Samoa is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. The two main islands are Upolu and Savai'i. These islands and American Samoa together constitute what is known as the Samoan Islands. Samoa is a sovereign island nation, while American Samoa is an overseas American territory. The climate in these islands is equatorial, with a wet season from November through April. Around 135,000 of the country’s 184,000 population reside on Upolu. The capital city of Apia on the island of Upolu has a population of around 40,000. Get a car for hire in Samoa so that you can explore Apia and other popular destinations, such as Manono Island and the Township of Salelologa on Savaii.
Apia is located on the north coast of Upolu, in the central part of the island. Most visitors will land at Faleolo International Airport, which is located half an hour away at the western end of the island. Get a car for rent in Samoa and start with a visit to R.L. Stevenson’s home and grave in the Village of Vailima. You can also take the Vailima Brewery Tour, and visit the Museum of Samoa. The only beach actually in Apia is Vaiala Beach in the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. Do not miss the food market on Fugalei Street or the nearby flea market.
You will find the small island of Manono a couple of miles from the southeast end of Upolu, just offshore from the airport. Manono has just four fishing villages, and you can cover the whole island very quickly. You have to take a boat across a lagoon to get to the island. People sleep in open fales, and visitors can get a fale on the beach. Do not miss the Grave of 99 Stones in Lepuiai Village. Each stone is supposed to be for one of the 99 wives of legendary Chief Vaovasa.
As the third biggest island in Polynesia after New Zealand and Tahiti, Savaii does bring some serious geographic muscle to Samoa. The biggest community is Salelologa, which has the ferry terminal (90 minutes from Upolu). For tourists, the island is a veritable treasure trove of outdoor attractions and natural wonders. You have rainforests teeming with life, giant blowholes spouting water up into the heavens, and waterfalls that bring the water thundering down to earth. The Saleaula lava fields and Peapea lava cave are probably the most fascinating attractions on the island, formed more than a century ago when Mt. Matavanu blew its top and lava spilled over a huge area around it.
The drive from the airport to Apia or back on the Main West Coast Road will take you past Utuavanua and Vaiusu Bay on the north coast. Book your car rental in Samoa right now and plan for a drive past the airport to Cape Fatuosofia Beach and Cape Tulivae. You can turn around here and continue on the south coast, past Lefaga Bay and the aptly named “Return to Paradise” Beach. Continue on the Main South Coast Road to the famous Aganoa Beach which has black sand. Continue past O le Pupu-Pue National Park to Vaiula Beach and Tafatafa Beach. Further ahead, you will encounter the Vavau Beach Fales, Saleapaga Beach, and then Lalomanu Beach on the eastern tip. Turn around at Cape Oloinono and continue on the north coast past Utumauu to Apia.
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