Sitting squarely in the South Pacific, Samoa is a virtual paradise that maintains a sense of honesty about it. The people there smile warmly and talk freely, regardless of who you are, whilst the palm tree sway almost as effortlessly. Without a doubt, it’s a slice of attainable but picture-perfect paradise.
Samoa is made up of many islands, the biggest two being Savai’i and Upolu. Which one is most worth your time though?
Upolo is the most populated island in Samoa and home to the nation’s capital, Apia (which is about a 45-minute ride from the airport). It’s the busiest island in the archipelago and home to the majority of the country’s trade.
Meanwhile, Savai’i, which is the largest island by landmass, has significantly fewer residents. It’s known as the ‘real’ Samoa and harks back to a bygone era.
Though many visitors don’t make it past Upolu, in our opinion, it’s definitely worth the effort. With that said though…
How Should I Split my Vacation Time Between Upolo and Savai’i?
We purchased a package that included a week’s accommodation just outside of Apia (on Upolu) and spent just one of those nights on Savai’i, so ended up with 6 nights on the busier island and 1 on the quiet one (and boy is it quiet!); this ended up working perfectly for us.
We found the food on Upolu to be much better (it was by far the best food we’ve had on a Pacific Island) and there was more in the way of spots to visit (we had quite an extensive list of must-do’s). This island was still really relaxed in comparison to life in Auckland, NZ, and around the South-Eastern coast, it was clear to see that they didn’t get many tourists, making it pretty easy to still experience a more authentic Samoa.
Both islands were equally beautiful when you got in the car and went exploring. The accommodation on Upolu seemed to be of a higher (and more Western) standard generally speaking, whereas Savai’i tended more towards open beach fales; these were a great experience in the most magical locations, but certainly on the more rustic side in regard to facilities.
We met a number of people on Savai’i who were spending the majority of their time there. One family was cycling around the island, stopping at fales as they went; this was definitely the pick of the islands for cycling as it was much flatter than Upolu. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it over to the blowholes on Savai’i due to time constraints but other than that and swimming with the turtles, there wasn’t a lot to do other than relax, snorkel and eat (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Upolu or Savai’i – It All Depends on What You Want in a Holiday
All in all, we were pleased with our decision to spend the majority of our time on Upolu… we were able to spend the day relaxing with our books as we wanted to, but were never short of somewhere to eat a tasty meal and never far from a gorgeous natural attraction to visit.
All in all, was it worth the trip over to Savai’i? Absolutely!
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