Upolu island, the smaller of the two main Samoan islands and host to the capital
Apia, this volcanic
peak in the south Pacific has a multitude of varied attractions throughout. The island is only about
the size of
Okinawa, and is easily accessed by car with any location only about an hour or so away.
Upolu and Samoa in general is one of the closest places to paradise that I've visited - unspoiled beaches,
fantastical carved lava scenery, and not in the least bit overrun by tourists. It was a joy
to explore all the points of interest, and discover the next beautiful vista just around the corner.
I had been spoiled by the time I arrived at my next destination,
Lalomanu beach is one of the most picturesque on Upolu, the elements of the picture-postcard scene are
all there. In the distance is the island of Nu'utele, once a leper colony. This wasn't always paradise.
I knew the instant I saw To Sua ocean trench on a postcard that I had to visit - what could be more
serene than a sapphire pool cut into the jungle. To Sua was formed when a lava tube collapsed, creating
this and another "skylight".
The trench is connected to the sea by an underwater tunnel, by swimming down I could see the light straight
through to the open water. There is a strong pull as the water moves in and out, but very relaxing
to float around in the middle. It is shallow enough to stand in places.
An archway carved into lava by the sea, near To Sua ocean trench.
My lodging for my time in Upolu was the Sheraton Aggie Grey's Resort, recently purchased by the international
chain and previously an independent hotel. Not too shabby.
The resort even had a causeway out into the south Pacific, presumably used for weddings as well as photo
Another view of the pool at Aggie Grey's, if only I'd had more time to spend here. Aggie Grey founded
her original hotel in Apia in 1933, but at the time of my visit in late 2015 it was being refurbished.
One of the many stunning waterfalls of Upolu, this one is called Fuipisia and is in the east of the
A typical Samoan house - with temperatures sticking close to thirty Celsius all year round, why bother
with walls when all you need is a roof?
Quite the opposite here, walls but no roof. This church was damaged in the tsunami of 2009, and remained
derelict six years later when I visited.
Samoa boasts its own Baha'i temple, one of only ten standing around the world, the first one having
been badly damaged in the
earthquake of 1948, and ultimately demolished. This one was built in 1984.
There was no shortage of these curious black lizards while I was tramping about the forests of Upolu.
It was difficult to photograph them before they scurried away.
A closing shot of Lalomanu beach, I spent some time lolling about in a cabana and listening to the crashing
of the waves.