Holidays in Samoa are a wonderful experience. We love Samoa. It is one our favourite destinations and we can’t recommend travel in Samoa highly enough. We have been twice and spent time on Upolu and Savaii, and are seriously considering another visit in the next few months. Travel to Samoa is fairly straightforward from New Zealand and Australa. Travel in Samoa is a bit more rustic than other destinations – which we love.
Things to know
Getting around: Local buses, taxis, car hire
Weather: Wet Season – November – March; Warm all year round
Parts of Upolu were devasted after a tsunami and earthquake in 2009. This may seem like some time ago, but we like to think we when travel to Samoa we are contributing in a small way to rebuilding communities following these disasters.
Bucket List? Here’s why…
Here is why we think Samoa should be on your bucket list:
Visitors to Pacific Islands will often talk about ‘Island time’. Time moves much slower on Samoa – well it feels like it does anyway. There is no rush to do anything, be anywhere or do anything. It is the perfect place to stop, pause, reflect and just do nothing. You can stay on small islands with no electricity or internet. You can sit on the beach all day. You can go diving, fishing, exploring. Or you can just sit and watch the world go by.
The locals are friendly, warm and welcoming. The population of Upolu (Samoa’s main island) is 135,ooo. On an island that is 434 square miles. As you move around the island the locals wave out and engage with you. Friendly. Warm. Welcoming.
Not too touristy
Samoa has a burgeoning tourism industry. It is a stunningly beautiful country. As a visitor to Samoa you aren’t going to feel over run by the thousands of other tourists who have turned up to have exactly the same experience. Being at Angkor Wat or the Eiffel Tower are worlds away from the type of experience you will get in Samoa. People are getting on with life around you. The flipside of this is that you aren’t going to necessarily be the focus on attention. There are plenty of touristy things to do though – head to To Sua Trench (see pick above), go snorkeling, check out local villages and see if they are selling any local produce or handicrafts, watch a rugby game or kiliketi (the local version of cricket), or attend a fiafia (cultural performance) night.
There is plenty of Samoa accommodation but we did notice there was lots at the budget/entry level and plenty at the high end – not a lot of choice mid range. You can stay in a fale (bungalow) on the waterfront or a high end resort. Here are the places we have stayed and loved. Availability can be limited so make sure to check if there are rooms available:
Fresh Island Food
Fresh tropical fruit is a must, along with freshly caught fish. If you can, buy fruit from a local selling on the side of the road. Pawpaw, coconut, mango, banana – yum.
We have put this at the end deliberately. Samoa is a beautiful country with stunning beaches and gorgeous weather – but it is so much more than beaches. It can draw you in in a very unsuspecting way – and then you have fallen hard – and keep trying to figure out ways of getting back there.
Samoa – Thumbs up or down?
Samoa is definitely a thumbs up from us. We would recommend at least a week. If you have more time, catch a ferry over to Savaii for another taste of Samoa.
Check out the Samoan Tourism page for more info.