The Best Places to See the Stars in Samoa
When night falls and the sky is clear, the universe puts on the most mesmerising show made all the clearer thanks to Samoa‘s limited light pollution. Head out on the beach or simply look up from your accommodation on a clear night and enjoy the show or, for the serious astrophotographers and amateur astronomers, head to the locations listed here in the best spots for stargazing in Samoa.
1. Tiapapata Art Centre
Away from the city lights of Apia, elevated at 800 m (2,625 ft) above sea level on the Cross Island Road, Tiapapata Art Centre is not only in one of the best positions for stargazing in Samoa but has telescopes to make the most of it. In fact, the art centre is the only establishment in Samoa that we know of that provides telescopes for public use. Keep an eye on their Facebook Page for upcoming astronomy nights where you can learn the names and locations of planets, stars and constellations.
Location: Malololelei village along the Cross Island Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) south of Apia (just past the Baha’i Temple).
2. Le Mafa Pass
If you’re looking for a location on Upolu to enjoy stargazing with the naked eye, we recommend Le Mafa Pass. With a high elevation and surrounding mountains blocking any light pollution for miles and miles around, this inland road on the eastern side of Upolu offers uninterrupted views of the universe, of course, when the weather is clear.
Location: Le Mafa Pass Road, east side of Upolu.
3. Mt Matavanu
While just about anywhere on the vast yet less populated island of Savai’i offers wonderful stargazing on a clear night, hardcore astronomers better aim high, such as the volcanic summit of Mt Matavanu. One of the easiest mountains to climb in Samoa, you can either drive (20-25 minutes) or walk (2-3 hours) up the 4WD track to the summit. Go before dusk and you’ll also get the opportunity to spot flying foxes leaving the roost.
Location: Approximately 10 km (6 mi) inland from Safotu village on the road that passes through Paia. A 4WD is recommended for driving to the summit. Otherwise, guides can be hired for hiking via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
4. Falealupo and Cape Mulinuu
For a coastal location that’s ideal for stargazing, head to the remote western tip of Savai’i to Falealupo and Cape Mulinuu. Staying at a beach fale here often reveals epic shows of the night’s sky, or stick around after watching the sunset from Samoa’s westernmost point Cape Mulinuu for something with even less light pollution. There are historical star mounds, caves and a well here to also keep you entertained as you’re waiting for the stars to come out. Find out more about these attractions in the 10 Best Historical Sites on Savai’i.
Location: Falealupo Road, on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
Samoa’s third-most populated island is another viable stargazing option that’s accessible yet offers little light pollution. Wedged between Upolu and Savai’i on the Apolima Strait, Manono Island is home to an ancient star mound atop Mt Tulimauiva at 110 m (361 ft). No one knows for sure what purpose these star-shaped mounds held for Samoa’s ancestors, but the incredible view of the stars from this historical site might be no coincidence. Learn more about star mounds in 15 Best Historical Sites in Samoa, as well as about visiting Manono in The Travel Guide to Manono.
Location: Boats depart from Manono-uta and Apolima-uta villages on the west coast of Upolu. For details on how to get to Manono, see the link above.
More About Stargazing in Samoa
Now that you know where are the best places for stargazing in Samoa, check out these other after-dark experiences:
- 10 Things to Do in Samoa at Night
- 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Samoa
- The Ultimate Guide to Samoa Nightlife