Destination travel guide for Samoa
WHEN VISITING ANY DESTINATION IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO PREPARE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY.
Samoa is one of the safest destinations to visit with a low crime rate, however it’s recommended that you take out travel insurance for peace of mind. Like travelling anywhere, lock away valuables.
The islands are free of major tropical diseases and no vaccinations are required, unless you are arriving from, or transiting through an area infected with yellow fever within 6 days of arrival.
It’s also recommended to purchase bottled water for drinking and if you going to drink the tap water in your hotel room (which is generally safe), boil it first and chill in the fridge.
Just like any tropical destination, Samoa has mosquitos. There is no risk of catching malaria in Samoa, but dengue fever outbreaks have occurred on odd occasions and to keep the mosquitos at bay, it’s recommended you use a good insect branded repellant.
The main entry point into Samoa is Faleolo International Airport, 35km from Apia on the island of Upolu.
Samoa has two breweries, Vailima Breweries and Samoa Beverage Company.Vailima is Samoa's local brew and can be found almost everywhere.Originally set up by the Germans, Vailima now produces one of the finest lagers in the South Pacific. Samoa Beverage Company is a new manufacturing beverage company locally producing and marketing a range of beverages.
Beer can be purchased almost anywhere on the islands throughout the week, although on Sundays alcohol is strictly prohibited for sale except for in hotels and restaurants.
There are many bars and nightclubs to provide a good night out and are mostly in and around Apia. Doors close at 12am.
ANZ and Bank South Pacific are the two international banks found in Samoa. Both have branches at the international airport, in Apia and at Salelologa on Savai'i. National Bank of Samoa and Samoa Commercial Bank provide services, currency exchange and ATMs.
ATMs are located in and around Apia and on the island of Savai'i. Travellers can use credit cards in the machines but you are required to have a PIN number to withdraw cash.
Government offices and shops usually open from 9am–5pm. Saturday shopping hours are from 8am–12.30pm.
The Samoa decimal currency is the Tala (dollar) and Sene (cent): 100 Sene = ST$1 (Tala). All major foreign currencies are exchangeable in Samoa.
Samoan Tala can also be purchased outside the country from a few selected banks, however you will need to check with your bank if you can order some before you depart.
Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners & JCB) are widely accepted in the major hotels, restaurants and stores. Travellers’cheques are also widely accepted at major banks and hotels.
Eftpos machines are found throughout Upolu and Savai'i in major hotels, resorts and supermarkets and accept the following cards – Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Amex, JCB & Plus Cards and Access International Debit Card.
The departure tax for Samoa is included in airfares.
There are many medical clinics in Apia should you require a doctor and the TupuaTamaseseMeaole II National Hospital is located in Apia. In 2015, the TupuaTamasese Memorial Hospital completed the first stage of redevelopment with all-new air-conditioned facilities, including an onsite pharmacy. A second stage of development will see a training and teaching facility for the Oceania University of Medicine.
There are private dental clinics and pharmacies mostly located in Apia.
For an emergency in Samoa, dial the following numbers:
Passengers aged 21-years and over may import up to 2.25 litres of alcohol and 200g of cigarettes free of duty.
Just like its Pacific neighbours, Samoa’s climate is tropical and warm all year round. Light summer clothing is appropriate all year round. As Samoa has a strong cultural structure and Christian faith, tourists are asked not to wear bathing suits in Apia or in villages. For more information on dressing appropriately, read about visitor protocol in Samoa.
Staying connected with family and friends, and maybe sharing a status update or photos of your Samoan stay by Facebook or Instagram is easy with eight broadband internet cafes to be found around Apia and one on the island of Savai'i. Major hotels and resorts also offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres. WiFi is also available at many locations.
The main Samoa Post branch is located in the Central Business District in Apia, across from the main branch of the ANZ Bank.
Samoa is a Christian nation and the main denominations are – Congregational, Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Assembly of God, Seven Day Adventist, Bahai, Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witness. Visitors are welcome to attend church. Check with your hotel reception for service times. Read more information about Samoan culture and visitor protocol in Samoa.
In 2011, Samoa changed time zone, moving west of the dateline. This puts Samoa 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Tipping is not practised or expected in Samoa. However, if a guest wishes to leave a gift for good service then you are welcome to do so directly with the employee or the hotel reception.