Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days
Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days


10-Day Budget Trip to Samoa

Travelling with a limited budget is often when you have the richest experiences. This is certainly true for this itinerary for Samoa. Forget lounging at the same resort for 10 whole days; this Samoa budget and backpacking itinerary for 10 days has you exploring not one but two breathtaking islands. Staying in iconic yet affordable beach fales, doing the best free or cheap activities yet not missing a thing off your bucket list is what this trip is all about. So pack your backpack and get ready to venture from the waterfall wonderland of Upolu to the authentic Polynesian paradise of Savai’i as we guide you with this two-week budget itinerary.

While you’re here, don’t forget to explore The Complete Backpacking Guide to Samoa on a Budget; your bible to affordable travel in Samoa!

Overview: Samoa Budget 10-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrival in Samoa + Ferry to Savai’i
  • Day 2 – Savai’i North Coast Road Trip
  • Day 3 – Explore Falealupo and Cape Mulinuu
  • Day 4 – Savai’i South Coast Road Trip
  • Day 5 – Ferry to Upolu + Manono
  • Day 6 – Upolu West Coast Road Trip
  • Day 7 – Upolu South Coast Road Trip
  • Day 8 – Upolu East Coast Road Trip
  • Day 9 – Explore Apia
  • Day 10 – Departure Day.
Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

How to Get Around Samoa in 10 Days

This Samoa budget and backpacking itinerary for 10 days includes travel on two islands, as well as between these islands. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Samoa in 10 days.

Road Transport in Samoa

Upon arrival in Samoa, get your rental car or scooter delivered to the airport for the most streamlined way to handle this itinerary. Get advice on car hire, including budget car hire, from What You Need to Hire a Car in Samoa. We also provide tips on ensuring the cheapest car rental possible in the 10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Samoa.

Interisland Transport in Samoa

There are no domestic flights in Samoa, so the only way to get between the islands of Upolu and Savai’i is via the very affordable interisland ferry. The ferry has a convenient schedule of around three departures per day on weekdays and at least one per day on weekends. If you’re travelling in a rental car, it’s recommended to pre-book your ferry ticket. You do not need to pre-book scooters. Find out more about using ferry transport in our Samoa Ferry Guide.

For all of your transport options across the islands, not limited to the most cost-effective, check out our Samoa Transport Guide: 14 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 1 – Arrival in Samoa + Ferry to Savai’i

Welcome to Samoa and the start of your escape to paradise! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals area to where your car/scooter rental will be waiting. If you’re arriving on an early-morning/late-night flight, get some shut-eye at the nearby Transit Motel.

Since the airport is right next to the ferry terminal to Savai’i, get your trip off to an amazing (yet logical) start by catching the ferry to Samoa’s most traditional and pristine island. Be at Mulifanua Wharf approximately one hour before your chosen scheduled departure if travelling with a vehicle (learn about how to book your vehicle using How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i). Then, enjoy a scenic crossing to the island of Savai’i with views of Manono and Apolima Islands.

Upon arrival, take the time to check out the handicrafts and unique souvenirs of the Salelologa Market and sample some of its cheap eats before making your way to one of the beach fales on stunning Lano Beach.

Lano Budget Accommodations

  • Lauiula Beach Fales
  • Joelan Beach Fales

Get details on all of our recommended stays in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations on Savai’i.

Dining Recommendations

Lunch can be enjoyed by picking up some Samoan snacks like keke pua’a (pork buns) at the Salelologa Market. Alternatively, look out for “BBQ” signs on the roadside when leaving Salelologa to try typical Samoan cuisine – see The Top Cheap Eats on Savai’i for more details. If a cafe lunch is more your style, Adria’s Cafe in Lalomalava provides a range of crowd-pleasing international meals for a reasonable price.

For dinner, your beach fale host will provide a hearty Samoan affair shared with fellow guests in the dining fale. Learn more about the typical beach fale experience in our guide, Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa + 10 Essential Tips!

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 2 – Savai’i North Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes (to Asau Bay) – 2 hours (to Falealupo).

Discover some of the north coast highlights today (all of which we list in the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i), starting with Saleaula Lava Fields to see the iconic LMS Church engulfed in lava flow. Stop by Manase to hire a beach fale and snorkel with turtles off the beach; otherwise, Dive Savai’i offers spectacular turtle-swimming tours, as listed in the 10 Best Places to See Turtles in Samoa.

Journey along the North Coast Road now, stopping by the architectural marvel of Safotu Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in Samoa, before reaching Mataolealelo Spring in Matavai. There’s nothing more revitalising than bathing in its cooling spring water during a day of sightseeing in the hot sun! Note, however, that this attraction is paid per vehicle, so can be pretty expensive if you’re just on your own.

You’ll then venture through the remote northern coast of Savai’i, shaped by volcanic activity, which is evident at Pe’ape’a Cave, a short cave attraction just off the side of the road and home to the unusual white-rumped swiftlets. Further along the North Coast Road is also the Laauoleola Cave accessed down a 15-minute nature trail to a much larger cave network – see the 10 Best Caves in Samoa to compare the two.

You’ll emerge back into civilisation again once you reach the large village of Asau, also home to Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge where you can stop for lunch or even stay the night. Ask about their koko plantation tour for an educational experience seeing an organic cocoa farm – see the 11 Best Foodie Experiences on Savai’i for more details.

For those who would rather stay in Falealupo, we go over a couple of sights to see on the way there tomorrow which you may as well get a head start on today.

Asau Bay and Falealupo Budget Accommodations

  • Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge (Asau Bay)
  • Vaisala Hotel (Asau Bay)
  • Falealupo Beach Fales (Falealupo)
  • Se’eti Beach Fales (Falealupo)

Again, more details on these can be found in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations on Savai’i.

Dining Recommendations

On the remote northwest corner of Savai’i nestled in Asau Bay, Vai-i-Moana Seaside Lodge and Vaisala Hotel offer just about the only dining options on this side of the island for guests and non-guests alike. While there’s fish, chicken, steak, pork, lobster and soup prepared in numerous ways on the menus, you’ll have to make do with what they have available on the day. Again, we detail these restaurants further in the 10 Best Restaurants on Savai’i.

If you get hungry before then, convenience stores are located in Fagamalo, Manase and Safotu providing substantial Samoan snacks like packs of keke saiga (Chinese biscuits) – see A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa to learn more.

Alternatively, dinner is provided for guests staying at Falealupo and Se’eti Beach Fales.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 3 – Explore Falealupo and Cape Mulinuu

Travel Time: 10 minutes (from Falealupo) – 1 hour (from Asau Bay).

Explore the westernmost tip of Savai’i and the spectacular Falealupo. Again, all of what we’re about to discuss is listed in more detail in the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i.

From Asau Bay, the first attraction you’ll stumble upon is Moso’s Footprint. The 2 m (6.6 ft)-long foot-shaped depression has an unusual legend. It’s perhaps not the best value-for-money attraction, so feel free to skip it if this doesn’t intrigue you.

Between Moso’s Footprint and Falealupo Beach are the ruins of Falealupo’s Historic Catholic Church which was destroyed by the waves of Cyclone Ofa in 1990.

Just as you reach Falealupo village, a sign points to the “House of Rock” where guides will lead you down a rough trail (better to wear closed footwear rather than your flip-flops) to a partially collapsed lava tube. Some local guides are eager to share the legends of this cave if they’re available.

Next, sweeping white sands and glorious snorkelling await at Falealupo Beach. If you’re not already staying here, hire a day fale at the Falealupo Beach Fales or Se’eti Beach Fales with more than a kilometre of sand to enjoy. Falealupo Beach Fales’ 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.

At the westernmost point of Savai’i, accessed via a flat dirt road (suitable for 2WD) through the coconut groves, Cape Mulinuu is home to 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.

Afterwards, 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).

Dining Recommendations

You have the same dining recommendations as the day before: Vai-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, Vaisala Hotel or your beach fale breakfast and dinner.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 4 – Savai’i South Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 1 hour 40 minutes – 2 hours drive.

Make your way back toward Salelologa today by exploring the south coast of Savai’i. Your first scenic stop is just off the side of the road at Lover’s Leap. If you fancy some snorkelling, Satuiatua Beach Fales has a great spot as outlined in The Best Snorkelling in Savai’i but be aware of paying your beach fees or pay them by stopping by their restaurant for lunch (assuming it will be open).

Approximately 32 km (20 mi) from Satuiatua Beach Fales, immediately after the Lata River road bridge, is the Mu Pagoa Waterfall that tumbles directly into the Pacific Ocean.

Next is the iconic Alofaaga Blowholes. The access road is a bit rough and you may have to pay two small entry fees along the way. Your reward is watching the magnificent power of swell shooting water through the volcanic fissures of the coast.

Approximately 27 km (16.8 mi) further along the South Coast Road is Afu Aau Waterfall, which is perfect for a swim in a fairy-tale-like forest setting. Next door, you’ll see the sign for the Siapo Demonstration. Enjoy a refreshingly authentic demonstration of how locals make and paint canvases from the bark of a mulberry tree. What’s more, you’ll also come away with your own piece of siapo artwork.

If you’re staying at Florence’s Place, this is your final destination today. Otherwise, end the day in Salelologa with its dining and even nightlife opportunities – see The Guide to Savai’i Nightlife for advice on where to let your hair down.

Fa’a’ala and Salelologa Budget Accommodations

Learn more about these stays in the 10 Best Boutique Accommodations on Savai’i and 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Samoa.

Dining Recommendations

For lunch, there are limited options until you reach Salelologa with the exception of Satuiatua Beach Fales. Alternatively, Samoan snacks and pies can be picked up from the convenience store in Palauli village (near Afu Aau Waterfall).

For dinner, the Harbourside Cafe & Pizza Bar is good for its fresh fish dishes and, of course, pizzas. Otherwise, dinner is included at Florence’s Place, while Lusia’s Lagoon Chalets has its own restaurant. Again, more dining details can be found in the 10 Best Restaurants on Savai’i or else head over to The Food Guide to Savai’i.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 5 – Ferry to Upolu + Manono

Travel time: 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes ferry + 10 minutes drive + 20 minutes boat transfer.

Ferry crossings back to the mainland don’t start until late morning, so you have some time to relax and perhaps peruse the Salelologa Market (if you haven’t done so already) before catching the ferry back to Upolu. The process for taking the ferry back is very much the same as getting here; just make sure to pre-book your rental car.

Once you’re back on Upolu, it’s only a 10-minute drive south to Manono-uta where the boats launch to Manono Island (just south of Le Vasa Resort). Those staying at the island’s only formal accommodation, Sunset View Fales have the boat transfer included in their stay (be sure to book ahead).

Once you’ve arrived and checked in, start your exploration of this island with no cars and no roads; just a gorgeously maintained walking track that circumvents the island and only takes 1h30mins to complete! See the mysterious Grave of 99 Stones and extend your trip further to the 110 m (361 ft)-high Mt Tulimanuiva which is home to an ancient Star Mound.

Check out more things to do in Manono, as well as the logistics of getting there, in The Travel Guide to Manono.

Manono Budget Accommodation

  • Sunset View Fales

Again, more details on this accommodation can be found in The Travel Guide to Manono.

Dining Recommendations

In true Samoan style, you’ll be well looked after on Manono with breakfast and dinner included in your stay at Sunset View Fales.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 6 – Upolu West Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 1 hour drive.

Don’t expect too much to happen too quickly on Manono. After what will likely be a leisurely morning having breakfast provided by your host – they may even rope you into a boat snorkelling trip before taking you back to the mainland, which is definitely worth accepting, you’ll make it back to the mainland where you can take your time exploring the west coast.

Follow the Main West Coast Road as it rises over the cliffs about 200 m (656 ft) above sea level, checking out the wonderful lagoon vistas along the way.

You’ll descend into Lefaga Bay where, if you’re up for an adventure, Lalotalie ECAT Ventures can take you on an epic waterfall hike/canyoning trip in their glorious conservation area – learn more in the 10 Best Adventure Tours in Samoa.

If it’s high tide by the time you reach the village of Savaia in Lefaga Bay, don your snorkelling gear to swim with giant clams and perhaps even turtles at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary – see The Best Snorkelling in Upolu for more information.

Your final destination today is Maninoa (or perhaps the neighbouring Tafitoala) where you will no doubt be greeted by your friendly Samoan hosts at one of the beach fales.

Maninoa Budget Accommodations

Find out more about these stays in the 20 Best Budget Accommodations on Upolu and 7 Best Surf Resorts & Lodges in Samoa.

Dining Recommendations

Like elsewhere in Samoa, there are no dining options outside of the resorts (and Apia). Return to Paradise Resort provides a scenic setting for lunch. On the other hand, Cocolini’s by the Sea at Le Vasa Resort has much higher quality fare for a similar price, should that be a more important factor. However, you will be paying the usual resort food prices, which don’t necessarily fall in the budget category.

Tonight, dinner will be included if you’re staying in a beach fale. Otherwise, Ocean Club has a beach bar and cafe with crowd-pleasing dining options. Learn more about some of these eateries in the 10 Best Restaurants on Upolu and 10 Best Bars on Upolu.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 7 – Upolu South Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 50 minutes drive.

More adventures await on the south coast of Upolu today, so enjoy a no-doubt gargantuan breakfast and check out of your accommodation and hit the road! All of today’s recommended attractions are also listed in more detail in the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Upolu.

If you have a high-clearance vehicle, make your way down the unsealed road to the glorious Aganoa Black Sand Beach, one of the 10 Best Beaches in Samoa.

Back on the Main South Coast Road, continue east through O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park and again, if you have a high-clearance vehicle, head down the unsealed road to the 1-hour Coastal Walk to see its magnificent sea arches (otherwise, you can park at the main road car park and make it a 2-hour walk). Opposite the Coastal Walk turnoff is the Ma Tree walk which is a quick venture to a giant buttress tree.

After all that walking, you’ll no doubt need to cool off, which you can do at the Togitogiga Waterfall only a few hundred metres further along the Main South Coast Road.

If you’ve worked up an appetite, take the turnoff to Vaiula Beach Fales and Tafatafa Beach where you’ll find a beach bar and cafe lining the sands.

As you continue east, hug the coast by taking Salani Road, past Saletoga Sands Resort and to Lotofaga, home to the iconic To Sua Ocean Trench, certainly the most popular of the Top 10 Sights in Samoa.

You’ll now reach an idyllic stretch of road with white sands on one side and towering bush-clad cliffs on the other as you travel through the villages of Lepa, Saleapaga and Lalomanu and check-in at your beach fale accommodation.

Lalomanu Budget Accommodations

For more details on each, take a look at the 20 Best Budget Accommodations on Upolu.

Dining Recommendations

To refuel throughout the day, stop at Vaiula Beach Fales‘ Bar & Cafe at Tafatafa Beach. Dine on pizzas, burgers or even toasted sandwiches along with local beers, cocktails and soft drinks. Find out more in the 10 Best Bars on Upolu.

Once again, dinner is easily sorted by choosing your beach fale’s option to have meals included!

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 8 – Upolu East Coast Road Trip

Travel Time: 1 hour 20 minutes drive.

We recommend backtracking just a little bit to take the Le Mafa Pass road; a much more interesting route to take to the capital Apia, which will be your final destination today.

Your first stop is Sopoaga Falls with its breathtaking waterfall viewpoint and where you can watch coconut husking demonstrations to inject a bit of island culture into your journey. Further up the road is a quick detour to Fuipisia Waterfall where you’ll have the opportunity to stand at the top of the falls if you dare. Learn more about the waterfalls discussed in the 10 Best Waterfalls in Samoa.

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

Once you’ve made it back to civilisation at Falefa village, make a waterfall stop at Falefa Falls with its attractive picnic area.

Just a further 3.5 km (2 mi) along the road, wash off the heat of the day at the freshwater spring of Piula Cave Pools, signposted between the villages of Saoluafata and Faleapuna. Bathe in the reviving spring waters then choose whether to continue on the Main West Coast Road toward Apia or take a 20-minute return detour to another mesmerising swimming spot, Sauniatu Falls signposted from Saoluafata. Learn more about both of these attractions in the 10 Best Swimming Spots in Samoa.

Finally, continue on the Main West Coast Road driving through villages wedged between cliffs and the Pacific Ocean surf until you arrive in the capital and check-in at one of its welcoming budget accommodations.

Apia Budget Accommodations

Check out some of our top recommendations in the 20 Best Budget Accommodations in Apia.

Dining Recommendations

As always, there are little dining options outside of the resorts, so Le Uaina Beach Resort by the Piula Cave Pools is a convenient option for lunch (resort rates are also cheap if you’d rather stay here than head into Apia). Just before reaching Apia, stop by Sula’s Supermarket & Bakery along the Main East Coast Road in Moataa, which is often agreed to be one of the best places to pick up quintessential Samoan snacks, such as many of the items we list in the 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.

As for dinner, look out for events like the Apia Night Market for at least one of the nights you’re in Apia to experience its affordable street food and a cultural ambience – see the 8 Best Markets in Samoa. Otherwise, browse The Top Cheap Eats in Apia & Upolu for your most affordable dining options. We’ll go through some alternative recommendations tomorrow.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 9 – Explore Apia

You have a full day (and perhaps tomorrow before your flight) to make the most of Samoa’s capital along with its cultural activities, bustling markets and even some natural wonders.

Free/Cheap Activities in Apia

  • Watch the Royal Samoan Police Marching Band do their 8:45 am march
  • See cultural traditions, a show and lunch at the Samoa Cultural Village
  • Mingle with the locals at the Fugalei Market, Flea Market, Night Market and more
  • Educate yourself at Falemata’aga, Museum of Samoa
  • Slide down the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
  • Snorkel at the mesmerising Palolo Deep Marine Reserve

… And the list goes on over in the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia.

Dining Recommendations

If you’re willing to put that diet on hold, then you’ll find no lack of cheap takeaway options across Apia. Kardenia’z, Mr Chicken Plaza, Chickalicious, Mr Chippy, Raynim’s Fast Food are just a few takeaways offering deep-fried delights, kebabs and burgers between ST$5 and $20.

If just burgers are more your thing, then slightly better burgers can be found at Kilo’s Shack and Skippy’s Restaurant, while Jojo’s Diner and Kofe Hous also do decent burger meals on the outskirts of town.

Finally, get affordable Asian cuisine from Bella’s Kitchen and Yummy Fast Food. Tifaimoana Indian Restaurant and Cafe 1962 are also good for affordable curry meals. Learn more about these cheap dining options in The Top Cheap Eats in Apia.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 10 Days©

Day 10 – Departure Day

Travel time: 45-50 minutes.

Depending on your flight departure time, you may be able to do any of the activities that you might have missed in Apia yesterday. Then, after an exciting 10 days in Samoa on a backpacking getaway, it’s finally time to say goodbye to the islands.

Either return your vehicle in Apia and experience one of the iconic Samoan buses for the cheapest way to get to the airport. Otherwise, simply opt to drop your rental vehicle off at the airport for a fee determined by your rental company.

Remember to arrive at the airport a couple of hours before your scheduled departure so that you have enough time to check in, go through security and browse the retail offerings, as listed in The Guide to Shopping in Samoa + The Best Places to Shop.

For anything else you need to know about leaving Samoa, it’s all listed in our guide, Leaving Samoa: Departure Tips & Checklist.

And it’s “Tofa Soifua” from Samoa!

Alternative Samoa 10-Day Itineraries

Is this 10-day budget and backpacking itinerary for Samoa not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 10 days:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Samoa budget and backpacking itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Backpacking Guide to Samoa on a Budget.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across Samoa and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At Samoa Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.


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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