What Can You Do for Free in Samoa?
The cost of flights and accommodation can take enough dough from your Samoa holiday fund without adding activities to the mix! But you know what they say: “The best things in life are free…” … Or at least a small entry fee. And that couldn’t be more true for the experiences in Samoa. See an array of wonderful yet frugal adventures across both of Samoa’s largest islands in this list of free things to do in Samoa.
While you’re here, you might want to also plan the rest of your trip using The Complete Backpacking Guide to Samoa on a Budget.
Why Do You Need to Pay Entry Fees for Attractions in Samoa?
Unlike in many countries, most land in Samoa is owned by local families and communities rather than government organisations. While many families have made amazing attractions on their land available for visitors, funding is required to maintain sites, the roads that access them, the fales for visitors’ use, as well as other community projects. The rare few free attractions in Samoa are usually those on government-managed land.
Entry fees for Samoa’s attractions range from ST$5 to $20 per person, children under five sometimes go free, and some sites charge per vehicle from ST$20 to $40. Regardless, we still consider these entry fees to be cheap enough to feature on this list of cheap things to do in Samoa.
For more costs to expect on your trip, head over to Samoa Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Samoa Cost?
1. Take a Journey of “Fa’a Samoa” at Samoa Cultural Village – FREE
“Fa’a Samoa” means “The Samoan Way” and you’ll certainly get the full flavour of the Samoan culture at Samoa’s best-value attraction (and not only because it’s free). Happening from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday, Samoa Cultural Village starts 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, you’ll move between various fale to see how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a traditional pain-staking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being performed. Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing. See how this compares to other cultural shows in the 10 Best Cultural Shows (Fiafia) in Samoa.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road, Apia.
2. Visit Samoa’s Most Famous Swimming Hole, To Sua Ocean Trench – CHEAP
Don’t pretend like you weren’t going to go anyway! If you have only seen one image of Samoa, it’s likely to be the turquoise swimming hole with the iconic wooden rung ladder of the To Sua Ocean Trench. This 30 m (98 ft)-deep coastal sinkhole has a cave on either side, one of which dips underwater leading to the ocean so avoid that one. Ropes cross the swimming pool to hold onto in case there is a bit of current. Otherwise, floating with verdant reeds hanging from the cave walls above is a beautiful experience.
There are more sinkholes to peer into around the site, so be sure to wander through the manicured grounds of this attraction. You can also follow a footpath down to the coast to a classic Samoan swimming pool for more bathing opportunities. Discover more of Samoa’s famous sights in Sightseeing in Samoa: Top 10 Sights in Samoa.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Lotofaga and Vavau villages on the south coast of Upolu.
3. Cool Off at the Afu Aau Waterfall – CHEAP
One of the most stunning waterfalls and swimming holes in Samoa (and the South Pacific) awaits down a short and gorgeously maintained jungle trail on the southeast side of Savai’i. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the aqua-blue waters at the base of the 15-20 m (49-66 ft) Afu Aau Waterfall. Pay your fees at the fale just off the main road (the entry sign is easy to spot) then it’s a 650 m (711-yard) drive on a flat dirt road to the car park with a toilet block and changing room. For more of Savai’i’s best and cheapest attractions, take a look at the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i.
Location: Palauli village, signposted off the main road on the southeast coast of Savai’i.
4. Watch the Power of the Waves at the Alofaaga Blowholes – CHEAP
An icon of Savai’i and Samoa, the Alofaaga Blowholes put on a spectacular show of wave power between the fissures of volcanic rock on the coast. Although a treat at any time, the best time to go is high tide. It’s a short but rugged walk that can be slippery, so sturdy shoes are best. Note that you may have to pay two entry fees (totalling approximately ST$10 per person) as the attraction crosses two family lands. Locals will sometimes put coconuts on the blowholes for extra drama. It’s worth asking for directions to the culturally significant Pa Sopo’ia Cave also at the site.
Location: Taga village, signposted off the main road on the southwest coast of Savai’i. Note that the road to the blowholes is about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) of rough unsealed road. 2WDs will just manage but drive carefully.
5. Have a Blast at the Natural Playground of the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks – CHEAP
Try out nature’s waterslides at the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks. After walking down an anxiously high number of steps, knowing that you have to get back up them again, you’ll come across the first and biggest slide that locals call the “men’s slide”; a near verticle 5 m (16 ft) slide. Further down is the “kids’ slide”, a much less precarious slide with a little drop at the end of extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? Avoid the busiest times, which tend to be the weekends, to get optimal slide time. For more cheap attractions around Apia, take a look at the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia.
Location: Se’ese’e, Faleata District on the outskirts of Apia. The access road turns off Maugafolau Road near the University of the South Pacific campus.
6. Relax and Explore at Vavau Beach – CHEAP
Vavau Beach offers a secluded and stunning beach destination on the south coast of Upolu. Exclusively for day visitors, there are a number of fales set back from the white sands. Enjoy picturesque islands dotted around a shallow lagoon and soak in the scenery of the bush-clad environment that tops the coastal cliffs on all sides. Pay your entry fees at the access road. The community does a good job of keeping this beach clean. Vavau Beach certainly isn’t the only beach to enjoy in Samoa, so check out the 10 Best Beaches in Samoa for more recommendations.
Location: Vavau Beach Road, signposted off the Main South Coast Road between the villages of Lotofoga and Vavau on the south coast of Upolu.
7. Check Out Sea Arches and Pandanus Forest on the Coastal Walk – FREE
Leave the beaches behind and discover another side of Samoa’s coast on the serene and secluded Coastal Walk. Protected within the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, the one-hour return walk (with no entry fees) winds its way through lush pandanus forest before emerging on rocky lava cliffs. With the waves crashing below, seabirds occupying the horizon, and a number of coastal sea arches to uncover as you walk, this certainly is a special place to experience on foot. Speaking of, closed footwear is recommended and the trail is mostly flat, making it suitable for most fitness levels. For more freebies on the main island, check out the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Upolu.
Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park. Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua, Upolu. Note that the 3 km (1.9 mi) road to get to the trail car park is a 4WD road but 2WD is usually Ok if taken with care. Otherwise, you can park at the information boards along the main road and walk to the Coastal Track, which makes the walk last a total of 2h30mins return.
8. Walk Among Lava Ruins at the Saleaula Lava Field – CHEAP
Discover the remnants of the destructive Mt Matavanua 1905-1911 eruption at the enchanting Saleaula Lava Field. It’s a short walk to the lava field’s most striking feature, the LMS Church which sits in ruins with a lava flow solidified right through its arching entrances. Walk approximately 300 m (328 yards) west following the sign and you’ll encounter the mysterious “Virgin’s Grave” where the lava flow is said to have avoided the grave of a young girl. Past the church ruins is an attractive wetland viewpoint, then head back on the trail and go northeast for approximately 900 m (984 yards) over an exposed lava flow to the striking lava cliffs. For more unusual attractions like this, take a look at the 10 Most Unique Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Saleaula village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
9. Snorkel Among an Ungodly Amount of Coral at Palolo Deep – CHEAP
At first glance, it might not look like much. But 100 m (109 yards) off the shores of Apia and under the lagoon’s surface hides an amazing array of marine life that will make you squeak in your snorkel. Hire snorkelling gear from the kiosk at Palolo Deep and swim out to the white buoy to see an underwater trench thriving with staghorn coral, hundreds of tropical fish species, starfish, octopuses and, if you’re lucky, perhaps even some turtles. The latter is more likely to be seen near the tiny island. Note that the water is way too shallow for enjoyable snorkelling when it’s not close to high tide, so plan your visit accordingly. For more sweet (and affordable) snorkelling spots, check out The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
Location: Between the Marina and Vaiala Beach along Beach Road, Apia.
10. Enjoy a Nature Walk and Venture Through a Giant Lava Tube at Laauoleola Cave – CHEAP
The 15-minute forest trail through mahogany, ifilele, teak, kava, eucalyptus and banyan trees is just the beginning… As you begin to approach the entrance of Laauoleola Cave, you’ll hear the unusual clicking of swiftlets as they move in and out of the caves. Then, it’s up to you to decide how far you walk through the large lava tube that is said to span 5 km (3.1 mi) under the surface! It’s a short flat walk (with a few muddy patches) through the cave to the first descent, which the guides can organise a ladder should you want to continue – let them know you would like to do this before you begin the tour. The walk is fully (and casually) guided. The guide has a torch but you might want to also bring your own. Laauoleola is not the only cave to explore, so check out the 10 Best Caves in Samoa for more subterranean adventures
Location: A’opo village, signposted off the main road on the northern coast of Savai’i.
11. Have a Swim at Samoa’s Free Waterfall, Sauniatu Falls – FREE
That’s right, this natural attraction is one of the rare ones that is 100% free to visit. After checking out the Piula Cave Pool (see below), follow the signposts inland to Sauniatu Falls on the grounds of a Latter-Day Saints compound. Follow some steps down to a rainforest setting which provides excellent swimming beneath a 20 m (66 ft)-high waterfall. Get more of your waterfall fix with the 10 Best Waterfalls in Samoa.
Location: Sauniatu village, northeast coast of Upolu. From Lufilufi village (near Piula Cave Pool), follow the road inland approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) and over a river bridge all the way to the end.
12. … Then at Samoa’s Other Free Waterfall, Togitogiga Waterfall – FREE
Another free attraction in the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, Togitogiga Waterfall is actually a series of picturesque waterfalls that make for an idyllic swimming spot in the rainforest. There are changing rooms on-site, as well as a large recreational area to play sports or picnic. Note that the waterfall is prone to drying up if there hasn’t been enough rain, especially in the dry season.
Location: A short walk from the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park Visitor Centre along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on Upolu’s south coast.
13. Learn Something New at Falemata’aga Museum of Samoa – FREE
If there’s only one museum you visit in Samoa, make it the Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga. The free but donation-based museum has an impressive collection of historical artefacts where information boards provide context into their significance, as well as provide an important context of Samoa’s history. If you don’t want to sift through it all yourself, free guided tours are available with passionate guides to show you through the highlights of the museum. With six different galleries (in air-conditioned rooms, might we add) boasting 3,000-year-old Lapita pottery, collections from across the Pacific, colonisation history and even a small art exhibition, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied for as long as you wish. Check out more attractions like this in the 5 Best Museums in Samoa.
Location: Vaitele Street (look out for the large mural on the building), Apia.
14. Experience Authentic Samoan Culture at the Siapo Demonstration – CHEAP
While visiting the Afu Aau Waterfall (see above), don’t miss this amazing and refreshingly authentic cultural experience right next door. Stop at the sign for the “Siapo Demonstration” where you’ll be invited into a local family’s fale for a demonstration of traditional canvas-making and painting techniques. You can even give it a go yourself! From cutting down the young mulberry tree to leaving with a completed piece of Samoan siapo (also known as tapa), the demonstration lasts approximately 45 minutes. Learn more about Samoa’s unique crafts in the 10 Best Souvenirs & Gifts from Samoa.
Location: Palauli village, signposted off the main road on the southeast coast of Savai’i (near the Afu Aau Waterfall).
15. Take in the Views of Papapapaitai Falls – FREE
Plunging 100 m (328 ft) into the distance rainforest, Papapapaitai Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Samoa. With it just available to view for free along the Cross Island Road, there’s no reason not to check it out! The waterfall is viewed from a car parking area with railings to stand behind, which is, admittedly, sometimes a little overgrown. Nevertheless, the untouched jungle of the area adds to the Jurassic flair of the area.
Location: Signposted along the Cross Island Road, approximately 14 km (8.7 mi) south of Apia.
16. Marvel at the Architecture and Gardens of the Baha’i Temple – FREE
Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is not only an incredible piece of architecture among immaculate grounds but it’s one of only eight Baha’i Houses of Worship in the world. The temple has nine symmetrical sides which domes 28 m (92 ft) high. Surrounding the majestic structure are 20 acres of manicured grass, some 60 species of flowers and all sorts of native plants and trees. The visitor centre on-site has information panels about the history of the Baha’i Faith, information on Houses of Worship around the world and more. The house is open from 6 am to 6 pm daily, while a public interfaith service with a Samoan choir and refreshments is held every Sunday at 10 am. For more Sunday ideas, check out the 10 Things to Do in Samoa on a Sunday.
Location: Malololelei village along the Cross Island Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) south of Apia.
17. Browse Samoa’s Markets – FREE/CHEAP
Free to attend and only as cheap as what you decide to spend, the markets of Apia and Saleologoa are certainly worth perusing even if it’s just for the cultural ambience. The largest market in Samoa and a hotspot for all sorts of cultural goings-on, Fugalei Market is a sight not to be missed, the Flea Market is a more compact version and specialises more in crafts, while the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers (SWAG) Market is a cute Saturday gathering and the Night Market on the last Friday of the month is a street food storm. Meanwhile, on Savai’i, the Salelologa Market is the island’s answer to the Fugalei Market. Learn more about each market and more in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
Location: Apia and Salelologa. See the link above for specific locations.
18. Relax and Snorkel at Falealupo Beach – CHEAP
Sweeping white sands and glorious snorkelling await at Falealupo Beach on Savai’i. Either stay the night or hire a day fale at the Falealupo Beach Fales with more than a kilometre of sand to enjoy. Their shop sells drinks and snacks should you want to spend the afternoon, while snorkelling gear is available to hire for an acceptable price. The snorkelling is fine from the beach, but the best parts are further out where the beach fale offers a snorkelling tour (note that this costs an extra ST$50+). Discover more of Samoa’s best natural attractions in The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa.
Location: Falealupo village off Falealupo Road on the northwest coast of Savai’i. Turn off the main road onto Falealupo Road at Falealupo-utu village.
19. Watch the Sunset and Discover Historical Sites at Cape Mulinuu – FREE/CHEAP
From Falealupo, it’s worth then continuing on the flat dirt road (suitable for 2WD) through the coconut groves to Cape Mulinuu to see the historic Mauga Fetu Star Mound, Ana O Vaatausili Giant’s Cave and Vaisuatoto Well. If there are locals around taking entry fees, they are usually happy to tell you about the legends of these historical sites. Otherwise, the interpretation panels here are sufficient enough. Finally, catch the sunset from the beach and rock pools of Cape Mulinuu just across the road from the historical sites for a spectacular show (weather permitting) at the westernmost point of Samoa. For more stellar sunset spots, check out the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Samoa.
Location: Falealupo Road, approximately 2.2 km (1.3 mi) south of Falealupo Beach on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
20. Scratch Your Head at Moso’s Footprint – CHEAP
Not an attraction that you’ll need to make a lot of time for, Moso’s Footprint is a simple hop-out-of-the-car stop on the way to Falealupo Beach. The 2 m (6.6 ft)-long foot-shaped depression has an interpretation panel beside it describing the legend of Moso who stepped his right foot onto Savai’i, extending his left foot across the Pacific onto Suva in Fiji. The sign also describes the geological interpretation.
Location: Signposted approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) down Falealupo Road from Falealupo-uta village on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
21. Wander Among the Falealupo Church Ruins – FREE/CHEAP
Between Moso’s Footprint and Falealupo Beach is another attraction that was free when our research team last visited but apparently there are sometimes villagers taking a small entry fee to see this site. Either way, you’ll get to view the ruins of Falealupo’s Historic Catholic Church which was destroyed by the waves of Cyclone Ofa in 1990. Discover more of Samoa’s intriguing churches in the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor.
Location: Cape Vaitoloa, Falealupo Road on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
22. Hear the Legends About the House of Rock – CHEAP
Guides will lead you down a rough trail (better to wear closed footwear rather than your flip-flops) to a partially collapsed lava tube. While an old legend speaks of the “Rock House” being made as a result of a housebuilding competition between the village’s men and women (and the women won), more recent history tells of the lava tube protecting villagers from cyclones. Some local guides are eager to share the stories if they’re available.
Location: Falealupo Road, signposted at the northern end of Falealupo Beach on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
23. Have a Cheeky Look at Sopoaga Falls – CHEAP
One of Upolu‘s most impressive watrerfalls is Sopoaga Falls. Around 32 m (105 ft) and seen surrounded by jungle-clad cliffs from a high viewpoint, the waterfall provides a majestic photo opportunity. The site with a viewing platform is also used for coconut husking demonstrations; ask at the counter (if someone’s around) if you would like to see one. For more food-related activities, take a look at the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa.
Location: North of Lotofoga village just before the junction where the Main South Coast Road turns onto Le Mafa Pass Road. Southeast coast of Upolu.
24. Enjoy a Cooling Dip at the Piula Cave Pool – CHEAP
Although Samoa is blessed with a number of freshwater springs making for the most refreshing experience you can get in the hot Samoan sun, the most famous freshwater pool is Piula Cave Pool. A hit with travellers, locals and freshwater fish alike, the crystal clear waters provide a cooling swimming experience with caves to explore. There are two cave entrances connected underwater by a short tunnel. Alternatively, you can walk a few metres around the cave to find the other entrance. For more unmissable swimming pools, check out the 10 Best Swimming Spots in Samoa.
Location: On the grounds of the Piula Theological College, Lufilufi village, signposted along the Main East Coast Road on the northeast coast of Upolu.
25. Take a Tour of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum – CHEAP
The impeccably maintained grounds and villa of the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), who lived in Samoa for the remaining four years of his life, are preserved for visitors to enjoy today. While “Villa Vailima” has had a few makeovers over the years, the home has been filled with replicas to represent what this classic colonial home would have looked like. That’s not to say there aren’t a few original trinkets, books and personal belongings to admire, as well as stories to immerse in while taking the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum tour with one of the museum’s incredibly knowledgeable guides. For more all-weather experiences, check out the 20 Things to Do in Samoa on a Rainy Day.
Location: Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia on Upolu.
26. Then Hike Up Mt Vaea to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Tomb – FREE
Accessed via Vailima Botanical Garden (see below) or the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum next door, the Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Trail not only leads you to the tomb of the famous author on Mt Vaea but reveals both fairytale-like rainforest and outstanding views of Apia. There are two routes to choose from; the 30-minute rough and steep way or the 50-minute easier way that zigzags its way to the top. The latter passes by a magnificent banyan tree. Whichever you choose, good walking shoes are recommended. For more free and affordable walks, check out the 15 Best Walks & Hikes in Samoa.
Location: RLS Museum – Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia. The walk can be found at a clearing in the forest between the Garden Toilets and the museum (you’ll see the sign for the Tomb Track). Vailima Botanical Garden – Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for the gardens.
27. Admire the Flowers at Vailima Botanical Garden – FREE
Encompassing 12 ha (30 acres) of native, introduced and naturalised plant species, Vailima Botanical Garden offers a wonderful free space to explore in Apia. The information centre here provides more information about the biodiversity of the gardens, while the freshwater pool and waterfall of the Loimata o Apaula stream is a wonderful place for a refreshing dip. You can also start the Tomb Trail (see above) from here.
Location: Follow signposts for the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia. Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, however, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for Vailima Botanical Garden.
28. Relax at Lalomanu Beach – CHEAP
White sands, a turquoise lagoon, island views and breathtaking at both sunrise and sunset; Lalomanu Beach has it all. Located on the southeast corner of Upolu, Lalomanu boasts excellent views of the slanted Nu’utele Island. Although the coral within the lagoon is recovering from 2009 tsunami, there’s still plenty to see within its marine reserve. There are around seven beach fales here, giving you plenty of options to spend the day or overnight. For more sunrise hotspots, check out the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Samoa.
Location: Lalomanu village, along Main South Coast Road on the Upolu’s southeast coast.
29. Surf, Swim or Sunbathe at Aganoa Beach – CHEAP
One of your more secluded beaches in Samoa, Aganoa Beach is well worth the journey (and 4WD/high-clearance vehicle). After an approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) rough dirt track through the forest with plenty of small hills – keep an eye out for kingfisher birds – you’ll reach the deep-water crescent-shaped black-sand Aganoa Beach. There are no facilities here (and often, not many other people), so be prepared to be self-sufficient and look after yourselves in case of strong currents. In fact, these conditions are what make Aganoa excellent for surfing between April and September – find out more in the 10 Best Places to Surf in Samoa. Note, this beach is not to be confused with the Aganoa surf beach on Savai’i.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road at the western end of Sa’agafou village on the south coast of Upolu.
30. Discover the Famous “Ma Tree” – FREE
“Ma” meaning “shame”, the Ma Tree was named by the paramount chief of A’opo on Savai’i possibly due to the uniqueness of this tree compared to other rainforest species, such as its silver-brown patches under the leaves and its occurrence in solitary patches. Most notable about O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park‘s Ma Tree, however, are the giant buttress roots extending metres around its base. This family-friendly walk is only a 780 m (853 yards) walk from the well-established car park and information boards in the National Park. For more family-friendly activities, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Samoa with Kids.
Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, at the information boards (not the Visitor Centre) along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on the south coast of Upolu.
31. Snorkel with Turtles at Manase Beach – CHEAP
One of the most popular beaches on Savai’i and one of the best places in Samoa to see turtles in their natural environment, Manase Beach is another area to entice. The beach fales just beg for you to stay longer, so either stay overnight or just for the day (see fales in the 10 Best Beach Fale Accommodations on Savai’i). Bring your own snorkelling gear otherwise, Tanu Beach Fales has some for hire. Be careful of tidal conditions, and avoid swimming near the reef passages. For more places to swim with turtles, take a look at the 10 Best Places to See Turtles in Samoa.
Location: Manase village on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
32. See the Unique Mu Pagoa Waterfall – CHEAP
Samoa’s only waterfall that cascades into the Pacific Ocean below, Mu Pagoa Waterfall offers a unique natural attraction on Savai’i. It might not be the highest waterfall but it’s still an impressive sight to see the Lata River suddenly falling into the ocean with the swell crashing against the cliffs below. This cheap natural attraction is not signposted, so is therefore easy to miss. For more lesser-known attractions like this, check out the 10 Best Hidden Gems in Samoa.
Location: Between Puleia and Gautavai villages on the southeast coast of Savai’i. Take the driveway/road that turns toward the coast immediately before entering the road bridge from the east side. A local should come out of one of the nearby fales to greet you.
33. Snorkel at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary – CHEAP
Pay your entry fees, go down the steps and slip on your mask, snorkel and fins for an adventure with giant clams at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary! You’ll be amazed at how gargantuan these shelled specimens can get as you explore the waters beyond the white buoys – absolutely best admired at high tide, might we add. First, you’ll need to swim over a section of sand before reaching the white buoys that cordon off the marine reserve area. You’ll see hundreds of small clams forming a clammy pattern on the floor, you might also be lucky to see a turtle or two. Swim around a little bit more (keeping an eye on a reference point on land, as there can be a little bit of current) and it won’t be long until you find the giant clams! Needless to say, you shouldn’t touch these feisty shellfish or you might be sorry. For more wildlife encounters, take a look at the 10 Best Nature & Wildlife Tours in Samoa.
Location: Savaia village along Main South Coast Road (nearby Le Valasi’s Beach Fales) on the southwest coast of Upolu.
34. Soak in the Mountain Views on the Le Mafa Pass and Fagaloa Bay Scenic Drive – FREE
Ok, so there’s a little bit of fuel money involved, but enjoying the views of Le Mafa Pass and Fagaloa Bay Scenic Drive is priceless. Both can be enjoyed on the same road trip to the eastern side of Upolu. Le Mafa Pass is the section of road below Fagaloa Bay where the high vantage points reveal jungle-clad mountains around just about every corner. After Le Mafa Pass and approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) north along Richardson Road is the turn-off on an unsealed road to Fagaloa’s narrow bay and sheer mountainous scenery with numerous cascading waterfalls and villages to admire.
Location: Le Mafa Pass Road and Richardson Road at Fagaloa Bay on the east coast of Upolu.
35. Explore Matagialalua Friendship Park – FREE
A neat little area on the Apia waterfront, Friendship Park offers an attractive park for a stroll, to catch the latest community event and to let kids loose at the playground if you’re travelling as a family. Explore the Mangrove Tidal Garden with boardwalks and bridges to mosey over, watch locals battle it out at the sports courts, and head down to the amphitheatre to catch a free gig or event. There’s plenty more to do in Samoa’s capital, so also check out the 25 Best Things to Do in Apia.
Location: On the waterfront behind the Government Building on Beach Road, Apia.
36. Have a Look Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral – FREE
This striking cathedral looming over the Apia Harbour is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring in Samoa, from the outside and within. Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral boasts an ornate timber ceiling and vibrant stained-glass windows. The original church was constructed in 1884 with the most recent reconstruction estimated to have cost ST$13 million, so go have a visit for the love of funding!
Location: Beach Road opposite the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Apia.
37. See Fascinating Cave Birds at Pe’ape’a Cave – CHEAP
Named after the white-rumped swiftlets that live in this ancient lava tube, Pe’ape’a Cave is believed to stretch for 1 km (0.6 mi) underground. Although the entrance to the cave is the size of a railway tunnel, guided tours can only take you a short way into the cave before it narrows and becomes too difficult to crawl through. Keep noise and torchlights low so as to not disturb the swiftlets that nest in these caves. Check out more places to see unique birds in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Samoa.
Location: Signposted off the roadside just south of Letui village on the northern coast of Savai’i.
38. Va-i-Moana’s Koko Plantation Tour – CHEAP
See where your Whittaker’s Chocolate originates (if you’re from New Zealand) on Va’ai family’s koko (cocoa) farm. Departing from Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, the Koko Plantation Tour has you seeing the koko cultivation process from seedlings to dried cocoa beans. The tour also includes a demonstration on how to make koko Samoa (Samoan hot chocolate) with tastings! For more beverages to taste, check out the 14 Drinks in Samoa You Have to Try.
Location: Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, between Auala and Asau villages on the northwest coast of Savai’i.
39. Refresh at a Freshwater Village Pool (Vai Taele) – FREE
Cool off at a village’s freshwater pool, known as a vai taele in Samoan. Easy to spot as you’re travelling along the coast, village pools have a manmade concrete barrier to contain some of the fresh springwater/protect swimmers from the tide. Some pools to look out for include Vaga Freshwater Pools (Lefagaoali’i, Savai’i), Vai Safe’e (Safotu, Savai’i), Lepa Freshwater Pool (Lepa, Upolu) and behind the John Williams Memorial (Sapapalii, Savai’i).
Location: All over Samoa!
40. Cool Off at Samoa’s Most Famous Village Pool, Mataolealelo Pool – CHEAP
Speaking of freshwater pools, the most famous on Savai’i is Mataolealelo Pool. The village pool is associated with the legend of “Sina and the Eel”. It is split into two sections: one pool for the men and the other for women and children. Note that prices are per car, so if you’re travelling solo or as a couple, the attraction will feel a little pricey compared to others on this list. Otherwise, the site is well maintained with changing rooms and bathrooms. The main thing is the feeling of fresh springwater on a hot day… Ahhh! For more activities on Savai’i, don’t miss the 50 Best Things to Do on Savai’i.
Location: Matavai village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
41. Check Out Safotu Catholic Church – FREE
After (or before) having a dip in the Mataolealelo Pool, visit the neighbouring village of Safotu to check out one of the most significant churches in Samoa. Safotu Catholic Church is Samoa’s first Roman Catholic Church, made from bleached coral and impeccably maintained for an interesting visit. Learn more about Samoa’s churches in The Guide to the Religions in Samoa.
Location: Safotu village, easily spotted along the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
42. Admire the Art at the EFKS Museum – CHEAP
Certainly an art gallery rather than a museum, the EFKS Museum boasts a large glass-walled fale packed with the creations of the talented students of the School of Fine Arts. There is a range of contemporary carvings, sculptures, paintings and more to admire or even purchase should you feel moved enough. Don’t leave the grounds after you’ve finished perusing the art gallery too quickly, as the open-air walkways around the lake outside provide a tranquil setting to explore. Discover more galleries worth visiting in the 5 Best Art Galleries in Samoa.
Location: Malua (signposted next to the Malua Theological College) along Main West Coast Road on the northwest coast of Upolu.
43. Go On an Adventure at Dwarf’s Cave – CHEAP
Definitely the most adventurous cave tour in Samoa, Dwarf’s Cave (Nu’u le Tau) is significant to the local village for its legends. Signs from the main road point toward Paia village, where you should enquire about hiring a guide to take you through this cave. The experience takes you approximately 40 m (44 yards) into the cave, which initially has some confined spaces (not recommended if you’re claustrophobic) that will have you walking, crawling and sometimes wading or swimming. Prepare for clothes and shoes to get wet. Plus, bring a torch if you have one. For more adrenaline-pumping experiences, take a look at the 10 Best Adventure Tours in Samoa.
Location: Paia village. Follow signs inland off the main road to Dwarf’s Cave from the northeast coast of Savai’i.
44. Hike Mt Matavanu – CHEAP
For those looking for an interesting hike and a volcano to climb, try Mt Matavanu. Mt Matavanu can be found on the north coast of Savai’i and was the volcano responsible for the 1905-1911 eruptions that sent lava flowing 13 km (8 mi) along the coast. Organise a hike with a guide from the village of Safotu. You can either drive (20-25 minutes) or walk (2-3 hours) up the 4WD track to the summit, providing the opportunity to spot flying foxes and take in magnificent views of Savai’i’s western villages.
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.
45. Enjoy Some Bird Watching at the Tafua Crater – CHEAP
On this 1-hour walk to the Tafua Crater, your guide will endeavour to point out Samoa’s fascinating and rare wildlife, such as the manumea (tooth-billed pigeon) and flying foxes. The top of the crater provides awesome views of the surrounding coastline and villages. Bring acceptable walking shoes and binoculars if you have them.
Location: Tafua-tai village on Savai’i. From Maoto village on the main road, take the road to the coast which is approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) to Tafua village. Guides are best hired via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.
46. Watch the Royal Samoan Police Marching Band – FREE
Each weekday morning from around 8:45 am, the Royal Samoa Police Band brings the streets of Apia to life with trumpets, trombones and drums as they march along Beach Road from the Police Station Headquarters. At 9 am, they raise the Samoan flag on the lawns of the Government Building before marching their merry way back to the Police Station. A sight not to be missed! For more experiences on the main island, don’t miss the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu.
Location: Between the Police Station HQ and Government Building, Beach Road, Apia.
47. Paddle Among the Asaga Mangroves – CHEAP
A very special experience if you can get it organised (book through the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association or Samoa Tourism Authority), villagers at the Asaga Mangroves offer guided canoe/kayak trips through their glorious mangrove forest. Although guides are not often fluent in English, they’ll point out interesting aspects of the forest as they go. The relaxed 10-15-minute paddle terminates at a freshwater spring where a refreshing dip awaits!
If there’s no one there providing tours when you arrive, you can walk alongside the stream to a volleyball net where a short trail leads to the freshwater spring. For places to experience by kayak or canoe, check out Kayaking in Samoa: Top 10 Kayak Tours & Places to Kayak.
Location: Tours depart from the road bridge in Asaga village (there is a sign for the Asaga River Pool and Beach Fales) on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
48. Be Amazed by the Views at Lover’s Leap – FREE/CHEAP
As you’re tiki touring along the scenic southwest coast of Savai’i, stop by the Lover’s Leap lookout. It’s sometimes overgrown, but if you’re lucky, you’ll get breathtaking views from a clifftop vantage point of the water surging into a small but dramatic cove below. There is a small fale within the barricade where there is sometimes someone to take the small entry fee. Most of the time, however, you’ll find it unoccupied.
Location: Along the main road at the northern end of Falelima village, just past the Mormon Church, on the southwest coast of Savai’i.
49. Take a Tiki Tour Down the Mulinuu Peninsula to See its Historical Sites – FREE
On the Mulinuu Peninsula lining the Apia Harbour are a number of historical memorials to make for an interesting side trip from town. From the tombs of various heads of state to memorials to Samoa’s German affiliations to commemorating Samoa’s independence, many representations of Samoa’s political history can be found here. Learn more about the individual memorials in the 10 Best Historical Sites in Apia, as well as more sites across the country in the 15 Best Historical Sites in Samoa.
Location: Mulinuu Peninsula, Mulinuu Road, Apia.
50. When in Doubt, Go for a Snorkel – FREE/CHEAP
Visiting Samoa and not snorkelling is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Fish, coral, starfish and even turtles are abundant off the coast of Upolu and Savai’i, so take the opportunity for a snorkel outside of your beach fale or resort whenever you can (if conditions aren’t too rough, of course). Accommodations usually hire out snorkelling gear for around ST$15, but we always recommend having you’re own as you don’t know what state the hired snorkelling gear will be in. Find recommended snorkelling gear in the 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for Samoa.
Location: All over Samoa! Get ideas from The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
More Free Things to Do in Samoa
While that’s the list of most of the free and cheap things to do in Samoa, if you want more free attractions for the island you’re visiting, check out the following lists:
- 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia
- 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Upolu
- 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i
Finally, see how the free stuff compares to all of the stuff in the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List. Plus, plan the rest of your frugal itinerary using the Budget & Backpacking Itinerary for 14 Days, Budget & Backpacking Itinerary for 10 Days, 7 Days, 5 Days and 3 Days.