Guide to Upolu & Savaii
Samoa is comprised of ten islands, the two main islands being Upolu and Savaii. Faleolo International Airport and the capital city of Apia are located on the island of Upolu. Apia is the commercial hub of the country but is more like a sleepy town than a bustling metropolitan. But don’t be fooled by its sleepy appearance, some of the best restaurants and bars are found along the main strip of beach road and Apia Marina.
Getting around Upolu during your Samoa holidays is easy with one ring road and two cross island roads cutting through the mountains giving visitors a taste of its varied and dynamic scenery encompassing lush rainforests, towering mountains, quaint rustic villages, spectacular white sand beaches and cascading waterfalls.
Just an hour’s ferry ride away or a 15 minute interisland flight is the Big Island of Savai’i. Many historians refer to the island as the birthplace of Polynesia. Savai’i has a rugged beauty and an even more laid back lifestyle.
With a well paved ring road circumnavigating the island, Savai’i boasts one of the best coastal drives in the South Pacific.
A stay on Savai’i gives you an insight into what life was back in the days of old, where Samoans carved out a more traditional way of living, staying in fales and living off the land and the sea. A great way to experience Samoan traditions and the Polynesian sense of community is by attending a Sunday church service, where the local choir’s singing is sure to lift your spirits and rejuvenate the soul. All are welcome to attend a service and after nourishing your soul, nourish your body by indulging in a traditional Sunday meal called a to’onai cooked on an overground volcanic rock oven called umu.
Getting around Samoa is easy. Driving is on the right hand side of the road. Cars, 4WD’s and Jeeps are available for hire. Drivers are required to have a current Samoan driver’s licence. This can be obtained by presenting your current valid overseas licence to the Police Department in Apia. Cost WST1. Cycles and mountain bikes are available for hire from several beach resorts and hotels. Taxis are available and are metered.
The bus service on both Upolu and Savai’i provides inexpensive transport for the local people, it’s an experience to remember for visitors. Bus schedules and details of fares are available from the Samoa Visitors Bureau, but Samoan buses rarely run to a strict timetable, particularly later in the day.