Visitors Guide I
Ice can be a very rewarding treat in the tropics but, as mentioned in other parts of this site, the tap water is not fit to drink and ice comes from water. Apologies for the obvious chemistry lesson but if your accommodation has a fridge and you would like ice, empty the existing ice tray and fill with bottled or boiled water. If you like really cold water, empty some water from a full bottle and freeze to take with you the next day. Obvious chemistry lesson #2 – water expands when frozen and you don’t want a split bottle. ‘Ice’ is also a term for methamphetamine that can be found in nightclubs. Avoid.
You will be met by immigration officials at the airport who will stamp your passport with an entry permit allowing you to stay until the date of your flight out of the country. It will be no problem extending for a stay up to 30 days. Extensions longer than this are possible but not automatic and an easy way to get an extension is to take a quick trip to American Samoa.
Gaining residency is not that easy and the government decides how many permanent resident permits will be granted in any year. Successful applicants need to show that they will make a significant contribution to the social and economic prosperity of Samoa.
Many travellers to the tropics get mild tummy upsets. This may not be the fault of the tropics as much as a change of time zone and diet and the body doesn’t like it (who has a cooked breakfast every day and those extra few beers every night at home?) While there are natural remedies like lots of water, packing Imodium or similar to take with you may come in handy. Common sense tells you to eradicate intestinal infections by flushing the system with fruit, juice and water but, if on holiday, some chemical ‘cement’ can make the stay more enjoyable.
- Samoa Tourism Authority – PO Box 2272 Apia Ph (685) 63 500 – www.visitsamoa.ws
There are no nasty third world diseases in Samoa you have to be protected against, but a current tetanus shot is not a bad idea in case of coral cuts or (rare) a bite from a local dog. Inoculations are not required unless you have been in an area affected by Yellow Fever recently (Central Africa, parts of South America).
Mosquitoes and occasional flies are really the only pests so take a repellent for your comfort. There are types of people who attract mozzies and if you attract them at home, chances are you will in Samoa.
Travel insurance is highly recommended. As they say, if you can’t afford the insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Travel insurance is cheap – because most people don’t get to use it – but if you do, it could save you thousands of dollars. Flights get delayed, connections get missed, people get sick or have accidents and property does get stolen. Policies vary so check the fine print for your needs – e.g. pre-existing health conditions, whether extreme sports are covered, whether property is has new replacement value etc.
This site is designed as an overview for travellers. Other handy sites for info, maps and answers to FAQs:
- Samoa Tourism Authority
- South Pacific Organiser (also check out the blog)
- South Pacific Tourism Organisation
There are a number of Internet cafes in Apia but they are a bit thin on the ground away from the city. On Beach Road you’ll find Samoa Observer and Travellers’ Lounge; Computer Services and Le Samoa.net in the Lotemau Centre and Cappuccino Internet in the ACB Building. On Savai’i there is one in Salelologa and there’s Treasure Island in Manase.
It can be frustrating and annoying – but it’s what being in a tropical paradise is all about. Island time means things don’t happen when you think they should. What you thought would take no time at all will take forever but what you thought would take ages will be done in a flash. Let go, relax go with the flow and enjoy it. It’s a nice change and it helps you to live longer. Once you arrive the only deadline you have to keep is your flight out – and keep smiling if your airport transfer is early and your flight is delayed. I thank author David Stanley for the phrase, “The coconut will fall when it is ripe.”
If you want a ‘resort’ vacation you won’t need to leave the Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Resort, apart from the five minutes it takes to the airport – but there is so much more to discover in Samoa. It’s an easy place to explore, the culture is rich, the beaches wonderful and there are some excellent restaurants to sample. A combination Upolu and Savai’i gives two different Samoan experiences. Feel free to contact us for free itinerary advice.
- i: to or toward
- i’a: fish
- ietoga: fine mat
- inu: drink
- ioe: yes