A Guide to Ferry and Boat Transport in Samoa
Samoa is a nation of 10 islands, so it’s no surprise that there’s the opportunity to do some island-hopping. In fact, ferry travel is the only way to get between Samoa’s two biggest destinations; Upolu and Savai’i, unless you have your own yacht. This Samoa ferry guide not only covers the popular journey between its main islands but also boat transport to the smaller islands of Manono, Apolima, Namu’a and more. What’s more, we’ll even through in some handy advice on taking the ferry between Samoa and American Samoa.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Ferries in Samoa
Before we get started on this complete ferry guide to Samoa, see if your question is answered in these most frequently asked questions about ferries in Samoa.
Is There a Ferry Between the Islands in Samoa?
Yes, there are ferries between not just the two main islands in Samoa, Upolu and Savai’i, but also between Upolu and the smaller islands of Manono, Apolima and Namu’a.
How Much is the Ferry from Upolu to Savai’i?
The ferry from Upolu to Savai’i is approximately ST$10 per person and around ST$80-$95 per car including the driver. For more prices, check out How Much Do Ferries Cost in Samoa?
Is There a Ferry From Samoa to American Samoa?
Yes, there is a ferry from Samoa to American Samoa that departs once a week from the Apia Harbour.
How Long is the Ferry From Apia to Pago Pago?
The average time it takes to take the ferry from Apia to Pago Pago is 8-10 hours.
Ferries Between Upolu and Savai’i
The most frequent ferries in Samoa are those between the two largest islands, Upolu and Savai’i. Ferries are operated by the Samoa Shipping Corporation (SSC) and take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to travel between the two islands.
We have an in-depth guide to taking Samoa’s most popular ferry over at How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i. Otherwise, here’s a quick rundown.
Ferry Terminals on Upolu and Savai’i
The ferry terminal on Upolu is on the northwest coast of the island at Mulifanua Wharf. The wharf is less than five minutes drive from Faleolo International Airport and approximately 50 minutes from Central Apia.
The ferry terminal on Savai’i is at Salelologa Wharf. Salelologa is Savai’i’s main commercial centre and is located on the southeast coast of the island.
For travel times and distances to each of the wharves on the islands, take a look at Samoa Travel Times & Distances: How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Samoa?
Upolu – Savai’i Ferry Schedules
Ferries between Upolu and Savai’i operate seven days a week, 365 days a year unless announced otherwise by SSC (perhaps due to unsafe weather, etc.). Any cancelled sailings are usually posted on the Samoa Shipping Corporation Facebook Page.
Ferry timetables for Savai’i are available on the SSC website and are usually updated every month. There are typically three sailings back and forth each weekday, two sailings on a Saturday and one sailing on a Sunday.
Upolu – Savai’i Ferry Fares
Ferry prices between Samoa’s two main islands are very affordable at around ST$10 per adult passenger, ST$5 per child and around ST$80-$95 for your average rental vehicle (this price also includes the driver). There are fees for transporting bicycles and scooters and for the VIP Lounge (Lady Samoa III only). Get a full cost breakdown over at How Much Do Ferries Cost in Samoa?
Upolu – Savai’i Ferry Bookings
You do not need to make bookings for foot passengers; just pay at the wharf’s ticket office at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. On the other hand, vehicle bookings are highly recommended as there is limited space for vehicles. Bookings can be made via email (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org), at the SSC Office in Apia (Beach Road, Matautu-Tai, next to Paddles Restaurant) or through some vehicle rental companies. Return bookings can also be made.
More Information About the Upolu – Savai’i Ferry
We have much more tips for taking the ferry between Upolu and Savai’i, including timetables and frequently asked questions, so head over to How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i for more information.
Ferries Between Upolu and the Apolima Islands (Manono and Apolima)
The islands of the Apolima Strait (between Upolu and Savai’i) are also populated and have regular boats that run between them and Upolu. Rather “boat transfers” than large ferries but we will refer to them as ferries for ease, the ferries between Upolu and Manono and Apolima do not necessarily run on a schedule but will depart when there is demand.
Boats to Manono Island
The simple and cheap way to get to Manono is to catch a boat from Manono-uta village located on the western side of Upolu. The boat landing is next to Le Vasa Resort.
Boats don’t run on any sort of schedule, so just show up at the boat landing and ask the operator on-site when the next departure is. There are usually several morning departures and a late-afternoon departure, while afternoon departures are arranged according to passenger interest. Expect a trip to cost anywhere between ST$5 if you’re sharing a passenger boat with plenty of people to around ST$50 to charter a boat.
It is possible to organise day tours to Manono and even visit the island by kayak. Learn about these transport methods in The Travel Guide to Manono: Things to Do, How to Get There & More.
Boats to Apolima Island
The smaller of the Apolima Islands and with a population of only around 100, there are far fewer boat departures to Apolima. When boats depart for Apolima, it’s from a village called Apolima-uta on the northwest coast of Upolu. Simply asking the attendants at the boat landing for a boat transfer is a good place to start if you want to arrange a trip to the island.
For more advice on visiting the island, take a look at The Travel Guide to Apolima: Things to Do, How to Get There & More.
Ferries Between Upolu and Namu’a Island
Another island in Samoa with regular boat transport from the mainland, Namu’a is located in an island group known as the Aleipata Islands, just a few hundred metres off the southeastern shores of Upolu.
Namu’a Island can be accessed by a boat operated by Namu’a Island Beach Fales.
Namu’a Island Boat Wharf
Boats depart from the village of Mutiatele, on the east coast of Upolu. The wooden wharf where boats depart is easy to spot with the “Namu’a Island Beach Fales” sign standing between it and the Main South Coast Road.
If no one is at the wharf when you arrive, inquire at the colourful shop opposite: these guys run the tours.
Namu’a Island Boat Schedule
Boats don’t run on any particular schedule; just when passenger demand is there. There are often several trips that run throughout the day. When you want to go back to the mainland, simply let one of the guides on Namu’a know.
How Long Does it Take to Get to Namu’a Island?
Boat trips last approximately 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the tide and if the boys manage to catch a turtle to show you (don’t worry, they release it straight after).
For more information on staying on Namu’a Island and what to do there, check out The Travel Guide to the Aleipata Islands.
Ferries Between Samoa and American Samoa
Ferry services in Samoa also operate between Samoa and the neighbouring country of American Samoa with Samoa Shipping Corporation (SSC). The journey takes approximately 8-10 hours, crossing a distance of 135 km (84 mi). Although we don’t have a full guide on American Samoa, we have some details in What’s the Difference Between Samoa and American Samoa?
Ferry Terminals in Samoa and American Samoa
The ferry terminal for taking ferries from Samoa to American Samoa is in the capital Apia, at the Apia Harbour in the suburb of Matautu-Tai, just off Beach Road.
In American Samoa, the ferry terminal is in the capital Pago Pago.
Samoa – American Samoa Ferry Schedules
Ferries between Samoa and American Samoa travel back and forth once a week, departing Apia on a Thursday (typically around 10 pm) and arriving back in Apia on a Saturday (usually by 8 am). Any cancelled sailings are usually posted on the Samoa Shipping Corporation Facebook Page.
Ferry timetables for American Samoa are available on the SSC website and are usually updated every month.
Samoa – American Samoa Ferry Fares
Ferry prices between Samoa and American Samoa are around ST$90 per adult passenger or ST$120 return, ST$55 per child or ST$75 return or ST$25 per infant or ST$35 return. Get a full cost breakdown over at How Much Do Ferries Cost in Samoa?
Samoa – American Samoa Ferry Bookings
Bookings can be made via email (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org) or at the SSC Office in Apia (Beach Road, Matautu-Tai, next to Paddles Restaurant).
How to Get to Samoa’s Other Islands
Samoa certainly has a few more smaller islands and islets that make a pleasant day trip to explore from Upolu. Although there are no regular boats to these lesser-visited islands, some snorkelling tours, kayaking tours and boat sightseeing tours can transport you.
Find out more about visiting Samoa’s lesser-explored islands in the following links:
- Aleipata Islands: Namu’a, Nu’utele, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala
- The Travel Guide to Nu’ulopa
- The Travel Guide to Nu’usafe’e
You’ll also find tours to Samoa’s islands in the 10 Island Day Trips & Island-Hopping Tours in Samoa.
More About the Ferries in Samoa
That’s it for our complete Samoa ferry guide. For more tips on travelling and transport around Samoa, take a look at the following guides:
- How to Take a Ferry to Savai’i
- Taxis in Samoa: Taxi Fares, How to Use & More
- Taking the Bus in Samoa: Bus Fares, Routes & More
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in our Samoa Transport Guide: 10 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa.