on Tuesday, 04 October 2011. Posted in Samoa

Samoa,is a postcard of natural beauty consisting of ten islands, each offering very distinct and different environments to explore. From the rainforest covered rugged volcanic mountain peaks of the two main islands to the vast valleys leading down to a coastline ringed with a necklace of white sandy beaches. Within these lush green fertile valleys, grow banyan trees towering above the rainforest canopy which is full of tropical blooms and numerous varieties of vegetation,last minute accommodation, Cascading waterfalls dropping into rivers that cut jagged lines through the valley floor as they make their way to the ocean. The coastline is a wonder in itself, with sparkling white sand beaches, in some places stretching for miles, and here and there are walls of sheer cliffs that drop straight into the Pacific. And beyond the beaches out into the blue lagoons are scattered the rest of the islands that make up the Samoa archipelago, some inhabited, others with only natures wildlife, top hotel deals,protected by the fringing coral reef that keep the powerful force of the Pacific Ocean at bay. And amongst all this natural beauty and picturesque valleys and coastline you will find nu’u or villages with their churches, meeting houses and open fale or homes encircling the malae or village green. Home to people proud of their strong Fa’a Samoa - cultural heritage, that live along side these natural wonders. For it’s the people,travel insurance culture and nature that give life to these islands. 


Lalomanu Beach

on Saturday, 30 July 2011. Posted in Samoa

Lalomanu Beach on the southeastern tip of Upolu is one of Samoa’s most pristine beaches – it has “come and unwind in paradise” written all over it. But it’s not only made for basking in the sun on a stretch of endless white sand, cooling off in the blue lagoon or dozing off as a gentle breeze massages your skin… 

Lalomanu is a particular treat for those who love the creatures of the ocean. The translucent lagoon, all the way along the south coast to Lotofaga, is a protected marine reserve, teeming with a magnitude of tropical fish species. You can observe them armed with a snorkel and flippers or a scuba tank. For a rare treat of a less Piscean nature, you could head off to Namua Island just a little further to the north, and swim with the endangered green turtle in its natural ocean environment. South of Lalomanu there’s even more fauna to explore, including the seabird nesting grounds on Nuutele Island. If you’re into geology, from behind the hospital at Lalomanu you can take a short guided walk to an extinct volcanic crater – which happens to be home to a whole army of flying foxes. 

Lalomanu Beach is so addictive, chances are you’ll want to stay a night or three in one of the adorable open beach fales. If you’re in a hurry, then at least stay for lunch, a Vailima and wade knee-deep into the ocean. 

Manono Island

on Saturday, 30 July 2011. Posted in Samoa

Manono Island is one of the best places to sample the simple pleasures of Samoan life, mingle with the locals and learn how they plant, fish, weave and spend their free time. This super-traditional and adorably sleepy little island is situated just 4 kilometres off Upolu’s southeastern coast, and to get there you have to cross the lagoon by boat from Manono-uta on the mainland. Manono consists of just four fishing villages, where locals live in traditional ‘open-air’ fales. It’s pleasantly devoid of noisy cars (or dogs, which aren’t allowed here) and the only sounds you’ll hear are those of silence – and of the waves gently lapping at the shore. It takes less than two hours to circumnavigate the island (that’s if you stroll, not power walk) and you’ll pass all four villages in the process. On the way you’ll be tempted to make a pit stop to swim or snorkel in the marine-protected lagoon. The island interior is also worth a nosy, and there are tracks leading up to a number of archeological sites. One such attraction is the 12-pointed ancient star mount on the flat peak of Manono’s highest peak, the 110m-high Mount Tulimanuiva. At Lepuiai Village in the southwest of the island, there’s another archeological sight worth seeing: the Grave of 99 Stones. Each stone represents one of the wives of the great (and obviously highly fertile) chief Vaovasa. Being an intensely religious community, Sundays on Manono has its limitations. In fact, the only allowed activity is walking to and from church – not that there’s anything wrong with being forced to kick back for a day in such a serene spot. 

Speaking of which – to make sure your stay on Manono is a hundred percent authentic, it’s recommended that you not only live like a local but also sleep like a local, in an open fale. There are beach fales available on the eastern side of the island, and the local villagers will be only too happy to arrange a bed for you here. They also organise guided walks around the island. 


Swimming with Turtles

on Saturday, 30 July 2011. Posted in Samoa

Swimming with TurtlesFor an animal encounter with a unique twist, head to the wetlands sanctuary at Savaii’s Satoalepai village and take the plunge with half a dozen or more green turtles. These majestic prehistoric mammals have been hunted down for their flesh and eggs for year and years – as a result they are now an endangered species.
Fortunately, the good people of Satoalepai have made it their business to give the turtles a new lease of life. They raise them in a part fresh, part-salt water pool and once they’re grown up, they release them back into the ocean, where they prepare for ‘parenthood’. Did you know that these gentle giants can reach a weight of up to 185kg?
The Satoalepai Wetlands is the ideal place to bring your family – the kids will love feeding large tarot leaves to the gentle giants, and swimming amongst them. And while you’re at it, why not stay in one of the over-water fales adjacent to the sanctuary, and take some time to explore the waterways by canoe, and enjoy stunning views of the mountains. If you’d rather swim with green turtles in their natural habitat, the ideal place to do just that is in the ocean around Namua Island, just off the southeastern coast of Upolu.

Waterfalls of Samoa

on Saturday, 30 July 2011. Posted in Samoa

Waterfalls of Samoa Some of these thundering floods of fresh spring water cascading down natural rock faces are a little too powerful for a dip, whilst others are perfect for a shoulder and neck massage. On Upolu, the most spectacular falls are situated off the southern coast. The ideal way to explore them is by doing a ‘waterfall crawl’ – this will take you about half a day – or more depending on how long you decide to linger at each. The quickest way to get there from Apia is by taking the Cross Island Road, then hang a right into Lanotoo Road about half-way down for your first stop, the Papapapai-Tai Falls. There’s an outlook from where you can admire this 100m-high waterfall, but don’t go too close – it’s very powerful! If you follow the Cross Island Road to the southern end and take a left, you’ll find a number of waterfalls pretty close to one another. The first is Togitogiga Waterfalls, where you have swimming holes, and even a changing room and toilet – perfect for refreshing your body on a hot day (which is almost every day) and a picnic. Another good spot for a picnic is the Sopoaga Falls on Le Mafa Pass Road, a little further westward. It comes complete with a garden and picnic area overlooking the falls – perfect! And if you’re in for more, you could always hike to the 55m-high Fuipisia falls north. Savaii’s rugged interior, too, has its share of south-based waterfalls One’s the Afu Aau falls off the south coast, which plunges from the rainforest into a deep swimming pool. It’s ideal for swimming and it’s deep too – hence you’ll often see brave (or mad) local boys diving into it from various heights off the cliff. While you’re here, you might as well stop off at the Pulemelei Pyramid nearby – at 12 metres tall, it’s the largest ancient structure in Polynesia. A little further east are the Mu Pagoa falls, where Samoa’s largest river flows meets the open ocean. Safe and shallow, it’s a favourite stomping ground for village kids, and you’ll often see the women using this ‘natural washing machine’ to do their laundry. 

* Note: Room prices change constantly. You should check the latest availability as in many cases the room price can be even lower than the listed price on the LastBeds website.