Samoa… Where Beautiful Just Happens

01/03/2019 0 By Gayle Dickson

The Fa’a Samoa culture is over 3,000 years old and Samoan mythology and legends say they descended from the gods and heavens to inhabit these islands. Guided by the stars, the Polynesian ancestors made their way across the Pacific in ocean-faring canoes thousands of years ago.

History of Samoa:

Samoa’s oldest known site of human occupation is Mulifanua on the island of Upolu, which dates back to about 1,000 BC. Stonework ‘pyramids’ and mounds in star formation found throughout the islands have inspired various theories from archaeologists about this stage of Samoan history.

Over the millennia, the Samoan people engaged in trade, battles and intermarriage of nobility with the neighbouring islands of Fiji and Tonga. The interweaving of the cultures and bloodlines has helped strengthen the ties of these South Pacific nations.

Samoa… Where Beautiful Just HappensEuropean whalers and traders started to arrive in the late 1700s. By far the most important agents of change in Samoa were the western missionaries, converting the people from belief in Gods for the sun, earth, heavens and sea to a one God.

Dutchman, Jacob Roggeveen was the first European to sight the islands in 1722, but it wasn’t until 1830 when the Reverend John Williams arrived in Savai’i that the Christian gospel had an impact on Samoan life. Visitors to Samoa may be shown the monuments to John Williams on both main islands. Samoans are now a devoutly religious people with much time devoted to church activities. For many Samoans, Christianity and Fa‘a Samoa are inextricably interwoven.

In 1899 after years of civil war, the islands of the Samoan archipelago were divided – the Germans taking the islands to the west and the Americans taking the islands to theeast, now known as American Samoa.

After the outbreak of the First World War, New Zealand captured Western Samoa from the small German company stationed on the islands, and following the end of the war took administrative control on behalf of the United Nations from 1918 until independence on the 1st January 1962. Western Samoa was the first Pacific nation to gain independence.

From 1962 to 1997, the nation was known as Western Samoa, until it dropped the title ‘Western’ from its name to become the Independent State of Samoa. Samoa celebrates its independence each June.

Samoa…Must Do’s:

Make sure you tick off some of these must-see attractions in Samoa.

On Upolu, must-see sites within easy reach of Apia include:

• Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

• Palolo Deep National Marine Reserve

• Piula Cave Pools

• The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks

The famous Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson, famed for classic books such as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, spent his final years in Samoa. He was known by the local people as Tusitala – Samoan for ‘teller of tales’. His beautiful mansion, Vailima, has been converted into a museum set within lush gardens and is open to the public. Visitors can also visit his grave located at the top of Mt. Vaea, along a trail named by the locals as ‘The Road of the Loving Heart’.

For those more adventurous, take a trip to the village of Lotofaga on the south coast and experience the To Sua Trench. This idyllic spot is what South Pacific dreams are made of! The hero-shot of many brochures and travel articles about Samoa, this 30-metre deep crater is filled with seawater and to reach its clear waters you must scramble down a long stepladder. An underwater tunnel – only diveable at low and calm tide – connects the trench with the sea and is surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens that are a popular picnic spot for Samoans.

Savai’i is Samoa’s largest island and is known for its gentle and traditional way of life and pristine scenery. The island’s many natural attractions include lush rainforests, secluded beaches and mountainous interior.

Must-see sites on Savai’i are the stunning Afu Aau Waterfalls, the spectacular Alofaaga Blowholes near Taga village and the opportunity to swim with turtles at the turtle sanctuary at Satoalepai.

Cultural Practices & Art:

• Ava Ceremony: Traditionally, ‘ava (sometimes known as kava) is a drink made from the ground root of the pepper plant and is often reserved for visiting royalty and dignitaries. Every government and matai meeting starts with an ‘ava ceremony.

• Tatau: A traditional art form that represents the spiritual and cultural heritage of Samoa is the Tatau, or tattoo. It is often seen as a rite of passage for men where the intricate patterns of the pe’a cover the body from the waist to the knees. It is a mark of personal and spiritual maturity and a commitment to Fa’a Samoa. Master tattooists, or tufuga ta tatau, use traditional handmade tools made from bone, tusk, shark teeth, shell and wood. The process can take two weeks, and those who are being tattooed must be accompanied by supporters. An unfinished tatau is thought to bring shame to the participant’s family. Samoan tattoos aren’t just for men, although you are less likely to see traditional tatau on Samoan women as the malu cover only the thighs, which you are unlikely to see due to Samoan protocol.

• Tapa (Siapo): Some of the loveliest and most distinctive Samoan souvenirs are printed cloth made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree. The siapo is used traditionally as clothing, or as a form of currency and is an important cultural element in traditional ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

• Song and Dance: Music is a vital part of Samoan culture. From traditional ceremonies to the buses blaring out wicked beats, Samoans are enthusiastic singers and music makers.

• Weaving: The fine mat, called ie toga, can take years to make, and is woven from very fine fibres of the pandanus plant. Everyday practical items such as baskets and floor mats are woven from palm fronds.

For more insight into Samoan culture, make sure you visit the Samoan Cultural Village in Apia.

www.samoa.travel

Aga Reef Resort

Aga Reef Resort is located in Lalomanu on the stunning south-east coast of Upolu, only a short 5 minute drive from the beautiful white sands of Lalomanu Beach and 10 minutes away from the popular swimming spot at To Sua Trench.

Nestled between a glorious tropical backdrop and the water’s edge, the resort offers the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy a tropical escape. This 4-star boutique resort is a stylish mix of private waterfront villas and comfortable hotel rooms all air-conditioned and offering contemporary décor and stylish amenities with lovely ocean views.

The fresh water infinity pool is a great place to enjoy a refreshing dip and the clear, calm waters of the lagoon host an array of colourful tropical fish and provide a great spot for swimming and snorkelling.

The resort’s Tualupetu Restaurant offers a great menu selection with fabulous ocean views and a large expanse of deck so that you can also enjoy al-fresco dining with the warmth of the sun on your back or under a moonlit sky. Aga Reef Resort is the place to head if you want total peace and privacy.

The Ocean View Rooms (OVR) are located in a 2 storey building, with the best views from the top floor. The downstairs rooms have a better garden view and easy access without the need of going up the stairs. These rooms are especial good for families as they interconnect.

The Waterfront Villas (WFV) give you that extra space and a large deck to view the ocean and a magnificent sunsets from. This is the perfect accommodation for a romantic getaway.

The Island Villas (IV) give you that little extra luxury by having a bath tub additional to the large shower plus an added over water sun deck… and if it’s absolute luxury you’re after try out the exclusive VIP villa with stunning lagoon views and your very own private plunge pool on the deck complete with sunbeds.

www.agareefresort.com

Samoa… Where Beautiful Just HappensSaletoga Sands Resort & Spa

Saletoga Sands Resorts & Spa combines luxury and comfort with exceptional value, nestled within its own private ‘Saletoga’ bay on the South Coast of Upolu in Samoa.

Activities:

• Complimentary onsite activities provide entertainment for guests of all ages whether you prefer an active or relaxing holiday.

• Kayaks

• Stand up paddle boards

• View boards

• Kids Club – 10am – 12pm daily (4-11 years old)

• Fiafia night live entertainment weekly on a Wednesday

• Snorkelling equipment

• Waterpark (parent supervision required)

These activities are available at an extra charge:

• Deep Sea Fishing (private charter)

• Daily day tours

• Rental cars

• Surfing transfers (subject to availability)

www.saletogasands.com

Samoa… Where Beautiful Just HappensSeabreeze Resort

The award winning Seabreeze Resort is gently nestled into a private secluded bay on Samoa’s famous south-east coast of Upolu. Seabreeze Resort has a recipe for relaxation…when hungry you eat, when thirsty you drink, when tired you sleep and be pampered at every opportunity! With this motto in mind, guests can be treated to a range of totally indulgent and nurturing massages unique to Seabreeze.

Romance is intrinsic to the spirit of the resort, so there is no better place to celebrate a wedding, honeymoon or special anniversary than at Seabreeze. Seabreeze also offer intimate honeymoon, birthday and anniversary bonuses that not only meets individual needs but surpasses their expectations.

Owner, Wendy Booth has commented “We strive for our resort to be a total oasis for guests, offering not only first-class accommodation but a first-class experience. With our army of hand trained staff and a determination to exceed our guest’s expectations we will continue to create a utopia for couples in our untouched Island paradise.”

www.seabreezesamoa.com

Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s

Located in the centre of Apia, this inviting retreat is across from the harbourfront and steps from commercial areas and local attractions.

The historical colonial façade meets modern design and unparallelled views. is the perfect venue for meetings and events in Samoa. There are a wide range of function rooms to cater to smaller meetings with 2-10 executives or high-profile conferences and incentive trips with up to 500 guests.

Opt for a meeting or conference by the garden to set the backdrop to your unforgettable event.

www.marriott.com/hotels

Tanoa Tusitala Hotel

Tanoa Tusitala Hotel is located just minutes away from Apia’s central business district and sits within six hectares of beautiful tropical gardens.

This 4-star Samoan hotel is the perfect place to enjoy a family holiday, a romantic getaway, host a celebration or hold a business convention. The hotel’s architecture embodies key elements of Samoan culture, with hand tied fales (traditional Samoan houses) dominating the space of a central courtyard that houses the lobby, bar and restaurant. There is no better hotel in Apia to experience Samoan culture.

Tanoa Tusitala offers a Samoan dining experience of the highest quality, with a wide range of local and international cuisine to choose from. The wonderful cuisine and great location of their Tamarind Restaurant and bar puts it amongst the best restaurants in Apia.

Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, the restaurant sits right beside the large pool area. The menu has a wide variety of food to choose from, from local delicacies to international cuisine, as well as a long list of refreshing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Happy hour is served every day, so make sure to head down to the bar in good time to take advantage of the cheap prices. Enjoy drinks, snacks, lunch or dinner out  on the deck and dip into the pool while you wait to be served by their friendly staff.

Make use of the excellent hotel facilities when you stay at the Tanoa Tusitala. Take a swim in the pool, play a game of tennis, or use the in-house laundry services. They provide you with all the hotel amenities you need for a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

Guest facilities are perfect for those who want to maintain their fitness away from home or burn off those extra calories. There is a a modern fitness centre on site and two flood-lid tennis courts. The large outdoor swimming pool is open from the hours of 7.00a.m to 9.00pm.

Make the most of the beautiful Samoan weather by spending the day relaxing by the pool. There is also a children’s pool and playground located next to the main pool for kids to enjoy.

www.tanoatusitala.com

Samoa… Where Beautiful Just HappensTaumeasina Island Resort

Taumeasina Island Resort brings unparallelled hospitality to all guests and prides itself on providing authentic and inspiring Samoan experiences during your stay.

This South Pacific tropical paradise island is located just 45 minutes from the Faleolo International Airport and five minutes from the capital city of Samoa, Apia.

Enjoy 360-degree breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the scenic mountains of Upolu, from every vantage point on the island. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, Taumeasina Island Resort can accommodate you and your loved ones.

Accommodation options are modern, luxurious and showcase both the natural beauty of Samoa and the traditional values of the Samoan people.

Choose from beautifully appointed Oceanview Rooms or fully self-contained two and three-bedroom Waterfront Villas, all with picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush mountainside of Samoa.

With three restaurants and two bars in a range of breathtaking locations, Taumeasina Island Resort caters to all culinary persuasions. Sina’s Restaurant offers enchanting views of the ocean and the Samoan sunset. For a more intimate evening, a three-course private balcony dinner can be arranged in your room or villa.

Taumeasina Island Resort is a superb setting for all manner of occasions, offering a range of venue options for meetings and conferences. Its proximity to the capital city and modern facilities make it the first choice for your meeting requirements.

The resort features an array of facilities from the cascading swimming pool, private beaches, tennis courts, watersports pavilion to cooking classes, and weekly cultural shows. Explore the natural beauty Samoa with a wide array of activities available for every age, on and off the island, from snorkelling the pristine coastline to experiencing the traditional customs of Samoa.

Retreat to the Fofo Spa & Sauna and indulge yourself with a selection of treatments using local and international beauty products or sit back and soak up the Samoan sun on Taumeasina Island’s private white sandy beaches. Your Samoa holiday awaits!

www.taumeasinaislandresortsamoa.com

 

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