Samoa Tourism Authority
SAMOA - THE ONE PLACE ON EARTH THAT HASN'T SPED UP
Talofa and welcome to the beautiful treasured islands of the South Pacific, Samoa.
Just across the international dateline and in the heart of Polynesia lies Samoa.
With a population of 180,000, Samoa is considered one of the last bastions of Polynesian culture. Life has changed very little among many of Samoa's people with time honored customs still an integral part of everyday life.
Proud, friendly, warm and welcoming, Samoans live in harmony with nature, ensuring the environment is unspoiled, safe and clean. This marriage of respect for nature and the celebration of the traditional way of living (as dictated by Fa'a Samoa) create a place where you can leave the busy modern lifestyles behind to experience "paradise".
Samoa is made up of ten islands, fringed by lagoons and coral reefs. The two main islands are Upolu (home to the capital Apia and Faleolo International
Airport) and Savaii, also known as the Big Island.
The island of Upolu has a good network of roads, with beautiful clean beaches, freshwater cave pools, stunning waterfalls, pristine rainforest and lush tropical plantations to discover. The capital Apia is a blend of old colonial and modern architecture. Restaurants and internet cafes can be found on and round the main street, Beach Road alongside the traditional marketplace.
The famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, known as 'Tusitala' (Samoan for 'teller of tales') spent the final years of his life in Samoa where he wrote most of his books, including Treasure Island. His beautiful mansion Vailima has been converted into a museum and is open to the public.
An inter-island ferry connecting Upolu to Savaii leaves regularly and takes about an hour. With its rugged mountainous interior, volcanic craters, steep gorges, lava fields, ancient archaeological sites and spectacular blowholes and waterfalls, a visit to Savaii is a must. Although it is less populated and developed than Upolu, the roads are excellent with a variety of accommodation on offer.
Fa'a Samoa - the Samoan Way
Samoa is a traditional Polynesian society with Fa'a Samoa playing vital role in village and community life. Samoans are proud of their strong Fa'a Samoa
- which means 'the Samoan Way'. It is the essence of the Samoan culture and dictates how Samoans are meant to behave and their obligations to their elders, superiors, family, community, church and the environment.
The Agia (extended family) stay close and loyal to their village and the Matais (chiefs) are well respected and honoured. A village council of all Matai, along with the Alii (high chief) and a Tulafale (talking chief) make and enforce the laws for each village. The women's committee also has a say in village affairs.
There are over 362 nu'u or villages in Samoa with a total of 1800 matais (chiefs).
Churches of various denominations feature in every village while meeting houses and open fales or homes encircle the malae or village green.
Fa'a Samoa has a strong focus on welcoming visitors making Samoans friendly and hospitable hosts.
Most villages have an evening prayer curfew between 6-7 PM. Samoans observe Sunday as a day of rest and while many visitor attractions are open, you should behave quietly and respectfully.
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