Travel Tips for visiting Samoa

Samoa is an incredible island paradise. Attracting visitors from all over the world, it offers something for everyone. From those looking for an adventure, to those wanting to unwind, Samoa has all bases covered.

Known for its stunning beauty, Samoa is the ideal vacation destination. The locals are welcoming, the cuisine is fresh and the drinks are always on ice.  

Before visiting though, tourists will want to clue themselves up on these top Samoa travel tips. Doing so will ensure a vacation to remember, whilst demonstrating respect for local customs too.

Getting to Samoa All visitors flying into Samoa will do so through the Faleolo International Airport. This airport services flights from around the Pacific (including direct flights from Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Nadi, Honolulu and Tonga as well as indirect flights from many other cities). The airport is found 40 kilometres west of Apia, Samoa’s capital city.

Getting Around Samoa

Samoa is a safe and friendly country and for this reason, practically any mode of transport is viable.

Taxis are available for hire, but it is important to agree on a fare before departing, as meters are not used. Fares are also payable in cash.If looking for an authentic Samoan experience, then travelling by bus is a must-do. Around the islands, buses are flagged down. They can also be boarded at main bus stations – in Apia, which is found behind the food market in Fugalei, and on Savai’i, it is by the main wharf in Salelologa. Buses are marked with their final destination and fares should cost no more than ST$12.

Perhaps the most convenient way to travel around Samoa is by renting a car. Rental cars are affordable and practical. Local drivers are courteous and the pace of life is slow, so adjusting to driving on the island is easy. Having access to a rental car provides complete flexibility to explore the island at your own pace and usually preferred by most visitors.

To travel between the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i, a reliable 1-hour long ferry service is available.  It transports both cars and passengers and runs frequently.

Accommodation Options in Samoa 

From budget offerings to stunning resorts, Samoa offers something for everyone.Depending on the budget, amenities required and desired experience, travellers may wish to book a resort, hotel, resort, guesthouse or fale.  Each have their own charm.A motel or hotel will provide many amenities at a fair price, whilst resorts can offer incredible facilities to enjoy. Staying in a guesthouse will ensure an authentic Samoan experience, offering insight into daily life on the islands. Or, it is possible to go a step further and sleep in a traditional fale right on the beach – grass window-coverings and traditional Samoan meals included!

The Best Time to Visit Samoa 

Samoa has two distinct seasons; the wet season and the dry season.

The wet season runs from November to March (approximately).

The dry season, by comparison, falls between April and October.

Given the choice, the dry season is the best time to travel to Samoa.  The weather is more settled (and unsurprisingly, dry), it is sunny and warm and the humidity levels are lower.With that said, there are bargains to be had in the wet season and the main attractions of the islands are still there!Regardless of the season, guests can expect an average temperature of 27 degrees. At 24 degrees, the water temperature is just perfect all-year long

Must-See Spots in Samoa 

Samoa is home to many incredible locations. Whilst visiting this island paradise, the following activities and sights are highly recommended.

Upolu:

To Sua Ocean Trench

Lalomanu Beach

Piula Cave Pools

Papase’ea Sliding Rocks

Palolo Deep Marine Reserve

Togitogiga Waterfall

Scuba diving

Samoan Cultural Show

Savai’i:

Pulemelei Mound

Saleaula Lava Fields

Afu Aau Waterfalls

Alofaaga Blowholes

Surf Aganoa Beach

Whether looking for romance in Samoa, or to see all of the main highlights, it’s impossible to go wrong!

Cultural Considerations

Sundays in Samoa 

As a Christian country, there are certain customs that respectful visitors to Samoa will want to be aware of.

Dedicated to worship, Sundays are quiet in Samoa.Almost all shops in Samoa close on Sundays, so it is important to stock up on required supplies the day prior.

Whilst many visitor-focused attractions are open for business, not all are. This makes Sunday a great day to hire a car and get out to explore the natural attractions of the islands.

Travellers are expected to behave quietly and respectfully and to drive slowly through villages that they visit on a Sunday.

Local Samoans are incredibly welcoming, but it is important to demonstrate respect whilst visiting this amazing country.

Village Protocol 

Whilst visiting Samoa, there are few experiences more authentic and worthwhile than a visit to a local village.

Samoans welcome visitors with open arms, keen to share their culture and daily lives.However, to ensure that visits are conducted in a culturally appropriate manner, the following recommendations are made.

Travellers should avoid walking through villages during the time of evening prayer. This is normally between 6pm and 7pm. The prayers can last for between 10 and 20 minutes and are generally signalled (both beginning and end) by the blowing of a conch shell or bell.

Whilst visiting villages, it is important to wear appropriate clothing. What is suitable for the beach is unlikely to be suitable for a village visit. Travellers are instead encouraged to dress modestly.  If possible, women should attempt to wear a skirt, dress, long pants or lavalava (sarong), instead of shorts. This is especially true if planning to attend church on a Sunday. 

Photography whilst visiting a village may be appropriate (and indeed encouraged), but it is important to always seek permission from hosts before snapping away. Chances are, they will be delighted, but it’s good manners to check.

If ever in doubt of a local custom, it is always best to check in with the host or a village member. They will appreciate travellers taking the time to understand and respect their cultural practices.

Fale Customs 

Whilst being hosted at a local village, it is likely that travellers will be invited into a fale (or Samoan house). Whilst many of the rules are not similar to entering the home of any host, there are a few special points to note.

When entering a fale, shoes should be removed and left tidily by the door.

It is important that visitors do not stand inside a fale when elders are seated. Instead, take a seat.

Finally, whilst sitting inside a fale, guests should avoid pointing their feet at others. Instead there are a few different options; visitors can cross their legs, tuck them underneath or cover them with a lavalava or mat.

Following these simple customs will ensure an enjoyable, respectful visit.

Samoa is an incredible vacation destination. With something to suit all travellers, an incredible Pacific backdrop and a special culture all of its own, it is without doubt, a bucket-list destination!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Samoa Tourism and Blogilicious. The travel inspiration was kindly provided by Sarah of ExploringKiwis

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20 Comments

  1. Madhu
    May 30, 2020 / 10:18 am

    Wow what an amazing place,honestly I never heard about it..but now I just want to visit.

  2. May 30, 2020 / 10:23 am

    I’ve always been intrigued by Samoa but never had the chance to visit. A lot of what I see about the local villages reminds me of my experiences in the Amazon, except that there are no beaches in the Amazon.
    And by the way, your photography is amazing!

  3. May 30, 2020 / 11:19 am

    Samoa is one of those destinations that I have always dreamed of visiting but still haven’t made it yet. These tips will be so handy for when I finally get to go!

  4. May 30, 2020 / 11:42 am

    Samoa is really high on my bucket list. I love tropical destinations! Thanks for sharing!

  5. May 30, 2020 / 11:42 am

    Never hward of it but it seems like a must-visit!

  6. May 30, 2020 / 1:50 pm

    What a unique and definitely out of the ordinary places to visit. So nice to discover still relatively peaceful and non touristy tropical destinations. Excellent post and photos offering travel inspiration to Samoa. 🙂

  7. May 30, 2020 / 3:03 pm

    Wow! On my bucket list ! Looks a lovely destination and stunning photos

  8. May 30, 2020 / 5:45 pm

    What a beautiful place to visit! I would love to know more about the culture in Samoa and it’s amazing that the locals are so welcoming!

    • May 30, 2020 / 7:40 pm

      Samoan sounds interesting, would love to travel there some day.

  9. May 30, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    Wow, this looks like an incredible location, you have captured it so beautifully in your photos. Thanks for the great tips as well, always good to know what to expect when visiting a new location. x

  10. May 30, 2020 / 7:47 pm

    I have been really wanting to go to Samoa, it looks like such a special place, and this post makes me want to go even more!

  11. Linn
    May 30, 2020 / 9:21 pm

    This post brings back so many memories from I was in Samoa! It’s such a great island! You just inspired me to go back there once travel opens up again. Thanks for sharing:)

  12. May 30, 2020 / 10:40 pm

    Wow, Samoa sounds really, really interesting! I’ve never read about it before but this makes me really want to go. Love reading about all the customs that make it unique.

  13. May 31, 2020 / 12:23 am

    Wow Samoa looks so unique and dreamy! I hope I can travel there someday!

  14. May 31, 2020 / 12:27 am

    Love the detail and tips for going to samoa

  15. Ann Kelly
    May 31, 2020 / 5:02 am

    What stunning island and your pictures are beautiful! Definitely a place that’s been high on my bucket list for a while and can’t wait to get to one day!

  16. May 31, 2020 / 9:29 am

    OMG what a paradise!! It’s been on my list for sooooo long!

  17. May 31, 2020 / 5:54 pm

    This place looks amazing! I love your photos. 🙂

  18. Robyn Metzger
    June 1, 2020 / 5:48 pm

    Have you visited Pulemelei? It’s not that easy, not really a ‘must do’. I wasted a very frustrating day trying to visit Pulemelei after reading similar advise to yours in a Jasons travel guide. Better to visit Falealupo and Manase and Manono-many great snorkeling spots and beaches that are more accessible and fun.

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