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Insiders Guide to Upolu, Samoa

To Sua Ocean Trench Samoa 3
To Sua Ocean Trench Samoa 2
Lalomanu Samoa
Lalomanu Samoa 2
RL Stevenson Museum Samoa
Samoan Church Service
Apia Markets Samoa
Papaseea Samoa

Insiders Guide to Upolu, Samoa

story by: Tom Ricketts

1. CANNONBALL INTO THE TO SUA OCEAN TRENCH
An ocean trench might not be the best way to describe this place, it’s more like a giant sinkhole or cenote. The stunningly beautiful swimming hole is fringed with lush green foliage and connected to the ocean by an underground lava tube which fills it full of crystal clear water and colourful tropical fish. Do cannonballs from the ladder or just admire the view from above.
HOT Tip: Have some cash on hand, there’s a small fee if you want to take a dip.


2. BONE UP ON SOME SAMOAN HISTORY
Did you know that from 1900-1914 Samoa was a German colony? Even more important, did you know that after World War I broke out in 1914, New Zealand invaded Samoa and it remained a colony of ours until 1962?! Visit Falemataaga, Samoa’s national museum to learn all about this, and so much more.
HOT Tip: If you’re more interested in art and traditional handicrafts, head for the Vanya Taule'alo Gallery instead.


3. HIT THE BEACH AT LALOMANU
Of course you’re going to want plenty of beach time, and up there with the best of them is beautiful Lalomanu. On the east coast, the white sand beach is perfect for a day in the sun and surf.
HOT Tip: If you’re in need of a feed, Taufau Beach Fales serve up hearty meals and they’re right on the beach. You cannot beat that view!


4. VISIT SAMOA CULTURAL VILLAGE
If you only do one cultural thing in Samoa, make it this. Here you’ll learn about everything cultural; taste traditional food, see a show, learn the heritage and history, and so much more.
HOT Tip: Go, it’s free!


5. READ A BIT OF ROBBIE
The world famous author and poet Robert Louis Stevenson had a love affair with Samoa. He first visited in 1888 when he witnessed the Samoan Crisis, an event that would later form the crux of his book ‘In the South Seas’. Stevenson moved to Upolu a few years later and lived out the rest of his years here while penning several books.
HOT Tip: Stevenson’s beautiful mansion is a now a museum where you can learn all about his history, visit his grave, and pick up some holiday reading.


6. SEE SAMOA’S SISTINE
Ok, comparing it so the Sistine Chapel is a stretch, but Samoa’s Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral is still an amazing church worthy of a visit, if only to see the wonderful South Pacific style religious scenes painted on her walls and great dome.
HOT Tip: For Sunday services, only white is usually worn.


7. EXPLORE APIA’S MARKETS
On the look out for a Hawaiian shirt? Apia is the largest city in the country and the nations capital, so naturally, it’s home to the best markets in the country including the must see Fugalei Market where you’ll find all sorts of tropical fruit, vegetables and traditional Samoan handicrafts. Make a meal of it by visiting the fish market early on a Sunday morning the latest catch.
HOT Tip: The Fugalei Market is best visited on weekday afternoons, but you’ll need to be up around 6.00am on Sunday to snag (ha!) the best catch at the fish market.


8. TAKE THE KIDS TO PAPASEE’A
Great fun for the young, and the young at heart, Papasee’a is a smooth rock you can slide down into a refreshing pool of water below. Pretty much a natural waterslide!
HOT Tip: Be sure to check the water level first if it’s dry season.

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