The Best Indoor and All-Weather Activities on Upolu
The rumours are true; it does rain on Upolu! As a tropical island in the country of Samoa, Upolu certainly experiences its fair share of downpours. Nevertheless, the downpours are just that: quick heavy showers that are usually over before you can begin to be bothered by them. However, if you have one of those rarer days of elongated periods of rain or you just really don’t like to be caught in the wet stuff, Upolu is home to some very viable and fun indoor and all-weather attractions that will make you forget how completely miserable it is outside. We list them all here, in the best things to do on Upolu on a rainy day!
1. Learn Something New at Falemata’aga, The Museum of Samoa
A rainy day is a perfect time to visit one of Upolu’s best indoor attractions, The Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga. The donation-based museum has an impressive collection of historical artefacts where information boards provide context into their significance and, in turn, provide an important context of Samoa’s history. If you don’t want to sift through it all yourself, free guided tours are available with passionate guides to show you through the highlights of the museum. With six different galleries (in air-conditioned rooms, might we add) boasting 3,000-year-old Lapita pottery, collections from across the Pacific, colonisation history and even a small art exhibition, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied for as long as you wish.
Location: Vaitele Street (look out for the large mural on the building), Apia.
2. Make it a Spa Day
Rainy days are the perfect excuse to treat yourself to the pure indulgence of a spa day. Book yourself into one of Upolu’s serene spas, from the selection of locally-run spas in Apia, such as J Spa, Touch of Samoa and Misiluki Spa to Upolu’s glorious resort spas at Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa, Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa and Taumeasina Island Resort. Needless to say, you are never too far away from finding your zen. For more luxurious activities like this, take a look at the 10 Best Luxury Experiences on Upolu.
Location: All over Upolu! Check out the 10 Best Spas in Samoa for specific locations.
3. Take a Tour of the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
The impeccably maintained villa of the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), who lived in Samoa for the remaining four years of his life, is preserved for visitors to enjoy today. While “Villa Vailima” has had a few makeovers over the years, the home has been filled with replicas to represent what this classic colonial home would have looked like. That’s not to say there aren’t a few original trinkets, books and personal belongings to admire, as well as stories to immerse in while taking the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum tour with one of the museum’s incredibly knowledgeable guides. Learn more about the museum, as well as other indoor attractions ideal for a rainy day on Upolu, in the 5 Best Museums in Samoa.
Location: Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia on Upolu.
4. Spend the Day Shopping in Apia
Home to talented craftspeople who have passed down techniques from generation to generation, Samoa certainly entices with unique woodwork, gorgeous siapo paintings, hand-printed clothing and much more – just see the 10 Best Souvenirs from Samoa for an idea of the amazing handicrafts available. With this in mind, spending some time perusing the markets and crafts shops of the nation’s capital, Apia, is a very viable way to spend a rainy day. Discover our favourite markets in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa and check out more retail highlights in The Guide to Shopping in Samoa + The Best Places to Shop.
Location: Apia. Check out the links above for shopping recommendations and their locations.
5. Take a Journey of “Fa’a Samoa” at Samoa Cultural Village
“Fa’a Samoa” means “The Samoan Way” and you’ll certainly get the full flavour of the Samoan culture at Samoa Cultural Village. Happening from 10:30 am to 12:.30 pm, Tuesday to Friday, the experience includes a number of workshops and demonstrations all taking place under the cover of various fales closely huddled together. Weave your own plate for the umu, be formally welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony and see how a traditional umu feast is prepared. While your lunch is cooking, you’ll see how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a traditional pain-staking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being performed. Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared umu lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing. Discover other fa’a Samoan experiences in the 10 Best Cultural Activities on Upolu.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road, Apia.
6. Admire the Art at the EFKS Museum
Certainly an art gallery rather than a museum, the EFKS Museum boasts a large glass-walled undercover fale packed with the creations of the talented students of the School of Fine Arts. There is a range of contemporary carvings, sculptures, paintings and more to admire or even purchase should you feel moved enough. If there’s a break in the rain, explore the grounds with its open-air walkways around the lake which provide a tranquil setting to explore. Discover more galleries worth visiting in the 5 Best Art Galleries in Samoa.
Location: Malua (signposted next to the Malua Theological College) along Main West Coast Road on the northwest coast of Upolu.
7. Visit Samoa’s Natural Waterpark, Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
More water can only make Upolu’s natural waterpark better, so don’t let the wet weather deter you from the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks! 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 slide with a little drop at the end of extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? Check out more awesome natural attractions like this in The Top 20 Natural Wonders 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.
8. Go Snorkelling
Again, with the idea that you’re going to get wet anyway, why not don your mask and snorkel and join the fish? Popular places to snorkel include Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary, Palolo Deep, Lalomanu, Saleapaga and Tafatafa Beaches. Some accommodations hire snorkelling gear for a small fee, but these aren’t always great quality. For this reason, we highly recommend bringing your own or hiring some from one of the gear rentals on the island – find out more in The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
Location: All over Upolu! See the link above for specific snorkelling locations.
9. Cosy Up in a Cafe, Dine at a Restaurant or Drink Away the Rainy Day Blues at a Bar
A rainy day could be the perfect day to relax with a locally roasted coffee, a smooth tropical juice or cocktail, and delight in Samoan and international cuisine. Apia certainly has your largest offering of cafes, as listed in the 10 Best Cafes in Apia & Upolu, while tiki touring around the island will bring you to a number of resorts where you can sit down for cocktails, lunch or dinner by the beach. Check out the latter in the 10 Best Restaurants on Upolu and 10 Best Bars on Upolu.
Location: All over Upolu! See the link above for restaurants and their locations.
10. Have a Look Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
This striking cathedral looming over the Apia Harbour is undoubtedly one of the most awe-inspiring in Samoa, from the outside and, luckily for a rainy day, within. Inside the Immaculate Conception Cathedral boasts an ornate timber ceiling and vibrant stained-glass windows. The original church was constructed in 1884 with the most recent reconstruction estimated to have cost ST$13 million, so go have a visit for the love of funding! For other places of interest around the island, check out our guide to Sightseeing on Upolu: Top 10 Sights on Upolu.
Location: Beach Road opposite the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Apia.
11. See the Latest Art Exhibition or Watch a Movie at the Tiapapata Art Centre
After having a quick look inside the Baha’i House of Worship next door – see the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Upolu, call into the Tiapapata Art Centre with always something interesting to see. The indoor attraction has an ever-changing line-up of art exhibitions following a theme with creations from local artists. The art centre also hosts regular evening events like documentary and arthouse film screenings, as well as astronomy nights (although, the latter isn’t so good for a rainy evening). Try their vegan cuisine at the cafe too – find out more in Samoa for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants.
Location: Malololelei village along the Cross Island Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) south of Apia (just past the Baha’i Temple).
12. Work on Your Wellness with a Yoga Class
Ensure you leave Upolu rejuvenated by partaking in a yoga session. Either join a class, such as on weekday mornings at Taumeasina Island Resort or book Yoga Samoa to provide a one-on-one or group session at your chosen accommodation. Alternatively, look out for yoga retreats hosted at Upolu’s resorts for integrating yoga into your daily routine while benefitting from other wellness activities. Learn more about yoga retreats in The Guide to Retreats in Samoa: Yoga, Wellness & More.
Location: See recommended locations in the 10 Best Places to Experience Yoga in Samoa.
13. Go Scuba Diving
Vibrant coral gardens, dramatic canyons, swim throughs and deep pinnacles; there are many exciting adventures to be had in the waters surrounding Upolu and the nearby Manono island. What’s more, you don’t need to worry about what the weather is like overhead as long as the ocean conditions are suitable. There is so much to unpack when it comes to diving from Upolu, so check out The Best Scuba Diving in Samoa or find out more about learning to dive with Learn to Dive in Samoa: Where to Get Your Scuba Diving Certification.
Location: See the links above for the latest scuba operators on Upolu.
14. Experience a Fiafia Night
If the rain continues into the evening, you better hope that there’s a fiafia night on! “Fiafia” means “happy” in Samoan, which follows an equation that can’t help but put a smile on the faces of locals and visitors alike. Many will start with an ‘ava (kava) welcoming ceremony before guests are treated to a buffet of Samoan staples and international favourites. Once your stomach is gleeful, the show can get underway with cultural Pacifika dancing and, usually the highlight of the show, siva afi which is Samoa’s very own knife fire-dancing in the homeland where Polynesian fire dancing originated! Check out all of our recommended shows in the 10 Best Cultural Shows (Fiafia) in Samoa.
Location: All over Upolu! See the link above for specific locations.
15. Plan the Next Part of Your Trip!
Since you’re here, we’re guessing it’s a rainy day on Upolu right now and, again, since you’re here, why not use Samoa Pocket Guide to plan the next leg of your trip in Samoa? Have you done all of the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu yet? Plan a one-day or two-day self-drive itinerary of Upolu. And, have you considered travelling around Savai’i? We highly recommend you do so, which is made easy with The Complete Travel Guide to Savai’i.
More About Rainy Days on Upolu
That’s it for our guide on things to do on Upolu on a rainy day but by no means the end of our Upolu advice! Check out these other articles to help plan the perfect getaway:
- 20 Things to Do in Samoa on a Rainy Day
- Samoa Weather, Seasons & Climate + Samoa Weather by Month
- 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu