If you’ve ever had that feeling like you just want to escape the daily grind but don’t have much time to spare, the South Pacific Island of Samoa is ideally located for a short break. Unlike many popular overseas destinations, you can reach Samoa in just a few hours with direct flights from Auckland, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Even though Samoa is only a short journey away, you’ll feel a million miles from home as soon as you arrive in this unspoilt tropical archipelago. Better still, even if you’re only planning to stay in Samoa for a long weekend or short mid-week break, the diversity of activities, short distances, and ease of transport means you’ll get so much out of your limited time here.
While taxis and public buses are easy to come by in Samoa, hiring a vehicle could be your best option for exploring freely and getting from A to B in the quickest time. You can choose from cars, vans, four-wheel drives, and scooters, and the roads around Samoa are relatively quiet which makes for a safe and stress-free experience – you just need to watch out for the occasional wandering animal or local pedestrian. If you are thinking about driving in Samoa, remember to obtain your temporary drivers’ permit which is available from most rental companies.
To give you an idea of what an exciting short break in Samoa might look like, here’s a suggested four-day itinerary that promises the chance to see what Samoan culture is all about, along with plenty of time for relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Arrive at Faleolo International Airport and travel to your resort
There are stunning resorts close to Samoa’s capital of Apia which not only offer easy access to the sights, sounds, and activities of the city but are suitably distanced to provide guests the secluded beachfront experience they expect from a tropical escape.
Spend the rest of the day relaxing by the resort pool and enjoying the white sandy beach
Eat at the hotel or explore the restaurants and bars of Apia
Like most resorts in Samoa, the Taumeasina Island Resort and Tanoa Tusitala Hotel offer multiple high-quality restaurants and bars in a range of settings from the airconditioned indoors to the outdoor pool and beachside terraces. Menus are diverse including traditional local dishes and international cuisine.
Alternatively, you can take a short trip into Apia to explore some of the many bars, cocktail lounges, and restaurants. Scattered along the waterfront and into the centre of Apia, you’ll find anything from freshly caught seafood, to woodfired pizza and tasty burgers.
Early morning visit to Apia Fish Market
Even if you’re not a fan of eating seafood yourself, Apia’s fish markets are a fascinating experience if you get there early enough to watch all the action. Best visited from 6am, you’ll see an impressive selection of freshly caught seafood being prepared for the day’s trade including yellow-fin tuna, octopus, crabs, and eels.
Road trip to To-Sua Ocean Trench
One of the best ways to get a feel for Samoa is by getting out on the open road and soaking up the sights. With a total journey time of around an hour, a trip to To-Sua Ocean trench will take you east along the coastal road before turning inland to traverse the island towards the south shore of Upolu. Along the way, you could stop at some of the road-side stalls to try some of the local fruits and snacks.
When you arrive at To Sua Ocean trench, you’ll be able to cool off and refresh in the 30-metre-deep giant swimming hole which is one of Samoa’s most unique historical sites. Connected to the ocean by a lava cave, the vividly coloured waters are surrounded by gardens brimming with native plants which you can also explore.
A tour of Samoa Cultural Village, Apia
This is your chance to learn more about the Samoan way of life through food and stimulating displays of dance, music, and local crafts. Inside Samoa Cultural Village, you’ll be able to watch and learn about traditional tattooing techniques, tapa making, and umu (earth oven) preparation.
Organised by the local people to be an interactive experience, you might even give some traditional dance moves a go yourself – and you won’t leave hungry because there are local dishes being prepared all around the village.
Visit the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve for a magical snorkelling experience
The Palolo Deep Marine Reserve is only a five-minute walk from the centre of Apia, heading east to Vaiala beach, or a very short trip by car or taxi from your hotel (depending on where you decide to have breakfast). This clear-water marine biodiversity area is surrounded by walls of coral and is home to a huge variety of colourful tropical fish which are guaranteed to surround you as soon as you enter the water. Masks and snorkels are available to hire at the Reserve for a small fee.
Experience a kayak, SUP, or bike tour
One of the benefits of being close to Apia is that you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to hiring equipment and joining tours, and your hotel will also offer a range of water sports equipment. Whatever takes your fancy, you can choose to either spend the afternoon paddling the glassy bays and spotting turtles or exploring some of Apia’s hidden pockets and green surrounds by push-bike or scooter.
Enjoy a poolside cocktail and cooking class at your resort
After recuperating from your adventure with a cold tasty cocktail by the pool, learning how to cook a Samoan meal will not only be a memorable experience, but your newfound skills will surely impress your friends and family when you return home. The Taumeasina Island Resort offers cooking classes where you’ll learn to cook some traditional dishes exactly the way the locals do. Make sure you enquire and book before your travel or on arrival.
Start the day with a relaxed breakfast at your hotel followed by a stroll along the beach before taking your transport to the airport.