Sun-seekers Steve Winter, aged 65, and partner Rebecca Giles, aged 57, travelled to Apia last Friday to visit a family friend.
It afforded the pair the perfect excuse to spend eight days lounging on the sandy beaches and enjoying cold beers after snorkelling through crystal clear waters.
Found in the centre of town, the Samoa Observer approached the Kiwis who were eager to share their surprise at the contemporary nature of the island’s capital.
“Apia is much more built-up than I expected; I didn’t know it to be so modern,” Steve said.
Apia is a thriving hub of activity with a modest population of approximately 40,000.
It provides a contrast to the scenic and sparsely populated south coast, allowing travellers to experience both modern and traditional Samoa.
Apia is proving to be an exotic base for the pair, who have enjoyed trips to the Manu’a Islands in American Samoa to take advantage of an array of glittering coral reefs.
Back on the Island, Rebecca has particularly enjoyed “watching the sun go down from a paddle boat.”
The social event held near the capital allowed them to meet other likeminded sightseers, who thrive on Samoa’s laidback ethics, for which the islanders are undoubtedly famous.
With foreign markets occasionally proving to be jostling and hectic hubs of over eager store holders, the couple were pleasantly surprised that the chilled vibes of the country spread through the stores.
“The people are very friendly but not pushy, there’s definitely a difference,” added Rebecca.
Hospitality is something that the people of Samoa pride themselves on mastering; the pair attribute this welcoming attitude to their “strong links with Christianity.”
The food has also played a large role in their enjoyable holiday.
“We had Oka for only $7 Tala yesterday: the fish was so fresh and well made,” she commented. Traditional delicacies aside, Steve said he had loved Home Café and their delicious Burgers over a nice cold pint of beer.
The couple are grateful for the opportunity to stay locally with a friend, as it has given them access beyond the surface of the city.
Rebecca said they have seen a real “traditional Polynesian City”. “Some of the pacific Islands are so connected to New Zealand, but Samoa truly feels independent.”
They will assuredly return to the beautiful island, to see what else they can uncover!