Visitors Guide W
The tap water in Samoa isn’t fit for drinking so take bottled water wherever you go. I use tap water to clean my teeth and haven’t had a tummy upset, so it’s not instant ‘Bali belly’ if you swallow a bit. Some resorts supply bottled water free of charge. If you want to bottle your own, boil the jug in your room before turning in and you will have boiled cold water in the morning. It is important to keep hydrated in the tropics.
There are a number of waterfalls in Eastern Upolu including Fuipisia Falls (50m into a fern-filled valley) and Sopo’aga Falls (you can walk down to the falls from the viewpoint). In O Le Pupu-Pu’e National Park are the stunning Togitogiga Falls with excellent swimming holes, toilets and changing rooms. Popular with locals for picnics, admission is free and visitors can get permission to camp there for a night or two. Papapapaai-tai Falls (also known as ‘Tiavi Falls’), is a spectacular 100m waterfall is 2.3km past Lanotoo Road on the right heading south on the road across the island from Apia. There is a viewing area but the cliff edge is unstable. On Savai’i, Mu Pagoa Waterfall tumbles over black cliffs into the sea and is easily found within 100m of the bridge between the villages of Puleia and Gautavai.
Samoa is very close to the equator so it’s pretty hot and humid all year round and not much variance in hours of daylight. Temperatures vary little as well and it is usually around 26 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius (about 80 degrees + Fahrenheit). In the winter months it can get cool in the evenings, but ‘cool’ is relative. Visitors will not feel cold. December to March is cyclone season but there’s a lot more chance of not experiencing one. The humidity is higher in these months and the rainfall usually higher – the lush vegetation needs good watering and the odd downpour may only last an hour or two and they often happen at night.
This site is designed as an overview for travellers. Other handy sites for info, maps and answers to FAQs…
- Samoa Tourism Authority
- Samoan Holiday
- South Pacific Organiser (also check out the blog)
- South Pacific Tourism Organisation
Weddings in Samoa are legally recognised, easy to arrange, inexpensive and simply romantic. Couples can choose from a number of locations… a secluded beach, with a waterfall backdrop, in a tropical rainforest or a century old church with a Samoan choir. It is a perfect destination for couples to commit to each other or to have a wedding with guests. Catering for the reception can be arranged along with hair & makeup, flowers, wedding cake, photography and videography.
On the legal side, an application for a marriage licence must be lodged with the Justice Department in Apia at least 14 days prior to the wedding along with copies of the bride and groom’s passports, birth certificates and divorce papers if applicable. The cost for the application is $16. Unlike other parts of the Pacific you don’t need to attend the registry office in person but couples are required to be in Samoa for a few days prior to the ceremony. This is also good for the couple to meet with wedding coordinator, photographer and choose the location. Where do you start? Just contact us and everything from the wedding and reception to special requests to flights and accommodation can be arranged for you.
Internet access is available using pre-paid vouchers or dongles. BlueSky sell dongles from their stores. Pre-paid internet vouchers for Lavaspot or Bluezone are available online, from the Tourist Information Centre and at a number of hotels. The Tourist Information Centre operates a Lavaspot zone.
I’ll let you in on an embarrassing secret… I’ve never been able to get it up… but if you are an athletic type who can get a windsurfer up and functioning you’ll find Apia Harbour and the water off the Sheraton Aggie Grey’s resort excellent locations.
Women are highly respected in Samoan society but gender roles are clearly defined. The men will go out to the reef to catch fish while the women gather shellfish on the shore… men build the earth oven (umu), the women tend to the cooking… men collect leaves to make mats and the women weave them. It may appear that it is a male dominated society but you get the feeling that it’s not only the men who wear the lavalava. Each village has a Women’s Committee who meets regularly to discuss the affairs of the village. They may also be the ones who look after tours for visitors and often have stalls selling handicrafts.