How to Plan a Trip to Nu’ulopa
Ever envisioned having an entire uninhabited island to yourself? Where the surrounding waters are a sanctuary for sea turtles and the shores are awash in sand and coconut palms? Samoa might not offer many of these experiences but the ones they do have are simply stunning. One of the most remote and exclusive island day trips lies on Nu’ulopa island in the heart of the Apolima Strait. This island, that’s only approximately 150 m (164 yards) at its widest point, offers a true Robinson Crusoe experience. So, discover how to get there, things to do and day tours in this complete travel guide to Nu’ulopa.
5 Fun Facts About Nu’ulopa
Before we get into how to get to Nu’ulopa, as well as tours and things to do there, here are some fun facts about the island:
- Nu’ulopa reaches only about 50 m (164 ft) high
- The island has been used as a cemetery for some of the high chiefs of Manono
- The island is home to a native bat colony, giving it its English name “Bat Island“
- The surrounding waters are a turtle conservation area
- Nu’ulopa has one beach fale and one toilet on it; that’s it!
For more interesting tidbits about the Samoan islands, check out the 25 Fun Facts About Samoa.
How to Get to Nu’ulopa
There are limited options for getting to Nu’ulopa: either by a guided boat or kayaking trip from Upolu or by boat from Manono.
Day Tours to Nu’ulopa
From Manono-uta village on the west side of Upolu, Le Vasa Resort offers day tours to Nu’ulopa Island with return boat transport included. Learn more about the tour in the “Tours to Nu’ulopa” section below.
Boat Trips from Manono
Accommodation providers (and perhaps some friendly villagers) on the neighbouring Manono Island can provide boat transport to Nu’ulopa. Let your hosts on Manono know that you would like to visit Nu’ulopa so that they are able to arrange transport for you. Find out more about visiting Manono in The Travel Guide to Manono.
Kayaking to Nu’ulopa from Manono
On overnight tour packages with Outdoor Samoa, it is possible to paddle over to Nu’ulopa Island if staying on Manono. Again, take a look at the “Tours to Nu’ulopa” section below for more details.
Facilities + Things to Do on Nu’ulopa
Nu’ulopu is an uninhabited island, but surprisingly still has a couple of infrastructures in the form of one beach fale and a toilet. Otherwise, the island is shrouded in creepers and coconut palms with a forested rocky outcrop which provides habitat for a colony of flying foxes, which is why many know Nu’ulopa as “Bat Island”.
Located at the edge of a lagoon, Nu’ulopa provides wonderful snorkelling right off the beach. The waters around the island are known to be frequented by turtles. For more places to encounter turtles, check out the 10 Places to See Turtles in Samoa.
Nu’ulopa is not only a habitat for flying foxes but a conservation area. While you might be lucky to see the flying foxes flying in and out at any time, the best time to watch them is when they come in to roost before dusk and dawn. For more wildlife experiences, check out Wildlife in Samoa: Animals in Samoa & Where to See Them.
Tours to Nu’ulopa
The best way to experience Nu’ulopa Island is on a guided tour.
Le Vasa Resort
Definitely the most complete tour to Nu’ulopa, Le Vasa Resort offers two options for experiencing the island.
There’s the “Bat Island Escape” tour, which includes return boat transfers, as well as time to snorkel off the beach, try a natural whirlpool, sunbathe or relax under the fale. A picnic lunch and drinks are included. The tour requires a minimum of two people in order to go ahead.
Alternatively, there’s the “Bat Island Culture Experience“. Not only do you get to experience Nu’ulopa but you’ll go with a guide who will teach you how to husk a coconut, make fresh coconut cream and weave your own basket. You’ll then enjoy watching a Samoan dance and learn a few moves yourself. The tour also includes around 30 minutes of snorkelling, as well as a picnic lunch and drinks. Note that the tour requires a minimum of four people in order to go ahead.
Should you want a more action-packed adventure to Nu’ulopa, experience it on a kayaking tour with Outdoor Samoa. This side trip to Nu’ulopa is possible if you take a two or three-day kayaking tour departing from Upolu and staying on the neighbouring Manono island.
On day one, choose whether you want to take a kayak route completely within the reef or partially outside for a chance to see turtles along the way. Either way, it takes approximately two hours to make the exciting journey between Upolu and Manono.
On day two or three, you’ll have enough time to paddle to Nu’ulopa Island and perhaps enough time to explore Manono too, which we outline the highlights in The Travel Guide to Manono.
More About Nu’ulopa and Samoa
That’s it for our complete travel guide to Nu’ulopa. For more of the less-explored islands to visit, check out the following guides:
- The Travel Guide to Manono: Things to Do, How to Get There & More
- The Travel Guide to Apolima: Things to Do, How to Get There & More
- The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands: Nu’utele, Namu’a, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala