How to Plan a More Eco-Friendly Trip to Samoa
While climate change can seem like a distant issue, the impact of global warming is certainly present on the islands of the South Pacific. Although Samoa has some marine reserves and conservation areas to protect its flora, fauna and reefs, the nation has had its issues with balancing environmental and social sustainability while trying to grow its tourism industry. As is a common theme for anyone trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s up to us travellers to be mindful of the tourism operators used, as well as be careful with the environment and respectful of communities in order to travel more sustainably. Nevertheless, ecotourism in Samoa is alive and we’re here to guide you through it.
Quick Tips for More Eco-Friendly Travel in Samoa
Although our guide to ecotourism in Samoa will go into much more detail on eco-friendly and ethical travel in Samoa, here are some quick sustainability tips to get you started.
- Stay at beach fales and eco-lodges to reduce your environmental impacts
- Join an eco-tour for a tourism operator doing good things for the environment and/or local people
- Minimise your waste by packing a reusable water bottle, plastic-free toiletries, shopping bags etc.
- Use public transport or bicycles where possible
- Take the most direct flight to Samoa
- Use reef-safe sunscreen and natural insect repellent
- Be careful to not stand on or damage coral.
And there’s more where that came from over in the 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Samoa.
Eco-Resorts and Beach Fales in Samoa
Resorts tend to play a huge part in a Samoa getaway. Choosing an eco-resort or eco-lodge can help reduce your environmental impact tremendously, although there are very few resorts in Samoa that are actively taking a more sustainable approach. Nevertheless, some of Samoa’s more traditional accommodations, beach fales, have an incredibly low impact in comparison to mainstream tourist accommodations, making this iconic style of stay also a healthier choice for the environment and local communities.
We go over the benefits of staying in Samoa’s eco-resorts, beach fales and more over in How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa.
The Best Eco-Friendly Resorts in Samoa
Find out much more about what these resorts and accommodations are doing for the environment in the 5 Best Eco-Resorts in Samoa.
Ethical Beach Fales and Guesthouses
When it comes to supporting local businesses, staying at guesthouses and beach fales is a more ethical and environmentally friendly accommodation than a large resort owned by some distant overseas corporation. Furthermore, beach fales are traditionally constructed using natural materials such as local timber and palm fronds, so they are even less impactful than more modern accommodations even down to their construction.
On the other hand, staying at guesthouses, B&Bs and motels is a more ethical and environmentally friendly accommodation than a large resort or hotel due to their size. These small-scale accommodations are not only run by locals but tend to host a larger number of people per square metre. By having shared bathrooms, set breakfasts/dinners for less food waste, and communal spaces like a lounge, they also tend to use much fewer resources per guest.
Eco-Tours and Attractions in Samoa
Samoa is home to a plethora of eco-friendly and ethical tourist attractions; the biggest highlights are the country’s natural wonders, after all! What’s more, a small number of tours either have their own environment-enhancing initiatives, while others focus on low-impact solutions to enjoying Samoa’s wilderness.
Natural Attractions in Samoa
As mentioned, Samoa is blessed with gorgeous waterfalls, beaches, lava caves that are home to rare swiftlets, coral reefs, lush native rainforest and the list goes on. Unlike some countries, however, visitors to these attractions are expected to pay an entry fee, even if it’s usually just a few tala. Considering these funds are used to preserve natural sites, as well as fund other projects in the community, these fees may be seen as preferable to locals having to rely on other forms of income from these sites, such as exploiting them for resources.
National Parks, Reserves and Conservation Areas in Samoa
Samoa is home to several national parks, reserves and conservation areas where the country’s unique biodiversity is protected. Where reserves are on government-managed land, sites and attractions are free to visit, while those on privately owned land typically have a fee in exchange for a guided walk.
National Parks in Samoa
- O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park
- Lake Lanoto’o National Park
Learn more about the free walks and waterfalls of these national parks in the 50 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Samoa.
Marine Reserves in Samoa
- Aleipata Marine Protected Area
- Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
- Safata Marine Protected Area
- Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary
Find out more about snorkelling at these marine reserves in The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
Conservation Areas in Samoa
- Aleipata Islands
- A’opo Conservation Area
- Central Savai’i Rainforest
- Falealupo Rainforest Reserve
- Sa’anapu Conservation Area
- Tafua Rainforest Preserve
- Uafato Conservation Area
Check out guided walks at some of these conservation areas in the 15 Best Walks & Hikes in Samoa.
Reserves in Samoa
- Apia Central Reserve
- Fa’avaeileatua Reserve
- Fuluasou Botanical Garden
- Malololelei Recreation Reserve
- Magiagi Reserve
- Taumeasina Reserve
- Tusitala Historic and Nature Reserve (Mount Vaea)
- Vailele Reserve (‘Ao o le Malo Reserve)
- Vaigaga Reserve
- Vaimoso Reserve
- Vaitele East Reserve
- Vaitele West Reserve
Eco-Tour Operators in Samoa
Some of the top eco-tours in the country include:
- Lalotalie ECAT Ventures – Waterfall adventure tour through conservation and restoration area with active initiatives like tree-planting, etc.
- Rainforest Runaway Ecotours – Educational nature, sightseeing and hiking tours
- Outdoor Samoa – Low-impact adventures via bike, e-bikes and kayaks
- Samoa SUP Tours – Low-impact watersport with rotation in mangrove forests visited
- Uafato Bird Hide Trail – Education in native forest life at this remote bird hide in the Uafato Conservation Area.
And learn much more about these operators and others in the 10 Best Eco Tours in Samoa.
Tips for Sustainable Transport in Samoa
More often than not, our biggest environmental impact when travelling is, well, the travelling part. There are, however, some ways to reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to transport in Samoa.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint on Your Way to Samoa
While carbon offsetting programs aren’t an excuse to fly more, they can help toward neutralising the associated danger to the planet. Most airlines have the option to pay a carbon offsetting organisation for the amount of CO2 you will emit on your flight. However, you can always do your own research and choose a reputable company with a proven program that invests in renewable energy.
Take the most direct flight to Samoa. Nonstop flights generally require less fuel than flights that need to land and take off again. Check out Which Airlines Fly Directly to Samoa? for details on how to fly more directly.
How to Travel Around Samoa More Sustainably
Use public transport. Despite the gas-guzzling monsters some of these vehicles are, taking the bus in Samoa has much lower carbon emissions per head than, for instance, renting your own car.
If renting your own vehicle is preferred, however, choose one of Samoa’s scooter rentals which uses much less fuel per person than cars. Samoa does not yet have electric vehicles for rent.
Ideally though, either one of Samoa’s main islands provides the perfect terrain for a multi-day cycle-touring (or bikepacking) holiday. Riding at a natural pace through Samoa’s quaint villages and staying at a different beach fale each night is an amazing way to see the country.
For more advice on the subject, check out the 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Samoa.
Eco-Friendly Packing Tips for Samoa
Mindful packing not only means that you may save a few bucks on excess luggage fees, but it also can help you be less wasteful while visiting Samoa.
- Only take reef-safe sunscreen with you to Samoa to protect the reefs from harmful chemicals found in traditional sunscreens
- Only use natural insect repellents to protect your skin and the environment from harmful chemicals
- To avoid having to buy bottled water, take a reusable water bottle, such as the Lifestraw Bottle, that removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria
- Pack plastic-free toiletries, such as Ethique shampoo bars, to avoid using plastic-heavy resort toiletries. Plus, no shampoo explosions from your flight!
- Choose luggage that is durable and made with recyclable materials, such as Herschel’s Eco Collection.
And, as we are sure from someone reading this guide about sustainable travel in Samoa, we don’t need to tell you to skip wrapping your luggage in plastic film at the airport…
For more sustainable packing tips, head to the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Samoa.
More About Ecotourism in Samoa
That’s it for our guide to ecotourism in Samoa. For more sustainability advice, check out the following guides:
- How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Samoa
- 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Renting a Car in Samoa
- 5 Best Eco Resorts in Samoa
Finally, get even more tips for your trip to Samoa using the 30 Tips for Travelling in Samoa.