When you think about Pacific Islands in January you often hear about it being the wet season, lots of rain, and cyclones.
The 5 days I had in Samoa couldn't have been further from that. Yes there was some rain, but over 5 days I was there I had a total of 30 minutes of rain, and not a cyclone to be seen.
I was lucky, Samoa and many of the pacific islands regularly have Cyclones hit them throughout the Summer months in the Southern Hemisphere, one of the worst was only 2 years ago Cyclone Gita caused lots of damage to the islands, and especially Samoa, so I well and truly lucked in to some awesome weather.
Enough about the weather!!
Why was Samoa Sensational for me?
Well first I decided really late last year I wanted a quick break away from the real world just before heading back to work for the 2020 year, I have this challenge to travel somewhere completely new each year, so when I was looking around for options, my choices were to stay reasonably close to New Zealand, and go somewhere different. I have been to Fiji, Tonga, The Cook Islands and most of the East Coast of Australia, so decided Samoa was going to be it.
My final consideration was where I could fly to free!! Why Free, I wish an airline had paid for me to travel but alas, no, I am not anywhere near getting free stuff from airlines and hotels,YET! (Hey AirNZ or any other airline, if you're reading and want me to write cool things, I'd happily travel the world Business Class writing about you guys, and where you go 😂) I had saved up some air-points and the flight prices were quite good so decided to use my air-points and go away for 5 days.
I chose to stay at the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort and you can see my walk around video here Sheraton Walk Around Video. It is on the Island of Upolo, Samoa.
The reason was it was close to the airport, about a 3 minute drive from the airport, and it was a reputable chain I know about and trust as I am a member of Marriott Bonvoy, where you can get some really good deals on accommodation, and discounts on things like food and beverages, and some other perks. ( I am not sponsored by them either, but hey you know what to do if you are reading this Marriott).
(An aerial view of the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort)
The hotel was pretty good, I would give it a solid 3.5 out 5 overall, the food was good, they include a daily buffet breakfast with everything you could ever need, they have a pool bar restaurant which is open for both lunch and dinner, and another restaurant called the South Pacific Restaurant which is open for dinner only, they both had nice options, lots of fresh seafood, and good sized portions.
Cleanliness was quite good, the grounds were well maintained and the rooms were clean and cleaned daily.
I stayed in an ocean view room, exactly the same as this.
The hotel had a nice pool and lots of loungers to enjoy the sun, as well as a lot of umbrellas, to shade yourself, and in the pool there is a swim up bar, so that was pretty cool.
You can snorkel for free in the lagoon, as well as kayak, but paddle boarding was an extra cost.
For those who like Diving there is a dive shop just next door to the resort, called Pure Ocean, and they guys there seemed nice, unfortunately I couldn't get out for a dive this time.
(The Beach, sunset one night, and this guy enjoying the pool).
My main goal of this break was to do as little as humanly possible, however I am not really good at doing nothing, so on the second day I decided to go into the town of Apia and have a look around, plus I wanted to get a couple of items from the shops.
A Good Tip: The Sheraton is about 45 minutes away by Taxi and will cost you around $60 Tala Each way, there are not many shops around the hotel and not much choice at the hotel, so I went to town to buy some soft drinks and some snacks.
I had a quick look around and did my things, but this was one of the days where it decided to rain, so I made a quick exit back to the resort.
The rest of the day I spent reading.
The following Day I decided to rent a car and drive around the island, the man at the concierge desk arranged the car for me, it was $170 Tala for 24 hours (around $65 USD or $95NZD), he mentioned a few places to visit, so I opened my google maps and saved the locations in my phone and off I went.
The first stop was Robert Louis Stevenson's house just out of Apia.
An Author, he wrote among many other things, Treasure Island, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
He lived there for a brief period just before his death, and is buried on the mountain above his house, the house was really well looked after, and for $20 Tala your entry included a guided tour, it took about 30 minutes, and if you were feeling adventurous you could hike up the mountain and see his grave, I had far too many other things to do, ans was wearing flip flops, not really mountain hiking shoes.
(Robert Louis Stevenson House)
The Next couple of places were a bit of a drive from the R.L.S. House, the first stop was this huge waterfall called the Papapapaitai Falls on the Cross Island Road, for a tourist spot, this was slightly annoying, the view of the waterfall was spectacular, however where you pulled in to park, was not well sign posted, and there was heaps of rubbish all over the ground and in the bushes close by, it literally stunk. However the view like I said was awesome.
The next stop was the To-Sua Ocean Trench. A huge hole which is tidal and you can go down a huge ladder and swim in the trench.
There were quite a few people there swimming and enjoying the day, it costs you $20 Tala to enter, whether you are swimming or not, but they have changing rooms, showers, toilets, and places where if you bring your own food can sit and eat it. The grounds were exceptionally well looked after by the management.
Check it out www.to-suaoceantrench.com.
I decided against swimming there as I am not fond of heights, and the ladder was effing steep and yeah I wasn't going to go in, so stop judging........ 🤣
Being it was right on a cliff top the view of the ocean was awesome.
(The views of the To-Sua Trench, the Waterfall, and the ocean view from the top of the cliffs).
I carried on a bit further and found another bay called Savaia, where there is a giant clam sanctuary you can snorkel and see, I didn't have any snorkelling equipment so didn't see these, however the beach at this part of the island was the best beach I saw the whole time I was there.
From here I headed back to the Sheraton, it was getting late in the day, and I wanted a swim and a cool drink.
This was as much adventure as I did the whole time, the rest of my two days were spent relaxing in and around the pool, reading my books, and I met some people and had dinner with them, they were from Auckland as well.
At the hotel on different nights they have cultural shows, or Fire Dancing Shows, these are great experiences they have added costs, but include a traditional buffet dinner and the show as well.
A warning to you the reader, it is not as developed as some tourist spots I have been too, the roads are bumpy, there is noticeable rubbish lying around on the streets and at tourist spots, and be aware of your surroundings, as in all the places you go too.
Make sure you lock any valuables in the safe provided as sometimes things can go missing.
What I enjoyed most about Samoa was the location, it is only a 4 hour flight away from Auckland, it was easy to get to the resort, the accommodation was reasonably priced, and the people were some of the friendliest and welcoming I have met anywhere in the world.
English is spoken by most, well, all of the people I spoke to spoke it, and the weather was awesome, I would definitely go back for another relaxing break if the opportunity comes up again.
That's all for now, I hope you enjoyed my experience of Samoa, please like share and comment below. For more about Samoa please take a look at my YouTube channel and subscribe to that. Samoa Video.