SamoaTravel Guide

Floating on your back in the famous volcanic hole called the To Sua Ocean Trench, soaking up rays on pristine beaches, swimming with baby sea turtles and learning about traditional Samoan culture at the Samoa Cultural Village – these are just a few of the enthralling experiences that await you on a holiday to the “Cradle of Polynesia” in the central South Pacific Ocean. Whether you’re dreaming of an island paradise for that romantic getaway, a fun family holiday or an adventure-packed break, Samoa has it all and so much more. Our Samoa travel guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing.  

Samoa quick facts

Language

National language

Samoan

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

ZAR R26.93

Local time

Tuesday

8:39am

Currency

Samoan tala

ZAR R1.00 = WST WS$0.14

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

ZAR R84.79

Electricity

Plug type: I

3 pins • 230V

Explore Samoa

Where to stay in Samoa?

Samoa is made up of nine islands but four are inhabited. The two largest islands are Savai'i and Upolu. If you’re wondering where to stay in Samoa, there are three main tourist hubs in this Polynesian paradise: the capital city of Apia; the broader Upolu Island; and Savai’i Island. Where you decide to stay will depend largely on the priorities in your itinerary.

Immerse yourself in Samoan culture, rub shoulders with the locals and get your entertainment fix in Apia, just 40 minutes away from the airport. Perched on a tropical hillside, Dave Parker Eco Lodge is handy to a variety of interesting attractions, including Apia Park and the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. It’s small, intimate and excellent for travellers on a budget. Moanalisa Hotel is another laid-back option with bright, sunny rooms and a complimentary continental breakfast included in your room rate.


If you’re keen on a secluded holiday, but still want to be close to the action, Le Vasa Resort is one of the most sought-after resorts on the island, perfect for couples (including loved-up honeymooners) and families alike. It features a private beach and sea-facing bungalows. But when luxury is a non-negotiable, we highly recommend the four-star Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa. Imagine checking in to  your own island villa, soaking in an outdoor stone bathtub, champagne glass in hand, before enjoying  some heavenly pampering at the spa.


Looking to get as close to the beach as possible? Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge is nestled in a small cove on the island of Savai’i with gorgeous views of Asau Bay. Babysitting services are available if you're holidaying with a young familylooking for some you time to enjoy a hard-earned break. Then there’s the award-winning Savai’i Lagoon Resort offering a variety of rooms depending on your budget, from garden bungalows to beachfront bungalows. Be sure to settle into a sunset cocktail or three at its barefoot beach bar and restaurant right on the beach.


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

Things to do in Samoa

There’s a promise of a  perfect mix of relaxation and adventure when you visit any of the Pacific islands – especially the “Cradle of Polynesia” itself. With its gorgeous beaches and countless natural wonders, you’ll be spoilt for choice whether lazing in the sunshine or planning your next adrenalin rush! Here are our top picks for the best things to do in Samoa.

If you can manage to tear yourself away from the comfort of your towel, there are many opportunities to appreciate what lies beneath the surface of the sea. Snorkelling is the ultimate tropical island pastime, particularly when you find yourself alongside sea turtles just off the coast of the island of Savai'i. Visit Satoalepai Turtle Sanctuary and swim with endangered young green turtles – all of whom are been lovingly cared for by local villagers before they’re tagged and released into the wild.


Now this is a natural wonder guaranteed to blow your mind! Found in the village of Taga, these blowholes effortlessly puff jets of foamy sea water hundreds of feet into the air, much to the surprise and excitement of tourists gathered around. Visit at high tide for the best experience. For extra funkeep an eye out for locals selling coconuts for you to to place inside the blowholes that get catapulted skyward when the next breaker rolls in.


There’s no better place to get a feel for Fa’a-Samoa (the traditional Samoan way of life) than with a visit to the Samoan Cultural Village. Here you’ll be met with friendly hospitality and the chance to observe Samoan traditions. Watch the locals as they engage in traditional weaving and woodworking, bop along to traditional music and creative performances, take part in an ’ava ceremony (held to mark important occasions and involves the sharing of a ceremonial beverage) and fill up on mouth-watering Samoan food, including palusami (a delicious dish made with corned beef, onions and coconut cream and wrapped in nutty taro leaves).


The To Sua Ocean Trench is photographer’s dream. Instagram is practically plastered with pictures of tourists floating in the azure expanse of this gargantuan volcanic sinkhole. It’s encircled by cascading greenery that extends 30 metres down to the water. Snap a pics yourself and if you’re brave enough, scale down the swinging wooden ladder to dive in!


A volcanic eruption took place on Savai’i Island over a hundred years ago, completely obliterating everything in its path. Thankfully, the slow-flowing lava made it possible for most of the villagers to escape, but it went on to swallow up a total of five villages. The resulting charred, hardened Saleaula Lava Field is  one of the best-known attractions in Samoa. Take a trip to the Saleaula Lava Field for a glimpse into this catastrophic event and explore the remains of these buried villages.


Step into the jungle and enjoy the wet and wild Papaseea Sliding Rocks. Slide down the natural rock waterslides, perfectly smooth and safe for kids and adults alike. Talk about a great way to cool off!


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Samoa

Samoa food and drink

Looking to sample traditional Samoan cuisine? There are plenty of options where you can dine alongside locals and introduce your taste buds to the flavours of the island. Samoa also boasts some top restaurants.

Sit down to a fine feast at the family-run Paddles Restaurant in Apia. An extremely unique experience where traditional Samoan and Italian cuisine are combined to produce an eclectic menu. Aside from delicious food, you'll be treated to stunning views of the sprawling Apia harbour, and you’ll always receive a warm greeting from the owner, Papa Rossi.  Another sure-fire winner is the open-air Cocolini’s by the Sea at Le Vasa Resort. Expect scrumptious seafood and South Pacific-Mediterranean cuisine for a meal to remember.

 


An umu is an above-ground oven that relies on heated volcanic stones to cook food. The hot stones are placed inside the oven and the food (usually dipped in coconut cream instead of oil) is wrapped in banana leaves or placed in halved coconut shells on top. A final layer of banana leaves closes the oven and locks in the heat.  If you opt to book a tour in Samoa, the chances are pretty good that your package will include a traditional umu dining experience. Alternatively, head to Samoa Cultural Village for a taste of the locals’ favourite food hot from the umu!

 


Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Samoa through your eyes

Where to shop in Samoa?

You came for the beaches and the culture, no doubt. But if you have some extra cash to spend, there are many ways to get swipe-happy in Samoa! Shopping in Samoa usually means strolling through bustling outdoor markets, but if you’re keen to stock up on some locally made fashion, there are a few boutique stores to look through as well.

Old Apia Flea Market is your one-stop shop for all your souvenirs and holiday keepsakes. Every stall is crammed with handcrafted wonders, from ava bowls to woven pandanus mats and much more. It’s also a popular spot for fresh produce, as is Fugalei Fresh Produce Market. Need a snack while you shop? Fugalei Market boasts a supply of cooked Samoan delicacies.


You’ll manage to scope out a number of boutique stores in Apia, but if you only buy from one, let it be Janet’s Samoa. This store, located inside Lotemau Mall, is brimming with classic Samoan fashion favourites, such as island dresses, patterned men’s shirts and loads of cute kids’ outfits. Then there’s House 88 Boutique, which also stocks stylish island wear, along with formal dresses perfect for a glitzy and glamorous night out on the town or a romantic dinner for two.


Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Samoa?

Samoa is a year-round holiday destination known for its balmy, warm weather where temperatures don’t fluctuate much. They range between 78.8°F /26°C and 87.8°F /31°C. There are, however, two distinct seasons. If you have your heart set on long days at the beach  in little more than a bikini or board shorts , then the best time to visit Samoa is during the dry season between June and September. The wet season takes place from November to March, with the heaviest rainfall between February and March. During these months of the rainy season, downpours can occasionally result in flooding. Keen to save money on flights and accommodation? Steer clear of peak travel time from July to September, as well as December and January when Australians and Kiwis flock to the island for a summer holiday escape.

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Samoa

Getting around in Samoa is fairly easy: public transport here is accessible and a fun experience while ferries are the way to go if you want to explore every inch of the islands.

Enjoying a few hours of shopping at Old Apia Flea Market? You’ll find the main bus station tucked away behind it. Hop aboard a brightly painted bus to jump off at a few stops across the capital city, or in the charming surrounding villages.


Keen to travel from Upolu to Savai’i or vice versa? The MV Lady Samoa II runs between Upolu’s Mulifanua Wharf and Savai’i’s Salelologa village district every couple of hours. You can buy tickets for one-way or round trips.


A steady stream of taxis in Apia make flagging one down easy – the challenging bit comes when you have to bargain your price with the taxi driver! Samoan taxis aren’t metered, so be sure to settle on a reasonable fare before starting your journey. It’s a good idea to chat to your hotel or resort reception for an estimate on the cost to avoid opportunistic taxi drivers taking you for a ride (!).


Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Samoa?

There’s a reason why sun-drenched Samoa is on many a sunworshipper’s travel bucket-list. The white-sand beaches are fringed with tropical greenery and sparkling azure waters – and there are plenty of gorgeous beaches in Samoa for you to choose from. Here are just a few of the best:

Flanked with beach fales (thatched huts providing shade and a relaxing spot from which to enjoy the view of the ocean), you’ll find Lalomanu Beach, which is arguably the most sought-after beach in Samoa and the Pacific islands, just an hour’s drive outside Apia. The welcome sign encourages beachgoers to “come and enjoy heaven”, and you most certainly will! The beach is pristine and beautiful.

 


Lefaga Beach on Upolu Island is known as Samoa’s scuba-diving and snorkelling hotspot. Its claim to fame is that it played a starring role in the classic 1953 Gary Cooper film “Return to Paradise”. Ok, true, that was a loooong time ago, but we just thought we’d mention it.


Looking forward to surfing in Samoa? Just 15 minutes from Maota Airport on Savai’i island, Aganoa Beach is family-friendly with the chance to take part in an array of water sports, including surfing and snorkelling – but be warned: the waves can be rough and unpredictable, so surfing is only recommended for experienced board-riders!


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Samoa Frequently asked questions

The four S's - swimmers, sunnies, sandals & sunscreen. We also recommend a good book (or two) for those lazy days by the water.


You'll fly into Apia on the island of Upolu which is perfect for first-time travellers to Samoa. For a more laid-back & traditional vibe, head over to Savai’i & live like a local!


Life happens - we get it! Contact your Flight Centre Travel Expert here to reorganise your travel plans.


Take advantage of more watersports when you travel in the dry season: May to October! Less rainfall, less crowds and more chances to embrace the slower pace.


Samoa is perfect for land & sea lovers! Snorkel the reef in the morning & hike the rainforests after a hearty Samoan lunch - the options are endless.


The current requirements for travelling to Samoa

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