Famous for being the setting of the 2004 Gary Cooper film "Return to Paradise", Lefaga Beach is a lovely beach where to relax and sunbath. For those who likes to snorkel, this is a great place to search for giant clams in the crystal clear water or why not take a kayak and explore the shoreline? There is a nearby resort providing toilets, showers, a restaurant and other conveniences.
Swim with Green Turtles at Auala Green Turtle Conservation managed by the Auala women’s committee, where guides can show you these ancient mariners before they are released back into the wild and at the wetlands sanctuary at Savaii’s Satoalepai village. The Satoalepai Wetlands is the ideal place to bring your family – the kids will love feeding these gentle giants and swimming among them is a memorable experience!
Due to the tropical climate and fertile soils, the rainforests of Samoa are a lush and vibrant paradise. Native wildlife such as seabirds, skinks, flying foxes, geckos, as well as a plethora of unique flora call the forests home. Le Pupu-Pue National Park on Upolu is one of the best with extensive walking tracks and a listed 42 bird species. Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Reserve, in the southeast, is another bird watchers haven where you may see the rare Samoan tooth-billed pigeon. In the Falealupo Rainforest Reserve, take the treetop canopy walkway built about 40 metres above the ground among giant Banyan trees!
Villa Vailima mansion was built in 1890 by the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and was his home for the last five years of his life. Even though he only lived in Samoa for a few years, he did write quite a number of novels during that time. The Samoan people loved him and he was given the name Tusitala, which means “teller of tales”. A half hour tour explores Villa Vailima and, inside the museum, you´ll discover a myriad of artefacts, while outside carefully manicured lawns give an air of elegance. Stevenson and his wife Fanny Osborne are buried next door in the Mt Valea Scenic Reserve.
At Alofaaga Blowholes, witness jets of water forced hundreds of feet in the air. These impressive blowholes are found near the village of Taga, on southwest Savaii, so come here to have a look and if you are lucky you also notice some locals throwing coconuts into the holes, which then are blasted back into the air!
To get an insight into the customs and traditions of the indigenous population, save some time to visit the Samoa Cultural Village where ceremonies, rituals, songs, dances and workshops will be performed! Plus, participation is free (although it is polite to offer a small "thank you" donation).
Under the waters surrounding the islands of Samoa, beautiful coral gardens are teeming with an astonishing 900 species of fishes and 200 varieties of corals. The coast from Lalomanu to Lotofaga has plenty of swimming and snorkelling beaches, but a fee may be required to be paid to swim at many of them. Samoa Adventure organise snorkelling trips and much more:
Savaii is actually a little bigger than Upolu and offers their visitors a true insight into the traditional Samoan way of life. It is also here the nation’s highest peak, Mt Silisili rises 1866 metres and at Cape Mulinuu you can stand at the last place on earth and view the final sunset of every day.
A beautiful spot to explore, Piula Cave Pool is a crystal clear freshwater spring pool and cave that was originally formed by a lava tube. There are lot of small-middle sized fish to swim with in the pool and the amazing setting with the beach view just enhances the experience. A good advice is to bring your own food with you since there are no restaurant nearby.
Another beautiful scenic beach with white sandy beach and clear blue water, Tafa Tafa Beach is the ideal place for a day trip where to sunbath, swim and snorkel. After the tide goes out, search for the gorgeous shells and natural souvenirs to bring back home. There are organised trips to this beach with companies such as: Samoa Scenic
On Savaii, Pulemelei Pyramid is a historical site located on Letolo Plantation and, at 12 metres tall, it’s the largest ancient structure in Polynesia. This massive man-made mound measures a whopping 61x50 metres. The mystery of how and why it was built still remains unsolved. It’s marked on some maps as Tia Seu Ancient Mound.
Located in the center of the capital city, Apia, you will find this beautiful church with stained glass and art on the walls. The architectural beauty and the decor blends Samoan culture and Catholicism and it is truly a place where to admire icons, paintings, marble floors and carvings.
Dine on some of the freshest seafood you could find on these islands at Le Lagoto Resort, situated in the village of Fagamalo in Savaii. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm and it´s unmissable especially on Thursday night because of theirs themed buffet and the traditional fiafia show!
The South Pacific Restaurant at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Resort is renowned for its tantalising seafood cuisine combined with local produce. Besides a great dining experience, you can also enjoy their stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. This terrific resort is to be found near the village of Mulifanua.
Apia’s colourful Maketi Fou (food market) on Fugalei Street, behind the Flea Market, is open daily and gives you the opportunity to sample the delicious traditional Samoan cuisine. Moreover, it´s a great venue to get to know locals, chatting with them while trying the countless delicacies you´ll find here!
At the Salelologa Market you can taste traditional style dishes from the stalls located on the first floor, while on the second one you will find beautiful handicrafts and clothing. To get to the Salelologa area, you must take a boat ride from the Salelologa wharf, which is enjoyable experience itself!
Adjacent to a luxury resort that has won quite a few awards over the years, Island Surf Bar & Restaurant serves fine creations that celebrate both the Samoan tradition, but also Western cuisines. Diners may enjoy stunning views throughout the entire meal, since Island Surf Bar & Restaurant is not located near the water, but right ON the water!
Located in the centre on the busy intersection along the Main Beach Road, Bistro Tatau is a great choose for fresh and innovative food with a touch of European, Mediterranean and Australasian cuisines while keeping the essence of the South Pacific. As with the food, the decor is modern and eclectic which creates a causal and sophisticated ambiance.
If you are craving for a juicy American style burgers with a Samoan twist, then Izzy's is a great place to head for. The food is prepared with fresh ingredients to get that perfect taste and you will for sure not get disappointed. If burger is to heavy for you, they have mouth-watering salads and grilled fish on flatbread on the menu.
At Pinati there is a good range of well-priced large servings of Samoan fare, such as the tasty curry rice, but you could also check it out just for one of their great coffees! Located near the corner of Vaea and Convent Street, at this café you´ll love, in particular, the laid-back atmosphere.
Right in the heart of Apia, you´ll run across Cappuccino Vineyard, considered to be one of the centres of the social life of the area. This spot, in fact, offers not only a wide selection of coffees, teas and drinks, but also live music played every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights!
Located just 10 minutes from town, there is Forest Cafe and as the name suggests, offers a breath-taking panorama over the dense Samoan forests... Discover the sounds of the nature and observe birds in their natural habitat, while sipping tea and spoiling yourself with a slice of cake!
Ideal location for a lovely breakfast or lunch, Pacific Jewell's is a beautiful garden cafe with a relaxed atmosphere. Healthy food, sandwiches, wraps, delicious coffee are all on the menu. There is a store adjoined to the cafe where you can buy some amazing gifts to bring back home.
Tucked away off the cross island road out of Apia, Le Petit Cafe is for sure a hidden gem who knows how to satisfy sweet cravings with their delicious crepes topped with salted caramel and caramelized banana or other yummy toppings. Homemade hamburgers, waffles, omelettes, French toast are also served at this secluded laid-back courtyard cafe.
A family business who take great pride in customer satisfaction, Milani Caffe is an Italian style cafe mixed with Samoan flavours where the menu incorporates locally sourced organic ingredients. Real Italian coffee, freshly baked croissants, salads, pastas, sandwiches, cakes, muffins and much more are served at this lovely cafe.
Local cuisine and organic farming are the main concepts at Nourish Cafe who also promote healthy eating. As the logo of the cafe - “Local, Organic and Wellness.” The incredibly tasty food is well presented and served by the attentive staff. Coffee, smoothies and desserts are also offered on the menu.
Le Vasa is a luxury beach front resort offering traditional Fiafia nights that gives a great insight to the cultural side of Samoa. Professional dancers wearing mat dresses and flower garlands perform an unforgettable and fiery dance to the sound of rhythmic drumming: totally unmissable!
At the Edge Cocktail Lounge, you can enjoy the beautiful marina view and catch the sunset while sipping a tasty drink. Beside cocktails, a great range of mocktails, shots, wines, spirits, juices, smoothies and delicious tapas style food are served. Dj nights on Thursday to Saturday.
Relax and enjoy your holiday at the Uncle Harry’s Bar which is located at Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa, a true paradise with a stunning surrounding with trees and plants. The pool is just a few step away and when the evening falls watch the sun go down while sipping a cocktail or two.
Maketi Fou (food market) on Apia’s Fugalei Street, is perfect for stocking up on fresh fruit like pawpaws and sweet little ladyfinger bananas. This market is always lively and visited by both Samoans and tourists that are looking for household goods or genuine produce such as coconut milk!
Old Apia Market – about a 10-minute walk from the food market – is a terrific souvenir haunt where you’ll find everything from clubs and kava bowls to lava-lavas (the Samoan sarong), baskets, jewellery and authentic Samoan music. It´s the place to go to look for souvenirs and to discover a bit more the Samoan culture!
Mena is a local fashion brand that specializes on fun and vibrant women's clothing. The brand is well-known in Samoa and enjoys popularity as well as a good reputation among locals, but also among the visitors that discover Mena directly on site and just can´t get enough of its colourful, high-quality clothes!
If you're looking to stock up on peculiar souvenirs from Samoa, take a look at the Pacific Jewel Gift Shop and browse through its many items - from artworks to small souvenirs (all locally produced)! The Polynesian style that permeates every item is sometimes tempered by a modern design, without attenuating its uniqueness, though.
Four minutes outside of Apia you will find this gallery where they exhibit and sell contemporary and traditional Samoan art works and handcrafts, all done by reputable artists and artisans. Buy the perfect pieces of art or jewellery to bring back home as a memory from your exotic trip on Samoa.
The main entry point into Samoa is Faleolo International Airport, located 40 km from Apia, on the island of Upolu. Airport shuttles are provided to the major hotels and can be booked prior to arrival or organised when you arrive after clearing customs. Taxis are also available, furthermore, if your flight is arriving during the day, then you can catch a local bus into Apia from the main gate of the airport. There are no set timetables, unfortunately, but the departures from both the city and the airport are usually synchronised with the flights!
Have fun exploring Samoa inexpensively by local bus! Buses come in a variety of colour schemes but you will notice that all the seating is wooden. If the bus is full when you board locals will sit on a person’s lap and if it’s heading into either Apia or Salelologa, the locals will often be carrying their produce to the markets. The are no bus stops around the islands, so just wave down a bus if you want to get on, and when you want to get off simply pull the cord to ring the buzzer. You pay your fare as you leave the bus.
The Samoa Shipping Corporation runs the passenger/vehicle ferry between the main islands of Upolu and Savaii. The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu, near the international airport, while for the return journey the ferry departs from the Salelologa Wharf on Savaii. The trip takes one hour each way and you can purchase your ticket directly at the wharf!
There is a wide variety of car hire companies in Samoa, but Discovery Rentals is one of the companies offering great price and service. To drive in Samoa, you need to validate your foreign driver’s license by taking it to the Ministry of Works Transport & Infrastructure in Apia or to the Transport Control Board office in Vaitele, near the Vailima factory. Some rental car companies may assist you in the process of getting your license endorsed. There are 24 rental car companies to choose from and you could hire everything from sedans and soft top 4WDs to 12-seater vans, if you´re part of a big group. Don´t forget that all vehicles are right hand drive!