Unbeknownst to many, Samoa is a beautiful playground of pristine beaches and captivating culture. The coastlines of Samoa are filled with volcanic mountain ranges covered in forests, waterfalls and rivers – many of which were secluded with little to no tourists. This is why we loved Samoa.
THINGS TO DO IN SAMOA
Giant Clam Sanctuary, Savaia
We recommend hiring a car during your stay in Samoa. The resorts are beautiful but quite far away from the picturesque day trips such as the memorable drive to the Giant Clam Sanctuary.
Before heading to this beautiful beach in Savaia, be sure to check the tides. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to drop by with your own snorkelling gear during low tide where you can swim out into the water to see the cartoon-like giant sea clams.
Upon arriving at the beach you’ll be asked to pay an entry fee of 10 tala. You’re then able to explore the beach yourself for no extra cost. There is a large circular area that is marked in the water and the clams are located roughly around the centre of this area which is about 50m from the shore. When you find the giant sea clams, your curiosity may draw you closer to the clams but keep your distance because they bite!
To Sua Ocean Trench, Lotofaga
This refreshing swimming hole is an absolute must-see in Samoa. There is a small entry fee of 20 tala and you can leave your belongings under one of the huts overlooking the ocean.
There is a steep stairwell down into the lagoon which is not for the faint hearted – descend with caution, especially when its slippery. When you reach the bottom, just jump in and enjoy rocking backwards and forwards with the current inside the trench.
Le Vasa Resort, Faleolo
After hearing about the beautiful “white sunsets” witnessed at Le Vasa Resort, we made a quick dinner reservation here on our first night in Samoa and we ended up returning here the next day. The staff were incredibly friendly and the sunsets “white sunsets” turned the water a magical milky white, we couldn’t keep our eyes off the water!
Papaseea Sliding Rocks, Apia
For just 5 tala entry, you can sure have a lot of fun at the sliding rocks! There are several sections with running water where you can slide down into refreshing pools. If you visit this site and the water rapids are low, its not recommended to slide down the rocks so check with the caretakers in the area to get the a-okay if you’re unsure.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO SAMOA
Planning to head to Samoa? Here are a few things to consider before you travel:
- The best time to visit Samoa is between May – Oct: Make most of your trip and visit Samoa during the dry season for the best sunsets and longer daylight.
- If you’re Australian, you won’t need a power socket converter: The power outlets in Samoa are type I which means they’re exactly the same as the Australian outlets.
- Get a sim card at the Digicel kiosk when you arrive at the airport: Internet at the hotel is expensive and you’ll need data to search addresses, tide times, opening hours, read this blog (haha) so we would definitely recommend picking up a sim card right away.It’s also worth noting the following numbers:
- 994 for Police
- 995 for Fire Service
- 996 for Hospital
- 999 for Ambulance
- Everything is closed on Sunday: Sunday is church day for Samoa so everything is closed for the day. This includes shops, restaurants, petrol stations as well as gatekeeper staff for tourist attractions that require an entrance fee. If you’re in Samoa on a Sunday, spend this day exploring your resort or a nearby beach.
- Dress conservatively, especially on Sundays: Women in Samoa never wear pants, shorts, tank tops or swimming costumes. Instead, they’re always dressed conservatively in clothes that cover the thighs and upper arms. Unless you’re at your resort, be sure to be considerate of the culture and dress appropriately.
- Most places accept cash only: Unless you plan to just stay at your resort and put everything on room charge, make sure you have plenty of cash handy. Most shops, restaurants, entrance fees and even parking fees accept cash only.
- Download offline Google Maps before your trip: Once you’ve figured out where you’re staying and your itinerary, download an offline map of all your routes so that you can navigate home when there’s no reception. Reception in Samoa can be quite sporadic so your offline map can save you.
- Hire a car to get around: Some of the best attractions are on different parts of the island (approx 1 – 1.5 hrs apart) so the easiest way to get around is to hire a car. If you don’t plan on hiring a car, you’ll be able to grab a taxi from your hotel but finding a taxi to take you back to your hotel later can be difficult unless you’re in the main part of town.We hired our car through Discovery Rentals and our rental car was delivered straight to our hotel the day we arrived. It’s also worth noting that Samoa have both left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles, so its best to specify your preference prior to organising the car hire.
- You’ll need a temporary license to drive in Samoa: You can obtain a temporary license at the Ministry of Transport for $12 Tala. All you’ll need to do is show your current valid drivers license. However, if you do land in Samoa on a weekend (like we did), the Ministry of Transport is only open on weekdays. We didn’t want to lose 2 days of travel so our temporary licensed was organised through Discovery Rentals for $40 tala. We were simply issued the license when our car arrived at the hotel.
- Petrol/Gas Stations are limited: As soon as you pick up your car, ask your car rental guy for directions to the closest gas station and get yourself a full tank ASAP. Gas stations are not plentiful or easy to find in Samoa and you don’t want to be stuck on an empty tank with no phone reception.
- Drive slowly, even if the speed limit is not specified: You’ll notice that the locals will cruise slowly down the streets even when there’s absolutely no traffic. We recommend keeping the same driving pace unless you want the locals to start hurling rocks at your car.
- Get tropical strength insect repellent and a bite treatment: You may not see the mosquitoes, but you’ll definitely feel their bites! The mosquito bites in Samoa are incredibly itchy, so itchy in fact that I was losing sleep at night. We had to go to town and visit a few chemists before we found one that stocked a cream to treat the mosquito bites so its best to pack one before your trip so you don’t waste time searching through chemists while you’re on holiday
Did we miss something? Feel free to leave your tips and hints in the comments section