A unique group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in a part of the world known as Polynesia lies Samoa. Roughly halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the islands are made up of a group of of volcanoes that dot the landscape like the pockmarks on the moon, with the rugged interior of the island being made up of rocky mountains that slope down to some of the most lush tropical farmlands and forests in the Pacific, finally giving way to coastlines of shallow waters and coral reefs that make for some of the best diving conditions in the world. Combined with dozens of hidden waterfalls and towering sea cliffs and rich vegetation, it will almost feel as though you are stepping through into a fantastical world only seen in movies or written about in novels.
The Samoan way of life is drastically different from most Western civilizations. There is no such thing as schedules or deadlines on the islands. This can come as a shock to most travelers, as the seemingly-haphazard way of doing things will have the schedule-oriented traveler pulling their hair out in frustration. However, there is no place to experience the South Pacific with absolute relaxation that can match Samoa.
Samoa is safe for all levels of travelers, and is a special treat for tropical enthusiasts. From the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve to the Afu Aau waterfalls, the Mount Matavanu Crater, or the various shallow diving spots around the island, there are all sorts of tropical activities to choose from. There is also the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which was at one point in time the author’s villa where he would come for vacations in his later life. For the fitter and more able, a 30 minute climb to the top of Mount Vaea will reward you with a panoramic view over Apia and the Harbour, plus you can sit on Robert Louis Stevenson’s tomb and rest in quiet contemplation before your descent.
One word of caution, however: while the islands are absolutely safe, Samoan people do not view stealing in the same way as Westerners, and they do not view it as wrong…unless they get caught. While pick pocketing can be a hazard in any country, just take it with a grain of salt while visiting here, lest you find your wallet as someone else’s.