Visit Samoa’s most important island to discover pristine beaches, lush rainforest and a relaxed pace of life in its small capital city.
Upolu will most likely be your first port of call when you visit the pristine archipelago of Samoa. The island contains the country’s major international airport and its capital, Apia. Shop for traditional goods and sample delicious local food or slip off your sandals and walk across the white sands of one of Upolu’s picture-perfect beaches. Enjoy diving, surfing or fishing and then lie back in the warm, clear waters of an ocean lagoon to relax. Hike through dense rainforest, stopping along the way to admire a waterfall or to swim in a freshwater pool.
Upolu is Samoa’s second-largest island, but is the most populated of the 10 islands and islets. In the capital Apia, visit the food market for tasty local treats and the flea market for traditional souvenirs. In this still quite traditional city you’ll find the majority of the island’s restaurants, banks, shops and other visitor facilities.
Hire a car or a taxi and take the winding coast road that leads from Apia to the many stunning beaches that the island offers. Lalomanu, one of the busier stretches of shoreline, has white sands and warm water that is safe for swimming. Go for a swim or relax with a book or picnic lunch under the palm trees. Watersports enthusiasts can surf, snorkel and scuba dive around the outer reefs by arranging a boat excursion from Apia. Many beaches also have coral closer to shore at high tide These beaches include the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve just outside Apia.
Head inland and explore the hiking trails in places like Lake Lanoto’o National Park, which has a rare swamp forest as its ecosystem. Nearby, O Le Pupu-Pue National Park is where you’ll find Upolu’s highest mountain, the 1,100-metre (3,600-foot) Mount Fito. Many of the tracks pass waterfalls and one of the most spectacular ones is Papapapaitai Falls.
Upolu is served by regular international flights, and has ferry and air services to all of Samoa’s other islands.