The Independent State of Samoa, commonly referred to as simply Samoa, is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. Formerly known as Western Samoa, it encompasses the western part of the Samoan Islands. Its two main islands are Upolu and Savai'i. Upolu, the smaller of the two islands, contains the capital city, Apia, and the country's primary airport, Faleolo International Airport. Samoa is located halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. The nation gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.
What to see & do
Sopoaga Waterfall - The powerful Sopoaga Waterfall is located at Lotofaga village, surrounded by majestic gardens and different types of Samoan plants and trees. There is also a beautiful garden and picnic site overlooking the falls. Additionally, there is an area nearby for umu demonstrations and coconut husking. There is a small entrance fee, although if there is no one to collect it, there is an honesty box available.
Aganoa Beach - The waters off Aganoa Beach, situated on the east coast of Savai'i island, are a known surf reef break. It served as the venue for the surfing competition at the 2007 South Pacific Games. The beach also allows for safe swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking.
Bahai Temple - Bahai Temple, or the Bahá'í House of Worship, is a place of prayer and meditation that welcomes people of all backgrounds. It is located in Tiapapata, eight kilometers from Apia. Completed in 1984, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands. Its auditorium has a magnificent dome soaring 92 feet (28 meters) high. The Bahai Temple in Samoa is one of only eight existing in the world.
Paia Dwarfs Cave - The Paia Dwarfs Cave is on the village of Paia, on the island of Savaii. The mysterious cave is over a kilometer long. It is said that dwarfs still inhabit the lava tube cave, as evidenced by their footprints that can still be seen today.
How to get around Samoa
Local transport in Samoa is cheap, even for taxi service. Taxis are generally the most convenient way to get around, and are plentiful especially in the capital. Meters are not used so agree on a price before getting in. If they think you seem rich they might try to overcharge you, so don't afraid to negotiate. Car rental is available for the same price as hiring a taxi for a day. However, international driving licenses are not accepted in Samoa and you will have to acquire a temporary local license from the police station or from the rental companies themselves. Buses are also readily available. In Apia, the buses fan out from near the main market and behind the flea market.
How to get there
The major airport serving Samoa is Faleolo International Airport, located 40 kilometers west of Apia on the island of Upolu. The airport is served by the airlines Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Inter Island Airways, Samoa Air, Polynesian Airlines, and Virgin Samoa. International flights to Samoa come from Nadi International Airport (Fiji), Nausori International Airport (Fiji), Pago Pago International Airport (American Samoa), Tau Airport (American Samoa), Auckland Airport (New Zealand), Brisbane Airport (Australia), and Sydney Airport (Australia).