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Samoa is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and New Zealand. The islands have narrow coastal plains with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in the interior. The two main islands are Upolu and Savaii.
The climate is tropical with a rainy season from October to March and a dry season from May to October. The country has an average annual temperature of 26.5°C. This makes it a suitable winter vacation destination for those from southern hemisphere countries.
The main international airport, Faleolo (APW), is approximately a 45-minute drive from Apia. Most of the major hotels provide a transfer service on request, often free of charge. There are abundant taxis, and local buses during daytime. On airport are several banks at the airport and changing money on arrival is no problem.
Much of Apia is within walking distance, although this may not be a comfortable experience on a hot and humid Samoan Day. Another thing to consider is the number of aggressive dogs towards dusk and in the evening. A walk from the suburbs into the centre is best avoided at any time for this reason.
Taxis are cheap, safe and easy to hail down but single women are advised to sit in the back seat, particularly if wearing a short skirt.
Buses fan out to the whole of Upolu from downtown Apia. If you are staying at a hotel outside the immediate center of the town it may be possible to get downtown by bus. Ask at your hotel.
What to see
Robert Louis Stevenson's House. About 5 km south of town in the village of Vailima.
Aggie Grey's Hotel. This is a must-see. Traditional Samoan dancing, singing, drumming, and the amazing fire-knife dance. As long as you're there you might as well splurge on Aggie's buffet dinner, which is very good.
Museum of Samoa. Formerly located on the first floor of the courthouse building on Beach road, this museum has been temporarily relocated to the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture Headquarters.
The fish market is worth a visit at 6AM on Sunday morning. This is when the locals go to buy fish for the special meal of the week, Sunday tonai.
Mulinu'u peninsula holds parliament house, the law and titles court, the historic observatory, and many important tombs.
Vailima Brewery Tour, Vailima, Upolu (10 minute drive west of Apia). Make reservations because tours are only given on certain days.
A walk along the sea wall is enjoyable. But only on a milder day (i.e. 25 degrees), and not after dusk because of dogs. Many Apians walk along the sea wall in the late afternoon.
Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, Vaiala Beach, Apia. The only beach in Apia to the East of the harbour. Not really much a beach, though, it's mostly coral gravel. It's an official underwater park. The snorkeling initially seems pretty poor but if you venture further out it gets a bit more interesting with the occasional turtle and black tip reef shark.
Fishing. Samoa is a popular fishing destination and most of the charter companies operate out of Apia. The Samoan International Game Fishing Association is based near the port and can provide information about boat companies.
Samoa Sport Fishing
Troppo Fishing Adventures
Golf. Two courses are close to Apia: the Royal Samoan Country Club near Fagalii Airport and a more recent development, the Faleata Country Club, which is close to the sports complex constructed for the South Pacific Games. Guests of Aggie Grey's Hotel get free green fees at the Royal Samoan.