Asau, Savai’i, Samoa

May 20, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

Samoans are beautiful people. Genuinely welcoming with big hearts and broad smiles. You can’t help but feel at ease with their friendly hospitality. Today we were fortunate to continue our exploration and further immerse ourselves into this affable culture, as National Geographic Orion visited the serene but spirited island of Savaii. Savaii is big but not overwhelmingly big, and so sparsely populated that it’s the perfect setting for an epic day in the heart of Polynesia. A short Zodiac trip to shore delivered us to an adventure tour into the rainforest canopy walk, while some learnt about the humble coconut or submerged into the warm turquoise ocean for a dive. We were also treated to a traditional kava ceremony and dancing performance, followed by a taste of the delicious Samoan food. The traditional Sunday meal was cooked over a ground volcanic rock oven called umu. Truth to their custom and fully embracing different religions, Samoa is a mixture of old tradition and western influence. Savaii is still considered by many to be ‘the real Samoa’, where the old ways of fa’a Samoa are still much alive. Fa'a Samoa is a guideline for every Samoan on how to lead their lives by celebrating and embracing traditional values, their culture and environment. It is an integral part of Samoan life, evident in the time-honoured traditions, warm hospitality, as well as the cultural practices and customs of the Samoan people. Savaii might be the largest of the Samoan islands, but only a fraction of the nation’s population calls this peaceful island their home. To explore Savaii is to travel back in time, to witness the grand forces of nature and to slow the pace of life.

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About the Author

Cristiana Damiano

Cristiana Damiano


Cristiana was born and raised in Brazil.  Being surrounded by natural beauty and diverse culture instilled her desire for exploration at a young age.  Her passion for wilderness, different cultures and inhospitable regions led her to pursue a career in ecology, oceanography and, ultimately, the pursuit of a Ph.D. in environmental sciences and coral reef ecology in Australia.  Her travels have taken her to the Amazon and Borneo jungles, the higher mountains of Southeast Asia, the Great Barrier Reef and Far Northern Reefs, Papua New Guinea villages, volcanoes in Guatemala and the deep seas in many remote islands around the globe. 

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