Experience the Real Samoa on a Village Tour!
In Samoa, it’s common to find yourself driving from waterfall to swimming hole to beach, passing through many of its quaint villages without taking the time to discover the rich culture these settlements serve. Tour operators and particularly resorts and beach fales give guests the opportunity to experience village life, along with its traditions, hierarchy, family structure and architecture, on village tours. See which resorts offer the best tours in this list of village tours in Samoa.
While you’re here, learn more about “fa’a Samoa”, also known as “the Samoan way” in A Traveller’s Guide to the Samoan Culture.
1. Samoa Cultural Village
Starting us off on this list of village tours in Samoa, this is perhaps Samoa’s most famous village tour that, admittedly, is not in a real village. But the demonstrations, even down to locals getting a painstaking traditionally Samoan tattoo are, indeed, real! In Samoa’s capital city, Samoa Cultural Village takes place from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday, starting with a hands-on experience of weaving your own plate for the umu. You’ll then be formally welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony before seeing how a traditional umu feast is prepared. While your lunch is cooking, discover how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a painstaking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being applied in the traditional way. Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared umu lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Epic! See more complimentary activities in the 50 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road, Apia.
2. Fa’a Samoa Tour – Sinalei Reef Resort
For a formal tour of one of Samoa’s real villages, complete with cultural activities and demonstrations, check out the “Fa’a Samoa” tour at the Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa. The luxury resort offers a 4-6-hour experience for a minimum of four guests to visit one of Samoa’s oldest villages, Poutasi. After riding an iconic Samoan bus, you’ll be welcomed to the village by the chiefs before trying your hand at traditional games like coconut tossing and spear throwing. If that’s not enough, you’ll tour the village’s primary school and arts centre where the locals will teach you to weave fine mats, do traditional dances and even play the ukulele. The experience concludes in a blaze of fire, literally, with a fire knife show as you indulge in real island cooking. For more experiences of the cultural show aspect, see the 10 Best Fiafia Nights in Samoa.
Location: Sinalei Reef Resort, Siumu village, Maninoa, southeast coast of Upolu.
3. Village Walk – Amoa Resort
You’re never too far from a real Samoan village on the island of Savai’i, which couldn’t be more true for Amoa Resort‘s “Village Walk” which starts directly from its foyer. Follow the road inland and see a more traditional and humble way of life where you’ll pass a number of plantations. Here, you’ll touch, smell and, if you’re lucky, taste the fruit, vegetable and herbs lining the village road. The informal tour follows no set itinerary, allowing guests to ask questions and enjoy the spontaneous joys that village life brings.
Location: Amoa Resort, Faga village on the east coast of Savai’i.
4. Manono Island Tour – Samoa Scenic Tours
Not just a village tour but a village on a rarely visited island, Samoa Scenic Tours offers day trips to the elusive Manono Island! With accommodation pick-up and boat transfers included, your trip couldn’t be easier. Upon reaching the island, a host family takes you on a tour of their village to show you where traditional cooking is done and where food crops are grown, getting to sample some for yourself. You’ll then spend the rest of the afternoon walking through the island’s other villages, stopping at a beach for your included lunch, swimming and relaxing before the transfer back to your accommodation.
The tour runs from 9:30 am until 4 pm, Monday to Saturday. Note that a minimum of two guests are required for the tour to go ahead. Learn more about visiting the island in The Travel Guide to Manono.
Location: Accommodation pick-ups are included on Upolu.
5. Village Walk and School Visit – Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge
Tucked away on the remote western shores of Savai’i, Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge couldn’t be a better place to experience village life in Samoa. The lodge offers a “Village Walk and School Visit” where you will be guided through the village of Asau. As part of the experience, or exclusively if you prefer, you can also visit the local preschool for a truly uplifting and heartwarming experience. It’s always highly appreciated to donate gifts to the school (such as pencils, books, stationery, etc.). This experience can simply be arranged at reception once you arrive at the accommodation.
Location: Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, between Auala and Asau villages in Asau Bay on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
6. Village and School Walking Tour – Return to Paradise Resort
Join a local guide from Return to Paradise Resort to tour the proud village where the 1953 Hollywood blockbuster, Return to Paradise, was filmed. Yes, the village of Matautu still has stories to tell of this significant first time Samoa was put on the world stage (even if the movie itself hasn’t aged too well in terms of representing indigenous peoples and women in general). Regardless, the tour will allow you to see how the village still lives out old traditions before visiting a local primary school where the children can’t wait to sing for their guests!
Location: Return to Paradise Resort, Lefaga village, Matautu, southwest coast of Upolu.
7. Cultural Island Village Tour – Le Vasa Resort
Another excellent option for visiting Manono island and its villages, Le Vasa Resort boasts the perfect position with its boats launching from just a few kilometres across the lagoon. They offer two tour options: with or without snorkelling. Without snorkelling, the “Cultural Island Village Tour” lasts 2h30mins to 3 hours including a guided walk around the island and a picnic lunch. Alternatively, enjoy the tour described plus a snorkelling trip to make the experience last a total of 3h30mins. Note that a minimum of two guests are required for the tour to go ahead.
Location: Le Vasa Resort, Apolima-uta village, Main West Coast Road, west coast of Upolu.
8. Samoa Culture Day – Coconut’s Beach Club Resort & Spa
Free for all guests of the Coconut’s Beach Club Resort & Spa, their “Samoa Culture Day” takes place every Saturday and includes a number of cultural activities including a village tour. Stick around at the resort until late morning when the staff will showcase a number of demonstrations, such as weaving, coconut husking and an umu preparation, before taking you to the local village to see how modern Samoans live.
Location: Coconut’s Beach Club Resort, Maninoa village, southeast coast of Upolu.
9. Primary School Visit – Jaymy Beach Fales
Offering more experiences than your average beach fale stay, Jaymy Beach Fales also provides ways to immerse in the culture of the local village, with umu and coconut demonstrations, weaving, koko Samoa preparation or the opportunity to get into the village itself with a primary school visit. Enjoy the humbling yet heartwarming experience of a Samoan school, where bringing gifts like stationery or even just yourselves and your own international culture is highly appreciated. Learn more about the beach fales in the 20 Best Beach Fale Accommodations in Samoa.
Location: Jaymy Beach Fales, Main South Coast Road, Saleapaga, southeast coast of Upolu.
10. Local Village Tour – Taumeasina Island Resort
Stay at Apia‘s private island Taumeasina Island Resort and they’ll be able to organise a local tour to the resort’s closest village. With a local guide, you’ll experience the everyday goings-on of Moata’a village and perhaps try your hand at preparing Samoan vegetables and the famous coconut! Check out The Top 25 Resorts in Samoa to learn more about the resort.
Location: Taumeasina Island Resort – Taumeasina Road, Taumeasina, Apia.
More About Village Tours in Samoa
That’s it for our guide to the best village tours in Samoa. For more cultural and village activities, take a look at the following articles:
- 10 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa
- How to Have an Authentic Samoan Experience
- 10 Best Village Stays in Samoa
Finally, complete your must-do list for the islands with the help of the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.