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5 Best Day Trips from Apia 🛵 [2023]
5 Best Day Trips from Apia 🛵 [2023]

5 Best Day Trips from Apia 🛵 [2024]

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Unmissable Road Trips from Apia

Just because you just happen to be staying in the capital of Samoa doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Samoa. By being located on the central north coast of the main island, Apia is the perfect base for some island exploration. Whether you’re hankering to see all of Samoa’s top sights or prefer to get off the beaten track, we have the road trip for you in this list of the best day trips from Apia!

How to Do a Day Trip from Apia

These day trips from Apia have you exploring Samoa independently unless you choose to take one of the “relevant tours” we’ve also listed in this guide. To get around, you will either need to rent a car, scooter or private driver. Tips on where to hire vehicles, as well as how to hire a driver can be found in the following guides:

For more transport options, check out our Samoa Transport Guide: 14 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.

The Best Day Trips from Apia© Google Maps

1. Cross Island Road Day Trip

Distance: 50 km (30 mi) return
Drive time: 1 h 10 minutes return
Most relevant tour: “Full-Day Island Tour of Apia, Upolu and Samoa“ with Tour Samoa.

Head south on the Cross Island Road for a road trip full of waterfalls, architecture, crazy cafes and concluding at a stunning beach. Let’s go!

Apia to Vailima

The Cross Island Road starts in the heart of Apia where a few of the city’s best dining options are located, including Scalini’s, Giordano’s, the Krush Juice Lounge and ReVaiv Cafe, which are all outlined in the 20 Best Restaurants in Samoa.

As you reach the outer suburb of Vailima, check out the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and the neighbouring Vailima Botanical Garden. Take the Tomb Trail to get wonderful views of Apia along a verdant forest trail.

Cross Island Road

The road ascends into the highlands, leaving Apia in the dust and leading you to the gorgeous grounds of the Baha’i Temple. If you have a 4WD, also check out the Forest Cafe opposite with its hidden waterfall scramble and glorious jungle setting. Otherwise,  an art gallery and vegan cuisine can be enjoyed at the Tiapapata Art Centre. Just south of the art centre, down Kelsey Way, are the nature trails of Malololelei Recreation Reserve ideal for bird watching.

Just another 2.5 km (1.6 mi) down the road is the turn-off to both the Lake Lanoto’o and Mt Fiamoe hiking trails, which you can learn more about in the 10 Best Hikes on Upolu. Beyond that, the free viewpoint of Papapapaitai Falls is worth a stop.

Maninoa Beach

At the end of the Cross Island Road, turn west for about a kilometre to reach Sinalei Reef Resort with its fine dining over-the-water restaurant or Ocean Club‘s more casual beach bar with SUP boards and beach access to enjoy the glorious sands and lagoon.

5 Best Day Trips from Apia© Google Maps

2. Upolu East Coast Road Trip

Distance: 130 km (80 mi) round trip
Drive time: 2 h 50 minutes round trip
Most relevant tour: “The Pristine Waters of Upolu” with Samoan Island Adventures.

If you’ve got little time to see as much of Samoa as possible, then the Upolu East Coast Road Trip is a goodie, but not one to be taken lightly. There are a lot of attractions to see on this full-day road trip from Apia, including the Piula Cave Pool, Lalomanu Beach, To Sua Ocean Trench, Sopoaga Falls, O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park and not to mention all the sights along the Cross Island Road.

The full itinerary can be found in A Self-Guided Day Trip on Upolu: East Coast Itinerary.

Day Trip Overview

  • Piula Cave Pool to Lalomanu Beach (Le Mafa Pass)
    Distance: 40 km (25 mi), Drive time: 50 minutes.
    Attractions: Piula Cave Pool, Falefa Falls, Le Mafa Pass, Namu’a Island and Lalomanu Beach.
  • Lalomanu to Maninoa
    Distance: 45 km (28 mi), Drive time: 1 hour.
    Attractions: Vavau Beach, To Sua Ocean Trench, Sopoaga Falls, Togitogiga Waterfall, Ma Tree, Coastal Walk and Maninoa Beach.
  • Maninoa to Apia (Cross Island Road)
    Distance: 24 km (15 mi), Drive time: 35 minutes.
    Attractions: Papapapaitai Falls, Lake Lanoto’o, Tiapapata Art Centre, Baha’i Temple and the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.

Get the full details on this day trip from Apia in A Self-Guided Day Trip on Upolu: East Coast Itinerary.

5 Best Day Trips from Apia© Google Maps

3. Fagaloa Bay Day Trip

Distance: 90 km (56 mi) return
Drive time: 2 h 50 minutes return.

Get off the beaten track with the Fagaloa Bay Day Trip from Apia. Wind your way from the mountainous region of Le Mafa Pass down to the lesser-visited villages of Fagaloa Bay where the mountains provide a captivating backdrop awash in waterfalls. Further along the coast, the primaeval Uafato Conservation Area lies where it’s possible to spot rare birds and experience a world untouched. Oh, and don’t worry, this day trip still has you experiencing highlights like the Piula Cave Pool!

Apia to Piula Cave Pool

Once you’re ready to hit the road, take the Main East Coast Road east out of Apia. Stop by Sula’s Supermarket & Bakery in Moataa, which is often agreed to be one of the best places to pick up quintessential Samoan snacks, from keke pua’a (pork buns) to keke saiga (Chinese biscuits) and many of the items we list in the 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.

Continue along the scenic coastline with cliffs and villages to admire. Your first stop is the freshwater spring of Piula Cave Pools, signposted between the villages of Saoluafata and Faleapuna. The crystal clear waters provide a refreshing swimming experience with caves to explore.

Side Trip: Sauniatu Falls

Get a headstart on your waterfall sightseeing by taking a detour to Sauniatu Falls located on a Latter-Day Saints compound. From Saoluafata village, follow the signposted road inland approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) and over a river bridge all the way to the end. There, enjoy some amazing swimming in a verdant rainforest setting beneath a 20 m (66 ft)-high waterfall.

Piula Cave Pool to Richardson Road

Once you’re ready to get back on the road, continue on the Main East Coast Road as it turns south into the village of Falefa. Here, you can make a waterfall stop at Falefa Falls with its attractive picnic area.

Then, it’s onward to one of the most scenic drives in Samoa, Richarson Road and Le Mafa Pass. Enjoy the views of the jungle-clad mountainous scenery as you wind your way through the island.

Fagaloa Bay

A substantial but breathtaking side trip awaits off Richarson Road as you take the unsealed (but 2WD-manageable) road into the scenic Fagaloa Bay with its quaint villages and scattering of waterfalls. The most intrepid travellers can venture all the way to Uafato village where local guides offer tours deep into the Uafato Conservation Area to a bird hide – a must for any wildlife lover. Find out more in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Samoa.

5 Best Day Trips from Apia© Google Maps

4. Upolu West Coast Road Trip

Distance: 108 km (67 mi) round trip
Drive time: 2 h 40 minutes round trip.

While the east coast tends to steal all of the limelight on Upolu, the west coast is still well worth exploring for those who have the time for this day trip from Apia. You’ll find most of Samoa’s adventure tours on this side of the island, including tours for kayaking, scuba diving, quad biking, mountain biking and canyoning. Those wishing to explore Samoa’s third-most populated but less-visited island, Manono, can also experience this from the west coast.

The full itinerary can be found in A Self-Guided Day Trip on Upolu: West Coast Itinerary.

Day Trip Overview

  • Apia to Mulifanua
    Distance: 36 km (22 mi), Drive time: 50 minutes.
    Attractions: Wolfpac ATV Tours, EFKS Museum and Ifiele’ele Plantation.
  • Mulifanua to Lefaga Bay
    Distance: 30 km (19 mi), Drive time: 50 minutes.
    Attractions: Outdoor Samoa, Manono Island, Nu’ulopa Island, Faleatai Saddle, Lalotalie ECAT Ventures, Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary and Return to Paradise Beach.
  • Lefaga Bay to Maninoa (O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park Detour)
    Distance: 22 km (14 mi), Drive time: 30 minutes.
    Attractions: Maninoa Beach, Aganoa Black Sand Beach, Ma Tree, Coastal Walk and Togitogiga Waterfall.
  • Maninoa to Apia (Cross Island Road)
    Distance: 24 km (15 mi), Drive time: 35 minutes.
    Attractions: Papapapaitai Falls, Lake Lanoto’o, Tiapapata Art Centre, Baha’i Temple and the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.

Get the full details on this day trip from Apia in A Self-Guided Day Trip on Upolu: West Coast Itinerary.

5 Best Day Trips from Apia© Google Maps

5. Apia Sightseeing Day Trip

Distance: 25 km (15.5 mi) return
Drive time: 50 minutes return.
Most relevant tour: See the 5 Best Day Tours of Apia.

Are you sure you have seen all of Apia yet? That’s right, exploring Apia and its outer suburbs is a day trip in itself! In fact, we’ve compiled a whole itinerary of an Apia Sightseeing Day Trip, complete with historical monuments, attractive parks, cultural tours, museums, snorkelling and even a natural waterslide!

The full itinerary can be found in A Self-Guided Tour of Apia: One Day Itinerary.

Day Trip Overview

  • Samoa Tourism Fale to Mulinuu Peninsula
    Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 mi), Driving time: 5 mins, Walking time: 30 mins.
    Attractions: Samoa Cultural Village, Government Building, Friendship Park, Town Clock Tower, Savalalo Flea Market and the Mulinuu Peninsula memorials.
  • Mulinuu Peninsula to Vailima
    Distance: 7.6 km (4.7 mi), Driving time: 15 mins, Walking time: 1 h 45 mins.
    Attractions: Fugalei Market, Museum of Samoa, Mailelani Samoa Gift Shop, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Tomb Trail and Vailima Botanical Garden.
  • Vailima to Papase’ea
    Distance: 15 km (9.3 mi), Driving time: 30 mins.
    Attractions: Pacific Jewell Gift Shop, Palolo Deep, Aggie Grey’s Hotel, Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Papase’ea Sliding Rocks.

Get the full details on this day trip from Apia in A Self-Guided Tour of Apia: One Day Itinerary.

More Day Trips from Apia

That’s it for our list of the best day trips from Apia. If these Apia road trips aren’t quite speaking to you, however, check out these alternative tours and things to do while in Apia:

Finally, for all things “Apia”, don’t forget to check out The Complete Travel Guide to Apia.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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