“Talofa” is the common greeting on Samoa and is often expressed along with a big, broad smile…a signature of this genuine, easy-going Pacific Island culture. In fact, visitors to Samoa can get a real sense of Pacific Island living just five and a half hours from Sydney on a direct flight and only one hour further than Fiji.
After the devastation of the September 2009 tsunami, Samoa is eager for tourists to come back.
For luxury travellers, there’s no better place in Samoa to stay than the Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, a family owned property on the south shore of the main island of Upolu in a pristine, protected cove with a beautiful beach and clear water. From the resort, there’s a mesmerising view out to the edge of the reef to huge surf. The calm, warm waters inside the reef are so expansive you can kayak safely for hours on a search for the sea turtles and manta rays that inhabit the area.
Each blissful morning of my stay began by taking a step outside the bungalow to look out over the clear blue water and into the sunny skies with palm trees swaying like hula girls dancing, followed by a swim in 27-degree water. Soon after, in one of the bungalows along the water’s edge, I would submit to a long and languorous coconut oil massage with nothing but the sound of waves breaking on the shore.
If all of that sounds too relaxing, for a shot of adrenalin and a quick change of pace, you can leap off a pier into the natural fresh water spring that comes up into the ocean. You might find a local sea turtle watching you along with some of the colourful tropical fish. In fact if you’re inclined, there’s plenty to do in Samoa and the staff at Sinalei Resort is ever ready to help you make arrangements in any way they can.
Or just lie back and relax “fa’a Samoa” the Samoan way, like I did.