What to Do in Samoa on a Sunday
As a devoutly Christian nation, Samoa observes Sunday as a day of worship and rest. With that, all but a few businesses close on a Sunday so don’t expect to be able to tick everything off the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa list on a Sunday. However, there are a select few things you can enjoy on a Sunday – some only on a Sunday – which we go through in this list of the best things to do in Samoa on a Sunday!
Sunday Customs in Samoa
If you’re travelling through villages on a Sunday, you are expected to do so quietly and slowly. Remember to also wear modest clothing, as per usual, and if you’re attending a church service, be sure to cover your knees and shoulders. For more tips on Samoan customs, head to our guide, Samoan Etiquette: Samoa Customs & Traditions.
1. Experience a Sunday Church Service
Enjoy the delights a Sunday in Samoa brings like a Samoan church service! Anyone is welcome to attend church services in Samoa, as long as you’re dressed appropriately by covering your knees and shoulders. Even if you’re not religious, you’re sure to still appreciate the breathtaking melodies of a Samoan church choir. If you haven’t attended a church service in the South Pacific, this is an experience not to be missed. So, ask your accommodation about the closest church to attend and its Sunday service times or choose from the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor.
Location: All over Samoa! Simply attend the closest church to your accommodation or choose a church listed in the link above.
2. Try a Traditional Sunday To’onai
To’onai is a traditional Sunday lunch in Samoa, which brings in family and friends not only to eat together but to prepare the meal with each family member having a different role to play. If you’re lucky (and friendly enough), resort staff may invite you to their church service and then to their family home for an authentic to’onai experience.
Alternatively, some hotels, resorts and beach fales also host Sunday to’onai. Try dishes like palusami and food that has likely been cooked in an umu at accommodations like Taufua Beach Fales, Taumeasina Island Resort, Lava Hotel, Leuaina Beach Resort, Insel Fehmarn Hotel, Orator Hotel Samoa, Faimafili Village Resort and more. To’onai buffets usually start at midday; be sure to book your spot.
Location: All over Samoa! See the links of the recommended accommodations above to see their locations.
3. Head to the Beach
Resort and beach fale accommodations are among some of the businesses that remain open on a Sunday in Samoa, so choose one which has a beach (hint: that’s almost all of them), and head down to enjoy a beach day! Beach fales follow the usual customs of having day rates to use their beach (see the 10 Best Beaches in Samoa for more on these customs), but at least you get a nice shady beach fale prepared for you to relax in. Note that it’s usually just the fales that operate as an accommodation that are open on a Sunday; not the “day fales”. Check out some examples in the 20 Best Beach Fale Accommodations in Samoa, as well as resorts to visit in The Top 25 Resorts in Samoa. Note that surfing is prohibited on Sundays.
Location: All over Samoa! Check out the links above for recommended beach fales and resorts to try.
4. Plunge into Paradise at To Sua Ocean Trench
That’s right, one of Samoa’s most iconic attractions is open on Sunday afternoons from 12 pm to 5 pm! If you have only seen one image of Samoa, it’s likely to be the turquoise swimming hole with the iconic wooden rung ladder of the To Sua Ocean Trench. This 30 m (98 ft)-deep coastal sinkhole has a cave on either side, one of which dips underwater leading to the ocean so don’t attempt to swim through it. Ropes cross the swimming pool so there’s something to hold onto in case there is a bit of current. Otherwise, floating with verdant reeds hanging from the cave walls above is a beautiful experience.
There are more sinkholes to peer into throughout the site, so be sure to wander through the manicured grounds of this attraction. You can also follow a footpath down to the coast to a classic Samoan swimming pool for more bathing opportunities.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Lotofaga and Vavau villages on Upolu‘s south coast.
5. Experience Samoa’s Natural Waterpark, Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
Another one of the rare iconic attractions of Samoa that is open on a Sunday (11 am to 6 pm), Papase’ea Sliding Rocks offers some simple fun among Mother Nature. After walking down an anxiously high number of steps, knowing that you have to get back up them again, you’ll come across the first and biggest slide that locals call the “men’s slide”; a near verticle 5-m (16-ft) slide. Further down is the “kids’ slide”, a much less precarious slope with a little drop at the end for extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? For more weird and wonderful attractions like this, check out the 10 Most Unique Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Se’ese’e, Faleata District on the outskirts of Apia. The access road turns off Maugafolau Road near the University of the South Pacific campus.
6. Chase Some Sunday Waterfalls
Not all but some of Samoa’s mesmerising waterfall attractions are available to admire on a Sunday. Enjoy a coconut demonstration, a small botanic garden and the viewpoint of a 32 m (105 ft) waterfall at the Sopoaga Falls site. At Fuipisia Falls, either head to the viewpoint or stand on top of the falls. One of the rare attractions open on a Sunday on Savai’i, Mu Pagoa Falls plunges straight into the Pacific Ocean. There are also the usual free-to-visit waterfalls just off the roadside like Papapapaitai Falls and Togitogiga Falls in the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park. Learn more about these waterfalls in the 10 Best Waterfalls in Samoa.
Location: All over Samoa! See the link above for waterfalls and their locations.
7. Check Out Sea Arches and Pandanus Forest on the Coastal Walk
Discover another side of Samoa’s coast on the serene and secluded Coastal Walk. Protected within the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, the one-hour return walk winds its way through lush pandanus forest before emerging on rocky lava cliffs. With the waves crashing below, seabirds occupying the horizon, and a number of coastal sea arches to uncover as you walk, this certainly is a special place to experience. Closed footwear is recommended and the trail is mostly flat, making it suitable for most fitness levels. What’s more, this attraction is free entry. See more freebies in the 50 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park. Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua on Upolu. Note that the 3 km (1.9 mi) road to get to the trail car park is a 4WD road but 2WD is usually Ok if taken with care. Otherwise, you can park at the information boards along the main road and walk to the Coastal Track, which makes the walk last a total of 2h30mins return.
8. Wake Up Early for the Apia Fish Market
Fishing has been a way of life in Samoa for centuries, so a culturally enriching experience awaits at the Apia Fish Market. Located on the waterfront by Apia’s main bus station and opposite the Flea Market, the Fish Market is a storm of all sorts of colourful tropical fish, octopuses, eels, crayfish (lobster) and sea cucumbers. The best time to visit is from 6 am to 9 am on Sunday morning when locals are buying fish for their Sunday to’onai!
Location: On the waterfront road by the Savalalo Bus Station, opposite Savalalo Flea Market, Apia.
9. See the Latest Art Exhibition at the Tiapapata Art Centre
Another of the rare attractions open on a Sunday is the Tiapapata Art Centre with always something interesting to see. The art gallery has an ever-changing line-up of exhibitions following a theme with creations from local artists. Try their vegan cuisine at the cafe too – find out more in our guide, Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians.
Location: Malololelei village along the Cross Island Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) south of Apia (just past the Baha’i Temple).
10. Enjoy a Resort Day
If you’re staying at a resort, Sunday might just be the perfect day to relax and enjoy its holiday-enhancing facilities! If you’re not; well, it’s very common in Samoa to simply visit a resort for the day. With watersports hire, swimming pools, beaches, restaurants, bars and spas, there’s always something to do. Ask the resort reception for their day-visitor rates (some will even throw in a room for you to use if available). Otherwise, some resorts are happy as long as you order something at the restaurant.
More About Samoa on a Sunday
That’s it for our guide on the best things to do in Samoa on a Sunday. For more tips on things to do and Sunday customs, check out the following guides:
- Samoan Etiquette: Samoa Customs & Traditions
- Public Holidays in Samoa (& Other Important Dates)
- 10 Things to Do in Samoa at Night
Finally, create the ultimate bucket list for yourself using the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.