Visitors Guide O

Office Hours

Office hours are 8:00am to midday and 1:30pm to 4:30pm Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings from 8:00am to midday. The post office doesn’t have a ‘siesta’ and opens 9:00am to 4:30pm. Government offices close on Saturday.


Oka is Tahitian fish salad (kokoda in Fiji and ika mata in Cook Islands) and in Apia it is often served in a small plastic cup. It can turn up on a snack menu at places like The Lighthouse. To me this dish says ‘Pacific’ and it is so easy to make at home… It takes about ten minutes to knock up. It’s raw fish, marinated in lime juice, with coconut cream and is served cold. Fresh tuna is probably the best choice of fish, but it works just fine with other fresh fish. For an entrée for 4 people, get:

  • 400g fresh fish
  • ½ cup lime or lemon juice (kiwi fruit can be used for a quick-time marinade)
  • ¼ cup thick coconut cream
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • handful chopped coriander
  • finely sliced spring onion or two
  • a green or red chilli (no seeds, no pith and finely chopped)
  • salt and ground black pepper

Cut the fish into small chunks or thin strips and mix through the lime juice. Leave it for at least an hour – up to 4 – in the fridge – the finer the slice, the quicker it will ‘cook’ in the citrus juice. Combine the remaining ingredients, drain the fish and toss through the coconut mixture. Serve at once with salt and pepper to taste. A crispy bed of lettuce makes a nice presentation and a cool crunchy taste. For a different taste replace the coconut milk with soy sauce.

Ou te alofa la te oe

Ask a local how to pronounce this – it can be a way to impress your partner if on a honeymoon or getting married in the tropics – it is Samoan for ‘I love you’.

Outrigger Canoes

Small outrigger canoes are used for fishing and large ones are serious men’s business. There are several canoeing clubs in Apia with six-man outrigger competitions held throughout the year. You’ll see them paddling on the harbour in the evening – feel free to ask if you can have a go! If trying to negotiate a small outrigger by yourself you can avoid going around in circles by paddling with a ‘j-curve’.

Overwater Bungalows

There are new overwater bungalows at Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa on the south coast of Upolu. Because of the water access, no children under 12 are allowed to stay in them – and parents of children aged over 12 are warned that they need to be capable swimmers. There are other family options at Coconuts.

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