Introducing Samoa

Samoa © Andrew Moore

The island paradise of Western Samoa is an independent Pacific state situated half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. It is composed of 10 islands, surprisingly varied in their terrain and character from rainforest to volcanic mountain peaks, from lush valleys to miles of perfect sandy beaches, and immediately off-shore - crystal-clear azure water teeming with aquatic life and pristine coral. Samoa is effortlessly a place apart from the busy, populated world outside its borders.

Amidst the vibrant nature and beautiful scenery of the islands, Samoans live with their ancient traditions and culture largely intact despite the influx of more modern influences. Family, religion and hospitality are values central to Samoan identity, as is the laid-back approach to life and legendary warm welcome extended to visitors.

A holiday in Samoa presents a dilemma of whether to explore the many attractions around the islands, or just relax and do nothing on the perfect beaches.

Upolu is the main island and home to the capital Apia, which is a fun and vibrant city, and the ideal gateway to Samoa's other islands. Upolu was where Robinson Crusoe lived and his time here is commemorated in the eponymous botanical gardens and museum. Other highlights on Upolu include Lalomanu Beach which adjoins a protected pristine lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling; the famous Malua Turtle feeding site; and numerous splendid waterfalls.

Of the other islands, Savai'i offers unparalleled raw beauty, volcanic craters, towering waterfalls, mysterious archaeological sites and incredible natural blowholes. Manono Island, on the other hand, is a slice of old Samoa with just four fishing villages and no vehicles or electricity to disturb the peaceful way of life.

Samoa is that rarest of holiday destinations: a place that exceeds one's wildest expectations, rewards one's laziest day or busiest excursion, and leaves visitors recharged, relaxed and ready for more.

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