Samoa FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Samoa

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FAQ's about Samoa

Everyone always asks me heaps of questions about the countries and places I've been. I've decided to do a FAQ page for all the countries I've visted and because it is so recent and I've been asked so many questions about Samoa, this is where I'm starting.

Please let me know in the comments sections anything you would like to know and I will attempt to answer it. Samoa is stunning and one of my most highly recommended destinations especially for those Aussies out there.

General Samoa FAQ's

Is Samoa Safe?

Resoundingly YES!

Of course like anywhere Samoa does have crime but their crime rate is very low and mostly related to residential break ins and theft.

Apia the capital city would have the majority of occurrences of theft and drug possession, however we didn't see anything even remotely threatening either during the day or in the evenings. We stayed away from bars for the most part (they just aren't our scene) but travelled all over both islands and never had a challenge or felt unsafe anywhere.

How long should I stay in Samoa?

I would recommend a two week stay for most people. There is so much to see and do and in two weeks you can experience most (if not all) that Samoa has to offer and get a few beach days in there as well. 

Is Samoa a great place for families?

Absolutely! Samoa is easy to get around, their own families usually have multiple children and almost all of the activities you can do in Samoa will be suitable for kids. There are some great small resorts that are family focused and the people are lovely. Be aware however that a lot of what you will do in Samoa is based around the ocean which might mean you judge it to be not suitable for toddlers.

Do I need a hire car for Samoa?

I would say yes, however there are available day tours with Samoan Highland Adventures that are quite affordable. These tours are on the main island of Upolo and if you decide you don't want to be driving everywhere, we used them for multiple days and loved them. If you are planning to go to Savaii I would definitely recommend a hire car. The resorts are more remote and while we loved taking the buses it will use a lot of time waiting for them to fill up before they leave.

Hire cars in Samoa are not cheap however and start from around $70 per day.

Don't forget to get your excess reduction from Rental Cover so not to pay the extortionate rate at the rental desk to reduce your excess.

NB: You will still have to pay the excess to the hire car company and then claim it back, but its WAY cheaper to do it this way than pay the hideous rate the hire car company will offer you.

Where should I stay in Samoa?

We stayed in Apia for a 5 days and did 3 day tours, a fishing trip and did the markets and the town as well with no hire car. We then hired a car from the Airport and spent another 10 days between Savii and the west coast of Upolo with the car.

So about 9 days on Upolo and another 5 on Savaii. You could split them evenly, however we wanted a few days RnR on both islands so did 3 days at Matareva Beach Fales on Upolo and then 3 days at Le Lagoto Resort and Spa on Savaii.

If you have a car or are going to do some day tours to see all that Upolo has to offer, you could easily stay in Upolo for 5-7 days and then move over to Savaii for another week. Apia does have some nice hotels:

HOWEVER – I would recommend staying beachside in a Fale for at least a few nights. Samoan time is something you need to embrace to really make the most of your holidays and sleeping in a Fale will do that.

I would recommend Matareva Beach Fales on the western edge of Upolo. Its close to the Giant Clam sanctuary which is a must, and is very affordable. The Fales are around $110 AUD per night but that is for 2 people and INCLUDES your breakfast and dinner. Lunch can be ordered on site or you can venture out and eat wherever you are that day.

It is truely the most relaxing place and you can just step out of your fale and into the ocean and snorkel away. BLISS!

There are Fale's all around the island, however mostly they are day use only as they don't often have bathroom facilities nearby. They are affordable for your day at the beach however and great for staying out of the sun and in the cool during that mid day period. Just take one that is free and usually someone from the village will find you to take your money. They ranged from 24 Thala for the day when we were there. Around $13 AUD

What are the must see things to do in Samoa?

Here are the things you should not miss:

If you have time:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
  • Papaseea Sliding Rocks (however they aren't that slippery)
  • Museum of Samoa
  • A Church service (I can highly recommend a Christmas day service)

To-Sua Ocean Trench FAQ's

Is To Sua Ocean Trench Worth It?

A lot of people have asked if To-Sua is too crowded and/or over rated.

We were very fortunate in that we visited Samoa in the wake of a horrible measles outbreak so it was very quiet. Bad for Samoa. Great for us. This meant that at times we were the only people swimming in To-Sua Ocean Trench. That was amazing.

Yes I'm sure it is usually a lot busier than it was for us, however it always pays to remember that some tourist destinations are popular because they are amazing, no matter how many people are there.

I would recommend going early or late to miss the crowds and just remember to enjoy. Swim across the trench, hang off the cables, snorkel in the shallows and make the most of your time there. There is no time restrictions so you can swim for hours if you want to. YES it is worth it. It is stunning. Read More on To-Sua

How Deep Is To-Sua Ocean Trench?

The trench is 30 meters deep at its deepest point, however there is a shallow rocky beach at one end of the swimming hole where you can snorkel up and just sit in the shallows. There are also 2 cables that cross the swimming hole to hang on to.

While the water hole itself is calm, there can be a current at both ends of the pool that can be very noticable.

At the shallow end of the pool you can feel the tide washing you up against the rocks and at the ocean end that pull could be considerable on an outgoing tide. You are unlikely to get “sucked in” but the current will be there. In the center of the pool you can't feel the current at all, however there is only a small timber platform so you need to be sure your children are capable swimmers with proper floatation devices so they don't hog the platform making it difficult for others to get in and out of the water.

Is To-Sua Ocean Trench suitable for children?

I would say children over 10 would be no problem, provided they have excellent supervision and are good swimmers with the approrpriate protection. Smaller children would also be fine provided you are with them at all times. There is NO LIFE GUARD ON DUTY and this is a tidal pool.

I can't see children would have any trouble but this isn't somewhere you can take your eyes off them either.

How much does it cost to get into To Sua?

Admission to To-Sua Ocean Trench is very affordable.

2020 Prices:

Adults : $ST 20 (around $10 AUD)

Children 6-11 years : $ST 10

Children under 6 : F R E E

When is To Sua Trench open?

To-Sua's website states that they are open:

Monday-Saturday 8.30am-5.00pm

Sunday 12.30pm-5pm

Sundays are very spiritual days in Samoa so I didn't expect them to be open at all on Sundays. Maybe check when you go just in case.

What else is at the site?

As well as the Ocean Trench, on site there are multiple Fale's for relaxing or having a family picnic.

There is a rock pool suitable for kids provided the ocean isn't too rough.

There are also blow holes (take care with the kids) and a small beach that you could swim or fish from as well. The gardens are also lovely and you could spread out your blanket and have an afternoon siesta should you wish to.

What is the dress code for To-Sua Ocean Trench?

Samoa is very conservative, so while you are most welcome to wear your swimmers or bikini in the water, please cover up immediately you get out of the pool and up the ladder.

It is not appropriate for you to be wandering the grounds in a swimsuit. Please put clothing back on asap you are out of the trench.

Can I take photos at To-Sua Ocean Trench?

Yes, however drones are banned as is commercial photography.

I was taking some photos with my good camera and a security guard did approach me, however just asked what they were for. I just told him they were holiday photos (which they were) and he was fine with that and wandered off.

We also were using our GoPro's in the swimming hole with no trouble.

Is To-Sua Ocean Trench accessible for disability visitors?

You can easily access the grounds and gardens of the site yes, however the ladder down to the trench is steep and slippery so you won't be able to get down into the swimming hole no.

I also wouldn't recommend it if you are unstable on your feet.

Shoes are a great idea for the ladder (sand shoes or something that is tied onto your feet with rubber soles). You can just remove them and leave them on the platform when you go into the water but the ladder is very steep and the rungs are tough on your feet so shoes makes it very easy.

Also be very careful on the bottom 3 or 4 rungs as they can be mossy and slippery.

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She's always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.

FAQ's for Savaii

Savaii (the larger but way less populated Samoan Island) is in my opinion lovelier than Upolu.

Upolo has a lot of the attractions like the Ocean Trench, Piulia Cave Pool, & The Giant Clam Sanctuary but Savaii is beautiful.

It felt way more rural and we loved the quieter lifestyle in Savaii. We spent around 9 days on Upolo and 5 on Savaii and found that was perfect.

Savaii has the Lava fields to see, a swimming with the turtles area (we didn't go – I'm a bit weird about animals in captivity), the markets are great and there are so many beautiful beaches you can just grab a Fale and spend the day.

We also did Christmas day in Fagamalo and attended church for the Christmas day service. It was amazing. I'm not religious at all but we always try to do what the locals do for special days and we all loved it. We had 3 18 year old boys with us and they also loved it. We did this church and they were lovely. So welcoming and insisted we have the front row even!

What is there so do on Savaii?

Savaii has heaps to do like Upolo, however a lot of Savaii's attractions are a little less known than the main ones on Upolo. Check out my 31 Amazing things to do in Samoa for a list of what you should see while you are there.

  • Alogaaga Blowholes are very cool.  They are located on the South Eastern area of Savaii in the area known as Palauli.
  • Afu Aau Waterfalls is a great place for a swim. The walk into the waterfall is lovely and only a short walk of aprox 400 meters.  There are three sets of waterfalls with the two bottom ones being cascades really I guess.
  • Mount Matavanu – you can get into the base of Mt Matavanu with a good clearance 4wd and then hike up to the crater. Don't attempt it without a guide. There is no path to speak of and drops off are everywhere. It is beautiful and not a super difficult hike, but you can't see where you are for most of the way. Samoa has no snakes so you are fine on that front. Its about 5-6 km I would say return.
  • Paia Dwarfs Cave is pretty cool. Its on the northern side central coast
  • Mu Pagoa Waterfall. This is amazing. Its a waterfall that drops onto a black sand beach in the ocean. If the tide is right you can get down onto the sand, but only if the tide is right.
  • Saleaula Lava Fields is worth a visit.
  • And of course there are many many beaches to just waste the day.

How long should I stay on Savaii?

I would say you will need at least 5 days. If you are a cyclist (and not a mad road cyclist – just basic cycling is ok) you could cycle the circumference of Savaii staying at local accomodation along the way.

If not, its easy to group things to see together and do two or three a day. Add in a couple of beach days and a week wouldn't be too long.

Plan out what you would like to do and add an extra few days in for relaxing. Don't forget a lot of things in Samoa are closed on Sundays.

Do I need a hire car for Savaii?

You can bring the car over on the ferry so yes a car would make things easier.

The buses run the circumference of the island and often, so if time isn't a concern and you can get your accommodation to pick you up off the ferry, you can use the buses easily.

How much does the ferry cost to get to Savaii?

The ferry prices are $24 per person for a walk on (return trip) and from $160 WST for cars (return).

1 Thala is aproximately 50c AUD.

This post has the ferry info about half way down the page.

Crossing from Upolo to Savaai Samoa
This is the water on the crossing from Upolo to Savaai on the ferry!

If you have any other questions about Samoa, be sure to get in touch. I'd be happy to answer what I can.