Tag Archives: Stevensons at Manase

Mumpty’s Top 10 tips for holidaying in Samoa (part 2) …

Mumpty’s Top 10 tips for holidaying in Samoa (part 2) …

Travel_Tips_Samoa_Giant_Clams
Our fam at the Giant Clams reserve

Continuing on from my first post (which you can read here) – herewith my next five tips in the Top Ten Tips for holidaying in Samoa series:

Tip # 6 – Take some good snorkelling equipment.  The snorkelling is awesome in Samoa – you just need to head out to the beach at your resort to see all sorts of amazing fish, corals and sea life – even turtles (and ugghhhhh barracudas: man-sized ones!)  I do think you need a good mask though – one that doesn’t keep filling up with water because there’s nothing more annoying (or more tiring) than having to sort your mask out because the water gets in and hurts your eyes (the water seems to be super-salty in Samoa.)  I don’t think you need to spend a fortune – just find one that works well!  I recommend going to see the giant clams if you get a chance. Just be careful you don’t stand on them ‘cos they can close very fast and you certainly don’t want your foot stuck in one that’s for sure!

Travel_Tips_Samoa_Saletoga_Sands_Swim-up bar
Mumpty’s kind of snorkelling venue – the kind with a swim-up bar!

We saw turtles outside our resort at Stevensons in Savaii and they are beautiful, graceful animals.  We also went a couple of villages out from Stevensons and found a reef that was like swimming over the edge of a  5-story building!  Amazing, but slightly scary for me – I’m not 100% fussed on being surrounded by that much water – I’m more of a swimming pool kind of girl!  But anyway – I do recommend snorkelling and swimming in Samoa whenever the opportunity arises!

Tip # 7 – Take your watch off and expect things to happen on “island time”.  And I mean that in a good way.  The first night we waited over two hours for our dinner – which was extremely agitating after a long day’s travelling.  Day two, we waited at least an hour and a half – which was far less stressful than on the first night.  By day three, we were fully relaxed and treating the inevitable long wait as an opportunity to try every cocktail on the menu! The point of all this is that things tend to happen pretty slowly in Samoa and if you try to hurry them along, you’re a) wasting your time and b) missing the point!  Enjoy!

Travel_Tips_Cocktails in Samoa
“If you like Pina Colada … and getting caught in the rain …”

Tip # 8 – Samoa is very reasonable – you can have a fantastic holiday for cheap as chips.  Depending where you go of course.  If you stay at the super-flash resorts, things are a bit pricier, but then the pay-off for that is that the pool and amenities are generally amazing.  I’ll talk about where we stayed later on, but can I say, we stayed at Stevensons for a week and it was glorious. Every bit as glorious as the flasher resorts we stayed at first and after, but in a different way.

Food and drinks are cheap – for a couple you could get a pretty decent main meal  and a couple of drinks each for around 60 tala – which is about $NZ34 which wouldn’t happen in New Zealand now would it?!  Our little family of three averaged around 150-250 tala a day which included lunches, dinners, drinks and activities.  Our breakfasts were part of our accomodation package, so we didn’t have to pay for them. Samoan beer is about 6 tala (5 at Happy Hour) and a cocktail was generally around 11 tala at Happy Hour prices. #suchfun

Excursions and activities were pretty cheap too; the most expensive we did was the To-Sua Ocean Trench (which was AMAZING) at 20 tala and the same for the Giant Clam swimming experience.  Other things we did were around 5 tala each or we just paid a minimal amount for the carload (we had a 12-seater van.)

Tip # 9 – Expect to see pigs, dogs and chickens EVERYWHERE! They’re pretty cute too.  I’ve heard some people hate this, but I found it quite endearing.

Travel_Tips_Samoa_Pig

Tip # 10 – The people are awesome. I’ve saved the best till last here really!  Samoan people are fabulous – they’re so happy and cheerful and willing to help you with anything you want or need.  They quite often have so little, but like I said, they are among the most happy people I’ve met.  Just goes to show … maybe money’s not everything right?!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Mumpty’s Top 10 Travel Tips for Samoa. While we were there we stayed at three places and I would highly recommend each of them for entirely different reasons.

We stayed first at Saletoga Sands Resort for four nights. Saletoga (pronounced Saletonga) is a beautiful resort with an incredible pool and first class snorkelling right outside your fale’s front door.

Travel_Tips_Samoa_Saletoga_Sands

Our beachfront villa was perfect and the restaurants and bar were lovely. We were lucky enough to watch a Fiafia Night which included a traditional buffet dinner and the Fiafia and fire show.  So cool – I highly recommend you do one of these if you get the opportunity.

After Saletoga we took the ferry across to Savaii where we stayed at Stevensons Resort for a week. Stevensons is probably not as fancy as Saletoga Sands, but it has a charm all of its own and I enjoyed it every bit as much.  Our little family of three stayed in the Nikolai suite and it was huge!  All rocks and tapa cloths and bright blue accents – maybe not what you’d want at home, but very island-style and we loved it! Stevensons was a lot cheaper to stay at than Saletoga in terms of food and drinks, so that was nice too.

We did lots of day trips from Stevensons and had a wonderful time at the blow holes, various swimmings holes and markets – all sorts.  You name it, we did it!  We also went to the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks which I wouldn’t recommend – not worth the trip was the general consensus of our group.

Stevensons Samoa

Stevensons also put on a super-fun Fiafia Night and they also went to an incredible effort for our parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner, with stunning exotic flower lays for everyone, a beautifully decorated table and a cake as well.

And then for our final night in Paradise, we stayed at The Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort – and it was GLORIOUS!  For one, it was the night before Mumpty’s birthday and as she was going to be travelling home the next day, she chose to celebrate the night before.  Which called for cocktails and champagne and having Happy Birthday sung to her by half-naked Samoan men!  And the best part of all?  She went for a late night swim and had this ENTIRE, GORGEOUS swimming pool all to herself for an hour.  Not another soul in sight.  It was an AMAZING way to end her holiday.  A-MAZING.

Travel_tips_Samoa_Sheraton_Pool

So that, my friends, is Mumpty’s roundup of her Samoan getaway. Would she go back?  Hell yes!

Mumpty_Samoa
Gratuitous picture of Mumpty trying to look cool and stylish despite the humidity and fuzzy hair!

Hope you enjoyed my Samoan round-up …

Mumpty

 

 

 

Mumpty’s Top 10 tips for holidaying in Samoa …

Mumpty’s Top 10 tips for holidaying in Samoa …

Samoa Trip Review_Saletonga
Mumpty throwing shade at Saletonga Sands Resort …

Mumpty and her extended family (a group of 15) recently enjoyed an AMAZING holiday in Samoa to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of our parents.  We were there from the 26th of September to the 7th of October (Mumpty’s birthday, btw!) – the “dry season” runs from May to October, so we were pretty disappointed (aka grumpy!) to see this on our weather app:

Weather in Samoa

Ugggghhhh.  But never fear!  Because despite the app predicting relentless rain, thunder and even lightening for our entire visit, we ACTUALLY got HEAPS of sun.  Sure, it rained every now and then (mostly at night)  – but it was warm and refreshing and within 20 minutes it had buggered off!

But anyway; I digress.  Herewith Mumpty’s Top 10 Tips (in no particular order – in fact, in a completely random order) …

Welcome to Samoa

Tip # 1 – Get cash out in New Zealand and exchange it when you get to Samoa.  That’s assuming you’re from New Zealand of course – if you’re not, don’t come here first to get money – that would be silly – and expensive.  Although, New Zealand is a very beautiful country, so you probably should consider it. Anyway, we got money out in New Zealand and when we got through Customs in Samoa there were three options outside the airport to exchange money.  The ANZ booth had the biggest queue and that was because they had the best rate, so we waited 20 minutes or so for them to change our money for us.  There is an ANZ ATM 5 minutes down the road at The Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort if you get stuck – I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you got cash out there – apparently the ANZ ATM’s exchange rates are pretty good too.  Do your research though because Lord knows Mumpty is no financial expert.  But that is what worked for us.  Oh – and get a decent amount out at a time because you get charged a foreign currency fee every time you use the ATM and that can get expensive.  I got out $NZ500 and that exchanged to 894 tala if that helps.  You don’t really need that much cash though – just enough for entry fees and the like.  Most of your expenses will get charged to your room anyway and you just pay when you check out.

Tip # 2 – Expect your hair to be a nightmare.  Obviously this is an extremely important travel tip.  Unless you are blessed with hair that turns to glorious ringlets in the presence of salt water and humidity (like my daughter’s) or hair that returns itself to sleek and glossy (like my niece’s) then you must be prepared for THE FUZZ.  Uggghhhhh.  As vain as this may sound, there aren’t many things that make Mumpty feel less glamorous and more frumpy than fuzzy hair.  But fuzzy hair I had for the entire holiday and really – I pretty much got over it in the end.  It may have even cured my need to have access to power for my GHD while camping – but shhhhh – I’m not admitting that yet – in case it’s simply not true.  Anyway – this was Mumpty’s hair reality in Samoa:

Mumpty Hair in Samoa
L: pouting and trying to look glamorous in the 3 second window between the GHD being turned off and the humidity setting in; R: grimacing happily on the 12,845th selfie attempt before giving up in disgust.

Suffice to say, Mumpty does not “do” beach glam and so there was a lot of hat-wearing in Samoa (which caused hat-hair problems, but they seemed pale in comparison to THE FUZZ.) Also, did you know pigtails are TOTALLY appropriate for a 48-year-old in Samoa?  Because they are.

Tip # 3 – Take Immodium and an assortment of other drugs – and when I say drugs, I mean the totally innocent stuff you get from the supermarket/chemist back home.  Obviously.  OK, so we were told not to trust the water; don’t eat the salads as they’ve been washed in water etc etc, but really, I reckon nearly everyone is going to get some level of stomach upset in Samoa, no matter what you do.  It just happens.  Well – it happened to our whole family anyway!  You could say we all “lost our confidence” for a while there – and by that I mean we lost confidence in our ability to be too far away from the toilet.  Sorry if that’s TMI – in fact I know it is – but #sorrynotsorry

Immodium (or whatever else they call it) is pretty much a necessity I believe – particularly if you have to travel or fly that day.  It helps to avoid any potentially embarrassing or messy situations!  Also … Panadol is handy in case you get a headache from dehydration – it’s not  always easy to find medication over there.

Handy tip: the bigger resorts seem to have a little stash of things travellers need: Panadol, ear drops (lots of travellers get sore ears from swimming apparently), Immodium etc.

Also take Zovirax if you ever get coldsores; the sun will bring those suckers out and you want to avoid them like the plague if you can.  And maybe an antiseptic cream – any little cuts you may get from the coral and stuff seem to get infected really easily.

So yep – pack the drugs!  Mumpty bought a little arsenal of stuff, thinking she wouldn’t need it, and lo and behold … we used pretty much all of it!  Disclaimer: its best to keep any medication in its original packaging and make sure you declare it to Customs.

Tip # 4 – Go to the To-Sua Trench.  Because … AMAZING.  Seriously.

To Sua Trench Samoa

There is, of course, the not-so-small issue of the 20 metre ladder to get down there.  It blows Mumpty away that she did it without crying or falling off (although in fairness, the death grip I had on those rungs was so strong it would have taken a hurricane to dislodge me!)  But once you’ve survived the ladder and you’re in the water; the place is phenomenal.  It’s 30 metres deep in parts and is crystal-clear and absolutely beautiful.  I’m not really even that much of a swimmer to be honest, but I stayed in there for a good hour or so – probably longer. It cost 20 tala each and it was worth EVERY cent.  Visit their website here.

Tip # 5 – Be careful, because there are no H&S rules in Samoa!  (As you can tell that by the ladder at the To-Sua Trench!)  If that was in New Zealand there’d be a safety briefing first; you’d have to sign a waiver and you’d be wearing a harness!  Well, maybe not all that, but you certainly wouldn’t just all fire over the edge and off you go like you do in Samoa! And speaking of being careful … you know how I said there are no H&S rules in Samoa?  Well as a result of that, we experienced probably our most scary parenting moment EVER. Our 12-year-old daughter misjudged her footing; slipped and fell off a 3.5 metre (unfenced) deck onto small but sharp little rocks.  And survived – intact – and without injury.  Apart from the 15 minutes where she couldn’t move and we thought she was paralysed.  Yeah – that.  Ugggghhhhhh.  But all’s well that ends well – we are very grateful she’s OK and there was a doctor on hand to check her out and ensure her spinal cord was OK before she decided to move.

Samoa Deck
It may not look that high in the picture, but she fell further down from where she is sitting here and there was a pretty sickening silence and lack of movement that followed her disappearing off the edge.

Of course, there was also that one time (at Band Camp!) that we heard a little “pop” and wouldn’t you know it, our brakes completely failed at the top of a hill with 13 of us in the van. But that’s another story, for another time!

OK … so I’ve just realised this post has got looonnnnnnng.  Too long to add another 5 top tips, so I’m going to cut it here and make another post with the last 5 tips.  UPDATE: I’ve linked it here.

Soakin’ it up in Samoa …

Mumpty