How to get around Samoa

Samoa comprises the two main islands of Savai'i and Upolu, and four smaller islands: Manono, Apolima, Fanuatapu and Namua.

Frequent ferries operate between Mulifanua, Upolu and Salelologa, Savai’i, taking 1 hour, three times daily. Taxis and hire cars are easily available.

Exploring Samoa by car is fairly easy. Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road. The coastal roads on Upolu and Savai'i are sealed, and most of the other main roads are in reasonably good condition.

Drivers should be alert though, especially at night, to the hazard of roaming dogs, pigs, chickens and people.

Local courtesy dictates that you slow down when going through villages so as not to kick up dust. Special care is required on Sundays, when Samoans often lounge around the village after going to church.

Wearing seat belts when driving is mandatory. The speed limit is 40kph (25mph) in Apia and 56kph (35mph) outside Apia.

Transport options in Samoa

Air: Samoa Air operates charter flights between Upolu and Savai'i, as well as scheduled daily flights between Apia (Faleolo International Airport) and Pago Pago in American Samoa, taking 30 minutes.

Sea: Samoa Shipping Corporation ( operates a frequent passenger-vehicle ferry service between Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu and Salelologa on Savai'i, taking one hour. Small boats leave from Cape Fatuosofia for Manono.

On land

Car hire: Budget and Avis as well several local agencies offer car hire in Apia. Deposit and insurance are usually required. Scooters are also available.

Drivers need to be at least 25 years of age and have held a valid driver licence from their home country for at least one year.

A Temporary Drivers Licence is required to drive in Samoa, available for a small fee from the Land Transport Authority, Samoa Post and most car hire companies.

Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport and in Apia. Taxis are inexpensive and unmetered. While fares are regulated by the government, it's recommended to negotiate fares in advance.

Taxis can be hailed on the street in Apia. There are also taxi stands at the Town Clock on Beach Road and nearby on Vaea Street. You can also ask your hotel desk, or call for a taxi.

Bike: Bicycles are available to rent for day tours. You can transport a bike between Samoa’s two main islands on the ferry.

Touring Upolu and Savai’i by bicycle is a scenic option given that the major roads encircling the islands are sealed and relatively flat. However, you’ll need a mountain bike to tackle most trails to beaches and other coastal attractions.

The big drawback to long-distance cycling in Samoa is the weather: Even during the coolest months of the year (July, August and September), temperatures are still high.

Bus: Samoa's brightly coloured buses are a great way to meet locals and experience a slice of local life. Other than the main bus terminals, there are no bus stops - just wave your hand and flag one down as it approaches.

All buses are named with their destination. There is usually a cord to pull when you’re nearing your destination and want to get off.

Fares are paid in cash as you depart the bus. The most you should expect to pay is ST$12 per person.

In Apia, the main bus terminal is located behind the food market in Fugalei and opposite the flea market in Savalalo. On Savai’i, the bus terminal is at the market and main wharf in Salelologa.

Latest update: How to get around Samoa: 11 May, 2022