Twelve beautiful islands that rise unspoiled above the turquoise waters of the central South Pacific, the island nation of Samoa is a tropical oasis that many consider to be paradise on earth. And who could blame them?
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Things to see and do in Samoa
With endless beaches, ancient culture, hospitable locals and a relaxed timeless vibe, a visit to Samoa will create memories to last a lifetime. Here's some ideas to get the memories started.
Only five hours from Sydney and Brisbane, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Samoa was on another planet entirely. With tropical temperatures that range from about 24c to 32c on land (and around 29c in the ocean) year round, it's no surprise that many of Samoa's most celebrated activities revolve around the water. From snorkelling and diving to deep sea fishing and kayaking, there's more to see and do than can be covered in one holiday.
And there are few places more famous in Samoa than the To Sua Ocean Trench - a breathtakingly beautiful waterhole that is the ultimate Instagrammable destination. Climb down the ladder and relax in impossibly clear waters, but don't attempt to swim through to the ocean as it could be extremely dangerous.
If freshwater's more your thing, then just outside Apia is your perfect afternoon activity - the Papase'ea Sliding Rocks. Ideal for kids and adults alike, waterfalls have created natural rock slides which deposit you into cool waterholes. Slightly less interactive, the Alofaaga Blowholes are some of the world's best, with strong waves pushing through lava tubes to create impressive geysers. For a small fee, locals will throw coconuts in to create an incredible natural cannon.
If famous authors are your thing, then be sure to visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and adjacent Mt Vaea National Reserve just outside of the capital Apia. Home to one of the English language's most celebrated writers of fiction (think Treasure Island and The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), the natural beauty of the area leaves no doubt as to why RLS left the rains of Scotland to settle here.
For those seeking some hustle and bustle as only the islands can provide, head to Apia's 24 hour Maketi Fou market, where you can play a game of Mu (Samoan checkers), grab a fresh coconut drink, buy some shell jewellery, find the perfect sarong or grab any number of souvenirs to remind you of your travels.
Be sure to seek out the cultural delights of this Polynesian jewel, with the Samoa Cultural Village a great place to start. The interactive sessions will give you an incredible insight into Samoa's rich cultural heritage and traditions.
Further afield, don't miss the Sale'aula Lava Fields, the beauty of the Lake Lanoto'o National Park in 'Upolu, the incredible 100m tall Papapapai- tai Falls and the stunning snorkelling off the black sands of Aganoa beach.
No matter how much time you have on your holiday, it's easy to see why Samoa is one of the world's most beautiful destinations.