How to Travel Around Samoa
Only a small cluster of 10 islands in the Pacific Ocean yet boasting an array of affordable transport options, Samoa is one of the easiest island nations to travel around. Getting to this remote piece of paradise, however, is perhaps the biggest hurdle unless you’re coming from one of the nearby South Pacific travel hubs. But once you’re here, there’s certainly scope to travel the islands to your preferred style, from cycle touring to riding the flamboyant Samoan buses.
Wise up on all of the ways to get around Samoa, right here, in this complete Samoa transport guide!
1. International Flights – The Main Way to Get to Samoa
Let’s start with how you get to Samoa. Most travellers get here by international flight. All international flights arrive at Faleolo International Airport (APW), located approximately a 50-minute drive from Apia and a 5-minute drive from Mulifanua Wharf where you can take the ferry to Savai’i. The majority of international flights depart from Auckland taking around four hours. Flights are also available from Sydney, Nadi, Honolulu and more. Find out more about which airlines fly to Samoa and from where in our guide, Which Airlines Fly Directly to Samoa?
Note that on arrival, you will be asked questions concerning biosecurity among other things. Find out more about the arrival formalities in our guide, Arriving in Samoa: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process.
2. Airport Transfers – The Easiest Airport Pick-Up Transport
A simple way to get between Falelolo International Airport and your accommodation is to book a transfer with your accommodation provider or an airport shuttle service. While resorts tend to offer airport transfers, only some beach fales and hotels provide this service – so be sure to ask. Needless to say, airport transfers should be arranged with your chosen accommodation or shuttle company prior to arrival for the best deal. Otherwise, taxis await in earnest at Faleolo Airport for your business (more on that later).
Compare all of your options for getting to and from the airport in the 10 Best Airport Transfers in Samoa.
3. Samoa by Ferry – How to Get Between the Islands
It couldn’t be easier to get between Samoa’s two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, nor cheaper thanks to the ferry service operating daily! Ferries to Savai’i depart from Mulifanua Wharf on the west coast of Upolu, just moments away from the airport. On Savai’i, ferries go back and forth from Salelologa Wharf. What’s more, you can access Samoa via ferry from American Samoa with services running between the two nations once a week.
Find out more about ferry travel around Samoa with our Samoa Ferry Guide: How to Use the Ferry for Interisland Travel in Samoa.
4. Ferry Transfers – How to Start Your Journey on Savai’i
After taking the ferry from Upolu to Savai’i, a simple way to get between Salelologa Wharf and your accommodation is to book a transfer with your accommodation provider. Only some of the resort-style accommodations on Savai’i offer this service, however, such as Amoa Resort and Le Lagoto Resort, which should be arranged with the resort prior to arrival.
Other accommodations may just arrange a taxi or shuttle service for you with an independent partner. It’s always worth asking what ferry/accommodation transfers are available.
5. Car Rental – The Most Popular Way to Get Around Samoa
A popular and convenient way to travel around Samoa at your own pace is by renting a car. There is a substantial selection of car rental companies on Upolu – most based in Apia, while there is also a small selection of rentals on Savai’i; but don’t worry, you can take your rental car on the ferry between the two islands. Be sure to do your research using the 10 Best Car Rentals in Samoa.
While most visitors will only need a 2WD to enjoy Samoa’s attractions, note that there are a rare few places that require a 4WD or high-clearance vehicle. Also note that you’ll need to pay for a Temporary Driver’s License for your time driving in Samoa, which you can learn more about, as well as other requirements, in What You Need to Hire a Car in Samoa.
We also recommend that you become familiar with the local road rules, which we outline in How to Drive in Samoa + 10 Road Rules You Need to Know.
6. Bus Services – The Cheapest Way to Get Around Samoa
Ultra-cheap and a fun experience, Samoa’s buses are a vibrant and popular way for locals to get around the island. With no real schedule, however, and no eagerness to get anywhere too quickly, buses should only be considered as a transport option if you’ve got plenty of time on your hands. Otherwise, you might just want to take the bus to do short trips into Apia or Salelologa if you’re staying nearby.
Find out more about taking the bus in our guide, Taking the Bus in Samoa: Bus Fares, Routes & More.
7. Taxi Services – The Most Convenient Way to Get Around Samoa
Readily available across Samoa, taxis provide an easy and reasonably priced way to get from A to B or to even hire for the day or on an hourly basis. There are taxi stands in many of Samoa’s villages, as well as in Apia. Your accommodation provider should be able to get in touch with the nearest one. Taxis don’t run on meters, so agree on a fare with the driver before departing.
8. Guided Island Tours – The Stress-Free Way to Get Around Samoa
If you don’t want to find your own way around Upolu or Savai’i (or both islands, as the case may be), consider a guided tour. Not only do many resorts and beach fales offer their own selection of island tours including transport to each of Samoa’s sightseeing highlights, but independent tour companies are also abundant across Upolu and in small numbers on Savai’i and include accommodation pick-ups.
9. Bicycle and E-Bike Rental – The Environmentally-Friendly Way to Get Around Samoa
Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Samoa at a much slower pace by cycling around the island. Choose from fully guided tour packages to freedom hire with Outdoor Samoa or opt to stay in a resort offering bicycle rental, such as Return to Paradise Resort. Cycling is mostly on quiet sealed roads (not counting Apia) with only a small number of uphills, making a cycle-touring getaway to Samoa an appealing option for most fitness levels.
Learn more about travelling around Samoa by bike in The Ultimate Guide to Mountain Biking in Samoa.
10. Boat Transfers – How to Get to Samoa’s Lesser Visited Islands
Unbeknownst to many travellers, Samoa has many more tiny paradisical islands to explore, both inhabited and uninhabited, beyond Upolu and Savai’i. Frequent boats carry passengers back and forth between the islands of Manono and Namu’a whenever the demand is there. Less frequently, boats travel to the volcano island and village of Apolima, as well as gorgeous islets like Nu’uasafe’e and Nu’ulopa.
Find out more about these islands in The 9 Less-Travelled Islands of Samoa, as well as more about boat transfers in How to Use the Ferry for Interisland Travel in Samoa.
11. Scooter Rental – How to Get Around Samoa for Backpackers
With mostly sealed roads in good condition, riding a scooter around Samoa is another viable option for those who wish to explore independently. A small number of scooter rentals are available on both islands where you’ll need to get a visitor’s driving license to legally drive on Samoa’s roads. Needless to say, scootering is best if you’re carrying a backpack rather than a suitcase and you have a waterproof cover for that backpack as the rain can come down hard in Samoa.
For more tips on hiring a scooter, check out Scooter Hire in Samoa: Where to Rent, Cost & More.
12. Hitchhiking – The Adventurous Way to Get Around Samoa
Hitchhiking is legal in Samoa. However, it is one of the least reliable forms of transport because you’re likely to need to take a few rides to get to where you’re going. Nevertheless, it’s quite an adventure if you can make it work!
Learn more about hitchhiking in the islands, as well as safety tips, in A Travellers’ Guide to Hitchhiking in Samoa.
13. Samoa by Cruise Ship – How to Get to Samoa for the Day
For a quick visit to Samoa, the island is on the itinerary of several South Pacific cruises. Cruise passengers typically enter Upolu from Apia Harbour. From there, passengers spend the day exploring Apia or travelling around the island on island tours, as listed in the 10 Best Shore Excursions in Samoa.
Find out which cruises have Samoa on the agenda in the 10 Best Cruises that Go to Samoa.
14. Samoa by Yacht – How to Get to Samoa Privately
With the exception of the cyclone season (November to April), Apia on Upolu is the official port of entry for Samoa. For the rare few that arrive on Upolu by private yacht, you will need to go through the entry customs at the Samoa Ports Authority.
Find out more about visiting Samoa via yacht and the protocols involved in our Sailing Guide to Samoa: Tips for Yachting in Samoa.
More About Transport and Getting Around Samoa
That’s it for our complete Samoa transport guide! Now that you know the ways to get around Samoa, see how to get to each island using the following guides:
- Upolu Transport Guide: 11 Ways to Get to (& Around) Upolu
- Savai’i Transport Guide: 9 Ways to Get to (& Around) Savai’i
- Apia Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Apia
Finally, if there’s anything else you need to plan for your tropical adventure, you’re likely to find the right information in The Best Samoa Travel Guide.