Samoa What is known for


Fly direct from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand.

Stay on Upolu in a traditional fale (Samoan hut) at Taufua Beach Fales, a collection of simple one-room, open-air structures (with shared bathroom facilities) on Lalomanu Beach. Rates from $25 per person, including breakfast and dinner, For inspired digs, book at Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa, where the bungalows are made from local materials (including lava-rock showers). Don't miss dinner and the fiafia, a show of Samoan song and dance (and fire knives!) at the restaurant on Saturday nights. Rates from $199, Down the beach is Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa. Its secluded Presidential Suite is an elegant two-bedroom house with a deck that spills onto the beach. Suite rates from $1,036; other room rates from $239, including breakfast, On Savaii, you'll have a great view from the aptly named Le Lagoto Beach Resort. Rates from $200, Basic fales can be found at Vacations Beach Fales in Manase. Rates from $34 per person, including breakfast and dinner.

Visit where Robert Louis Stevenson spent his final years: Villa Vailima, his 314-acre estate near Apia on Upolu, which is today a museum. It's a fascinating look at how this Victorian-era Westerner lived out his island dream. From the house, take the 30- to 45-minute hike up to his tomb for panoramic views of Apia below. Admission is $6.

See one of Samoa's finest natural wonders: the Alofaaga Blow- holes. Lava tubes connect a cliff to the Pacific near the village of Taga.

Buy tapa cloth, known on Samoa as siapo. It is ubiquitous here, draped over windows, spread across beds and wrapped around bodies. To bring home your own, head straight to the source: On Savaii, ask around for the tapa-cloth family in the village of Foailalo, and you'll be led to the home of Taulapapa Fetaiai Leaupepe. There you can watch her and her family work and also purchase their wares. Prices vary by size, ranging from $20 to $150. Leaupepe's tapa is also sold at the gift shop at Aggie Grey's in Apia on Upolu.

Rent a four-wheel-drive from Funway Rentals. Rates from $134 per day.

Ferry between Upolu and Savaii. Round-trip rates from $6.80 per person or $38 per vehicle.

Try palusami, a local vegetable side dish made from baby taro leaves and coconut cream baked in an underground oven at Coconuts Beach Club.

Watch for Samoan tooth-billed pigeons in the Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve near Tafua on Savaii.

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