Savai’i in a Day
The trip around Savai’i can be done in a day and is well worth the time spent. You can hop on one of the famed Samoan buses- where the pop music is loud, the decor is inspired, and you will most likely wind up on someone’s lap- or you can rent a car and tour at your leisure.
The scenery ranges from beachy to forested and you drive through several villages. Locals range from friendly, offering a smile and wave as you wait for their chickens to cross the road, to suspicious, giving you a stare down as you pass by, to unruly, making a gun shape with their hand and pointing it directly at your head, pulling an imaginary trigger when you lock eyes. It’s an interesting culture reference from an island with few guns, but plenty of LA and NY graffiti tags on empty buildings and walls. The locals are friendly and seemed indifferent to our presence. Samoa is also a largely Christian nation and almost every village has its own church.
There are several points of interest to stop at, most notably the Alofaaga Blowholes and Afu Aau Waterfall. Both require an entrance fee of $5tālā (less than $2USD) and the money goes toward maintaining the site. Possibly. It is tough to be sure if the people asking for the money are a part of an actual maintenance crew, or just cunning ‘entrepreneurs’, but the price is so small the point is insignificant. All this to say be sure you always have tala on you to pay someone, at some point.
Or many people, at many points.
The Alofaaga Blowholes are fun to witness in that childlike ‘who doesn’t like to see water suddenly shoot 50ft in the air’ type of way. There is a man who will put a coconut over the blowhole for you, and $20 of your tālā, or you can do it yourself. If you choose to DIY, be sure to get a feel for where the blowholes are located as we were told that people have been caught off guard and blown/swept away into the ocean.
The waterfall is another site that should not be missed. There are several pools and falls but the main one at the top is a great spot to go for a swim.
After a short pep talk with your better half, muster the courage to swim towards the fall (why does the water suddenly get so dark??) and climb up the rocks to the back side of the waterfall. Then perch yourself on the rocks and take a few GoPro pictures thinking all the while how you could totally be an island princess, or mermaid, or both.