Samoa, Heart of Polynesia
The islands of Samoa are emerging as an exciting new South Pacific travel destination between Hawaii and New Zealand. This "Heart of Polynesia" is politically split into two distinct entities 80 miles apart. The country Samoa is a former German colony, captured by New Zealand in 1914 and granted independence in 1962. In 1997 the name was changed from Western Samoa to Samoa.
American Samoa is the only U.S. territory south of the equator. Annexed by the United States for use as a naval base in 1900, the territory no longer has any military significance. Instead, Pago Pago currently hosts the StarKist and "Chicken of the Sea" tuna canneries, making it the most important commercial fishing port under the American flag.
The Samoan environment is tropically lush, with green volcanic peaks plunging to brilliant coral reefs, an ecotourism paradise still unspoiled by mass tourism. Visitors often stay in open Samoan beach houses called fale (pronounced FAH-lay) and adopt the laidback local lifestyle. Swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, deep sea fishing, and hiking opportunities are all close at hand.
Samoan culture is alive and strong, and local traditions can add another fascinating layer to your travel experience. Most Samoans are subsistence farmers who reside in small villages governed by chiefs (matai). The egalitarian ideals of this communal society place loyalty to family and religion above all. Visitors can sample this culture at the weekly "fiafia" island night dance shows staged at most of the larger hotels and beach resorts. Buffets of authentic Samoan dishes are an essential part of these events.
Samoa's climate is sultry, alternately sunny and rainy, but always hot and humid. Cooling sea breezes make the shoreline the best place to be yearround. The nicest months weatherwise are May to September, "winter" south of the equator. The rainy season runs from November to April, with increasingly intense hurricanes sweeping in due to global warming. Yet you can get long spells of bright sunny weather even during the "rainy" season, and Samoa's excellent Vailima beer (created by German brewmasters) tastes best at this time of year.
Most visitors spend their time in independent Samoa, which is considerably bigger and less expensive than American Samoa. However the rugged scenic beauty of Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, should not be missed. In recent years some of the most strikingly beautiful parts of the territory have been incorporated into American Samoa National Park. There's great hiking on Tutuila and wonderful snorkeling on Ofu in the seldom visited Manua Group.
Traditional Samoan culture is largely based on oratory, and it's no accident that several literary legends originated here. Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last five years of his life in Samoa and is buried on a hilltop above Apia, the capital. His mansion is now a museum dedicated to the author. Somerset Maugham's short story "Rain" about Sadie Thompson and the repressed missionary thrown together in a guesthouse at Pago Pago, American Samoa, has been adapted by Hollywood several times. The original guesthouse still exists, now an upscale restaurant and inn. In "Tales of the South Pacific," James A. Michener based the prototype of his character Bloody Mary on an Apia hotelkeeper named Aggie Grey, whose family still operates Samoa's largest resorts. Michener's book was later made into the musical "South Pacific."
Getting to Samoa is easy with direct flights from Hawaii and Los Angeles on Hawaiian Airlines, Polynesian Airlines, and Air New Zealand. Local ferries and small commuter planes ply frequently between the islands, and getting around by public bus or rental car is no challenge. Visas are not required by most visitors for entry to either Samoa, although a passport and onward plane ticket are mandatory. For a selection of travel photos of the Samoas visit http://www.pacific-pictures.com
David Stanley is the author of Moon Handbooks South Pacific http://www.southpacific.org/pacific.html which has a chapter on Samoa. Stanley's online guide to Samoa may be perused at http://www.southpacific.org/text/upolu.html and his Samoa travel photos are at http://www.pacific-pictures.com/samoa/
You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, so long as the byline and resource box are included. Please do not use this article without the byline and resource box. Many thanks!
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Hikers will climb 600 feet to summit Mount Nittany for week 7 of Centred Outdoors - Centre Daily Times
Aerospace-engineer-turned-outdoors-entrepreneur takes stab at survival knife prototypes - BusinessDen
PaintBall Gun Buying Tips
There are so many selections available when it comes to paintball guns that choosing one can be overwhelming.The most important thing is to make sure that you have done research on the guns that you are interested in buying.
Unforgettable White Mountains Vacations - The Most Scenic 100 Miles in New England
This amazing drive through the White Mountains of New Hampshire has a gorgeous vista at every turn, oodles and oodles of family vacation fun, and a visit to the home of the world wind speed record. Just keep reading to discover a remarkable trip on your White Mountains vacation.
Samoa, Heart of Polynesia
The islands of Samoa are emerging as an exciting new South Pacific travel destination between Hawaii and New Zealand. This "Heart of Polynesia" is politically split into two distinct entities 80 miles apart.
Experience The Real Florida
Every year around 40 million visitors come to Florida for the sun, sea and attractions. Most visit the world famous theme parks or enjoy the fabulous palm-fringed sandy beaches.
Take a Hiking Pole on Your Next Hike
It is the downhill ski racing competition of the winter Olympics. You watch a ski racer zoom down the slope manoeuvring through the ski gates.
Camping - Get Those Tents Up!
Have you ever thought you might like to try a totally different vacation? Is the cost of your vacation this year a problem? Did you know that a week long Camping Vacation for a family of four can work out to under a $1000.That sounds pretty good eh! Can you smell that fresh air go on fill your lungs with it and oh! what's that lovely smell, somebody's cooking up a treat.
The Benefits of One Day Hiking Trips
Do you like to take one day hiking trips? Do you want to take hiking trips on trails near your home? One day hiking trips have a number of advantages. They are great for the recreational hiker.
Taking an Alaskan Cruise - What to Pack
Packing in general can be a hassle. But when going on an Alaskan cruise, it can be even harder because of the colder weather.
Side-Tripping in Montana
Nightlife in Big Sky, Montana is more exciting than you would think. Especially for a pair of happy-go-lucky California girls in town just for the heck of it, on a spur-of-the-moment vacation in search of a Western adventure.
Rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon
Oregon's Rogue River is one of the nation's most beautiful. The Rogue River begins in Crater Lake and extends 215 miles until it empties in the Pacific Ocean.
Topographic Maps 101
The intricate details on a topographic map can be befuddling, even frustrating, if you are learning while out in the backcountry. But once you get familiar with the markings and symbols, reading maps will become a friendly aid, rather than a dreaded assignment.
Find Outdoor Camping Gear Online at Great Discount Prices
Before you take off on that great outdoor adventure, be sure to write a list of all of the outdoor camping gear you will need with you and your family when on that camping trip. Some of the most important items to remember to bring are backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and camping furniture to name a few items.
Backpacking Journals - Preserve Your Backpacking Experiences
Backpacking is a great way to escape the rat race and be one with nature. Alas, your backpacking experiences can fade with time.
The American Picnic - Make Yours Memorable
We love spending time outdoors and if you are expecting a large group; you need to be somewhere you can accommodate all of the people. A picnic can be anything you want it to be.
Things to Make Your Gap Year in Africa Easy!
The kind of things you pack when you go on a trip says a lot about where you're heading and what you're going to be doing.Taking a warm top and a 'blanky' is OK if you're going to stay at Granny's house, but when you're taking a gap year in Africa, these items come highly recommended.
Japanese Garden of Monaco
Have you ever seen an authentic Japanese garden? Well, I had the chance of seeing the one in Monaco and was really impressed too. Wanna taste a little Japanese culture? Stepping on this ground is escaping from the real world into a fantasy land.
Adventure Travel on Horseback
When you think of "adventure travel," what crosses your mind? Hiking? White water rafting? Scuba diving? Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari? Those ideas lose their "adventure" status when you compare them to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and giraffe.How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world's most beautiful and interesting places while.
The Pyramids of Giza
The most famous Egyptian pyramids to be built are the Great Pyramids of Giza, located in the outskirts of present-day Cairo. There are over 100 Egyptian pyramids of various sizes, and over 50 more in neighboring Sudan.
Bird Watching Tips
Simply sitting and watching birds is a popular hobby around the world. It's fun and relaxing at the same time.
Traveling To and Around Hawaii, A First-Time Visitors Primer
Six different islands in Hawaii are open to tourism. Most first-timers planning a trip to one or more than one island have numerous questions relating to where exactly to go and how exactly to get there.
|home | site map | Ocean Photography|