Samoa & Tonga: Swimming with Humpbacks
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USA / Pago Pago, American SamoaAugust 27
Board your independent flight to Pago Pago. Upon arrival, transfer to the Tradewinds Hotel American Samoa for overnight.
Pago Pago / National Park of American SamoaAugust 28
Spend a full day exploring the many wonders of this extensive and remote National Park. Enjoy fantastic snorkeling as you observe hundreds of species of fish, colorful corals, giant clams, turtles, and other marine life. A hike through the forest may reveal large endemic fruit bats and a variety of colorful birds.
Pago Pago / Apia, SamoaAugust 29 — August 30
This morning, visit the Tsunami Monument, commemorating the devastating submarine earthquake and tsunami that hit this region in 2009. After lunch, board our short flight to Apia and lose a day as you cross the International Date Line. Check in to the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, set out for a full-day tour of Samoa’s capital and largest city. Begin at Mulinu’u, the old ceremonial capital, which includes the sacred burial grounds of the chiefly families of Samoa, Parliament House, and a historic observatory. Continue to Moamoa Theological College to view a beautiful old church with exquisite stained-glass windows. Your last stop is Robert Louis Stevenson’s former home, now a museum filled with memorabilia and artifacts from the author’s life in Samoa. Take a stroll through the surrounding Vailima Botanical Garden, keeping an eye out for Samoan whistlers, Samoan fantails, red-vented bulbuls, cardinal honeyeaters, and buff-banded rails.
Apia / Savai'iSeptember 1
This morning, board a local ferry to the nearby island of Savai’i. Visit the Salelologa Market where locals shop for everything from fresh produce to household goods. After a chance to browse, head to the Alofaaga Blowholes, where powerful waves propel seawater hundreds of feet into the air. Then try your hand making traditional siapo, or tapa–a cloth made from paper mulberry bark and decorated with natural dyes. After a busy morning, take a refreshing dip in the deep freshwater pool below the spectacular Afu Aau Waterfall. Enjoy lunch at Savaiian Hotel with the afternoon at leisure to wander the lovely grounds and cool off in the oceanfront swimming pool. Check in to Stevenson’s at Manase for dinner and overnight.
Savai'i / Apia / Nadi, FijiSeptember 2
This morning, return to Apia by ferry. Relax at the Sheraton Beach Resort, and enjoy the resort’s amenities. After lunch, board our flight to Nadi. Check in to the Westin Denarau for dinner and overnight.
Take a scenic drive through lush interior of Viti Levu (Fiji’s largest island) to Navala Village. Set at the top of a mountain range, make a photo stop to enjoy panoramic views of the Yasawa Island group stretching to the north. You are welcomed to this small community with a traditional kava ceremony before a tour of the village which consists of about 100 thatched hut “bures.” Visit the village school and mingle with locals to learn about the traditional Fijian way of life. Enjoy lunch accompanied by fresh fruit juice and take a dip in the cool waters of a nearby river before returning to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Nadi / Vava'u, Kingdom of TongaSeptember 4
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Tonga. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at Mango Cafe. Afterward, enjoy a scenic walk at Mt Talau, and enjoy stunning views. Check in to the Tongan Beach Resort for dinner and overnight.
Nuku'alofa / Vava'uSeptember 5
This morning, visit the ‘Ene’io Botanical Gardens. Take a stroll with the director and learn about local folklore and the uses of various plants. Your tour concludes with a demonstration of mat weaving, tapa cloth production, and a kava ceremony. Enjoy lunch in these beautiful surroundings while you are treated to a performance of song and dance by local school children. Return to the Tongan Beach Resort for dinner and overnight.
Vava'uSeptember 6 — September 7
Spend two days swimming and snorkeling with whales, a highlight of your journey. The waters right in front of the resort are on the seasonal migration path of humpback whales, who are present with their young from June to November. There are few experiences that can rival swimming with these gentle giants and experiencing their beauty, majesty, and sheer size. Humpbacks are among the most interesting of whales to observe, owing to their impressive acrobatic displays, such as fluke, flipper, and head slapping, lob tailing, spy hopping, and breaching. You are also likely to hear the ethereal songs of the males, who often serenade females during courtship.
Vava'u / Nuku'alofa / Nadi, Fiji / USASeptember 8
This morning, board your flight to Nuku’alofa and connect with your flight to the USA via Fiji, arriving the same day.