Samoa is the ideal South Pacific destination to take the family; aside from being safe, family-friendly, and a world away from tourist hustle and bustle, this stunning country in the heart of Polynesia is an absolute adventure playground just waiting to be explored. Get ready to make some memories!
Pristine beaches with safe swimming
Who doesn’t love a day (or week) at the beach? Samoa has postcard-perfect beaches with easy access to safe swimming, diving and snorkelling. This South Pacific holiday destination is truly blessed with some sublime white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees and lapped by turquoise waters. Reefs encircle much of the coastline and means that a dip in the warm waters or a kayak trip is easy for all the family. Do ask the locals or your accommodation providers if there are any beach conditions you should be aware of.
Public transport like you’ve never seen it before
A family road trip in one of Samoa’s famous colourful buses is only the start of an adventure. Taking a bus in Samoa is a great way to meet people and perhaps score an invite to visit a Samoan village with their beautifully manicured gardens and brightly painted dwellings where you can get an insight into the daily lives of the locals.
If the local villagers and their kids invite you for a game of the Samoan version of cricket; kirikiti, a game played with a triangular bat, don’t be shy – you may learn a few interesting local customs and compulsory singing and dancing.
Family life is important to Samoans
Fa’a Samoa (The Samoan Way) is the essence of the Samoan culture. According to Fa’a Samoa, family is all important and is to be protected and nurtured. Children are celebrated (White Sunday, similar to Mothers or Fathers Day – only for children – is celebrated every October). Wherever you go within Upolu and Savai’i, your children will be greeted with friendly smiles and the whole family will be made welcome and you may even feel that you’ve found your second home.
Get a deeper understanding of an ancient culture
In the town of Apia, Samoa’s capital, take a tour of the Samoan Cultural Village and learn about Samoa’s 3,000 year old culture. Here you can learn how to open a coconut, start a fire with sticks, weave a basket, print on tapa and watch the traditional way of tattooing under the shelter of a fale, the traditional dwelling for many Samoans.
Kids will love being able to stay in a Beach Hut
Samoa caters to family vacations with a range of accommodation facilities from full-service resorts near Apia and the airport, to open-air beach huts, or fales, on the escape-from-it-all, untouched shores of Savai’i.
A fale is usually a platform on the sand, a few steps away from the water’s edge, with no walls but with blinds often made from woven coconut palm leaves to ensure privacy. Staying in a fale is like beach camping, but Samoan style. Booking a number of fales (a regular fale will sleep 2 adults or 4 small children) is recommended, but there are larger fales that cater to whole groups. Breakfast is included, although on Sundays you may need to make your own plans as Samoans reserve Sunday as a family day.
Samoa is Mother Nature’s Playground
Samoa awakens the adventurous child in all of us – it really is blessed with all the things that make for a fantastic family holiday. Adventures await in every corner of these beautiful islands with trails leading into lush jungles and to cascading waterfalls. Dive with the kids into crystal clear waterholes or slide down natural waterslides at Papaseea Sliding Rocks guaranteed to keep the kids entertained for hours. Explore the alien-like landscape of extinct lava fields or swim with turtles in the clear peaceful turquoise waters of the lagoon.
Ideas for a family trip to Samoa
Start early and take the kids for a stroll around the colourful aisles of Apia’s market to pick up trinkets and gifts.
Visit Vailima, the restored colonial homestead of Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, a story of pirates and buried treasure, and learn about his life and times in his adopted South Pacific home now turned into a museum. Take the 45 minute trek up the mountain overlooking Apia and visit Stevenson’s tomb while enjoying the breath-taking views from up high.
After a day of adventure, wind down with your loved ones and be entertained by the villagers at their fia fia, a night of happy songs that will make you tap your feet and clap your hands. Dance with the graceful village maidens as they perform the siva and sit back in awe as the young men twirl their fire sticks to the beat of drums for the Siva Afi.
Tuck into some delicious local food prepared in the traditional Samoan stone oven – the umu – and sample local delicacies such as oka and palusami. When thinking of what to eat in Samoa, kids' palates are well catered to as much of the food is fresh, organic and often cooked with fesh coconut cream.
At the end of the day, be lulled to sleep in your fale with the gentle sound of the waves in the background, drifting into peaceful slumber wondering what new adventures tomorrow may bring – maybe catch of the day as you fish with the villagers? Kayaking with the locals? A walk along the rainforest canopy? A swim with the turtles? Or maybe a lazy day by the pool sipping cocktails as the kids play with the village children.