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After many years selling holiday packages to Samoa, I was finally off to check out this destination that I have wrongly thought was a bit rough around the edges.  As always Air New Zealand did a great job getting us there on time, feed and entertained. After leaving a cold and wet Auckland I had that wonderful experience of stepping off the aircraft and being hit by a wall of hot air that tells you that the holiday has began.  Less than 10 minutes after leaving the airport we were standing by the pool at Aggie Greys Lagoon Resort ready for a swim and cocktail.

Following breakfast the next day we did a site inspection of Aggies which confirmed that most clients and families would be very happy to stay here.  The ferry trip across to Savaii took about 1 hour and we were treated to travel business class which is a room with air conditioning and staff serving us food and drinks, very cool.

We were staying the night at Tanu Beach fales about 1 hour’s drive up the road from the ferry.  On the way we checked out Afu Aau waterfall and stopped off at SaloalepaiVillage to feed the turtles and if you are keen have a swim with them, we all decided the water was too murky so just left them to it.  I was never aware how big these islands in Samoa were and as we passed Saleaula Lave fields what an unstable past they have had with Mt Matavanu erupting at the turn of the century.

After seeing a few more resorts we were greeted with warm smiles from the staff at Tanu Beach Resort and settled in for the night.  This wonderful resort is definitely suited for the more adventurous traveller with no hot water and shared facilities you will get the real Samoan relaxed way of life.  The place is right on the beach and the family run resort puts on a great cultural showand great homemade food. The fales are open and have flat screens that come down at night for privacy, a mattress and mosquito nets – what more would you need?

The next day and a few more resort inspections we made out way back to Upolu on the ferry and check into Aggie Greys Hotel in Apia.  This hotel had a really nice feel and with all the old photos around the walls, tropical garden and pool area was a very pleasant place to stay in central Apia.

The next morning the girls did the markets while 1 watch the world go by with all the friendly locals.  We called into Robert Louis Stevenson’s museum with its wonderful gardens and enjoyed the Cultural Centre down on the water front. They did coconut husking display and we got to see two men in a lot of pain getting a traditional tattoo which will take about 3 days to complete, thats if they last the distance.

On the way over to Coconuts and Sinalei resorts which takes about 50 minutes from Apia you get to see the interior of Samoa with its rural way of life.  These two resorts were badly effective by a Tsunami 3 years ago but are now looking fantastic and would suit couples.  Coconuts are building some overwater bungalows which should be finished next year and the resort owners are making the resort better than ever.

That night we stayed at Seabreeze about another 30 minutes down the coast, what a special place for couples, with sea views to die for.  Set down in a large cove with its own infinity pool looking out over the beach with an amazing restaurant it’s the perfect getaway.

On the last day (sadly) we called into Sua Trench for a wee look at what must be the biggest swimming hole in the pacific and some great ocean views.  See photo above.  We also check out some budget accommodation along this coast the best being Letia’s Beach fales, it reminded me of a NZ camping ground but with nicer cabins and facilities.

Well the long trip back to Apia gave us all a chance to enjoy the scenery and the many villages that we passed along the way.  Our flight home with Air NZ was at 2am so we had booked a day room at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Apia.  What a great way to finish, this hotel has been fully refurbished to a high standard with friendly staff, great food and I could have stayed here longer.

Samoa - its culture is alive and strong, its local traditions give you another fascinating layer to your travel experience. I believe this destination is the next big thing in the pacific you get the real island feel without the commercialism.

Checkout the youtube clip on Samoa

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