Where is Samoa?
Independent Samoa (hereafter called Samoa) lies immediately west of the 171st meridian2 at 13° south of the Equator. It is made up of two large volcanic islands, Upolu and Savai'i, and two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima. The remaining five islands are uninhabited. Apia is the only town and is the nation's capital, located on the north coast of Upolu. (See map below)
Air New Zealand, Polynesian blue and Pacific Airlines fly into the international airport at Faleolo several times a week. Arrivals and departures tend to be during the night. It is a 35-minute drive from Faleola into Apia, where most of the accommodation is located and it is a good place to start a visit to Samoa. The tourist information bureau is here, as are the shops, the ANZ bank and the post office.
Samoa has two distinct seasons - the dry season, which runs from May - October and the wet season from November to April. Average monthly minimum temperatures are in the low 20's (Celcius, 70's Farenheit), with maximums in the low 30's (Celsius, up to 90 Farenheit) all year round.
Samoa's population is approximately 180,000. Samoans are the most populous full-blooded Polynesian race in the world.
Samoan is the national language, but English is the official language of business. Most Samoans are competent in English. Below are some useful Samoan words to learn:
Light summer clothing is appropriate all year round, with perhaps a light sweater for the cooler evenings. Smart casual evening wear is appropriate for hotels and restaurants. Visitors are requested not to wear bathing suits in Apia or in the villages. No nude or topless (for women) swimming or sunbathing. Women are recommended to wear a lavalava (sarong) or dress, rather than shorts or trousers, if they attend church.
Religion & Church
The main religious denominations in Samoa are Congregational, Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Assembly of God, Seven Day Adventist, Bahai, Latter Day Saints and Jehovah's Witness. Sundays in Samoa are dedicated to God, with families usually attending church in the mornings followed by a family to'onai (lunch) and resting for the remainder of the day. You are welcome to attend the services. Please ask at your hotel reception for service times.
|New Year's Day||January 1st|
|Day after New Year's Day||January 2nd|
|Head of State's Birthday||January 4th|
|Good Friday:||April 14th|
|Easter Sunday||April 16th|
|Easter Monday||April 17th|
|ANZAC Day||April 25th|
|Mother's Day||May 15th|
|Independence Day||June 1st|
|Independence Day Celebration||June 2nd|
|Father's Day||August 14th|
|Lotu a Tamaiti (White Sunday)||October 9th|
|Arbor Day||November 3rd|
|Christmas Day||December 25th|
|Boxing Day||December 26th|