Samoa is an idyllic archipelago in the heart of the Pacific. Its islands offer gorgeous white-sand beaches, lush mountain forests and a warm welcome in traditional villages.

Explore the magnificent coastline of pristine coves, spectacular lava rock formations and turquoise lagoons around Samoa’s stunning islands. Dive in the warm ocean, hike through a dense rainforest and relax in fresh pools beneath spectacular waterfalls. Taste local specialties in one of the traditional villages. Try oka (raw fish) or pork and vegetables cooked in a pit oven called an umu.

None of Samoa’s 10 islands are densely populated, so the air is still pure, the water clear and the atmosphere calm. The poor, but very hospitable, Samoans cherish their ancient rituals and slow pace of life. Even the capital Apia, on Upolu, doesn’t have a city feel.

Buses and taxis are cheap ways to get around. You can also hire a car to explore the island’s interior. Walk the trails to Lake Lanoto’o National Park, in Upolu’s forested interior, with a guide. Join a boat excursion to surf the breakers of the outer reefs or to scuba dive or snorkel with exotic marine species.

Visit a nu’u (village) to play a game of Kilikiti, a type of cricket, with the locals. They may even treat you and your family to a siva (dance) performance. While the ancient Fa’a Samoa (The Samoan Way) is still sacred, most Samoans are now devout Christians too. They limit their Sunday activities to churchgoing and stay at home during the nightly prayer curfew.

Take the ferry from the Mulifanua Wharf near the airport to hop over to Salelologa on Savai'i Island. Visit the Satoalepai Turtle Sanctuary to swim with green turtles. Don’t miss the Saleaula Lava Fields, an eerie but impressive molten landscape. A short ferry ride away is the tranquility of Manono, Samoa’s third-largest island, home to archaeological sites.

Tropical Samoa is best enjoyed outdoors and the regular downpours from October to March don’t often last long. Visit its remote Polynesian islands to swim in warm tropical waters, learn about a new culture and laze on a deserted beach.

Guide to Exploring Samoa

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