Samoa encapsulates over 3,000 years of history, culture and nature like no other South Pacific destination. Being a diver’s destination, it has long golden beaches, warm blue waters, over 200 varieties of coral and 900 species of fish to meet. Samoa’s two main islands of Savai’i and Upolu offer travellers the chance to experience luxurious resorts, lava fields, dense forests and magnificent surfing breaks.
However, the main reason people visit Samoa again and again is due to the way of life in the islands also known as ‘Fa’a Samoa’. A distillation of thousands of years of culture passed down from generations, the Cradle of Polynesia holds many secrets for travellers to unveil. The perfect destination to experience authentic Polynesian culture; Samoa has many historical landmarks, festivals and traditions that visitors can experience.
Known as some of the best mariners ever to inhabit the earth, the Samoan history can trace its people back to over 3,000 years. An ethnic Polynesian subsect, Samoans are strongly religious, with Sundays being days of rest and living by the ‘Fa’a Samoa’ (the Samoan way of life).
Bonfires, traditional barbeques, song and dance mark the night as unforgettable. Also remarkable is the ‘siva’ dance performed by the village youngsters although visitors have to dance with the enthusiastic performers when asked. You have been warned. The village visit would be incomplete unless a tour of traditional arts and crafts is undertaken. Travellers can take back with them wood carvings with traditional Polynesian motifs. There are also carved wooden drums, spears and other items adorned with decorative patterns.
One of the best experiences to have in Samoa is to be accepted into a tribe and get invited to a ‘umu’ feast. The fare leans heavily towards fresh seafood such as octopus, crayfish, snapper, tuna and mahimahi; while produce such as root vegetables and fruits are staple favourites. The traditional ‘umu’ feast should not be missed – marinated meats and veggies are placed in a dug earth oven which has hot stones and covered for several hours. The slow-cooked meal is a sensation, indeed.
One of the South Pacific’s chosen mating grounds, there are several periods in the year where travelers can go for whale watching tours and swimming with dolphins and sea turtles in their natural habitat. Check out the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. Then, Samoa is world-famous for its surfing. Pick a board and go off to A’ufaga or Solosolo for amazing swells and breaks. Also, its reefs and profusion of marine life make any dive worthy of hours of fun. Lalomanu Beach is an especially great spot for snorkelling.
a world of unforgettable experiences
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