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While it may be difficult to find the tiny island nation of Samoa on a map, it should definitely be high on your list of places to visit. The beautiful tropical paradise is surrounded by clear blue water. And the Samoan people are as warm and welcoming as the temperature. Here are some tips straight from a local to make your trip to Samoa as amazing as possible!
My friend Lei grew up in Samoa and goes back frequently to visit family. I asked her to share her best tips for visiting this dream destination. Here are her trip planning recommendations, from where to stay to what to do. These tips will make your trip better than you could ever imagine!
- The Best Dining Tips for Your Trip to Samoa
- The Best of Samoa: Lodging
- The Best of Samoa: Attractions
The Best Dining Tips for Your Trip to Samoa
Food is a great way to experience a culture and get a feel for a place. This is especially true of Samoa. Eating plays a big part in the Samoan culture.
Not only can you find delicious food here, but it usually comes in large portions. So, you can be guaranteed that you will not walk away hungry.
A Fiafia Night
Lei says a fiafia night is the best way to experience the culture and food on your trip to Samoa.
Fiafia (fee-ah fee-ah) means happy or celebration in Samoan. This celebration combines a buffet of traditional Samoan food with a full slate of entertainment that showcases the music and dance of this Polynesian culture. The highlight of the entertainment is the fire knife dance.
Authentic Samoan food uses many tropical ingredients commonly found throughout the islands, such as coconut, banana, and taro.
Many resorts around Samoa hosts fiafia nights weekly.
Fish Market Fish & Chips
Love seafood? Want a true Samoan food experience? If so, you have to try the fish and chips at the fish market in downtown Apia. It is the freshest fish you can find anywhere. The fish comes straight from the ocean to the market. This is how the locals eat seafood in Samoa!
For a fresh take on Samoan food, Lei recommends Bistro Tatau, which she describes as Samoan food with a fusion twist. Here, you can experience a modern version of traditional food.
For example, they serve palusami (baked taro leaves and coconut cream) ravioli. This restaurant in downtown Apia rotates its menu regularly in order to feature fresh seasonal dishes.
The restaurant is decorated with Polynesian art. Visit Bistro Tatau’s website for more details.
Paddles is a delicious Italian restaurant in Apia, Samoa. Lei and I agree that a trip to Samoa is not complete without a meal at Paddles! It is one of the best food experiences you will ever have!
The owner is from Italy, so the food is true Italian. The restaurant delivers yummy pasta dishes in a relaxed island environment that just works.
The Best of Samoa: Lodging
A trip to Samoa is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for most people, so you should feel good about your lodging choice. Samoa offers a wide variety of accommodation styles, from family-friendly all-inclusive resorts to traditional hotels. Therefore, I asked Lei for her suggestions on the best of Samoa lodging. Here’s her picks.
According to Lei, if you are taking a romantic, adults only trip to Samoa, then you need to stay at Seabreeze Resort. It is a quiet resort with a romantic feel and great service.
Take a nap in a double hammock. Enjoy a special dinner at the water’s edge. Relax with a massage in your villa. Or take a walk on the beach.
This resort offers everything you think of when you think of a tropical paradise. Just remember that no kids are allowed here!
To book your stay, visit Seabreeze Resort.
Beach fale in Lalomanu
If your trip to Samoa is all about the beach, then consider staying in a beach fale in Lalomanu. Beach fales are a fun way to experience another aspect of the Samoan culture. Fale (fah-lay) means house in Samoan. These traditional Samoan houses are located right on the beach.
While there are beach fales all over Samoa, Lei recommends staying in one in Lalomanu because that’s where some of the best beaches are located. They are also really cheap, and most include dinner and breakfast for the price.
You can choose from basic fales, which are open air and only have a floor and ceiling, or you can choose an enclosed one with walls. Some even have air conditioning.
Saletoga Sands Resort
If you prefer an all-inclusive resort, Saoletoga Sands Resort is Lei’s choice. This resort is kid-friendly and has more free activities for your family to enjoy than you could possibly do in one trip. They offer a kids’ club, a variety of water sports, beach volleyball, a spa, a swim-up bar, and a fiafia night!
Visit their website for more details.
The Best of Samoa: Attractions
Now, knowing where to stay and what to eat while on vacation is great, but the main focus of a vacation is what to see and do. So, what is there to do in Samoa besides lay on the beach and eat? Here are Lei’s ideas on the best things to do on your trip to Samoa.
Some of these can be considered tourist attractions, while others will give you a glimpse of Samoa from a local’s perspective.
Piula Cave Pool
About 45 minutes outside of Apia, at Piula Theological College, you will find the Piula Cave Pool. This is a beautiful freshwater spring pool created from a lava tube. The underwater cave connects to another cave further down.
Your kids will love this unique swimming experience. This is a favorite among locals and tourists alike!
Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks are nature’s water slides. These are basically waterfalls that you can slide down.
It is only about 10-15 minutes outside of Apia.
There are separate slides for adults and kids. How fun!
Attend a Samoan Church
Many Samoans have wonderful singing voices. When they sing together as a group, you will be blown away!
To experience one of the best parts of the culture, attend a Samoan church on a Sunday. Regardless of whether you are a religious person or not, you will appreciate the beauty of the singing.
Visit the Markets
If you want to visit Apia like a local, you have to go to one or more of their markets.
There are three of them around the city. The fish and flea markets are located next to each other in the downtown area. The produce market is located a few blocks away. These are all great places to find some authentic souvenirs.
Samoa is an amazing Polynesian nation in the South Pacific. It has an abundance of warm, welcoming people and natural beauty.
This local’s guide to the best of Samoa’s dining, lodging, and attractions will help you to have the best trip to Samoa that you could ever imagine.
For more information on any of the items listed here, see Samoa Travel.
See why Samoa is one of the best places for family vacations. And for even more ideas on where to stay or things to do, see my posts on the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, To Sua Ocean Trench, Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, and the Aggie Grey.
And for the best trip, see how to plan an epic family vacation.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!