In Samoa, it's easy to unwind on a choice of pristine sugar-white beaches where the only footprints in the soft sand are likely to be your own.
Snorkel and kayak calm turquoise waters and follow scenic coastal trails past traditional fishing villages through lush rainforest to beautiful waterfalls.
Or perhaps ponder the largest archaeological ruin in Polynesia and let Samoa’s unique and ancient customs enchant you, just as it did the great Scottish author and adventurer Robert Louis Stevenson, who once called Samoa home.
Experience genuine Samoan hospitality at a luxury resort or, for a perfect honeymoon experience, stay in a traditional beach fale (an open-plan thatched bungalow) set on a soft, white-sand beach just metres away from the clear waters of a turquoise lagoon.
Learn more about Fa’a Samoa, the ‘Samoan Way’, by taking part or watching a traditional ceremony.
Sample the unique ‘Ava (kava) drink; derived from the ground root of the pepper plant it precedes every matai (meeting) in Samoa.
Watch both men and boys skillfully rotate fire sticks to rhythmic drumming, hand clapping, singing and story telling in one of the most exciting of Samoa’s ancient cultural traditions.
Afterwards, take part in the traditional feast of fish, lobster, pork, yams and sweet potato cooked in an underground ‘umu (oven) and flavoured with coconut cream and tropical fruits.
This exciting performance is usually preformed at all the major resorts, but for the best dance routines head to Aggie Grey’s in Apia where professional male and female dancers wearing traditional costumes of mat dresses and flower garlands perform this thrilling dance.
Get an insight into Samoan culture by watching a traditional Samoan tattoo ceremony performed using sharpened sharks’ teeth or boars’ husks. Samoa is one of the few Pacific islands that continue this Polynesian art form.
Tattooing skills are passed from father to son and are highly respected in Samoan culture.
Traditional Samoan tattoos often cover a man’s body from waist to knees in a pattern of intricate lines and dots creating a uniform design pattern of triangles and curves. High-ranking women also wear tattoos on the thighs.
Apart from lazing poolside or on the beach, Samoa offers a range of active pursuits including diving, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and game fishing.
Samoa offers a wide choice of walking trails that lead to scenic cascades, rainforest, mountains, lakes and coastal sights.
Try walking between Sa’anapu and Paradise Beach – regarded as one of the finest beach walks in the South Pacific.
Other hikes include the Fagalua Bay coastal walk on east ‘Upolu which passes through several remote and otherwise inaccessible villages; the more strenuous hike to Lake Lanoto to see and swim among wild goldfish; and several trails through O le Pupu-Pue National Park.
On Savai’i Island, discover panoramic views over the South Pacific after hiking to the summit of Mount Silisili, the highest peak in Samoa.
he best diving is off the south and east coasts of Upolu, around the Aleipata Islands and along the northeast coast of Savai'i, where you can swim face-to-face with friendly spinner dolphins and large green turtles.
Samoa offers numerous good snorkeling sites.
The best swimming and snorkeling are found along the southwest coast and on the beaches of Aleipata on Upolu Island, including just off Matareva Beach, Lotoalofa Beach, Namua Island and the protected Palolo Deep Marine Reserve.
And just a short swim away from the beach at Apia, where it’s possible to swim among numerous colourful reef fish. The beach off Faga Village on the east coast of Savai’i also offers excellent snorkelling.
Swim with green turtles in a special pool at the enthralling Satoalepai Wetlands on Savai’i Island. The turtles are looked after by the local landowners, then released into the ocean once they become reproductive.
Or join a guided tour of the Aleipata Islands and the southeast coast of Upolu where you can swim with green turtles in their natural environment.
From May to October, Samoa offers some of the best surfing conditions in the South Pacific. Catch waves at Boulders and Nu’usafe’e Island (accessible by boat) on Upolu’s south coast.
Or head to Aganoa Beach and Satuiatua Beach on the southern coast of Savai’i and at Fagamalo on northern Savai’i.
On American Samoa, surf the waves at Alofay Bay, Carter Beach and Leone Bay.
You’ll need to bring your own surfboard as there are no surf shops in Samoa, and expect to pay a ‘custom fee’ of around STD5 per day to the local village for surfing rights.
One of the best places to kayak is in the mangroves at Saanapu on Upolu Island, which is easily accessible from Maninoa Beach from where you can rent kayaks by the day.
Here you can experience a tranquil marine environment rich in bird life. Other good spots for kayaking include Manono Island on the west coast of Upolu and the Aleipata islands off the east coast of Upolu.
Hook up a charter at Maninoa Beach to chase marlin (available year round but best between November and February), yellow fin tuna (available year round, best from May to September), mahi mahi (available year round), wahoo and barracuda (from July to November).
Or learn some local fishing skills by casting your line from a traditional outrigger canoe.
With at least 11 endemic bird species and more than 300 volcanoes, several mountains, rainforests, mangrove and marine ecosystems, Samoa offers a unique pristine environment to explore.
Follow marked trails through rare hardwood trees, native medicinal plants and hidden waterfalls in the Falealupo Rainforest Reserve or at Uafato Rainforest Reserve.
Best buys in Samoa include jewellery, ladies handbags, fans, mats, decorative clothing, wooden bowls and wall hangings made from traditional tapa cloth.
Apia’s flea market offers a wide selection of handicrafts, but for the best prices – and to meet the artisans personally – travel into the countryside and buy from roadside stalls.
Latest update: Things to do in Samoa: 13 January, 2023