Apia is a small capital surrounded with tropical grandeur. Hugged by sublime beaches, craggy lava cliffs and verdant conservation areas, the city has a laid-back, small-town feel, and smiles from the locals are as common there as sunshine. Apia is not the type of city that you take in in just one day. It is meant to be savored at your leisure while you snorkel through offshore coral colonies, stuff yourself on coconut cream delights and lose track of time strolling through lovely colonial mansions or on the national park’s hiking trails. Submit to island time, and enjoy every minute in this paradise.
Immerse yourself in Apia’s natural beauty at the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, located just east of the harbor. At first glance, the site seems mundane, like any other gravelly beach, but the real treasures lie underwater. Strap on your fins and swim out about a quarter mile from the shore for some of the area’s best snorkeling. The fish come in nearly every color imaginable, streaking shades of reds, yellows, greens, blues and purples as they swim through the crystalline waters. Look carefully for sea turtles, whose armor-plated shells blend almost undetectably with the surrounding reef and rocks, and don’t be alarmed if you see a black-tip shark or two. More timid than other sharks, the small breed is normally wary of humans.
Apia has a reputation for being one of the country’s best fishing areas, and many charter companies operate out of the capital. Anglers from all over the world come to the city to reel in sailfish, black marlin, yellowfin and giant trevally.
On land, explore the Museum of Samoa to get a good introduction to the island. The museum spans the entire first floor of the courthouse building and has an impressive collection of stone adze heads, Lapita pottery and stuffed Samoan birds. There is even an entire exhibit dedicated to the art of tattooing.
Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson called the city home during his final years, and his extraordinary mansion is now a museum dedicated to his life and work in Apia. He and his wife are buried on a hill in the Mt. Vaea Scenic Reserve, just next door to the museum. The people of Apia nicknamed Stevenson ìtusitala,î which means ìstoryteller,î and worked for days to clear a path to the hill’s top so the author could spend eternity looking over the island he loved so much. The hike to the grave takes about an hour, but it is worth it for the stunning view.
At night, seek out a traditional Samoan ìfia fia.î The expression means ìparty hardy,î and locals really know how to show travelers a good time. During the fia fia, locals sing, drum, dance and toss flaming knives in an unforgettable heart-pumping spectacle. Most fia fias include feasts of traditional Samoan foods, like coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves, chicken curry, chop suey, mutton flaps and other local delights. Wash it down with a glass of kava, the traditional beverage of the islands made from a pepper plant, or fresh niu, coconut milk consumed straight from the coconut.
Apia Geographical Location
Apia is located on the Samoan island Upolu on the central north coast at the mouth of the Vaisigano River.
The population of Apia is approximately 38,000.
Samoan is the official language of Samoa but English is spoken widely as a second language.
Apia Predominant Religion
- 35% Congregationalist
- 20% Roman Catholic
- 15% Methodist
- 13% Latter-Day Saints
- 6.5% Assembly of God
- 6% Other
- 3.5% Seventh Day Adventist
- 1% Worship Centre
Freedom of religion is provided by the Samoan constitution but there are societal pressures to attend church services and support the church financially.
The official currency of Samoa is the Tala.
Apia has a tropical rainforest climate and experiences its rainiest months between December and March. The temperature in Apia is consistently hot throughout the year.
Apia Main Attractions
- Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
- Le Spa
- Polynesian Xplorer
Other Attractions in Apia
- Papapapaitai Falls
- Old Apia Market
- Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
- Papaseea Sliding Rock