A List of the Islands in Samoa
Want to learn more about Samoa? This list of the islands in Samoa is an excellent place to start. Samoa (the independent one; not the American one) is home to two main islands, high volcanic islands, while the rest are rocky islets just off their coasts.
So, what are the nine islands in Samoa? Find out below in our list of the islands of Samoa.
Upolu might be the smaller of the two main islands of Samoa, but it’s the first that comes to mind as the island where most people in Samoa live. It’s also your arrival island, and most visitors’ initial experience is the short drive between the airport and the bustling hub of Apia with its markets, harbour and historical charm. Those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle, however, are never too far from paradise, whether your idea of it is the long-stretching sands of Upolu’s south coast or the enchanting tropical grottos of waterfalls and rainforests hidden throughout its interior.
Needless to say, Upolu’s tourism scene is the most established with an almost dizzying array of quintessential beach fales for all budgets to your more familiar South Seas resorts.
Check out what Upolu is all about in The Complete Travel Guide to Upolu.
Just a 60-90-minute ferry ride across the Apolima Strait from Upolu is Samoa’s largest island, Savai’i. With a much smaller population than Upolu, the island offers a more laidback vibe, where immersing yourself in Polynesian culture and sights of natural beauty come easily.
Despite a smaller scene of boutique resorts and beach fales, some of Samoa’s most iconic attractions can be found across the vast island. Under the eye of Samoa’s highest peak, Mt Silisili, explore the Saleaula Lava Fields, a myriad of dramatic waterfalls, mysterious caves and the simply epic Alofaaga Blowholes. The Pacific’s largest ancient structure, the Pulemelai Mound, is also hidden away in the island’s relenting jungle.
Discover more about Savai’i in The Complete Travel Guide to Savai’i.
3. Manono Island
At only 3 km² (1.2 mi²), Manono might be an island that you can walk around in 1h30mins but it’s also Samoa’s third-most populated island with around 880 people scattered across four villages. With cars and dogs banished from the island, Manono is the place to experience true tranquillity and an island getaway from your island getaway – especially considering that there is accommodation to extend your stay.
Most, however, visit the island – after a 20-minute boat ride on the Apolima Strait from Upolu – just for the day, whether it’s to relax on the pristine beaches, snorkel in the protected lagoon, hike up Mt Tulimanuiva or visit the historical Mt Tulimanuiva Star Mounds and Grave of 99 Stones.
Plan your visit to Samoa’s lesser-visited island with The Travel Guide to Manono: Things to Do, How to Get There & More.
4. Apolima Island
Those lucky few who made it to this 1 km² (0.4 mi²) island will join its approximately 100 inhabitants in the island’s one village where life is led self-sufficiently. Apolima is the crater of an inactive volcano, making for some interesting volcanic typography when hiking up to the island’s stunning viewpoint at the Apolima Lighthouse.
It goes without saying that any visit to Apolima will conjure an authentic glimpse into the traditional Samoan way of life. However, getting there is the first hurdle, as you’ll need permission from the matai (chief) to stay on the island with a local family. From there, transport can be arranged.
Dive deeper into what it’s like to visit this intriguing island in The Travel Guide to Apolima: Things to Do, How to Get There & More.
5. Namu’a Island
If you’re looking for the ultimate destination to truly disconnect, this island is it. Just a few hundred metres from Upolu’s southeast coast lies the tiny pristine and uninhabited Namu’a Island. Uninhabited, that is, apart from a few thatched beachfront fales making for a more idyllic version of the Robinson Crusoe experience.
The island is also open to day visitors who want to lay on its sands, snorkel in its clear waters frequented by turtles, and simply soak in the peaceful setting of a tropical paradise.
Intrigued? Head to The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands: Nu’utele, Namu’a, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala to learn more about visiting Namu’a.
6. Fanuatapu Island
Like Namu’a, Fanuatapu is also located off the southeast coast of Upolu in a cluster of islands known as the Aleipata Islands. On the outer edge of Upolu’s fringing reef, Fanuatapu is considered a spectacular snorkelling area for those lucky enough to reach its coral gardens. Aside from a lighthouse, there is no sign of human activity on this secluded rock. Escaping to it, however, is the real mission, only really achieved if and when boat and kayak tours to the island are available.
Learn more about Fanuatapu in The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands: Nu’utele, Namu’a, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala.
7. Nu’utele & 8. Nu’ulua
Two tiny islets huddled together among the Aleipata Islands off the southeast coast of Upolu, the only inhabitants on Nu’utele and Nu’ulua are the local seabirds! As important nesting sites and conservation areas, stepping onto the islands is an unlikely venture where permission must be obtained by matai on Upolu. You can, however, enjoy close encounters with the islets on Upolu fishing charters LINK#TTD033.
Learn more about these islands in The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands: Nu’utele, Namu’a, Fanuatapa & Nu’uala.
9. Nu’ulopa Island
Another tiny isle that you’ll be lucky to find locals or a tour to take you to, Nu’ulopa is just off the coast of Manono. Also known as “Bat Island”, Nu’ulopa is mostly inhabited by flying foxes which make an amazing sight to see returning to roost at sunrise. What’s more, Nu’ulopa is another fantastic snorkelling spot.
Learn more about visiting this island on day trips in The Travel Guide to Nu’ulopa: Things to Do, How to Get There & More.
10. Nu’usafe’e Island
A tiny tuft of pandanus and palm forest surrounded by white sand and its own lagoon, Nu’usafe’e is the embodiment of an island paradise yet only a lucky few get to experience it. Most of those lucky few are either surfers making the most of the island’s epic reef break, snorkelers on local boat tours, or kayakers on an exclusively Nu’usafe’e island day trip.
Check out The Travel Guide to Nu’usafe’e for more information on exploring this lesser-visited island of Samoa.
More About the Islands of Samoa
That’s it for our list of the nine islands in Samoa but just the beginning of the knowledge we have here on Samoa Pocket Guide! You might like to use these guides to explore more of the islands:
- The Best Islands to Visit in Samoa
- What’s the Difference Between Samoa and American Samoa?
- 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List
Finally, compare Samoa’s two main traveller destinations in Visiting Samoa: Which is Better, Upolu or Savai’i?