The Best Things to do in Samoa + Food & Accommodation!

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

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Written by Jessica from How Dare She

Samoa is a gem of the Pacific – the people are as warm, friendly and inviting as the breeze that rolls across the island and through your fale.

There is a wealth of fun and unique things to do in Samoa when you visit, and you will never get bored of this beautiful place.

Their culture is most remarkable and should not be missed – they don’t just keep it packed up in a box and unpack it to sell to tourists, it’s just the real freaking deal.

I have never felt so respected and taken care of in my travels; one day, a guy saw me waiting to get a taxi, so he offered a ride to where I was going.

He decided that he hadn’t seen the touristy stuff I was headed to, so he decided to drive me around all day.

I insisted that I didn’t want to interrupt his work and he told me that his first concern of the day was to make sure I was taken care of.

He would finish work when he finished work and that’s “the Samoan way.”

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing!

I want you to fall in love with Samoa like I did. So I’ve put together a guide on the best things to do in Samoa, the best places to visit in Samoa, and the Samoan food you must try!

I have also included 3 cultural facts about Samoa to teach you more about this amazing place!

Things to do in Samoa

Your eyes and brain are going to be overwhelmed by all the beauty in Samoa. Slow down and let yourself take it all in. Even the buses are an “experience”.

There are two islands and with a ferry running between them multiple times a day for $6 USD ($12 WST), you have no excuse to skip Savai’i.

The two islands are surprisingly different, but what they share is incredible topographical variety and no shortage of things to do and see.

All of the land is owned by families and makes up countless villages, so “attractions” often belong to the village. Most are $5-$10 USD ($10-$20 WST).

Explore the best places to visit in samoa, view of pools of water contained within rocky volcanic terrain with trees and beach to one side stretching off into the distance under a bright blue sky

1. Visit Savai’i

Savai’I is the “big island”, but it is the only host to a small portion of the population. However, you’ll find some of the best things to do in Samoa here.

If you rented a car, you could get around the whole island in a day, but I like to get to know the locals, so I say slow it down and take the buses or hitchhike.

Some of the top things to do in Savaii are visiting the Alofaaga Blowholes (also called the Taga Blowholes), the Pe’ape’a Cave, and the beautiful Afu Aau Waterfalls.

Of course, you can also enjoy swimming, diving, snorkelling and hiking around the island.

📦 PACKING TIP: Don’t leave home without a solar powered battery pack so you can keep your devices connected at all times.

2. Swim with turtles!

The epic experience of swimming with turtles in Samoa was just $3.50 USD when I went and pretty amazing.

I have heard it is now around $10 USD, but this is still very reasonable for such a unique experience and one of the best things to do in Samoa!

In addition to swimming, you will also get to see the family feed them papaya and they can’t get enough of it. Some of the best entertainment in Samoa.

Don’t wear a swimsuit that has orange in it though – unless you want to get mistaken for papaya. You are also likely to see turtles from the shore, so this is skippable.

Stay in some of the best accommodation in samoa, person sitting on top of a wooden handrail next to some large trees with a view of a wide green valley behind
Top of canopy walkway in Savai’i

3. Walk the Falealupo Canopy Walkway

The Falealupo canopy walkway is an oddly-placed walkway that leads you into a really awesome, old tree, with a platform view that shouldn’t be missed.

The Dwarf’s Cave is really cool and an easy cave experience. The hike up is long (and hot), so if you have a rental car at this point, you’ll be pretty happy.

The Alofaaga Blowholes are remarkable – an entire shore full of blowholes bursting. Go at high tide for the biggest spouts. Wash the salt water off at the Afu Aau Waterfalls, a quick drive east.

Oh, and there are beaches and cliffs, half-covered with lava, everywhere. Keep the camera ready.

4. Visit Upolu

Go to the Samoan Cultural Village for a day. I avoid touristy things like the plague, but this is totally worth it.

There were Samoans there and they were excited about how much they were learning. And it’s FREE.

You get a chance to learn about and see so much of Samoan culture.

You will get to practice weaving, learn about, see and EAT the traditional staples, see a good amount of cultural dancing, watch tapas be made, and check out the Samoan tatua (how tattoos were invented).

5. Visit a Museum

If you’re into literature and/or history, the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and surrounding grounds are a pretty cool way to spend a few hours.

You’ll get to experience the best of Samoa yourself and will have no trouble seeing why he never wanted to leave Samoa.

Don't miss out on the delicious food of samoa, view down into a secluded green lake with a wooden ladder and jetty to one side and a green grassy area with trees behind

6. To Sua

I mean, just wow. This place is jaw-droppingly beautiful and easily one of the best places to visit in Samoa. The ocean trench is an incredible experience.

The ladder down to this Samoa swimming hole is steep, so dropping in is scary, but what a serene way to spend the day!

Sua is one of my top reasons to visit Samoa again!

💡PACKING TIP: Make sure you bring a good snorkel, water shoes and a fast-drying towel for all of the beach-going you’re about to do!

7. Go snorkelling at the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve

Of all the fun Samoan things I did, Snorkelling quickly became one of my favourite things to do in Samoa, and you absolutely can’t miss out when you visit.

At first you’re going to think I’ve led you astray – it starts out pretty murky and underwhelming, but once you hit the shelf, it’s a wow in every direction.

I’m not going to say it’s better than the Great Barrier Reef, but I will say that the overall experience was better, for me.

I was out swimming by myself, no one else in the water. And I didn’t get stung by a jellyfish!

You will undoubtedly see some of the most beautiful things to see in Samoa while you’re snorkelling.

Food in Samoa

Find your favourite places to eat in samoa, close up shot of a selection of foods including meat and bread collected in the folds of a large green leaf

One of the amazing things about Samoa is the food. The Samoan cuisine is simple, but incredibly delicious.

In fact, I would say one of the top 10 things to do in Samoa is try some Samoan food!

And fortunately, most of the accommodation includes breakfast and dinner, so you have no excuse not to try some Samoa food.

This will likely include some of the Samoan staples: papaya, bananas, breadfruit, taro, and I hope for your sake palusami.

Seriously, eat as much palusami as you can get your hands on – taro leaves with coconut cream baked to perfection.

Fortunately, all the best places to eat in Samoa usually have palusami, so you won’t have to go without for long while you’re there.

BBQ is available at stands on the side of the road basically everywhere. Ask your accommodation for their favourite places to eat in Samoa you can’t go wrong.

They might also have some recommendations for Samoa food tours to ensure you taste all the must-try Samoan foods on your visit.

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Helpful tip: Since I loved food of Samoa, one of the most useful things I learned was how to say food in Samoan: meaai.

Accommodation in Samoa

Discover the joys of getting around samoa this summer, view of buildings sitting on the shores of a sandy beach with some trees silhouetted against the bright sky all illuminated with a pink and purple hue
Beach fale

Having stayed in several places, I believe Savai’i to be the est area to stay in Samoa.

And in Savai’i, the best places to stay are the beach fales. Beach fales are probably the best accommodation in Samoa.

They are basically all $35 USD ($70 WST) per night, but they include breakfast and dinner (and we’re talking actual, good, meals, not just toast and coffee).

You’ll be in a little hut with panels that drop down and water that crawls up to your steps.

These are the best places to stay in Samoa for a relaxing beach holiday. You’ll also get stunning sunset views from the fales.

In my opinion, the experience of staying in a fale is also one of the best things to do in Samoa.

🛌🏼 Check out the best beach fale here

What not to do in Samoa

  • Don’t rely on using your credit/debit card, or even having quick access to an ATM. Get enough cash to last you awhile, most places will not accept cards, even accommodation.
  • Don’t hop in a cab without talking about the fare first – the cabs aren’t metered, so it’s best if everyone is on the same page from the beginning.
  • Don’t just sit in a resort or hang out with other travellers – Samoans want to have you and are honoured to treat you as a guest. This might mean sitting around chatting in a fale in the afternoon sipping on koko Samoa while the children chase each other around laughing, or it might mean getting a personal tour of all the best things to do in Samoa.
  • Don’t get offended when they offer to find you a Samoan husband [or wife]. Family is the primary focus for them and Samoan beauty standards are different from ours, so they want to see everyone happy and want to make sure that if you want a spouse, you’ll damn sure get one. Initially I thought it was just the men being a bit cheeky with me, but then I watched as they tried to find a suitable wife for an Aussie who was also travelling alone. Watch out Tinder, the Samoans are playing matchmaker here!

Facts about Samoa

1. The visitor center is, actually, legit

I know, visitors’ centers – ugh, right? But the aforementioned Samoan hospitality means that you will actually get helpful, useful information without feeling like it’s being “sold” to you.

There are two locations – one at the airport and one in the city, conveniently located next to the cultural village.

Here, you’ll find out all you need to know about what to do in Samoa, the best places to visit and stay in Samoa and important information about Samoan culture!

2. Sundays are quiet

One of the more useful fun facts about Samoa to know is that you aren’t going to get much done on Sundays.

With the country as close to 100% religious as you can get, Sundays are pretty slow.

Unlike other Pacific islands, some stores are open and services are available, but the Samoan buses are few and far between.

Plan your Sunday on Saturday and do not rely on the local buses for getting around Samoa on weekends.

For the same reasons, women should have a lava lava (sarong) to be sure to cover up those knees.

3. Women are considered equally eligible to earn the title of chief in their villages

Chief titles are earned through service and contribution, not through arbitrary standards (like firstborn son).

Women are totally respected and you can feel it. This was one of the more facts about Samoan culture for me, but I love it.

🎫 TOP TIP: Looking for tickets to some of the best shows, activities and passes? I highly recommend booking via Viator for the best prices and deals!

Smiling person standing with hands raised in front of a group of people also smiling and raising their hands to the camera

Author: I’m Jessica and I’ve been on the road since April 2015 with 18 countries under my belt. I’ll finish the year at 43 and am after getting some dirt on my shoes from every single one of them.  I love showing that women can and should travel, even if alone, and really getting out there by daring to do, see, taste, experience, and play all over the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What do Samoans eat?

Samoans eat a variety of food, but the main staples of Samoan cuisine are papaya, bananas, breadfruit, and taro. A very popular Samoan food you must try is palusami, which is baked taro leaves with coconut cream.

✅ What is the best time to visit Samoa?

As Samoa is located near the Equator, it can get very humid and hot. Because of this, the best time to visit Samoa is between April and October as it is less humid during this time, making the heat less intense overall. However, the temperature in Samoa is usually between 28 to 30°C year round.

✅ Is Samoa good for a holiday?

Samoa is a fantastic holiday destination! Not only is this country incredibly beautiful and welcoming, but there are many fun and amazing things to do in Samoa for an unforgettable trip.

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The Comments

  • Katrina
    September 4, 2016

    wow awesome, heading to Samoa in March, looking like we need to head to Savaii for a look as well. Am yet to travel solo, but is on my to do list!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Katrina
      September 6, 2016

      Thanks for reading! Have a great time in Samoa 🙂

  • Arturo's
    October 25, 2016

    I am due to
    Travel to Polynesia Fiji Tahiti Samoa and Solomon Islands. Any travel information for Fiji and how to travel around those countries which I have mentioned, please

  • Bustmo
    April 8, 2019

    Thanks Anita for your informative and valuable guide about Samoa. It really helps! I’ll be going there next week.

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Bustmo
      April 17, 2019

      Have an amazing time!