Most watersports are headquartered at Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort & Spa near the airport; on the south coast at Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa and Coconuts Beach Club & Spa; and at the beach fales on Lalomanu Beach on Upolu's southeastern corner. You need not be a guest to partake of the activities because everyone must pay.
At Aggie Grey's beach resort, Aqua Samoa Watersports (tel. 45-662 or 777-4744; www.aquasamoa.com) offers resort-front activities such as jet- and water-skiing, kayaking, banana boat rides, wake- and kite-boarding, Hobie Cat sailing, snorkeling trips, game fishing, and scuba diving (including PADI courses). Also at Aggie's, Samoa Adventure (tel. 26-107 or 777-0272; www.samoa-adventure.com) uses the Shiloh II, a 35-ft. catamaran to sail out in the Apolima Strait, including a trip to Amnono Island.
At Lalomanu Beach, Moanalei Dive 'n' Surf (tel. 41-015; www.moanaleidivensurf.com) rents kayaks, surfboards, and snorkeling gear, and it has scuba diving, snorkeling trips, fishing, and surfing excursions.
A Day on a Beautiful Beach
A Sunday afternoon at one of the South Pacific's most beautiful beaches is on my agenda every time I come here. Paradise Beach is what all beaches should be like: surf breaking around black rock outcrops, palm trees draped over white sand. But I'm even more enamored of Lalomanu Beach on the island's southeastern corner, where a clifflike mountain provides a backdrop and offshore islands enhance the sea view.
The 18 holes at the par 72 Le Penina Golf Course (tel. 770-GOLF ; www.peninaresortandgolfclub.com) virtually wrap around Aggie Grey's Lagoon, Beach Resort & Spa. Greens fees are S$135 (US$54/£27) for 18 holes, including cart. In a sports complex at Tuanaimato, in the highlands above Apia, the Faleata Golf Course (tel. 23-964) has 18 holes, a driving range, and golf cart rental. Greens fees are S$20 (US$8/£4). The Royal Samoan Golf Club (tel. 20-120) has a 9-hole course at Fagali'i, on the eastern side of Apia, and visitors are welcome to use the facilities. Call the club's secretary for greens fees and starting times. Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa (tel. 25-191) on the south coast has a 9-hole course.
Upolu has a number of very good hiking trails. The most picturesque is the Coastal Trail in O le Pupu-Pue National Park. This relatively flat track runs along the top of the park's sea cliffs and has some spectacular views. Another trail in the park goes through rainforests to the Peapea cave. The most exciting track leads to Lake Lanoto'o in the new Lake Lanoto'o National Park. This difficult hike takes at least 90 minutes each way is best done with a guide, such as Samoa on Foot (tel. 31-252 or 26-592).
Mats Arvidsson, a Swede who lives in Samoa, operates Island Explorer (tel. 32-663 or 777-1814; www.islandexplorer.ws), which has guided day tours into the Togo Mangrove Estuary on the south coast, or to the Aeipata coast. These trips cost S$180 (US$72/£36) per person. He also has overnight expeditions to Manono Island for S$360 (US$144/£72) plus the cost of a beach fale, and multiday paddling trips along the Aleipata coast.
Swimming & Snorkeling
The best swimming and snorkeling are on the beaches of Aleipata and the southwest coast. In town, just east of the main wharf, canyons in the reef at Palolo Deep Marine Reserve (tel. 26-942) make for good snorkeling without having to leave town. The snorkeling is best at high tide, when you can swim rather than walk across the reef to the deep-water canyons. Don't expect to see colorful coral here; it's best for sea life. The small sandy beach is good for sunning at any tide. This city park has changing rooms, and it rents snorkeling gear. Admission is S$3 (US$1.20/60p). The reserve is open daily from 8am to 6pm.
You of strong bottom can slip down the waterfall known as Papase'a Sliding Rocks into a dark pool. Take a taxi or the Se'ese'e village bus. The rocks are about 2 kilometers (1 1/4 miles) from the paved road; the bus driver may go out of his way to take you there, but you will have to walk back to the bus route. The villagers extract a S$2 (US80¢/40p) custom fee per person.
Another popular outing away from Apia is to Piula Cave Pool and the outlying beaches.
Savai'i -- The reefs off the north shore of Savai'i provide bountiful sea life for snorkelers to view, but beware of strong currents near the reef passes. Scuba divers can find some relatively unexplored sites here, most no more than a 10-minute boat ride from shore. One of them is a missionary ship, which sank on the reef in 1881.
Fabien and Flavia Lebon of Dive Savai'i (tel. 54-172; www.divesavaii.com), opposite Le Lagoto Beach Resort , charge S$150 (US$60/£30) for a one-tank dive, and they teach PADI open-water courses for S$1,200 (US$480/£240). They also have guided snorkeling trips for S$50 (US$20/£10) per person, and they rent snorkeling gear to do-it-yourselfers for S$30 (US$12/£6) a day.
On the beach in Manasee village, Raci's Beach Club (tel. 54-003; www.rbcltd.ws) rents snorkel gear and kayaks, and it has snorkeling tours. Owned by a Swiss couple, René Achermann and Zita-Manuela Jerg, it also dispenses Italian espresso coffee as well as libation. A branch next to the village gasoline station has Internet access.