forest areas, or just relax at the beautiful beaches.
Favourite Activities in Savaii
Swim with Turtles at Satoalepai village
This was a wonderful experience .Privately owned, it was another large freshwater pool in the most beautiful setting.
For a small fee, you can enjoy swimming with the turtles .....there were over ten of these elegant, gentle creatures.
They are so used to people they will come right up to you. I suggest you take a snorkel and mask if you have one, as it is a much better view from under the water. This was a highlight of my trip, and something I highly recommend.
The blowholes are best viewed when the tide is almost full in. You may have difficulty finding the road. The signpost was not easy to find. If you look out for Taga Village on the ferry side, you should see it. It cost WS$5 (tala) a head, which was collected at the beginning of the coastline road.We were offered a guide and while we said we wouldn’t worry, a lady came out to meet us.
Sightseeing in Samoa is full of surprises!She came down to the blowholes, where she called the sea, and threw coconut shells in the holes, so they blew out when they "blew"
It was a magnificent sight seeing the huge white plumes of water rising in the air, and then watching the water rushing back down the holes.
With interesting sea life growing around the edges of the holes, and the huge swathes of lava that formed the blowholes, this is an interesting piece of coastline. This was another highlight you must experience.
Saleaula Lava Fields
This church was buried from the lava that flowed after the eruption of Mt Matavanu in 1905. It is fascinating seeing the lava flowing through the church and surrounding area. You will be asked for a small fee, and be accompanied by a guide, who will explain the history of the lava flow, and take you to all the lava areas, including the Virgin’s grave.
Mount Matavanu Lava Fields
I did not go there.....they are a three hour walk from Paia Village for those who have more time and the inclination to walk this distance. But the interesting landscape left by the lava flows are your reward!
Vaisala Hotel and beach at Asau
This was probably the only place we could have a meal as we drove around Savaii. Rather run down these days, it was very quiet, but the restaurant was open. We enjoyed a very good meal of fresh fish and chips and salad over looking the lovely beach.
Remains of a Village
A little further on from Asau our sightseeing in Samoa brought us to a derelict Church and buildings. It is worth getting out to have a good look. They were demolished, except for the concrete shells, in Cyclone Ofa in February 1990
NOTE: You should take reef shoes, as the coral makes it rough underfoot at some beaches. It will also guard against any cuts and nicks which are easily infected in a tropical climate.
Payment - When you are sightseeing in Samoa, be aware that most beaches are owned by Samoan villages, and you will be asked to pay. Check what the going rate is before you leave Apia, as sometimes the requests are far in excess of reasonable! I was taking a photo, and an elderly man rushed up demanding 10 tala. This was a lot, even if I planned to use the beach! Needless to say I made a hasty departure in the car!
It may surprise many people to know there are really no beaches in or even very near Apia.Pololo Deep in Apia is a good spot for snorkelling when the tide is right, but the beach is not wonderful. You will see some markers which show where the best coral and fish are.
You really have to travel to the eastern side of Upolu to find the lovely tropical beaches sightseeing in Samoa is known for. Many of the best beaches have resorts fronting them. There are several beaches where they have basic fales where you can stay very cheaply, right on the beach. There are also mid range hotels right through to very expensive international standard hotels with their own beaches.
Beaches you may like to Visit