Sparkling, blue waters; palm-fringed beaches; perennial good weather; welcoming and enticing cultures; and fantastic, fresh local foods. These are just some of the reasons the islands of the Pacific have become synonymous with “paradise.” And if you’re looking to reach your own state of bliss, adventure travels to the Greater Polynesia islands of Samoa or Rapi Nui (Easter Island) will help you find it.
On our guided group adventure to American Samoa, you’ll get away from the constant noise of modern, American culture blasting away at you day and night. This U.S. Territory—the only one south of the equator—manages to stay peaceful, genuine, naturally beautiful and truly hospitable. American Samoa has everything a real paradise should: beaches edged with azure waters; turquoise-blue lagoons; vivid coral reefs; dense tropical forests; rugged volcanic mountains; colorful wildlife—such as red-footed boobies and green sea turtles—and friendly villages that follow a traditional lifestyle.
During your guided group tour, you’ll even come to understand “Fa’a Samoa” (or “the Samoan way”) like a native islander. You’ll get unparalleled access to the beliefs, customs and traditions of the ancient, family-centered Samoan culture that a typical visitor here would not have the chance to enjoy. You’ll visit three islands—Ofu, Ta`ū and Tutuila—by boat, puddle-jumper flights and, heck, even by back of a pickup truck in order to make your way down little-visited coastal roads and hidden trails. You’ll also be invited to an authentic umu (earth-oven) dinner.
Ofu, Ta`ū and Tutuila all contain sections of the National Park of American Samoa. Because the park is relatively new and remotely located, your explorer’s spirit will ramp up into high gear as you investigate it on all three islands: Tutuila’s meandering coastline that’s dotted with coves and bays; Ta’ū’s cliffs —some of the highest in the world—that rise from the water to the summit of 3,000-foot Lata Mountain; and Ofu’s bluer-than-blue waters that beckon you with some of the richest snorkeling opportunities on the planet.
If you’d like to include Independent Samoa in your Greater Polynesia adventures, we can help you plan a custom journey to the island of Upolu and its capital city, Apia. Located on a natural harbor at the mouth of the Vaisigano River, Apia is home to the Vailima Botanical Gardens, the site of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s last residence. In 1889, Stevenson, who wrote the adventure classic Treasure Island, purchased the land and named it Vailima, which means “five waters,” for the small streams that ran across the property. Today, you can walk in his footsteps in his stately mansion, which is now a museum. As he requested, Stevenson was buried just below the summit of Mount Vaea, which overlooks Vailima. On the day following the author’s death, Samoans carried Stevenson’s coffin to the summit for burial. From the botanical gardens, you can hike this “Road of Loving Hearts” to his final resting place.
A five-minute walk from the center of Apia will take you to the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. Snorkel in a blue hole surrounded by walls of coral and tropical fish. Then enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of the Apia Fish Market, where locals make their purchases of crab, eel, octopus and other fish. Not surprisingly, the best fish-and-chips in Apia are served here. Afterward, wander past the small stalls at the local flea market on the waterfront and sort through the clothing, handicrafts, women mats and wood sculptures to find your own island treasures.
If you prefer your paradise to have an aura of mystery and air of contemplation, consider a custom Greater Polynesia adventure on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), located off the coast of Chile. The island’s carved, stone heads have baffled the world since their discovery in 1722. Why were they built? How did they get from Point A to Point B? What was their significance? Ponder these and other mysteries as if you’re on an archeological field excursion. We’ll even help to arrange a trip to the quarry where the stones were mined. But while the past here will intrigue you, you’ll be able to ground yourself in the island’s present with cultural immersions, such as attending a local church service to hear a choir sing in the native Rapanui language.
The next time an unwanted ad or the inescapable sounds of traffic intrude on your peace of mind—which is probably about two seconds from now—start planning your next great adventure to Greater Polynesia, your path to paradise.