Samoa has been on my bucketlist for quite some time now, and I’m beyond fulfilled after finally traveling there! Chances are if you’re reading this you already know where it is and what’s mostly there, but for generality, I’ll start from the top!
For starters, there are two “Samoa’s” and they’re separated by the International Date Line; one that’s it’s own independent country, and one that’s governed by America (obv named “American Samoa”). In this post, I am talking about independent Samoa.
So this Samoa is located across the International Date Line which is important when booking flights from the U.S. and eastward, because you gain an entire day. This is mostly only important when booking flights and attempting to schedule calls back home (if you’re a work-a-holic like me).
Anyway! It’s a Polynesian country located in the South Pacific, where all the rest of the remote, exotic, glorious islands are that I love so much. I’ll get into why I love Polynesian culture and landscape in another post, but do know that the culture on these islands is as incredible as the sights!
Like most places I venture to, I rented a car to truly and in-depthly explore the island of Upolo (one of the two main big islands), and this itinerary is created based where I went! I covered a lot of ground, some places that aren’t even listed on tours, so I hope it helps on your adventure to Samoa!
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Here’s some of the places included in the itinerary for your quick reference:
- To Sua Ocean Trench
- Togiogiga Waterfall
- Vavau Beach
- Sliding Rocks Waterfall
- Lalomanu Beach
- Turtle Snorkeling at Coconut’s
- FiaFia Show at Sliema
- Fuipisia Falls
- Togiogiga Falls
- Apia Craft and Food Market
- Live Music and Dinner
Samoa Island Day 1
Arrive and get settled! Depending on when your flight gets in, you’ll probably want to get straight to your accommodation and settle in. I got in later — around 6pm, so definitely wanted to get to my hotel before it got dark (which it did, and which was terrifying to drive in).
If you have some time before it starts to get dark, opt to stop by a grocery store in Apia to pick up some food and drinks for your room! Trader Jack’s has a great selection (including wine and beer), as well as some local produce markets if you’re up for it.
Spend the first evening talking to the staff members at your accommodation and getting a feel for their culture and the island, as you taste your first raw fish dish or barbecue!
Samoa Island Day 2
If you’re staying in Apia, check out the daily craft and food market right in town before heading a little West to Sliding Rocks waterfall!
This was probably my favorite waterfall because of how many little pools you could swim in, and also because duh, it’s a natural waterslide!
It costs $20 tala (about $7USD) to enter and you’ll be advised to leave valuables locked in the car. Make sure there’s enough water in the falls/pools to slide into before you do it! I didn’t end up doing the big one because I didn’t think the pool below was deep enough!
Spend the rest of the day eating and hanging out in Apia and get ready for a full day of adventures tomorrow!
Samoa Island Day 3
Head South on the Cross Island Road, stopping at Papapateitui for a quick viewpoint. It’s said to be the “longest” waterfall in Samoa, but will look rather small because of how far away it is!
Keep going South until you reach the “Main South Coast Road” and head allllll the way East! There’s a couple beautiful waterfalls to stop at for some more great viewpoints including Fiupisia Falls and Sopo’aga Falls. Both cost between $10-20 Tala to view since they are on local’s property.
After that it’s one of the main events, the Instagram-made-Famous To Sua Ocean Trench! I put this last because usually hightide is later in the day and you definitely want to go during hightide! You can check the local hightide schedule here.
To Sua translates to “Hole with Water” and was formed when a volcanic cave’s roof collapsed, and under it was water from the ocean that comes in and out through a small opening inside the cave.
To Sua also costs $20 Tala which is one hell of a deal considering not only how beautiful it is, but also that you can swim in it and enjoy the entire park it’s located on for a few hours or more!
It’s safe to swim in but you need to hold onto ropes during hightide due to the strong current. You can dive/jump off the platform AT YOUR OWN RISK, but I wouldn’t advise doing it from the ladder. The ladder is sturdy but can get slippery, so be sure to go down carefully and slowly!
The park around To Sua is almost equally as gorgeous as the trench! There are several fala’s (little huts to lounge on) all around, including overlooking the dramatic cliffs and ocean. There’s also Blowing Rocks, and some lava cave pools, but you can only go down to them during low tide.
Oh and there’s another ocean trench called “To Lo Sua” which translates to “Hole with No Water”, that you’ll see when you first enter. And also probably see why no one really talks about it. It’s still cool to see how many lush plants grow down it’s sides though!
NOTE: The grounds that To Sua are on have religious cultural significance, so you’ll be advised to dress appropriately when walking around, and to only wear swim wear in the trench or beach areas.
Samoa Islands Day 4
Hope you’re ready for a stunning beach day, because there are two near each other that cannot be missed! If you can, I would reserve an entire day for these beaches, and possibly even a night’s stay at one of the beach fale’s!
Head towards Vavau beach first, which is a bit hidden, so be on the lookout for a small sign and dirt road. It’s a local’s beach, so it’s not the easiest thing to find, and GPS doesn’t point in the right direction.
Hang at this epic island-beach for a while before heading to the star of the island; Lalomanu.
You’ll start seeing tons of beach fale’s and some restaurants, and you can pretty much stop at any since it’s a long stretch of white sandy beach. You’ll likely have to pay for parking, but they’ll probably offer you a discount if you eat at the restaurant or rent a fale.
The fale’s in this area are rentable by the day, or you can get an enclosed one and stay the night on the beach for super cheap!
Samoa Islands Day 5
Check out a few more waterfalls while exploring the rest of the areas of the island you haven’t seen yet.
There’s one on the map called Falfea which we weren’t super impressed by, but we did like Togotogiga because it was another one you could swim at and even jump off of.
Parking and entry to Togotogiga was also free since it’s on the National Park lands!
Samoa Island Day 6
You’ll probably be pretty adventure-ed out at this point, or at least we were! So why not spend the day in luxury with a day at Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa?
This gorgeous, luxury resort has everything you need to feel like you’re in utter paradise; from the only over-water-bungalows in Samoa, to a brand new luxury spa. Massages were actually pretty affordable there, and the new decor is utter bliss!
Once hightide rolls around, rent some snorkel gear (free for guests) and go swim with the daily sea turtle visitors! You can watch them from a deck above, and when you spot them, jump down and try to keep up with their swift gliding movements!
The food at Coconuts is also a must-try, so treat yourself to a nice dinner; hopefully on one of the nights they have live music!
Later, take a walk down the beach to Coconuts’ neighbor hotel the Sliema for a traditional FiaFia show!
Samoa Island Day 7
Today is likely your departure day, so depending on when your flight is, you may have a chance to squeeze in some last minute fun on the way to the airport!
My flight got delayed by about four hours, so I took my time cruising along the south-west coast, and found an awesome place to stop and eat.
It was called Faimafili Village Resort, and the women who run it were just the sweetest people ever. They were so excited to have us at their open-air deck restaurant that overlooks more clear water, and the food was absolutely delicious.
Definitely try the local special shrimp! And be on the look out for a really cute kitten!
Be sure to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight, but keep in mind that delays are normal!
Here’s some more essential travel information to help you plan your trip to Samoa!