Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend
Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend


3-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. Although three days are nowhere near enough to enjoy the wealth of experience Samoa has to offer (we seriously suggest you reconsider until you have enough time to make the most of these beautiful islands), this Samoa budget and backpacking itinerary for three days has you exploring not just the cool cultural capital of Apia but road-tripping around the greater island of Upolu along with its wonderful waterfalls and glorious beaches. Staying in iconic yet affordable beach fales and doing the best free or cheap activities is what this trip is all about. So pack your backpack and get ready for an adventure in paradise as we guide you with this three-day 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 3-Day (Weekend) Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrival in Samoa + Upolu West Coast Road Trip
  • Day 2 – Upolu South Coast + East Coast Road Trip
  • Days 3 – Explore Apia + Departure.
Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend©

How to Get Around Samoa in 3 Days

This Samoa budget and backpacking itinerary for three days includes travelling to various destinations on the main island of Samoa, Upolu. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Samoa in three 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.

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: 3 Days / Weekend©

Day 1 – Arrival in Samoa + Upolu West Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 1 hour drive.

Arrival at Faleolo Airport

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.

Faleolo Airport to Maninoa

Once you’re ready to hit the road, follow the Main West Coast Road south 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

There are very few dining options outside of Apia and the restaurants of Samoa’s resorts. Therefore, 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. However, you will be paying the usual resort food prices, which don’t necessarily fall in the “budget” category.

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! Otherwise, Ocean Club has a beach bar and cafe with crowd-pleasing dining options, which you can learn more about in the 10 Best Bars on Upolu.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend©

Day 2 – Upolu South Coast + East Coast Road Trip

Travel time: 2 hours 10 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.

Maninoa to To Sua Ocean Trench

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.

To Sua to Apia

After To Sua, head north to 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 mentioned, there are very few dining options outside of the resorts, so 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. Should you prefer a later lunch, Le Uaina Beach Resort by the Piula Cave Pools is a convenient option (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 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.

Samoa Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend©

Day 3 – Explore Apia + Departure Day

Travel time: 45-50 minutes.

Depending on your flight departure time, you may be able 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.

Apia to Faleolo Airport

Then, after an exciting three days in Samoa on a backpacking getaway (we told you three days wasn’t enough), 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 3-Day Itineraries

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


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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