- The Online Guide to Travel Samoa on a Budget - Thrifty Travel Tips for an Affordable Escape

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Western Samoa Travel Notes

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Western Samoa Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Visiting Samoa on a budget is possible with cost-effective options available for transportation, accommodation, and managing expenses.

About Samoa

Samoa is a popular Pacific Island destination known for its warm, friendly culture and breathtaking scenery. The tropical climate ensures warm temperatures year-round.

It is less than four hours from Auckland and about five hours from Sydney and Brisbane, making it easily accessible for travellers from Australia and New Zealand.

Travel Map Mapping Samoa

Map of Samoa

Map of Samoa

Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) consists of two large islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and seven smaller islands.

Most Samoans live in small coastal villages and rely heavily on fishing.

Samoa Overview

Samoa, officially known as the Independent State of Samoa, is a Polynesian island country located in the South Pacific Ocean.

Apia, the capital and largest city, is situated on the island of Upolu.


Samoan culture is deeply rooted in fa'a Samoa, which translates to 'The Samoan Way'.

This cultural identity encompasses various aspects of life, including family structure, respect for elders, communal living, and traditional arts such as dance, music, and tattooing.


Agriculture, tourism, and remittances from Samoans living abroad are key components of Samoa's economy.

Important agricultural products include coconut, cocoa, and taro.

Tourism is growing steadily, with visitors drawn to Samoa's natural beauty and cultural heritage.


Samoa is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, including lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and vibrant coral reefs.

The islands are volcanic in origin, with Upolu and Savai'i featuring rugged mountainous terrain.


Samoa has a rich history that includes early settlement by Polynesian voyagers, European exploration and colonisation, and eventual independence.

The country was colonised by Germany in the late 19th century and later administered by New Zealand until gaining independence in 1962.


The official languages of Samoa are Samoan and English.

Samoan is widely spoken throughout the country and is considered a vital aspect of Samoan identity.


In Samoa, the Head of State (O le Ao o le Malo) is elected by the Fono, which is the Samoan Parliament.

The election process involves a joint sitting of the Legislative Assembly and the Council of Deputies.

The Head of State is elected for a term of five years and can serve a maximum of three terms.

The election process is designed to ensure that the Head of State represents the consensus of the Samoan people and is conducted with great care and consideration.


Religion plays a significant role in Samoan society, with Christianity being the dominant faith.

The largest Christian denominations in Samoa are the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS), the Roman Catholic Church, and the Methodist Church.


Traditional Samoan tattooing, known as tatau, holds great cultural significance.

Tattoos are seen as a rite of passage and symbolise social status, cultural identity, and personal stories.

Samoan tattoo artists, known as tufuga ta tatau, use traditional hand-tapping methods to create intricate designs.

Visiting Samoa

Samoa offers visitors a blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.


Samoa offers a range of accommodation options, including luxury resorts, boutique hotels, budget guesthouses, and traditional beach fales (simple beachfront huts).

Whether you prefer luxury or a more authentic experience, there's something for budget.

Best Time to Visit

Samoa enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round.

The dry season, from May to October, is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring.

However, even during the wet season (November to April), rain showers are usually brief, and the landscape is lush and green.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in Samoan culture by attending traditional dance performances, participating in cultural tours, and sampling local cuisine; which includes dishes like palusami (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) and fresh seafood.

Getting There

Samoa is serviced by Faleolo International Airport (APW), located on Upolu Island, near the capital city of Apia.

Direct flights are available from various international destinations, including New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and the United States.

Outdoor Activities

Samoa offers various outdoor activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, and kayaking.

Explore coral reefs, hike through lush rainforests, or surf world-class waves.

Responsible Travel

Respect local customs and traditions, support local businesses, and practice responsible tourism by minimising your environmental impact.

Travel Requirements

Ensure you have a valid passport and check visa requirements based on your nationality.

Most visitors to Samoa are granted a 60-day visa upon arrival.

Exploring Upolu and Savai'i

The two main islands of Upolu and Savai'i offer diverse landscapes and attractions.

Upolu Highlights


Explore the capital city, visit markets, museums, and historical sites like the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.

Lalomanu Beach

Relax on one of Samoa's most beautiful beaches, known for its crystal-clear waters and powdery white sand.

Piula Cave Pool

Swim in a natural freshwater pool located within a lava tube.

To Sua Ocean Trench

Descend into a stunning natural swimming hole surrounded by lush tropical gardens.

Upolu's waterfalls

Visit the Sopoaga Falls, Papapapaitai Falls, and Togitogiga Waterfall.

Savai'i Highlights

Afu Aau Waterfall

Swim in the refreshing pool beneath this picturesque waterfall.

Alofaaga Blowholes

Witness powerful seawater geysers created by waves crashing into lava tubes along the coast.

Falealupo Canopy Walk

Walk among the treetops on a suspended bridge in the lush rainforest.

Saleaula Lava Fields

Explore the remnants of volcanic eruptions, including lava tubes and the ruins of a church buried by lava.

Tips for Traveling to Samoa on a Budget

Samoa offers budget-friendly options for travellers, making it possible to have an affordable escape without compromising on experiences.

Travelling to Samoa on a budget is feasible, with various cost-effective options available for transportation, accommodation, and managing expenses.

By considering these thrifty travel tips, it's possible to have an affordable escape to the stunning tropical paradise of Samoa.


Samoa has affordable accommodation options for budget travellers, including beach fales; open-air bungalows typical to the region.

These beach fales often include dinner and breakfast in their prices; making them a budget-friendly choice for accommodation.

 Budget-Friendly Places to Stay

Recommended budget places to stay in Samoa include the Insel Fehmarn Hotel in Apia, Taufua Beach Fales in Lalomanu, and Namua Island Beach Fales; which offer affordable options with meals included .

Currency and Expenses

The local currency in Samoa is the Samoan Tala, and it's advisable to exchange money to the local currency or withdraw cash from ATMs at the airport, as the country is primarily cash-based.

It's important to note that there are not many restaurants in Samoa, especially in Savaii, so it's recommended to be prepared for this when budgeting for food expenses.


Renting a bike is a cost-effective way to get around Samoa, given its relatively quiet roads and short distances between destinations.

Cycling is a safe, fun, and free way to explore beaches, villages, plantations, and waterfalls in Samoa.

About Western Samoa

Before World War I, Western Samoa was held by the Germans, and Eastern Samoa by the Americans.

At the start of the First World War, New Zealand forces entered Western Samoa and continued to administer the islands until Western Samoa achieved independence on January 1st, 1962.

If you speak English then you'll have no worries in Western Samoa, as it's the official language; along with Samoan.

The Samoans

The Samoans are the second largest group of the Polynesian people, after the Maori of New Zealand.

Upolu Island

Upolu is the main island in Samoa, although Savai'i is the largest.

Of the seven smaller islands that make up Samoa, only Apolima and Manono, are inhabited.

Exploring Upolu is easy, with a good coastal road and several roads crossing the middle of Upolu connecting Apia with the south coast.


Apia, the capital of Samoa, is on Upolu.

Map of Apia

Map of Apia

Apia has a large selection of hotels, inns and motels. Quite a few are pretty ordinary hotels in out of the way locations and aimed more at visiting Samoans and businessmen than tourists.

Samoa Airways, formerly Polynesian Airlines, is the state-owned flag carrier airline of Samoa with flights between New Zealand, Australia and Samoa.

Visit Samoa

Less than four hours from Auckland and about five hours from Sydney and Brisbane, Samoa is renowned for its natural beauty, genuine hospitality and stunning adventures.

Samoa's natural wonders of waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, volcanoes and miles of white sand beaches beckon the adventurer seeking peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of modern society.

Plan your trip to Samoa and create special memories to last a lifetime.

Where to Stay in Samoa

Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows

Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's

Aggie Grey's Hotel: Main Beach Road, Apia, Samoa.

Overlooking Apia Harbor, this colonial-style hotel with an elegant marble lobby is a fifteen-minute walk from the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve.

Gary Cooper stayed at Aggie Grey's. So did William Holden, Raymond Burr, Cheryl Ladd, Robert Morley, Marlon Brando, Denholm Elliot, Ian Richardson and Royal Families.

Many a Joe Citizen has stayed at the Sheraton Samoa as well; felt like a star and been treated like royalty.

Hotels on Samoa's Upolu Island.

Samoa Travel Tips

Staying at one of the locally run beach fales around Samoa is a great way to see the natural beauty of the country and to immerse yourself in the local culture.

There are few beach resorts outside of Apia Town, but at least twenty beach fales, so this is the way to go for backpackers and discerning travellers.

The Samoa Hotel Association, on Beach Road, represents all accommodation and hotels in Samoa from luxury resorts to backpacker lodgings.


Savai'i is the third the largest Polynesian island, after Hawaii and New Zealand.

All visitors arrive at Salelologa, on the south-eastern point of Savai'i.

Five daily flights from Apia to Moata Airport take just 20 minutes. There are also ferries from Mulifanua Wharf, on the western side of Upolu.

American Samoa

American Samoa Travel Notes:
Six Polynesian islands, below the Equator, comprise the southern-most territory of the United States.

Islands of Samoa

Lonely Planet Rarotonga, Samoa & Tonga (Travel Guide) Islands of Samoa: Reference Map of Tutuila, Manu'A, 'Upolu, and Savai'I

Samoa Travel Guides - Samoa Maps.

Weather in The Pacific:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Pacific region.

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