Fossick City Guides
A local's travel guide to Samoa
Travel guide brought to by Isabelle Darcy
Last updated 17 September 2013
Introduce me to Samoa, South Pacific
Long white beaches on the south coast.
Samoa has nice beaches with coconut trees hanging over them, warm waters, and a coral reef surrounding the main island of Upolu. Savaii is a bigger, less inhabited island that can be explored for a more traditional experience. There are only a few places to stay on Savaii, but it is better for SCUBA diving and sea turtle viewing.
On the main island there is a reef a little ways out in the ocean, although there are some spots that it’s closer. The northern part of the island has limited beaches due to the large amount of volcanic rock. There are stretches of long white beaches on the southern part of the island, and this is where all of the tourist attractions are. Beaches that are not on resort land will require permission from the villages and they may even make you pay a small fee (only a couple tala which is about one dollar). More recreation is offered at the Sua Ocean Trench in Lotofaga village this is a huge, bright blue swimming hole in the middle of the jungle nature gardens.
There are plenty of nice restaurants in the resorts with views of the ocean. The only other restaurants are located in Apia, the capital. China has given lot of money in recent years to build it up and make the city look nicer, and slowly the streets are getting cleaner.
Most restaurants are downtown a block or so from the ocean. These boast great people watching and good food, but they can be noisy and dirty with peddlers nearby. Out on a small peninsula there are three nice restaurants with water views, and three more surrounding the wharf.
A drive up and across the island will bring you through very dense bushes as well as banana/coconut plantations. The views are pleasant down the slow, winding roads. There are very few people inhabiting this area.
Downsides to Samoa?
There are limited food choices around town. The prices at the supermarkets are high which makes it necessary to eat nearly all meals at restaurants (whether in resorts or otherwise).
There is a lack of quality public transportation and unreliable car rental resources. Once you are downtown it is easy to walk most everywhere, but if using a car rental you may get in a bind and not have help for hours.
From December to March there are occasionally some bad hurricanes.
Where to stay in Samoa
There is accommodation dotted all across the islands, from very basic fales to 5 star resorts. Fales are a local form of accommodation and usually quite inexpensive and right on the beach. A fale is an open, one roomed hut, with a thatched roof, protective blinds on the walls and mosquito netting. There is bedding and usually some meals are provided.
How long to go for
It depends on your pace. You could take anywhere from five ambitiously filled days to two leisurely weeks to explore both islands and get some relaxation in. You could fit most of the attractions into about a week if you wanted to spend a day checking out the markets and restaurants downtown, a day at the beach, a day swimming at the Sua Ocean Trench and nature viewing, a half a day visiting memorials and churches around the island, half a day seeing the countryside, and maybe a few days scuba diving and seeing the turtles of Savaii.
There is a food market in downtown Apia where families sleep in their prime selling stalls to ensure they keep the spots. Also downtown is a big clothing, jewelry and other wares market, but it is deserted on Sundays (like everything else). There are also a lot of stands all along every road. Several chain supermarkets are in Apia, but nowhere else on the island.
Getting around in Samoa
Taxis are available everywhere, but they are known to charge white people much more than anyone else. Busses run back and forth from Apia to the villages around the island. Buses are older, open-air, crowded, and run on island time. Rental cars are a good option if you plan to explore outside of Apia,. Roads and services can be quite basic.
Last updated 17 September 2013
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Samoa in Pictures Images by panoramio
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