Tips from a local

A Samoa local all her life, Jeanette Thomsen works for Air New Zealand in Apia.

She's been with us for more than 30 years, so she certainly knows travel and fun things to do in Samoa. Here are Jeanette's ideas for a fantastic Samoan holiday.

Stay at a fale resort

A great area to stay is on the eastern side of Upolu Island, away from the hustle and bustle of Apia. I like Lalomanu and Manusina fale resorts, as they are quiet and serve traditional food. You can swim at the beautiful beaches, hire canoes and go diving in the sea.

Morning swim or snorkel

When you're staying at one of these resorts, the best way to start the day is to go for a swim or snorkel while the water is not too warm, or take one of the tracks behind the resorts and walk up the mountain. The early morning is ideal, as the day can get too hot towards the afternoon.

Samoa's favourite meal

Eating Samoa style means great fish and chips! At the fale resorts the fish is always very fresh, as they're so close to the sea.

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Apia's best restaurants

If you're in Apia and wondering where to find the best restaurants in Samoa, go to Scalinis for Italian food and a good wine list, or Kokobanana Bar & Grill, which is famous for its steak.

Cocktail hour

For a delicious cocktail in Apia, head for the Amanaki Hotel, where they serve their own original cocktails - they taste great!

Coffee time

The best coffee you'll find on Upolu Island is at Coffee Bean Café in Apia. They also have lovely scones, muffins, brownies and other treats.

The famous sliding rock

If you're travelling with kids, or you're a child at heart, visit Papaseea Falls where you can zoom down the natural rock slides. The slides are best when there's been some rainfall.

Mount Vaea vista

Hike up Mount Vaea where the writer Robert Louis Stevenson's tomb is situated. The scenery on the way is lovely and the views from the mountain are spectacular. This is one of my favourite places to go in Samoa.

Shopping with the locals

The Fugalei Fresh Produce Market in Apia promises a different kind of Samoa sightseeing. There's a huge array of fresh local produce, as well as snacks you can nibble on and icy-cold drinking coconuts.

Fire-knife dancing

Of all the cultural Samoa attractions on Upolu, I think the most exciting is fire-knife dancing at the Siva Afi Dinner and Show at Matautu-tai near the Apia wharf. The best of Samoan dancing is performed by young and old.

If you're planning a trip to Samoa this year, the best time to visit is when New Zealand's weather is cooler.

Samoa's climate is warm all year round, with an average daily temperature of 29° Celsius. There are two distinct seasons - the dry season from May to October and the wet season from November to April.

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