Samoa travel guide

Less than four hours from Auckland and about five hours from Sydney and Brisbane, Samoa is renowned for its natural beauty, genuine hospitality and stunning adventures. Plan your next special trip to Samoa and create special memories to last a lifetime.

Planning Your Trip

When planning your trip to Samoa, several factors merit careful consideration to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Best Time to Visit

Samoa boasts a tropical climate, making it an appealing destination year-round. However, the most favorable time to visit is during the dry season, which typically spans from May to October. During these months, you can anticipate pleasant temperatures, lower humidity, and minimal rainfall, ideal conditions for exploring the islands’ natural wonders.

Visas and Entry Requirements

For many nationalities, including citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, a visitor permit upon arrival in Samoa allows for a stay of up to 60 days. However, verifying the specific visa requirements based on your nationality well in advance of your intended travel dates is crucial. This proactive step will help avoid any unforeseen complications upon arrival.

Currency and Budget

The Samoan tālā (WST) is the official currency. While credit cards are widely accepted in major hotels and restaurants, carrying some local currency for smaller establishments and local markets is advisable. Samoa offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to upscale resorts, allowing you to tailor your expenses according to your preferences.

Getting to and Around Samoa

Reaching the captivating islands of Samoa is typically achieved through air travel, with Faleolo International Airport (APW) serving as the main gateway. Situated on the island of Upolu, approximately 40 kilometers from the capital city, Apia, this airport welcomes flights from various international destinations.


Several airlines offer services to Samoa, including Samoa Airways, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, and Virgin Australia. Direct flights are available from Auckland, Sydney, Nadi, and Honolulu, while connections through these hubs can facilitate travel from other global locations. It’s advisable to book flights in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best fares and availability.

Getting Around

Navigating within Samoa presents several convenient options to explore the islands at your leisure.

  • Rental Cars: Renting a car provides the freedom to discover the islands at your own pace, allowing you to venture off the beaten path and uncover hidden gems.
  • Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Apia and other major towns, offering a comfortable and efficient mode of transportation for shorter distances.
  • Buses: Local buses provide an economical way to travel between towns and villages. These buses typically follow set routes and offer an authentic glimpse into local life.

For inter-island travel, ferries operate between Upolu and Savai’i, providing a scenic way to experience the beauty of both islands.

Accommodation in Samoa

Samoa presents a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preference and budget, each offering a unique experience of Samoan hospitality.


For those seeking a luxurious escape, Samoa’s resorts provide an unparalleled experience. Nestled along pristine beaches or perched on scenic hillsides, these resorts offer a wealth of amenities, including swimming pools, spas, fine dining restaurants, and a range of activities to enhance your stay. Imagine waking up to breathtaking ocean views and indulging in world-class service, making your Samoan adventure truly unforgettable.


Hotels in Samoa cater to a variety of travelers, from budget-conscious to those seeking a touch of luxury. Located in key tourist areas and offering comfortable accommodations, these establishments provide convenient access to nearby attractions and amenities. Whether you prefer a modern high-rise with panoramic views or a charming boutique hotel with a more intimate ambiance, you’ll find a suitable option to suit your needs.

Beach Fales

For an authentic Samoan experience, consider staying in a traditional beach fale. These open-sided huts, perched directly on the beach, offer a unique connection to nature and Samoan culture. Imagine falling asleep to the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore and waking up to the vibrant colors of a tropical sunrise. Beach fales provide a simple yet unforgettable way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Samoa.

Top Attractions and Activities

Samoa, a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural experiences, offers a captivating array of attractions and activities to enthrall every visitor.

Natural Splendors

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Samoa’s natural landscapes, from pristine beaches lapped by turquoise waters to cascading waterfalls enveloped in lush rainforests. Explore the enchanting To Sua Ocean Trench, a natural swimming hole formed by volcanic activity, or venture to the majestic Afu Aau Waterfall, cascading into a crystal-clear pool.

Cultural Experiences

Delve into the heart of Samoan culture, renowned for its warm hospitality and ancient traditions. Witness the art of Siapo making, intricate bark cloth designs passed down through generations, or attend a traditional Fiafia night, where vibrant dances, captivating music, and delicious food showcase the vibrancy of Samoan heritage.

Water Activities

Samoa’s pristine waters offer a playground for water enthusiasts. Embark on a snorkeling or diving adventure to discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, or experience the thrill of surfing world-class waves. For a more leisurely pace, kayaking or paddleboarding along the calm lagoons provides a unique perspective of the coastline’s beauty.

4.1. Teuila Festival

Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Samoan culture at the annual Teuila Festival, a spectacular celebration that unfolds in September, transforming the island nation into a hub of artistic expression and traditional revelry.

A Celebration of Heritage

The Teuila Festival, named after the vibrant red ginger flower that graces the islands, serves as a vibrant tribute to Samoa’s rich heritage and cultural identity. This week-long extravaganza brings together local communities, artists, and performers from across the islands to showcase the best of Samoan traditions, crafts, and artistic prowess.

Vibrant Festivities

Prepare to be captivated by a kaleidoscope of colors, rhythms, and cultural performances that embody the spirit of Samoa. From energetic fire dances and graceful Siva dances to soul-stirring choral performances and traditional tattoo demonstrations, the Teuila Festival offers a captivating glimpse into the heart of Samoan culture.

Market Day Delights

A highlight of the festival is the bustling market day, where local artisans and craftspeople gather to display their wares. Browse through stalls brimming with intricate handicrafts, traditional clothing, vibrant artwork, and delectable culinary delights. This is an ideal opportunity to take home a piece of Samoan culture and support local artisans.

Samoan Culture and Customs

Samoan culture, deeply rooted in tradition and renowned for its warm hospitality, forms an integral part of the islands’ allure. Understanding and respecting local customs is essential for meaningful and enjoyable interactions with the Samoan people.

Fa’a Samoa – The Samoan Way

At the heart of Samoan culture lies Fa’a Samoa, a way of life that emphasizes communal living, respect for elders, and the importance of family. This profound sense of community permeates all aspects of Samoan society, fostering a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for visitors.

Respectful Interactions

When interacting with locals, a few customary practices demonstrate respect and cultural sensitivity. Dress modestly, especially when visiting villages or religious sites. Remove your hat and sunglasses when greeting someone, and address elders with the respectful terms “Matai” for men and “Tausi” for women.

Gift-Giving and Sunday Observance

If invited to a Samoan home, offering a small gift, such as food or handicrafts, is customary. Sundays hold great significance in Samoa as a day of rest and religious observance. Avoid scheduling activities or making loud noises that may disrupt the tranquility of this sacred day.

Food and Drink in Samoa

Samoan cuisine, a delectable fusion of Polynesian flavors with influences from Asia and Europe, offers a culinary adventure for discerning palates. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients form the foundation of many dishes, highlighting the bounty of the islands.

Traditional Delights

Immerse yourself in the heart of Samoan cuisine by sampling traditional dishes. Indulge in Palusami, a rich and creamy dish of taro leaves baked with coconut milk and onions, or try Oka, a flavorsome raw fish salad marinated in citrus juices and coconut cream. For a hearty and comforting meal, savor the flavors of Luau, slow-cooked taro leaves with meat or seafood.

Tropical Fruits and Seafood

Samoa’s tropical climate blesses the islands with an abundance of fresh fruits. Indulge in the sweetness of juicy mangoes, savor the exotic flavor of passionfruit, or quench your thirst with refreshing coconut water straight from the shell. Seafood lovers will delight in the variety of fresh catches, from grilled snapper and mahi-mahi to succulent lobster and prawns.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Beyond the traditional kava ceremony, Samoa offers a variety of refreshing non-alcoholic beverages. Niu, fresh coconut water, is a popular choice for its hydrating and subtly sweet flavor. For a taste of local culture, try Koko Samoa, a rich and creamy cocoa drink.

Health and Safety

Ensuring your well-being while traveling in Samoa involves taking certain health and safety precautions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Health Considerations

Prior to your departure, consult with your healthcare provider regarding recommended vaccinations and any necessary preventive measures. It’s advisable to pack a basic medical kit containing essential medications, insect repellent, sunscreen, and any personal prescriptions. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially in Samoa’s tropical climate, so drink plenty of bottled water.

Water Safety

While Samoa’s pristine waters beckon for swimming and water activities, it’s essential to exercise caution. Always swim at designated beaches with lifeguard supervision, particularly during rough surf conditions. Be mindful of strong currents and heed any warning flags or advice from local authorities.

General Safety Tips

As in any destination, practicing general safety measures will contribute to a secure trip. Be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and avoid displaying large amounts of cash. Secure your valuables in the hotel safe when not in use. When exploring remote areas, inform someone of your itinerary and expected return time.

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