Samoa - A Hidden Paradise
Rachel Chandler
Available for hire
A day by day guide to Samoa including both islands - Upolu and Savai’i 🏖️ Includes suggested daily activities 🤿🌊, places to visit 🥾🌴and stay 🏨🏕️ Ideal for solo travelers, backpackers or couples! Itinerary provided for 9 days but can be lengthened or shortened depending on your schedule and how many days you have in this beautiful country.
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Upolu

Apia is the capital city of Samoa, and is located on Upolu Island. Upolu island is the smaller of the two islands in size but is referred to as the main island as it is more populated and developed than Savai'i. One thing to note is that both islands are very quiet on a Sunday with the vast majority of restaurants and attractions closed.

The island is small and it only takes a few hours to drive all around, so it is possible to stay in one accommodation for your entire stay. I would still recommend moving around as it will give you longer to enjoy the beautiful island and activities, reducing the daily driving. 

A hire car is definitely the easiest option for transport around the island, however there are local buses you can use. The local buses operate on 'island time' and there is no set bus timetable and route in some of the quieter areas, making it difficult to plan. 

If you do decide to stay in one of the larger resorts, the majority do offer day trips to the main attractions. 

In terms of restaurants and places to eat, outside of Apia it’s a little bit more difficult than most places. A lot of the accommodation will include breakfast and dinner within the room rate, all the food we had was delicious! Some evenings we visited other resorts for food or lunch if we were driving between places, so there are options to choose from.

I would recommend always having cash on hand, a lot of the tourist attractions are within local villages and they charge a small entrance fees to the waterfalls etc and only take cash. Some of the smaller accommodations also only accept cash, the usually tell you at the time of booking. It’s worth using a cash point in Apia as we found the local pacific island ATMs didn’t accept international cards.

Day 1 and 2 - Apia

Apia is very small and quiet in comparison to most capital cities, but it is still worth a short visit. 

Rather than a set itinerary, I'm going to list a few different options of what you can do and see when staying in Apia.

There are also lots of waterfalls throughout the island, all the tourist spots are well signposted from the main roads, so it is easy to spot something and detour. 

Places to Visit

Samoa Cultural Village
@rachelchandler
Definitely one of our trip highlights! At the cultural village, you can join a cultural morning where they provide a introduction into Samoan culture and traditions. The activities include weaving a traditional plant, learning about their traditional cooking method, 'umu', traditional dancing and singing performance and you even get to see the famous tattooing technique, 'tatau'. It was a great way to start our trip and I would highly recommend!
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Piula Cave Pool
@rachelchandler
A great place to visit for a few hours in the afternoon. The water was crystal clear the day we visited and the views were incredible. We swam into the cave and it was definitely worth it, although at the far end it is pitch black. It is a popular local spot, so it can get a little busy so I would go during the school day rather than later in the afternoon. It is within a monastery, as you drive in you pay a small entrance fee and then can continue to the pool. If you did want to go for longer, you can hire day fale, which is similar to a beach hut and there is a café and shower facilities at the pool.
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Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
@rachelchandler
A poet, originally from Scotland but settled in Samoa and was well liked and respected by the local people. The botanical garden is behind where you can find a lovely hike to his burial site. It provides a great view of the island and is worth the walk - there are two routes and they are easily signposted.
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Vailima Botanical Garden
@rachelchandler
The botanical garden is behind the Robert Stevenson Museum, where you can find a lovely hike to his burial site. It provides a great view of the island and is worth the walk - there are two routes and they are easily signposted. There are also a few water spots, waterfall pools where you can swim after the hike to the viewing point.
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Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
@rachelchandler
Only 5 minutes from the centre of Apia - there is a deep blue hole surrounded by coral walls and lots of colourful fish. Snorkeling is best at high tide and you can hire a mask and snorkel if needed
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Papaseea Sliding Rocks
@rachelchandler
Brave Mother Nature’s waterslides, slide down these naturally formed rock slides.
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Accommodation

There are a few different options for accommodation, we stayed in two different places and both were good value for money. If you just want somewhere to use as a base while in Apia, I would recommend either. There are also resorts available if you are looking for a more holiday and relaxing environment. 

Talofa Inn
@rachelchandler
A basic and clean Inn, centrally located in Apia and provided on site parking - can also arrange a hire car if you ask in advance. Provided a lovely breakfast each morning and the staff were very helpful.
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Olivias Accommodation
@rachelchandler
We only stayed one night, before catching our flight. Looked like a social hostel with shared facilities. Rooms were a decent size but extremely basic and were a little old, everything was clean.
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Places to Eat

There are a few different options for food within Apia, including local and international cuisines. 

Forest cafe
@rachelchandler
A great spot for lunch or an afternoon snack. The homemade food was delicious with a range of cakes and fresh fruit smoothies as well as proper meals i.e curry, lasagna and sandwiches. It is signposted from the road, the drive is a little bumpy with an unsealed entrance and a steep decline. We managed it fine with a small hire car and travelling at a slow speed. Being surrounded by nature and hearing the sounds of the forest including nearby waterfalls was worth it. They offer guided walks, but they need to be arranged in advance.
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The Pickled Lam Deli & Eatery
@rachelchandler
A great place for brunch or pizza's. The staff were really helpful and welcoming. They also had lot's of homemade cakes and freshly baked bread.
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Scalini's Restaurant
@rachelchandler
It is the same place as the Pickled Lamb Deli, but in the evening the menu changes. Definitely worth a visit.
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Pinati Restaurant
@rachelchandler
A local restaurant, serving traditional Samoan food. The majority of restaurants serve western cuisine, so a great option to try the local food. There isn't a menu but the food served changes daily, you can see the food options so can politely point to the dishes you would like to try. It is very cheap and a large amount of food served, a lot of the locals visit for lunch or dinner. It is homecooked and rustic, the meat dishes are often served with bone's but vegetarian options were also available.
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The Curry House Restaurant
@rachelchandler
Great food and a lovely terrace.
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Nourish Café
@rachelchandler
Great food and coffee! We went twice during our stay in Samoa, it was a lovely atmosphere and the food was good quality, with a range of different dishes for breakfast and lunch.
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Savai'i

Tips Before You Arrive

Savai'i is beautiful and has so many natural attractions, including waterfalls, turtles along the coast and hike's. I would recommend taking cash with you, as ATM's can be difficult to find, although there is one about a 2 minute drive from the port - ANZ. Our international cards didn't work in the Pacific Bank ATM's, but we didn't struggle to find an ANZ in both Apia and then immediately at the port in Savai'i.

A lot of the smaller accommodations, restaurants, shops, petrol stations and entrance fees are cash only. 

Petrol stations can be hard to find, especially in the quieter areas, so its best to plan. The island isn't very big and we managed to travel around with out needing to top up on fuel. 

Ferry Crossing

Catch the ferry from Upolu Ferry Terminal, approximately 45 minutes drive from Apia and near the airport. If you are collecting a hire car from the airport, you could go straight to Savai'i as the ferry crossings are regular. I'm glad we had a day or two to settle a little and visit the Cultural Centre so we had a better understanding of Samoan cultures and traditions, but either way would work. 

There are two different ferry options, check with the hire car company if you are driving over as some only allow their vehicles on the larger boat. The ferry journey is only about 1 hour, it is both for vehicles and pedestrians - boarding the ferry with a car was a little hectic, they direct you to a specific space based on the size of your vehicle and it is a squeeze, however they are pro's so if you follow the instructions you will be fine. 

I would recommend booking a vehicle in advance as they do book up fast as a lot of locals use the crossing daily. 

If you are walking on as a passenger, you can purchase a ticket on the day and get a local bus from Apia. 

Savai'i is larger than Upolu so I recommend staying in a few different accommodations, but if you did want one base it would be manageable. We moved each night and drove in a circuit around the island, which seemed to be the most popular way of doing things. 

If you fancy something a little different, you can hire bikes or join a tour and cycle around.

I'm going to outline the route we took, the activities each day and where we stayed but you could easily go in the reverse direction or mix it up if you didn't mind driving a little more. 

Day 3 

Start the day with catching the ferry, to make the most of the day in Savai'i I recommend arriving in the morning. Once you arrive, head to your accommodation but make a stop off on the way.

Stop1 :Saleaula Lava Field

Molten lava from the 1905-1911 Mt Matavanu eruption buried 5 villages under this wide barren lava flow. Half buried churches, a virgin grave and lava mounds (imprints of tree etc) can still be found as you walk over this fascinating geological expanse.

It’s a really cool place to visit and a beautiful coastal walk if you fancy something a little longer as it only takes around 30 minutes to explore the church and surrounding sites.

There is a small entrance fee and you get a brief introduction to the history of the area and the various different local tales about why the lava didn’t destroy the church and gravestone.

Accommodation

The majority of accommodation is locally run and food will be included in the rates. The larger hotels will often have restaurants on site.

Tailua Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
We stayed here for two nights and it was incredible. The Fales are right on the seafront and you can hear the sound of the waves throughout the night. The accommodation was basic but had electricity with power sockets, ideal for charging. These particular ones had a bed which is luxury as a lot of Fales only offer mats to sleep on. The coast is known for Turtles and right infront of the accommodation you could spot turtles in the sea. It was a great place for snorkelling as well, although it’s important to be careful as there is a strong tide around the island. The food was included and it was delicious, on our first night we had traditional Samaon dishes and the second was a chicken dish, equally tasty. We made friends with the other guests and played cards and shared travelling stories - it was a great place. We booked via Instagram Messenger.
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Slightly closer to the ferry port, is another great accommodation - we stayed here the night before our ferry departure. If you choose to stay here then visit stop 1 on your second day to prevent you from driving the same road twice as one road circles the island.

Amoa Resort Savaii
@rachelchandler
It was a lovely hotel, definitely one of the more expensive options but the pool and room were very clean and it did feel worth the extra money. The restaurant food was also to a high quality so a great option, close to the ferry port.
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Day 4

On your second day, continue to drive around the island and travelling to your next night accommodation. There are lots of stops you can make on the way, I’ve listed a few below.

Snorkelling

Manase - Turtle Coast
@rachelchandler
Depending on where you chose to stay for night 1 make sure you find the time to snorkel with the turtles and see the coral wall. There is also the opportunity to arrange a scuba dive.
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Pe'ape'a Cave
@rachelchandler
It’s a lava tube cave, easily located off the main road. A local guide takes you into the cave and you can hear the sounds of the swiftlet, a small bird, a unique nocturnal creature, that lives in the cave.
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Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge
@rachelchandler
This is a great stop for lunch or as an accommodation if you are travelling at a slower pace. They also provide guided tours of the Koko Plantation, which is across the road. The tour provides a history into the family business and the relationship between all farmers on the island. It provides a demonstration into the production of Koko and the partnership with Whitakers Chocolate. At the end of the tour you get the opportunity to try the Samaon drink, koko Samoa which is a version of hot chocolate - although very different in taste! Make sure you contact the hotel beforehand as the tours do not run everyday.
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Falealupo Canopy Walkway
@rachelchandler
The canopy walk is a highlight on the island, it offers a great walk and view of the island - an area with dense rainforest and circled by prestine, clear water. It has been previously closed for renovations, so make sure to check before arriving - although it’s only a short detour from the main road.
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Accommodation

Satuiatua Beach Fale
@rachelchandler
A great place to stop for the night - they have a lot of accommodation options with beach Fales and huts. The coast is also known as a great place to snorkel or just to enjoy the sunset. Once again they offer food included within the room rate, however you get to choose from a menu where normally there is only the one option for dinner. We booked via Facebook Messenger.
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Day 5

On day 5 continue around the rest of the island - today will be spectacular as you visit some of the best spots.

Alofaaga Blowholes
@rachelchandler
It’s easily navigated from the main road although the path to the blow hole is a little bumpy - we managed it fine in our hire car. As you drive along there is a small blowhole visible to your left but continue around the coastal path and you will see the main attraction. It is fascinating to watch with the waves crashing the shore and then the blow hole explosion. Be warned if you go to close you’ll get sprayed with the water.
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Afu Aau Waterfalls
@rachelchandler
It’s a beautiful spot to spend a few hours. There a number of different waterfalls, so easy to find a quiet spot. It’s also popular to swim in the pools, which is lovely on a hot day. There is a small car park and then a short 5 minute walk to the waterfall along a gravel path.
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Accommodation

I recommend spending one more night on the island and catching an early ferry back to Upolu so you can enjoy the day, however you could get a ferry back on day 5 if you would prefer.

Florence's Place
@rachelchandler
We didn’t stay here but heard great things. It’s a B&B and farm stay - they use all produce grown on their land to prepare your meals and the hosts are very welcoming. It’s ideally located near the ferry so will make it a convenient stay for catching a early ferry the following morning.
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Day 6

Wake up nice and early and catch an early ferry back to Upolu, it’s best to book the vehicle crossing in advance. In order to board the ferry, on arrival to the port you’ll see a long queue of cars - that’s where you’ll need to join before they open the gates at the boarding time.

Once you arrive back to Upolu, it’s time to continue your lap around the island - before arriving at your accommodation for the night.

Giant Clam Sanctuary
@rachelchandler
A unique spot to experience some snorkelling within a giant clam sanctuary.
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Accommodation

Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa
@rachelchandler
We opted to stay in a resort for a few nights but there are more budget friendly options. Although it was more expensive, the rooms were extremely spacious and the attention to detail was great. The on-site restaurant offered a varied selection of food throughout the day. If you didn’t want to complete a self drive tour of the island they offer tours to the main sights around the island.
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Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa
@rachelchandler
We didn’t stay here but did go for dinner and the food was delicious!
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Maninoa Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
A budget friendly accommodation, right on the beach.
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Day 7

A full day of exploring, with several spots to visit. In addition to the ones below there are plenty of smaller waterfalls you can visit, they are all signposted from the main road. The majority will charge a small fee and you will park and view the waterfall, rather than walk directly to it.

O Le Pupu-Pue National Park Ma Tree Carpark
@rachelchandler
The walk to the Ma Tree was great - it was within the rainforest so definitely recommend bug spray but it was a lovely short walk. It was around 15 minutes to the tree, there is a path to follow but it was a little overgrown although it’s still easy to follow. Would definitely recommend a short stop here.
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Coastal Walk

Opposite the car park for the Ma Tree walk, you’ll see the coastal walk signposted. I recommend driving to the car park rather than walking as it’ll take an hour to reach the coast and it’s through a field, via a gravel path. The coastal walk is a must do - the combination of lava rocks, the greenery and the turquoise sea, provides breathtaking views. The walk is around an hour return.

To Sua Ocean Trench
@rachelchandler
Probably one of the most well known spots in Samoa and it’s easy to understand why. It’s an amazing sight as you arrive to the trench and look down as the crystal clear water. In order to access the water you do have to climb down the ladder. There is a small place to leave belongings at the bottom so I would recommend just taking your valuables. The depth of the water depends on the tide as the water filters through from the ocean. There are also beach Fales so you can definitely relax and spend a few hours here.
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Accommodation

I recommend continuing around the coast and spending the night on the spectacular Laloman Beach.

Taufua Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
It’s a mixed accommodation with open or enclosed beach Fales as well as little apartments. The staff were so lovely and we were lucky enough to be there the night of their FiaFia - a traditional dance and entertainment. Most accommodations have one on a set night so it’s worth making sure you see one. We booked direct with the accommodation website.
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Day 8

On your last full day in Samoa, enjoy the award winning Laloman Beach, voted by Lonely Planet within the top 10 beaches in the world or visit Namu’a Island a short boat ride away.

In terms of accommodation, if your flight is in the afternoon on day 9 then you could stay one more night on the beach, before driving to the airport or head back to spend the evening in Apia.

Day 9

Say goodbye to Samoa, and have safe onwards travels.

Further Travels

If you want to explore more of the pacific islands then take a look at my itinerary for Fiji.

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Fiji - Yasawa Islands 🏝️
🏝️✨ Experience the ultimate paradise on Earth with an enchanting 2-week Fiji itinerary! (options to shorten or lengthen the itinerary are provided) 🌺🌊 Immerse yourself in a magical blend of vibrant cities, authentic village life, breathtaking beaches, and crystal-clear seas. Fiji has it all - from thrilling adventures to serene moments on the world's most beautiful shores! 🌴🏄‍♂️ Highlights 🗓️Day by day options of what to do and see 🍽️ Recommended places to eat 🏨Accommodation for all budgets 🚗Travel Options
Curated by Rachel Chandler
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CURATED BY
Rachel Chandler
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🌟✈️ In 2022, I took a leap of faith and bid farewell to my corporate job, embarking on a full-time travel adventure for an entire year! ğŸï¸ğŸŒğŸŽ‰ 🗺️🧭 I spent countless hours researching, curating, and crafting personalised itineraries for each destination, ensuring every moment of the journey was a perfect blend of exploration, local culture, top attractions, and delectable cuisine 🗓️🌮 💌 Now, I'm thrilled to share my tips, experiences, and itineraries with fellow adventurers like you! 🌈🤝🌏 If you're preparing for your next trip and finding the perfect destination, I'm here to guide and inspire you to make the most of your travels! 🚀🗺️🏄‍♀️ 💡 From insider recommendations to budget-friendly options, my goal is to help you unlock unforgettable experiences and create cherished memories while exploring the world! ğŸŒŸğŸŒ…ğŸžï¸ 🍽️ So, if you're eager to delve into local cultures, visit awe-inspiring attractions, and savor authentic cuisine—all within your means—join me on this incredible journey of wanderlust and adventure! 🍜🏰🏄‍♂️🌆 Let's make your next trip an extraordinary one! 🌠🌺✨
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Samoa - A Hidden Paradise
Rachel Chandler
Available for hire
A day by day guide to Samoa including both islands - Upolu and Savai’i 🏖️ Includes suggested daily activities 🤿🌊, places to visit 🥾🌴and stay 🏨🏕️ Ideal for solo travelers, backpackers or couples! Itinerary provided for 9 days but can be lengthened or shortened depending on your schedule and how many days you have in this beautiful country.
31 Places • 1 Save • ago
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Upolu

Apia is the capital city of Samoa, and is located on Upolu Island. Upolu island is the smaller of the two islands in size but is referred to as the main island as it is more populated and developed than Savai'i. One thing to note is that both islands are very quiet on a Sunday with the vast majority of restaurants and attractions closed.

The island is small and it only takes a few hours to drive all around, so it is possible to stay in one accommodation for your entire stay. I would still recommend moving around as it will give you longer to enjoy the beautiful island and activities, reducing the daily driving. 

A hire car is definitely the easiest option for transport around the island, however there are local buses you can use. The local buses operate on 'island time' and there is no set bus timetable and route in some of the quieter areas, making it difficult to plan. 

If you do decide to stay in one of the larger resorts, the majority do offer day trips to the main attractions. 

In terms of restaurants and places to eat, outside of Apia it’s a little bit more difficult than most places. A lot of the accommodation will include breakfast and dinner within the room rate, all the food we had was delicious! Some evenings we visited other resorts for food or lunch if we were driving between places, so there are options to choose from.

I would recommend always having cash on hand, a lot of the tourist attractions are within local villages and they charge a small entrance fees to the waterfalls etc and only take cash. Some of the smaller accommodations also only accept cash, the usually tell you at the time of booking. It’s worth using a cash point in Apia as we found the local pacific island ATMs didn’t accept international cards.

Day 1 and 2 - Apia

Apia is very small and quiet in comparison to most capital cities, but it is still worth a short visit. 

Rather than a set itinerary, I'm going to list a few different options of what you can do and see when staying in Apia.

There are also lots of waterfalls throughout the island, all the tourist spots are well signposted from the main roads, so it is easy to spot something and detour. 

Places to Visit

Samoa Cultural Village
@rachelchandler
Definitely one of our trip highlights! At the cultural village, you can join a cultural morning where they provide a introduction into Samoan culture and traditions. The activities include weaving a traditional plant, learning about their traditional cooking method, 'umu', traditional dancing and singing performance and you even get to see the famous tattooing technique, 'tatau'. It was a great way to start our trip and I would highly recommend!
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Piula Cave Pool
@rachelchandler
A great place to visit for a few hours in the afternoon. The water was crystal clear the day we visited and the views were incredible. We swam into the cave and it was definitely worth it, although at the far end it is pitch black. It is a popular local spot, so it can get a little busy so I would go during the school day rather than later in the afternoon. It is within a monastery, as you drive in you pay a small entrance fee and then can continue to the pool. If you did want to go for longer, you can hire day fale, which is similar to a beach hut and there is a café and shower facilities at the pool.
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Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
@rachelchandler
A poet, originally from Scotland but settled in Samoa and was well liked and respected by the local people. The botanical garden is behind where you can find a lovely hike to his burial site. It provides a great view of the island and is worth the walk - there are two routes and they are easily signposted.
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Vailima Botanical Garden
@rachelchandler
The botanical garden is behind the Robert Stevenson Museum, where you can find a lovely hike to his burial site. It provides a great view of the island and is worth the walk - there are two routes and they are easily signposted. There are also a few water spots, waterfall pools where you can swim after the hike to the viewing point.
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Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
@rachelchandler
Only 5 minutes from the centre of Apia - there is a deep blue hole surrounded by coral walls and lots of colourful fish. Snorkeling is best at high tide and you can hire a mask and snorkel if needed
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Papaseea Sliding Rocks
@rachelchandler
Brave Mother Nature’s waterslides, slide down these naturally formed rock slides.
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Accommodation

There are a few different options for accommodation, we stayed in two different places and both were good value for money. If you just want somewhere to use as a base while in Apia, I would recommend either. There are also resorts available if you are looking for a more holiday and relaxing environment. 

Talofa Inn
@rachelchandler
A basic and clean Inn, centrally located in Apia and provided on site parking - can also arrange a hire car if you ask in advance. Provided a lovely breakfast each morning and the staff were very helpful.
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Olivias Accommodation
@rachelchandler
We only stayed one night, before catching our flight. Looked like a social hostel with shared facilities. Rooms were a decent size but extremely basic and were a little old, everything was clean.
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Places to Eat

There are a few different options for food within Apia, including local and international cuisines. 

Forest cafe
@rachelchandler
A great spot for lunch or an afternoon snack. The homemade food was delicious with a range of cakes and fresh fruit smoothies as well as proper meals i.e curry, lasagna and sandwiches. It is signposted from the road, the drive is a little bumpy with an unsealed entrance and a steep decline. We managed it fine with a small hire car and travelling at a slow speed. Being surrounded by nature and hearing the sounds of the forest including nearby waterfalls was worth it. They offer guided walks, but they need to be arranged in advance.
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The Pickled Lam Deli & Eatery
@rachelchandler
A great place for brunch or pizza's. The staff were really helpful and welcoming. They also had lot's of homemade cakes and freshly baked bread.
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Scalini's Restaurant
@rachelchandler
It is the same place as the Pickled Lamb Deli, but in the evening the menu changes. Definitely worth a visit.
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Pinati Restaurant
@rachelchandler
A local restaurant, serving traditional Samoan food. The majority of restaurants serve western cuisine, so a great option to try the local food. There isn't a menu but the food served changes daily, you can see the food options so can politely point to the dishes you would like to try. It is very cheap and a large amount of food served, a lot of the locals visit for lunch or dinner. It is homecooked and rustic, the meat dishes are often served with bone's but vegetarian options were also available.
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The Curry House Restaurant
@rachelchandler
Great food and a lovely terrace.
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Nourish Café
@rachelchandler
Great food and coffee! We went twice during our stay in Samoa, it was a lovely atmosphere and the food was good quality, with a range of different dishes for breakfast and lunch.
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Savai'i

Tips Before You Arrive

Savai'i is beautiful and has so many natural attractions, including waterfalls, turtles along the coast and hike's. I would recommend taking cash with you, as ATM's can be difficult to find, although there is one about a 2 minute drive from the port - ANZ. Our international cards didn't work in the Pacific Bank ATM's, but we didn't struggle to find an ANZ in both Apia and then immediately at the port in Savai'i.

A lot of the smaller accommodations, restaurants, shops, petrol stations and entrance fees are cash only. 

Petrol stations can be hard to find, especially in the quieter areas, so its best to plan. The island isn't very big and we managed to travel around with out needing to top up on fuel. 

Ferry Crossing

Catch the ferry from Upolu Ferry Terminal, approximately 45 minutes drive from Apia and near the airport. If you are collecting a hire car from the airport, you could go straight to Savai'i as the ferry crossings are regular. I'm glad we had a day or two to settle a little and visit the Cultural Centre so we had a better understanding of Samoan cultures and traditions, but either way would work. 

There are two different ferry options, check with the hire car company if you are driving over as some only allow their vehicles on the larger boat. The ferry journey is only about 1 hour, it is both for vehicles and pedestrians - boarding the ferry with a car was a little hectic, they direct you to a specific space based on the size of your vehicle and it is a squeeze, however they are pro's so if you follow the instructions you will be fine. 

I would recommend booking a vehicle in advance as they do book up fast as a lot of locals use the crossing daily. 

If you are walking on as a passenger, you can purchase a ticket on the day and get a local bus from Apia. 

Savai'i is larger than Upolu so I recommend staying in a few different accommodations, but if you did want one base it would be manageable. We moved each night and drove in a circuit around the island, which seemed to be the most popular way of doing things. 

If you fancy something a little different, you can hire bikes or join a tour and cycle around.

I'm going to outline the route we took, the activities each day and where we stayed but you could easily go in the reverse direction or mix it up if you didn't mind driving a little more. 

Day 3 

Start the day with catching the ferry, to make the most of the day in Savai'i I recommend arriving in the morning. Once you arrive, head to your accommodation but make a stop off on the way.

Stop1 :Saleaula Lava Field

Molten lava from the 1905-1911 Mt Matavanu eruption buried 5 villages under this wide barren lava flow. Half buried churches, a virgin grave and lava mounds (imprints of tree etc) can still be found as you walk over this fascinating geological expanse.

It’s a really cool place to visit and a beautiful coastal walk if you fancy something a little longer as it only takes around 30 minutes to explore the church and surrounding sites.

There is a small entrance fee and you get a brief introduction to the history of the area and the various different local tales about why the lava didn’t destroy the church and gravestone.

Accommodation

The majority of accommodation is locally run and food will be included in the rates. The larger hotels will often have restaurants on site.

Tailua Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
We stayed here for two nights and it was incredible. The Fales are right on the seafront and you can hear the sound of the waves throughout the night. The accommodation was basic but had electricity with power sockets, ideal for charging. These particular ones had a bed which is luxury as a lot of Fales only offer mats to sleep on. The coast is known for Turtles and right infront of the accommodation you could spot turtles in the sea. It was a great place for snorkelling as well, although it’s important to be careful as there is a strong tide around the island. The food was included and it was delicious, on our first night we had traditional Samaon dishes and the second was a chicken dish, equally tasty. We made friends with the other guests and played cards and shared travelling stories - it was a great place. We booked via Instagram Messenger.
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Slightly closer to the ferry port, is another great accommodation - we stayed here the night before our ferry departure. If you choose to stay here then visit stop 1 on your second day to prevent you from driving the same road twice as one road circles the island.

Amoa Resort Savaii
@rachelchandler
It was a lovely hotel, definitely one of the more expensive options but the pool and room were very clean and it did feel worth the extra money. The restaurant food was also to a high quality so a great option, close to the ferry port.
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Day 4

On your second day, continue to drive around the island and travelling to your next night accommodation. There are lots of stops you can make on the way, I’ve listed a few below.

Snorkelling

Manase - Turtle Coast
@rachelchandler
Depending on where you chose to stay for night 1 make sure you find the time to snorkel with the turtles and see the coral wall. There is also the opportunity to arrange a scuba dive.
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Pe'ape'a Cave
@rachelchandler
It’s a lava tube cave, easily located off the main road. A local guide takes you into the cave and you can hear the sounds of the swiftlet, a small bird, a unique nocturnal creature, that lives in the cave.
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Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge
@rachelchandler
This is a great stop for lunch or as an accommodation if you are travelling at a slower pace. They also provide guided tours of the Koko Plantation, which is across the road. The tour provides a history into the family business and the relationship between all farmers on the island. It provides a demonstration into the production of Koko and the partnership with Whitakers Chocolate. At the end of the tour you get the opportunity to try the Samaon drink, koko Samoa which is a version of hot chocolate - although very different in taste! Make sure you contact the hotel beforehand as the tours do not run everyday.
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Falealupo Canopy Walkway
@rachelchandler
The canopy walk is a highlight on the island, it offers a great walk and view of the island - an area with dense rainforest and circled by prestine, clear water. It has been previously closed for renovations, so make sure to check before arriving - although it’s only a short detour from the main road.
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Accommodation

Satuiatua Beach Fale
@rachelchandler
A great place to stop for the night - they have a lot of accommodation options with beach Fales and huts. The coast is also known as a great place to snorkel or just to enjoy the sunset. Once again they offer food included within the room rate, however you get to choose from a menu where normally there is only the one option for dinner. We booked via Facebook Messenger.
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Day 5

On day 5 continue around the rest of the island - today will be spectacular as you visit some of the best spots.

Alofaaga Blowholes
@rachelchandler
It’s easily navigated from the main road although the path to the blow hole is a little bumpy - we managed it fine in our hire car. As you drive along there is a small blowhole visible to your left but continue around the coastal path and you will see the main attraction. It is fascinating to watch with the waves crashing the shore and then the blow hole explosion. Be warned if you go to close you’ll get sprayed with the water.
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Afu Aau Waterfalls
@rachelchandler
It’s a beautiful spot to spend a few hours. There a number of different waterfalls, so easy to find a quiet spot. It’s also popular to swim in the pools, which is lovely on a hot day. There is a small car park and then a short 5 minute walk to the waterfall along a gravel path.
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Accommodation

I recommend spending one more night on the island and catching an early ferry back to Upolu so you can enjoy the day, however you could get a ferry back on day 5 if you would prefer.

Florence's Place
@rachelchandler
We didn’t stay here but heard great things. It’s a B&B and farm stay - they use all produce grown on their land to prepare your meals and the hosts are very welcoming. It’s ideally located near the ferry so will make it a convenient stay for catching a early ferry the following morning.
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Day 6

Wake up nice and early and catch an early ferry back to Upolu, it’s best to book the vehicle crossing in advance. In order to board the ferry, on arrival to the port you’ll see a long queue of cars - that’s where you’ll need to join before they open the gates at the boarding time.

Once you arrive back to Upolu, it’s time to continue your lap around the island - before arriving at your accommodation for the night.

Giant Clam Sanctuary
@rachelchandler
A unique spot to experience some snorkelling within a giant clam sanctuary.
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Accommodation

Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa
@rachelchandler
We opted to stay in a resort for a few nights but there are more budget friendly options. Although it was more expensive, the rooms were extremely spacious and the attention to detail was great. The on-site restaurant offered a varied selection of food throughout the day. If you didn’t want to complete a self drive tour of the island they offer tours to the main sights around the island.
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Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa
@rachelchandler
We didn’t stay here but did go for dinner and the food was delicious!
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Maninoa Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
A budget friendly accommodation, right on the beach.
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Day 7

A full day of exploring, with several spots to visit. In addition to the ones below there are plenty of smaller waterfalls you can visit, they are all signposted from the main road. The majority will charge a small fee and you will park and view the waterfall, rather than walk directly to it.

O Le Pupu-Pue National Park Ma Tree Carpark
@rachelchandler
The walk to the Ma Tree was great - it was within the rainforest so definitely recommend bug spray but it was a lovely short walk. It was around 15 minutes to the tree, there is a path to follow but it was a little overgrown although it’s still easy to follow. Would definitely recommend a short stop here.
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Coastal Walk

Opposite the car park for the Ma Tree walk, you’ll see the coastal walk signposted. I recommend driving to the car park rather than walking as it’ll take an hour to reach the coast and it’s through a field, via a gravel path. The coastal walk is a must do - the combination of lava rocks, the greenery and the turquoise sea, provides breathtaking views. The walk is around an hour return.

To Sua Ocean Trench
@rachelchandler
Probably one of the most well known spots in Samoa and it’s easy to understand why. It’s an amazing sight as you arrive to the trench and look down as the crystal clear water. In order to access the water you do have to climb down the ladder. There is a small place to leave belongings at the bottom so I would recommend just taking your valuables. The depth of the water depends on the tide as the water filters through from the ocean. There are also beach Fales so you can definitely relax and spend a few hours here.
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Accommodation

I recommend continuing around the coast and spending the night on the spectacular Laloman Beach.

Taufua Beach Fales
@rachelchandler
It’s a mixed accommodation with open or enclosed beach Fales as well as little apartments. The staff were so lovely and we were lucky enough to be there the night of their FiaFia - a traditional dance and entertainment. Most accommodations have one on a set night so it’s worth making sure you see one. We booked direct with the accommodation website.
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Day 8

On your last full day in Samoa, enjoy the award winning Laloman Beach, voted by Lonely Planet within the top 10 beaches in the world or visit Namu’a Island a short boat ride away.

In terms of accommodation, if your flight is in the afternoon on day 9 then you could stay one more night on the beach, before driving to the airport or head back to spend the evening in Apia.

Day 9

Say goodbye to Samoa, and have safe onwards travels.

Further Travels

If you want to explore more of the pacific islands then take a look at my itinerary for Fiji.

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Fiji - Yasawa Islands 🏝️
🏝️✨ Experience the ultimate paradise on Earth with an enchanting 2-week Fiji itinerary! (options to shorten or lengthen the itinerary are provided) 🌺🌊 Immerse yourself in a magical blend of vibrant cities, authentic village life, breathtaking beaches, and crystal-clear seas. Fiji has it all - from thrilling adventures to serene moments on the world's most beautiful shores! 🌴🏄‍♂️ Highlights 🗓️Day by day options of what to do and see 🍽️ Recommended places to eat 🏨Accommodation for all budgets 🚗Travel Options
Curated by Rachel Chandler
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CURATED BY
Rachel Chandler
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🌟✈️ In 2022, I took a leap of faith and bid farewell to my corporate job, embarking on a full-time travel adventure for an entire year! ğŸï¸ğŸŒğŸŽ‰ 🗺️🧭 I spent countless hours researching, curating, and crafting personalised itineraries for each destination, ensuring every moment of the journey was a perfect blend of exploration, local culture, top attractions, and delectable cuisine 🗓️🌮 💌 Now, I'm thrilled to share my tips, experiences, and itineraries with fellow adventurers like you! 🌈🤝🌏 If you're preparing for your next trip and finding the perfect destination, I'm here to guide and inspire you to make the most of your travels! 🚀🗺️🏄‍♀️ 💡 From insider recommendations to budget-friendly options, my goal is to help you unlock unforgettable experiences and create cherished memories while exploring the world! ğŸŒŸğŸŒ…ğŸžï¸ 🍽️ So, if you're eager to delve into local cultures, visit awe-inspiring attractions, and savor authentic cuisine—all within your means—join me on this incredible journey of wanderlust and adventure! 🍜🏰🏄‍♂️🌆 Let's make your next trip an extraordinary one! 🌠🌺✨
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