Famous for being the place where Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson lived and died, Samoa is a tropical Pacific Ocean country of big hitting rugby players, half of which now live in nearby New Zealand! Spilt into American and Western (Manu) Samoa, it’s popular as a location for Hollywood movies such as South Pacific and Return to Paradise and one of its major crowd drawers is the Aleipata district known for its breathtaking beaches and waterfalls. Samoa is a tourist-friendly destination with its great hotels, coastal resorts, eco-villages, and warm hospitality from the locals, even if it is a little out of the way.

When to Go

Samoa is a tropical country with dry and rainy seasons. Rainy season starts in October and ends in March when storms and tropical cyclones are expected to occur. The best time to visit the country is from May to October during its dry season.

Getting There & Away

The Samoa islands have four airports and a main port in Apia. Half the roads are unpaved, which can make driving difficult at night and during the rainy season. Getting around the islands can be done by bus or taxi. Be ready to negotiate with the driver regarding your taxi fee, as the taxis in Samoa are not metered. Backpackers can rent a motor scooter or a bicycle to get around.

Health & Safety

Hepatitis A and B as well as typhoid fever are common in Samoa. Waterborne diseases can also be easily contracted , so drink bottled water only. Hospitals and dental clinics are available in Apia. There are also some private and emergency medical facilities open to tourists.

Samoa has a low crime level, making it a relatively safe place to visit. The locals are friendly, and they usually offer directions to lost travelers. Make sure you keep valuables in a safe place or in the hotel safe. Avoid traveling unaccompanied at night. Beware also of dogs especially those that travel in packs. Sunstroke is likely to be the biggest threat here.

Food & Hospitality

Chicken, roast suckling pig, fresh seafood, and food baked in the traditional Samoan oven (umu) are some of the country’s specialty dishes. Some restaurants in Apia serve Western and Chinese food. Selling of alcohol is prohibited on Sundays.

Most of the hotels are located in the capital, but there are also some in the quieter areas of Savai’i and the south coast of Upolu. Other accommodations include village resorts, beach cottages, and eco-villages. They are more affordable but usually provide basic amenities only.

Itineraries

Three days in Apia
One day in Mount Vaea and Vailima
Four to five days in Aleipata district
One day in Manono Island and Lefaga Village
One day in Tia Seu Ancient Mound
A day each in Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve and Auala Green Turtle Conservation

Highlights

Apia: is located along the North coast, is Samoa’s capital and major commercial hub.

Mount Vaea and Vailima: is the place where the tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson can be found. From there, you can see the house he lived in in Vailima that has been converted into a museum.

Aleipata district: considered the most beautiful place in the country, the Aleipata district is made up of villages built around its white beaches and waterfalls. Not too far from the area are the Mafa Pass, Fuipisia Falls, and Falefa Falls.

Manono Island and Lefaga Village: these places are famous for being part of such Hollywood films as Return to Paradise and South Pacific.

Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve: located near the Tafua coastal village, the Rainforest Preserve is home to numerous bird species and flying foxes.

Tia Seu Ancient Mound: over 39 feet high, the Tia Seu Ancient Mound is considered the largest Polynesian ancient structure.

Auala Green Turtle Conservation: this facility takes care of the green turtles before they are released into their natural wild habitat. The Iava caves, Mu Pagoa Waterfall, and Iava fields can be easily reached from the conservation.

Activities

Water sports: go snorkeling and diving at the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. Other water sports facilities that you should check out are the beaches along Manase, Safotu, Tuasivi, and Lesolo Point. Learn how to surf in Savai’i Island.

Hiking: check with the Samoa Visitors Bureau for the acceptable mountain treks and coastal walks suited for your hiking skill level.

Sightseeing: take snapshots of Samoa’s architectural structures, natural formations, and wild animals.

Shopping: shop for local handicrafts in Apia.