Samoa exceeded our expectations. Consisting of the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i, we planned to spend over a week on each one. However, Cyclone Donna delayed our arrival by 2 days and a detour to American Samoa cut into our schedule but we managed to make the most of our time at this lovely South Pacific nation. Our first week was spent on Upolu, the island which hosts all international flights. Highlights of Upolu include: Apia (do not miss the excellent Cultural Village tour), Piula cave pool, Matareva Beach, Lalomanu Beach and Taufua beach fale’s Fiafia night, countless waterfalls, and the To-Sua Ocean Trench. We quickly got introduced to the concept of beach fales, a quintessential Samoan experience and one that we highly recommend. Sleeping open air next to the beach is an unbeatable option and a budget one at that. Many beach fales include breakfast and dinner, making them a fantastic option for those on a shoestring budget. We found Samoans to be welcoming, friendly, devout and family oriented. They are fiercely proud of their Polynesian heritage and thrilled to share it with visitors. Two thumbs up for this amazing destination!
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- American Samoa – Tutuila
- New Zealand – Southland (Milford Sound, Invercargill, The Catlins)