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Goway Islands Expert Returns from Samoa


Natalia Kovacs, Goway’s Island Specialist, returned from a FAM trip to Samoa. She visited both islands of Samoa: Upolu and Savai’i, seeing a variety of accommodations, embarking on various day tours, and learning about this unique culture. Here, Natalia shares her experience, expert tips, and what makes Samoa so special.

How do you get to Samoa?
Samoa’s international airport is in Apia, located on Upolu Island. Air New Zealand offers direct flights between Los Angeles and Auckland with connections on to Apia. Fiji Airways offers direct flights between Los Angeles and Nadi with connections on to Apia. I have also heard rumours that a direct flight from Los Angeles to Apia is a very good possibility in the near future!

What were some activities you did in Samoa?
We did a lot of activities during my stay – here are my highlights!

  • Lalomanu Beach: Lalomanu Beach is on the southeastern tip of Upolu. It is one of the most pristine and famous beaches in Samoa and was rated as one of the Top 10 beaches in the world. You can sunbathe, swim, or snorkel in the clear blue waters or rent out a Samoan fale for a few hours or night or two.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Museum: I found the tour at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum very interesting, and the guide was so passionate about telling the story about the famous Scottish author who spent his final years in Samoa. He is famed for classic books such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He was known by locals as Tusitala, a “teller of tales”. His beautiful mansion, Vailima, has been converted into this museum, set within lush gardens and open to the public.
  • To Sua Trench: To Sua aka the “Giant Swimming Hole” is a highlight for many visitors, and probably the most photographed spot on the island. It is a 30-metre deep crater filled with sea water where you can go swimming. To reach it you must come down a long step ladder. An underwater tunnel – only diveable at low and calm tide – connects the trench with the sea. It is surrounded by beautifully-coloured gardens overlooking the ocean, and is a perfect spot to have a picnic.

Natalia Kovacs - To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
To Sua Ocean Trench
  • Exploring Apia Markets: The local market is the place to go if you are looking for fresh fruits and vegetables. There are traditional handicrafts and souvenirs available as well, often at bargain prices.
  • The Samoa Cultural Village: Learn about Samoa’s culture at the Samoa Cultural Village. You can also observe Samoan traditional skills being performed right before your eyes. These include: the ‘Ava Ceremony – a traditional royal introduction and welcoming of all visitors into the village, an Umu demonstration – the traditional way of cooking with hot rocks, and tattooing – the traditional Samoan way and an ancient practice that is still intact and plays a very important role in Samoa’s culture. It also includes wood carving, basket weaving, and elei (fabric printing) demonstration.
  • Some of the other must-see sites in Upolu are Papapapaitai Falls, Palolo Deep National Marine Reserve, Piula Cave Pools, and the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks. The island of Savai’i is known for pristine scenery and a more gentle and traditional way of life. Some of the attractions include Afu Aau Waterfalls, the spectacular Alofaaga Blowholes, and the opportunity to swim with turtles at the turtle sanctuary.
Natalia Kovacs - Samoan Cuisine, Samoa
Enjoy Samoan cuisine

What was your favourite experience?
One of the highlights for me was a visit to The Lupesina Treesort, where you can stay in an authentic, luxury tree house. We stopped here for morning coffee and the best chocolate cake in the world! Located in the cool and quiet hills, you are rewarded with the most spectacular views of the south coast.

What is your advice for agents selling the Samoa to their clients?
Most resorts in Samoa are small, ranging from budget to deluxe, but each property has unique characteristics. The accommodation here caters to couples (some properties are adults-only) as well as families. Many resorts do not have TV, phone, or in-room internet access, so it’s important to discuss and find the right accommodation option for clients. Depending on flight schedule and connection times, I would recommend a stopover for a few nights in Fiji or Auckland. It would help break up the journey and offer clients the opportunity to visit another destination.

What type of client would suit this destination?
Samoa is suitable for all travellers: backpackers, couples, honeymooners, or families. For vacationers who want to unwind and relax among pristine beaches, it’s a perfect choice. It’s also a great destination for travellers who love the outdoors. There are numerous hikes, plus lots of water activities such as swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking. Samoa is not a destination where you will find a lot of nightlife (it’s pretty quiet).

How do you compare Samoa against another South Pacific island?
Samoa is extremely relaxed and quiet in comparison to some of the other South Pacific islands. It is an idyllic destination for clients looking to experience authentic Polynesian culture. Samoans are fiercely proud of their culture and way of life. Samoa is a perfect place to get away and disconnect from today’s busy world. It is a safe destination and people are very friendly and so welcoming. It’s refreshing to see that paradise and a slower pace of life do exist.

Natalia Kovacs at Aga Reef Resort and Spa in Lalomanu, Samoa
Natalia at Aga Reef Resort and Spa in Lalomanu

On a final note, did you know…. lying just east of the International Date Line, Samoa has the last sunset in the world! Fa’afetai which means, Thank you!

For more information on Samoa, as well as travel ideas, please visit our website at www.goway.com.


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