With a population of 42,000, Savai'i is third largest Polynesian island after Tahiti and New Zealand. It’s also one of the few places on earth where you can truly experience the simple pleasure of life.
Savai'i is a scenic treasure trove, offering everything from a rich, unspoilt marine life and breath-taking waterfalls, to caves, blowholes and rainforests teeming with birds, other wild – but guaranteed harmless – creatures and health-giving plants. Probably the most dramatic geological feature is the Saleaula lava fields, whereMt Matavanu erupted 102 years ago, leaving 50 square kilometres of wrinkly lava tongues in its wake.
On Savai'i, you’ll get a true insight into the traditional Samoan way of life. A great way to experience the culture – and the Savaiian sense of community – is by attending a church service. It’s definitely not an adult-only affair, and chances are baby, gran and the family dog or pig will rock along too. Other traditions you might want to indulge in are the traditional Sunday meal, cooked on an overground volcanic rock oven called umu, a game or two of kirikiti (the national version of cricket), or learning the time-consuming art of tapa cloth making and painting.
Needless to say, Savai'i also offers the obligatory tropical holiday ‘must-haves’ like white sandy, palm-fringed beaches and turquoise lagoons. Without being bias, they really are something to write home about – and to while away the time snorkelling, diving, surfing or having a siesta Samoan-style, in an open-air fale.
Getting to Savai'i is easy – just hop on the ferry from Mulifanua Wharf in Western Upolu and 90 minutes later you’ll be setting foot on the island. Which, by the way, is also the last place in the world to see the sunset each day. And what a sunset that is…