The island of Samoa is the definition of PARADISE. From the minute I landed on the runway, adjacent to the pristine waters of Samoa, I knew I would love the destination. As we entered the airport we were welcomed with live local music and a friendly smile. This set the scene for my trip to Samoa, which only got better and better.
The Samoan Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, neighbouring Fiji, Tonga and the Cook Islands. Best known for pristine beaches, surf, fresh seafood and lush waterfalls. My kind of destination. For anyone visiting Samoa in the future, this is absolutely everything you need to know.
Immigration in Samoa
Tourist visas for Samoa are granted on arrival at the immigration office for free. All tourists visiting Samoa must have a valid passport and ongoing ticket from Samoa, within 60 days. If your visit is for more then 60 days or you are intending to work in Samoa, you must apply for a permit from your nearest Samoa Consulate General.
Please note, visa requirements are different for all nationalities so I recommend doing your own research on the official government website.
Best time to visit Samoa
Samoa has a tropical climate year round. The seasons are dictated by wet and dry. The wet season in Samoa runs from November and March and dry season runs from April to October. It is recommended to visit Samoa in the dry season.
Flights to Samoa
To get to the paradise Island of Samoa, you will fly into Faleolo International airport. Faleolo International Airport is 35kms from Apia, the largest town on the island of Upolu. Samoa Airways, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways operate international flights from New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and Fiji. Consider combining your flight to Samoa with a stopover in one of these locations.
Getting around Samoa – car hire in Samoa
The best way to get around Samoa is with a rental car. For your convenience, I recommend hiring a rental car from the airport and dropping it off at the airport on the day you leave. Expect to pay between $100 WST – $200 WST ($50 – $100 AUD) per day, depending on the car you hire. Having a car in Samoa will allow you to explore the island with freedom and take you to amazing places you can’t reach by bus. There are certain roads that require a 4WD so if you like to get off the beaten track, a 4WD is advised.
Alternatively, the Island of Upolu does have a bus service, but it is known to be infrequent and unreliable. You can find out more about the bus service in Samoa here.
Taxis are also an option but will end up costing you more than a rental car if you plan on travelling around the island. A taxi from the airport to Apia, for example, starts at $80 WST.
Currency in Samoa
Currency in Samoa is Samoan Tala. I recommend exchanging your cash at the airport on arrival or in Apia. If you do plan to use ATM’s, look into any associated fees and charges so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Withdraw cash in Apia as other places on the island are unlikely to have an ATM.
Accommodation in Samoa
Accommodation options in Samoa can be limited, especially if you travel in peak season. If you are visiting Samoa, I recommend booking accommodation in advance. Expect to pay $100 WST ($50AUD) and upwards for a basic Fale (term used to describe accommodation in Samoa).
Apia is the main part of Samoa and is where you will find restaurants and shops. There are many accommodation options in Apia, and more hotels and resorts scattered along the coast of Samoa. I recommend using booking.com to search for accommodation. If you book using this link, you will receive a $25 cash back after your stay. Alternatively, you can use the box below to search (without the $25 cash back).
Places to visit in Samoa
Samoa is home to all of my favourite things. Tropical and secluded beaches, stunning waterfalls and scenery, hiking trails, friendly locals and delicious food. These are the highlights of visiting Samoa.
To Sua Ocean Trench
Samos very own Instagram hotspot, the To Sua Ocean Trench. No doubt you have seen it in your feed and already have it on your Samoa bucket list. Visiting To Sua costs $20WST for adults and $10WST for children. See my full guide to visiting To Sue Ocean trench here.
Waterfalls in Samoa
Samoa has some of the most impressive waterfalls, and the great thing is that they are easily accessible. For the best waterfalls in Samoa, click here.
This massive waterfall is only a few steps from the car park. You can’t get to the base to swim in Papapapai-Uta Waterfall, but the views from the top are incredible.
Located near the Coastal Walking Track, Togitogaga waterfall is the perfect place to cool down after your hike. Togitogaga waterfall is a short walk from the car park and is made up of two small waterfalls that flow into a large rock pool, perfect for swimming.
Just a few steps from the car park and you will be at Sopo-aga Falls viewpoint, my favourite waterfall in Samoa. You have to pay $10WST per adult to visit.
Yet another stunning waterfall in the highlands of Samoa. This waterfall is a 5-minute walk from the car park and costs $20WST per adult to visit.
Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
The sliding rocks are found nearby to Apia, and as the name may imply, they are great to use as natural water slides. The cost of visiting the sliding rocks in $5WST per adult.
Beaches in Samoa
Despite the fact that Samoa is surrounded by ocean, only parts of Samoa have sandy beaches to relax on. The main beaches on the island include Lalomanu Beach, Saleapaga Beach, Vaiula Beach, Tafatafa Beach, Return to Paradise Beach, Salamumu Beach, Nu’uavasa Beach and black sand beach.
I visited every beach during my visit to Samoa and have some recommendations for you.
My favourite beach was Black Sand Beach, accessible only with a 4WD. When we arrived at this beach we had it all to ourselves. The crystal clear waters and soft black sand created a unique beach setting.
Vaiula Beach and Tafatafa Beach are white sand beaches with inviting waters and views of the Nuusafee island. These beaches are very quiet.
Return to Paradise Beach was another stunning white sand beach, located nearby to the Giant Clam Conservatory. Return to Paradise Beach has huts you can relax in, but you may have to pay a fee.
No matter what beaches you choose to visit on Samoa, you will be amazed by the inviting waters.
Hikes in Samoa – The Coastal Walking Trail
If you’re looking to keep fit when visiting Samoa, hiking is a perfect activity. The Coastal Walking Trail is a great scenic walk, following the lava formed coastline of Samoa. This is everything you need to know about the Coastal walking Trail.
Giant Clam Conservatory
A unique attraction to Samoa is the Giant Clam Conservatory. You can snorkel out over the coral reef to see these giant clams for yourself. You can also expect to see plenty of tropical fish and turtles if you’re lucky. The costs is $10WST per adult, $10 WST per car for parking and $5WST for snorkel hire.
Diving in Samoa
With the crystal clear waters and thriving marine environment that surrounds Samoa, it really is no surprise that diving is such a popular activity.
Fishing in Samoa
If you love fishing, you will happy to hear that conditions are perfect offshore Samoa. Talk to your hotel to arrange to go fishing in Samoa.
Islands in Samoa
Samoa is made up of 10 islands. The main islands are Upolu and Savaii. Upolu is the island with the international airport. The other eight smaller islands are Apolima, Fanuatapu, Manono, Namua, Nuulopa, Nuulua, Nuusafee Island and Nuutele Island. There are also a set of Islands known as American Samoa, which is in the same area but owned by the US.
Expect to eat a lot of fresh seafood, fruit and coconuts in Samoa. Serving sizes are always generous.
Phone and internet in Samoa
You can purchase a Samoan sim card from the airport on arrival. Blue Sky is the best provider, although prices are not cheap, especially if you use a lot of data. Prices are $20WST for 1.5GB of data and $45WST for 4.5 GB of data.
Internet service in Samoa is limited and not all hotels and restaurants offer wifi so get ready to disconnect and reconnect with your travel buddy.
Budget for Samoa
To help you plan your budget for visiting Samoa, refer to my 5 step guide to creating a travel budget.
Accommodation – prices generally start at $100WST per night for a basic fale.
Car Hire – car hire starts at $100WST per day, depending on the type of car you hire. It is important to remember that some roads on Samoa require a 4WD so it may be worth spending more on car hire to get one.
Food – meals start for $10WST.
Most places in Samoa offer walk-in rates, so if you hire a car on arrival and find accommodation by walking in, you will save yourself a considerable amount of money. This isn’t advised in peak season as hotels fill up fast.
See more tips on sticking to your travel budget,
Travel Insurance in Samoa
Travel insurance is a necessity when visiting Samoa. I recommend World Nomads.
Recently, however, I arranged a new credit card that covers all my travel insurance. If you travel a lot, this is something I recommend looking into.
Safety in Samoa
Vaccinations in Samoa
Check the Travel Doctor website to find out what vaccinations you need when visiting Samoa.
Overseas Travel Checklist
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