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.
To Sua Ocean Trench
Piula Cave Pools
Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
Samoan Cultural Show
Saleaula Lava Fields
Afu Aau Waterfalls
Surf Aganoa Beach
Whether looking for romance in Samoa, or to see all of the main highlights, it’s impossible to go wrong!
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.
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.
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!