Samoa Country Guide

Samoa, the treasured islands of the South Pacific, located just south of the equator halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii in Polynesia. Samoa consists of nine magnificent islands and islets encompassed by protective reefs. The two main islands of Upolo and Savai’i are both tourism hubs with lots new and traditional accommodation choices, great attractions, tours and exciting activities for all travelers.

Our country guide to Samoa below provides you all the travel information about Samoa that you need including our how to get around, the best ways to use telecommunications in country and a little about our beautiful country, our culture and our people.

Once you have decided Samoa is the best place for your holiday let us help you organize the vacation of your dreams. The treasured islands of the South Pacific await you.


Samoa Country Guide

Useful information on this page includes:

Climate/Weather Top

Samoa's climate is tropical all year round, with two distinct seasons – the dry season running from May to October and the wet season from November to April.

Average daily temperature is 29 degrees Celsius and ocean temperature in the in the low 20’s

Communication Top

The international calling code for Samoa is +685. To dial overseas from within Samoa, dial 0 followed by the relevant country code and phone number. Emergency numbers in Samoa are:

Ambulance (996); Police (995); Fire (994).

International Telephone - Today, most communities have access to a telephone. The International Direct Dial (IDD) country code for Samoa is +685.

Mobile/Cell Phones - There are two main telecommunications providers in Samoa, Digicel and Bluesky.  Both providers offer coverage to most areas with over 95% geographical coverage.  Prepaid SIM cards are available at the airport and around Apia.

Internet -Staying connected with family and friends via the internet is easy with eight broadband internet cafes to be found around Apia and one on the island of Savaii. Major hotels and resorts also offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres.  WiFi is also available at dozens of locations

Currency/Money Top

The Samoa decimal currency is the Tala (dollar) and Sene (cent): 100 Sene = ST$1 (Tala). All major foreign currencies are exchangeable in Samoa.

Samoa 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 Savaii in major hotels, resorts and supermarkets and accept the following cards – Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Amex, JCB & Plus Cards and Access International Debit Card.

Electricity Top

 Samoa runs off a 240V/ 50Hz system. 110V conversions are available in some hotels though.

 

Embassy Locations Top

Below you will find a list of foreign embassies in Samoa.

CHILE

Honorary Consul of Chile

P.O. Box 247
Apia
Tel: (+685) 42014
Mobile: (+685) 7597222
Fax: (+685) 20260
Email: chile.samoa@gmail.com

Ms Maria Ines Cepeda-Kappenberger

Honorary Consul

Finland

Honorary Consul of Finland

PO Box 225
Apia
Tel: (+685) 20628/20403
Mobile: (+685) 7571234
Email: sib@sails.ws 

Mr Seiuli Ian BLACK

Honorary Consul

FRANCE

Honorary Consul of France

C/o - Polynesian Xplorer
Apia

Tel: (+685) 25540
Fax: (+685) 26941
Mobile: (+685) 7779482
E-mail: zita@polynesianxplorer.com              

Mrs Vaisemasenuu Zita MARTEL

Honorary Consul

GERMANY

Honorary Consul of Germany

P.O.Box 1620
Papauta

Tel: (+685) 25607 Fax: (+685) 25608
Cell Ph: (+685) 7770320 E-mail: germanconsul.samoa@gmail.com

Mr. Arne Friedrich Uwe SCHREIBER

Honorary Consul

JAPAN

Honorary Consul of Japan

C/o - Apia Concrete Products
Vaitele

Tel: (+685) 20331 / 24725 Fax: (+685) 22349
Cell ph: (685) 7774725 E-mail: fred.wetzell@apiaconcrete.com         

Mr Tupua Friederich W. WETZELL

Honorary Consul

Exequatur Date: 10 March 1997

REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Honorary Consul of the Republic of Korea    

Mr. Jerry BRUNT

Honorary Consul

NETHERLANDS

Honorary Consul of The Netherlands

Betham Building

P.O. Box 859
Lalovaea

Tel: (+685) 24337 Fax: (+685) 24336 
E-mail: terryb@lesamoa.net

 

Mr. Oloipola Terence BETHAM

Honorary Consul

SPAIN

Honorary Consul of Spain

C/o Fepuleai Law Office

Greg Meredith Building

P.O. Box 2288
Apia

Tel: (+685) 20417 Fax: (+685) 23048 
E-mail: fepuleai@lesamoa.net                                    

Mr. Patrick FEPULEAI

Honorary Consul

SWEDEN

Honorary Consul of Sweden

C/o  MNA Travel

P.O. Box 50

Nia Mall, Saleufi

Tel: (+685) 20036 / 24441 Fax: (+685) 20310 
Cell ph: (+685) 7583001 E-mail: smsagencies@ipasefika.net

Mr. Papalii John RYAN

Honorary Consul

SWITZERLAND

Honorary Consul of Switzerland

PO Box 247
Apia

Tel: (+685) 22111 
Cell ph: 7522111 E-mail: apia@hanrep.ch

Mrs Sylvie SALANOA

Honorary Consul        

UNITED KINGDOM

British Honorary Consul

P O Box 1953
Apia

Tel: (+685) 27123 Email: rogerss58@yahoo.co.nz 

Cell ph: 7273421

Mr. Stephen ROGERS

Honorary Consul

JAPAN

Japan Honorary Consul

PO Box 1220
Apia

Tel: (+685) 20331
Fax: (+685) 22349

Mr Tupua Freidrich Wetzell

Honorary Consul

GERMANY

Germany Consul

PO Box 1620
Apia

Tel: (+685) 25607
Fax: (+685) 25608

Mr Arne Uwe Schreiber

Germany Consul

 

Dress Top

Light summer clothing is appropriate all year round and packing a light sweater for the cooler evenings is recommended. As Samoa has a strong cultural structure and Christian faith, tourists are asked not to wear bathing suits in Apia or in villages.

Nude and topless (for women) swimming or sunbathing is prohibited and when leaving the beach to venture into the villages, guests are asked to wear a lavalava (sarong) pants or shorts and t-shirt.

If attending church on Sunday, women are asked to wear a dress or blouse and skirt and men trousers and shirt.

General Information Top

Population - 188,889 (2012 World Bank)
Total Area - 2,944 square kilometres
Capital - Apia 
Time Zone - Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +14 hours (Day Light Saving)

To view the current time in Apia, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com.

Language Top

EnglishSamoanPronunciation
HelloTalofaTah-lo-far
GoodbyeTofaToh-far
Thank youFa'afetaiFa-ah-feh-tie
PleaseFa'amolemole   Fa-ah-moh-le-moh-le
YesLoeEe-oh-e
NoLeaiLe-ai
MaybeMasalo   Ma-sa-loh
That's all right'Ua lelei   Oo-a-lelay
big / small   tele / la'itititeh-leh / lah ee-tee-tee
quick / slowtope / gesetoh-peh / nge-seh
early / latevave / tuaivahveh / two-eye
near / farlatalata / mamaolah-tah-lah-tah / mah-maow

 

Counting

1 = tasi

2 = lua

3 = tolu

4 = fa

5 = lima

6 = ono

7 = fitu

8 = valu

9 = iva

10 = sefulu

Doctors Top

There are many medical clinics in Apia should you require a doctor. The Tupua Tamasese Meaole II National Hospital is located in Apia.  There are private dental clinics and pharmacies.

Religion Top

Samoans are devout Christians with over 900 church buildings for a population of about 170,000. The Sabbath Sunday is a day of worship in Samoa, almost part of Samoan culture, and it starts at 00:01! When the clock ticks past midnight, it's Sunday and revelry must cease. Nightclubs and bars will usually close on or before midnight on Saturday nights. Samoans turn out for church in their Sunday best.

 

Entry Requirements Top

Visitors to Samoa are not required to obtain an entry permit for stays of less than 60 days, Traveller must have a return or onward ticket and passports must be valid for six months or more at the time of entry into the country.

If your visit is for more then 60 days then you must apply for a permit to enter the country from the nearest Samoa Consulate General, High Commission or Embassy to you in New Zealand, Australia, United States of America and Belgium.  Permit extensions in Apia are handled by Samoa Immigration.  

The following countries have missions or a representative in Samoa Samoa – Australia, Chile, China, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America and Sweden.

It is advisable to check this information with your relevant embassy prior to travel.

Geography Top

Samoa consists of a group of nine volcanic islands and islets in the Pacific Ocean approximately half way from New Zealand to Hawaii. The two largest islands of Savai'i and Upolu are dominated by volcanic peaks. Both have narrow, fertile coastal plains and offshore reefs, which form calm ocean lagoons that offer fantastic opportunities for a variety of water activities.

At 1,857m, Mauga Silisili (on Savai'i island) is the highest peak in Samoa. The highest peak on Upolu is 1,100m. The hills and slopes of both main islands are still heavily wooded and feature short but fast-running rivers with some spectacular waterfalls.

Samoa is located in an area of the Pacific known as 'the ring of fire' because of volcanic and undersea earthquake activity. While minor tremors causing little or no damage are relatively frequent in geological terms, larger scale damage-causing earthquakes are rarer.

Tsunamis (Tidal Waves) associated with undersea seismic activity are also possible. In the event of a tsunami, you should receive warnings to move to higher ground. However, if you notice the water draining from the lagoon and moving out to sea quite quickly, move immediately to higher ground as you have probably less than 3 minutes!

Location Top

Samoan islands are approximately 800 km (500 mi) from Fiji, 530 km (330 mi) from Tonga, 2,900 km (1,800 mi) from New Zealand, and 4,000 km (2,500 mi) from Hawaii.

Samoan islands lies between 13° and 14° south latitude and 169° and 173° west longitude, about 480 km (300 mi) from west to east.

The larger islands are volcanic in origin, mountainous, and covered in tropical moist forest. Some of the smaller islands are coral atolls with black sand beaches.

People Top

Samoan people are Polynesians and archaeological evidence suggests that what is now Samoa was inhabited as early as 1,000BC. 

Fa'a Samoa, the 'Samoan Way'

Samoa culture is steeped in rich oral history which records the great migratory movements, amazing feats and the entire history of the people. Despite over 150 years of western missionary activity and exposure to various different forms of external governance and the influences of other languages and cultures, fa'a Samoa continues to be the strongest thread which binds all Samoa people. Fa'a Samoa is so strong in fact that it is enshrined within the practice of the constitutional parliamentary democracy!

Matai, The Chiefs

Samoan matai (chiefs) are in essence 'elected' to this status by their aiga (extended family) or their community. Each aiga will have a matai to represent their interests in community affairs and oversee the use and allocation of family lands. Only matai are eligible for election to parliament. The status of matai can be bestowed equally on women as on men.

Banks Top

ANZ and Westpac are the two international banks found in Samoa. Both have branches at the international airport, in Apia and at Salelologa on Savaii.

ATMs are located in and around Apia and on the island of Savaii. Travellers can use credit cards in the machines but you are required to have a PIN number to withdraw cash.

Airports Top

The main entry point into Samoa is Falelolo International Airport, 35 km from Apia on the island of Upolu.  Polynesian Airlines operates daily flights between Apia and Pago Pago out of Fagalii Airport, which is located about 5km from the Central Business District. 

Upon arrival currency exchanges are open for all international flight arrivals and departures for converting your currency.

Duty free allowances are one litre of alcohol, wine or spirits and 200 cigarettes per person. Airport shuttles are provided to the major hotels which can be booked prior to arrival or organized when you arrive after clearing Customs. One way fares start from ST$12 per person.

Taxis are also available and a ride to Apia will cost you about ST$60 and it’s recommended you confirm the price with the driver before you depart. If your flight is arriving during the day, then you can catch a local bus into Apia from the main gate of the airport. There are no set timetables and the fare will cost you about ST$5 one way.

Visitor Information  Top

The Samoa Tourism Authority is located in the fale in front of the Government Buildings on Beach Road in Apia. Open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 4:30pm and on Saturday morning, from 8:00am to 12:00pm.

Samoa Flag Top

The Samoa Flag is red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side quadrant bearing five white five-pointed stars representing the Southern Cross constellation. Samoa dropped the 'Western' from its name in 1997.
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Tipping Top

Tipping is not practiced 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.

Alcohol Top

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 brand new manufacturing beverage company locally producing & marketing a range of exciting brands of beverages.Beer can be purchased almost anywhere on the islands throughout the week though on Sundays alcohol is strictly prohibited for sale except for in hotels and restaurants.

Bars & Nightclubs Top

There are many bars and nightclubs to provide a good night out! Doors close at 12am