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Samoa’s ‘Big Island’ offers a spectacular scenic smorgasbord of riotous rainforest, sea-smashed cliffs, pristine waterfalls and ragged volcanic cones (around 450 of them). Though visitors will be taken by Savai’i’s gentle, snoozy ambience, the island itself – the largest shield volcano in the South Pacific – has volatile tendencies, most dramatically displayed in the eerie lava fields, village ruins and craters of the north and the explosive blowholes of the south coast.

Though it’s the largest island in Samoa (and the fourth largest in Polynesia), Savai’i is home to less than a quarter of the country’s population, and has little in the way of facilities and infrastructure. Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way) remains strong in Savai’i’s orderly villages, where the humid hush is broken only by the squeals of playing children, the buzz of weed-whackers and the soaring hymns of Sunday services.

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