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Samoa Travel Guide

Upolu Island Map

Upolu Island Map

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Although much smaller than Savai'i, Upolu is Samoa's most important island by far with its capital, airport, industry, business, attractions, visitor facilities, and three quarters of the total population. Physically, it's rather like Tahiti on a smaller scale with high verdant mountains in the background of Apia and a seaside boulevard encircling the harbor. The villages along the north coast also remind one of Tahitian villages, as do the valleys and black beaches. But Upolu is much wilder and more traditional than Tahiti, and less impacted by international tourism.

Although Savai'i commands a faraway mystique, Upolu is a more beautiful and varied island, especially the eastern half. Roads wind around the coast and across the center of the island. Some of the South Pacific's finest beaches are at Lepa and Aleipata with suitable facilities for budget travelers. Waterfalls cascade from the luxuriant green hillsides and there are countless places to swim. Hikers will feel rather like Tarzans and Janes cutting paths through the exuberant vegetation, and travelers will be enchanted by the easygoing Polynesian lifestyle. Upolu is an uncut insular jewel.