The third most densely populated island of Samoa country is the Manano Island that still holds the best of traditional motifs and paints a sleepy picture. Located at just 4 kilometres from the south-western coast of Upolu, one has to cross the lagoon all the way by boat travelling all the way from Manono-uta right from the mainland. The small island of Manano comprises of a total of four fishing villages namely Faleu, Lepuia’i, Apai, and Salua, where you will find the locals staying in fales built in open air. Manano is a perfect retreat from the hustle of city life – an amazing destination where the only sound that reaches your ears is the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. The island is really a small landmass. Speaking in true sense of the term, it takes less than two hours to circumnavigate the island and that too if one takes a light stroll. In the process, one gets to pass by the four villages in abundance and stop in between to take a dip or engage in some snorkelling amidst the lagoon. Just close to the landing at the Faleu, one can also pay a visit to a monument that stands tall as a symbol of commemoration of the arrival of the first European Methodist missionary to Samoa, Rev. Peter Turner way back in 1835.
The interiors of the island make way to a large number of archaeological sites. One such worth mentioning is the 12-pointed ancient star that mounted right on the flat peak of Mount Tulimanuiva (110m-high), which happens to be the highest mountain peak in Manono. On the southwest part of the island, stands the Lepuiai Village where there’s another famous archaeological site that’s worth visiting–Grave of 99 Stones. Each of the stones represents wives of the great chief Vaovasa. Manano happens to be a religious community and in Sundays you can witness the entire village flocking together to offer their prayers at the local church.
If you want to make your stay in Manano memorable, it’s recommended that you act and live like a local. That includes sleeping in open fales on the beach right down the eastern side of the island. If you need help arranging your bed, you can ask the villagers to help you. They will also accompany you to guide you through the island. Manono has some of the finest beaches of Samoa and the tour groups are generally less populated on the northern side of Apolima. Just three kilometres from Manano down the west end of Upolo, one will find the largest protective reef of the island. Strangely enough, you won’t find dogs out here. Even cars, horses and even bicycles are also prohibited. You will be fascinated to know that Manano had its first electricity lie installed in the year of 1995. That’s just 20 years back.