What You Need to Know About Mountain Biking in Samoa
Samoa famously has towering volcanic peaks and rugged terrain that, in theory, would make amazing mountain biking trails. As of yet, this terrain hasn’t been utilised for mountain biking. But not all hope is lost. The quiet coastal roads of Samoa’s two main islands provide incredibly scenic and culturally insightful journeys which are well worth exploring by bike. We go through all of the bike rentals, tours and other logistics that you need to prepare for exploring Samoa by bike in this ultimate guide to mountain biking in Samoa!
Are There Any Mountain Biking Trails in Samoa?
Unfortunately for keen mountain bikers, there are no official mountain bike trails in Samoa. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to go down a gear when it comes to adventure, the plantation trails of Upolu’s interiors make for some fun terrain. These trails aren’t mapped and can be difficult to follow, so it’s recommended that you go with a guide.
Outdoor Samoa‘s mountain biking tour is the “Forest Mountain Bike” option of their “Giant Clams Ride”, which takes you on some 14 km (8.7 mi) of dirt trails through forest and plantations. Learn more about their tours in the “Cycling Tours in Samoa” section below.
Guided Cycle Tours or Do it Yourself?
You have two options when it comes to cycling in Samoa: take a guided tour or do it yourself.
Renting a bike and hitting the road allows you to ride completely at your own pace and independently should you not be feeling too social to be part of a tour group. It also gives you the flexibility to visit your preferred attractions and stay at your preferred accommodations (should you be cycling for multiple days). Of course, the base price of hiring bicycles is also cheaper than paying for a fully guided experience. And with the “Self-Guided Bike Trails” listed at the end of this article, we’ll point you in the direction of some neat routes.
On the other hand, guided cycle tours are well worth considering in Samoa. On day tours, you have the benefit of going inland where rarely few visitors go, getting a unique perspective on village and plantation life; not to mention some exciting terrain that differs from the coastal roads. Multi-day cycling holiday packages also have many benefits, including a support vehicle, so you don’t have to carry all of your own gear, while accommodation is also included and organised before you arrive (which can otherwise be a headache to organise yourself). See the “Cycle Tours in Samoa” section below to learn more.
Cycle Tours in Samoa
All of Samoa’s cycling tours are run by Outdoor Samoa which provides a wide range of quality mountain bikes and e-bikes customised to tour Samoa’s islands. Choose from guided day tours on Upolu to multi-day holiday packages exploring either the island of Savai’i or Upolu.
Cycling Day Tour
Should you only want a taste of cycling in Samoa, Outdoor Samoa‘s “Giant Clams Ride” can be as exciting or relaxing as you like with an option to either cycle on the main road through the villages or go off-roading through the plantation and dirt trails of Upolu‘s lesser-explored interior.
The village ride is suitable for families and less experienced riders, allowing you to experience Samoa’s villages at a relaxed pace where waving at the locals and seeing the natural goings-on are all part of the charm. There is a scenic yet steep section to this ride where the elevation rises 200 m (656 ft) within 2 km (1.2 mi), so you can either take a support vehicle over this section or opt to hire e-bikes for some extra peddle-power.
Alternatively, there’s a forest mountain biking route where you can take over all sorts of rugged backroad terrain, from dirt trails to boggy puddles to lava rocks. See lush plantations, children greeting you, and dogs barking at you (your guide will chase them off). You’ll also stop off at freshwater springs and traditional Samoan fales to see how villagers live and much more on this eclectic tour.
The finale is arriving at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary for a refreshing swim among mesmerising giant fluorescent molluscs. Learn more about the snorkelling hotspot in The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel. You can hire snorkelling gear from Outdoor Samoa.
After your swim, you can either ride back or take the support vehicle to Outdoor Samoa‘s base in Mulifanua.
Savai’i Multi-Day Cycling Tours
Among some of Outdoor Samoa‘s most popular cycling tours are the “Savai’i Taster” four-day tour and the “Savai’i Escape” nine-day tour. With quiet mostly sealed and mostly flat roads (not saying that there aren’t a few uphills), Savai’i provides the perfect conditions for a cycling holiday and to experience the island at a more natural pace.
Days are spent cycling an average of 40 km (25 mi) before the hottest part of the day. These guided experiences include a support van that will transfer your gear between accommodations, as well as supply filtered water and transport any non-riders. The van will also ensure that accommodation providers, mostly beach fales, are prepared for your arrival. Beach fales also supply breakfast and dinner, which are all included in the tour rate. Learn more about the beach fale experience in our guide, Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa + 10 Essential Tips!
Afternoons are spent at beach fales with their magnificent locations on beaches that are ideal for snorkelling. Snorkelling gear can also be hired with Outdoor Samoa.
Upolu Multi-Day Cycling Tour
Experience Samoa’s most-visited island, Upolu, at a pace where you’ll truly be able to soak up the sights and sounds of life in Samoa on the nine-day “Upolu Escape” tour, again, with the team from Outdoor Samoa.
This tour works similarly to the Savai’i tours mentioned above in terms of being supplied with a support vehicle and accommodations organised for you along the way. Rides are a little shorter each day, however, usually cycling 12-20 km (7-12 mi) per day except for two long days of 32 and 35 km (19.9 and 21.7 mi).
Some of Samoa’s biggest attractions are on the itinerary, including To Sua Ocean Trench and Piula Cave Pools. As Outdoor Samoa also operates kayaking tours on Upolu, there’s also the opportunity to incorporate kayaking to interesting islets into your itinerary – see Kayaking in Samoa: Top 10 Kayak Tours & Places to Kayak.
Where to Hire a Bike in Samoa
Prefer to ride the roads of Samoa yourself? Bike hire is available from a bicycle hire company, as well as from a couple of accommodations.
Bicycle Rental in Samoa
- Outdoor Samoa, Mulifanua, Upolu – Around 100 bikes and e-bikes for hire including all the accessories for day to multi-day hires
- Return to Paradise Resort, Lefaga, Upolu – Four quality mountain bikes for adults
- Stevensons at Manase, Manase, Savai’i – A small number of bicycles for hire.
- Va-i-Moana Seaside Resort, Asau, Savai’i – A small number of bicycles for hire.
For more details on bike rentals, head to Cycle Samoa: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes.
Bringing Your Own Bike to Samoa
It is possible to bring your own bike with the airlines flying to Samoa. You will need to check your bike in as check-in luggage and pack your bike appropriately.
For checking in a bike on most flights to Samoa, pack the bike in a bike box or bike bag. Bike boxes are usually available to purchase at airports.
You don’t need to deflate the tyres but you do need to do the following:
- Remove the handlebars or turn them sideways
- Remove the pedals or turn them in
- Make sure the pressure of any nitrogen gas mountain bike struts is no more than 200 kPa (kilopascal) or 29 PSI (pounds per square inch)
- Make sure that any cartridges for inflating tyres are less than 50 ml (1.6 oz) and contain non-flammable gas.
Remember to seal the box and label it with your name and phone number. It’s a good idea to place accessories in a bag within the bike box/bag.
Learn more about the ins and outs of flying to Samoa in our guide, Getting Here: How to Get to Samoa?
Self-Guided Bike Trails
There are no marked bike trails in Samoa, but those with a map and a sense of adventure can experience the joys of exploring Samoa on its quieter roads. We have listed some recommended routes in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Samoa, which are, in short:
- Mulifanua to Savaia (Giant Clams Ride) – 22 km/4.3 mi – 1h50mins one way without stops
- Matautu to Falease’ela – 14 km/8.7 mi – 1h10mins return without stops
- Va-i-Moana to Vaisala Hotel – 6 km/3.7 mi – 30mins return without stops
- Savai’i Island – 200 km/124 mi – 16h40mins without stops (9 days/9 nights)
- Upolu Island – 160 km/100 mi – 13h20mins without stops (9 days/9 nights).
Again, we go into much more detail in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Samoa.
More About Mountain Biking in Samoa
Now that you know how to organise the cycling portion of your visit thanks to this ultimate guide to mountain biking in Samoa, plan the rest of your getaway, including accommodation, getting around and more things to do, using the following guides:
- Where to Stay in Samoa: The Best Accommodations in Samoa
- Samoa Transport Guide: 10 Best Ways to Get Around Samoa
- 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Best Samoa Travel Guide.