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Samoa Travel

The last country in the world to celebrate the New Year, Samoa, on the international dateline just over a decade ago was known as Western Samoa. Made up now of two parts — Samoa and American Samoa, this nation is often regarded as one of the friendliest in the South Pacific and, because of its closeness to Hawaii, is also the most navigable and visited. Whichever part of the country you are in, the fa'a Samoa (or Samoan way) is deeply Polynesian and devoutly practiced. The fa'a Samoa is a blend of Western and Polynesian beliefs — Western in its view of Christianity, and Polynesian in its incorporation of its own gods and mythology. This unique blend of Christian and Polynesian beliefs make the Samoan culture easily relatable.

Samoa travel

The whole of Samoa is a tight knit community of just ten islands, which visitors can best experience by staying in a traditional “ fale ,” which is a thatched house made of palm fronds and has no walls. The openness of the house resembles the openness of its people with each other and with foreigners. Everything is an open book and everything is colorful, beautiful, and natural, including its various landscapes and attractions. Samoa's nine islands are all close together, therefore making it easy for tourists to travel around. Savaii and Upolu make up about 95% of the country's land area and population and for these reason. Savaii , the country's largest island, became dormant just one century ago, and Upolu to its east is the most populated. All of Samoa's islands grew from west to east. The country's capital, Apia on the northern coast of Upolu, is a bustling commercial center that is everyone's first introduction to the fa'a Samoa.

Samoa travel

Robert Louis Stevenson lived and died in Apia, and is buried atop Mount Vaea in a tomb overlooking the ocean. From Apia, take a bus ride to Lepa and Aleipata, along which you will enjoy fantastic views of the countryside and a solid foundation for cultural exploration and interactions with locals. Samoa's rain forests are located in the interior of these two large islands and, though dwindling due to excessive logging, are spectacular launching points for nature exploration and trekking. Unfortunately, deforestation occurs at an alarming rate — even faster than in the widely publicized Amazons of South America, so going there now will give you a better sense of the country's rich topography versus visiting years later.

Samoa's smaller, inhabited islands of Manono and Apolima sit between Savaii and Upolu, while the nation's five islets southeast of Upolu house just birds and plants. Visitors to these two islands will find deserted beaches and gorgeous coastline all to themselves. Other unforgettable sights in Samoa are the Piula Cave Pool , the Letolo Plantation , and the Taga blowholes . Finally, like its South Pacific neighbors, Samoa offers world-class surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

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