Independent State of Samoa
The Independent State of Samoa is an island state in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean. The country borders with the territorial waters of American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Wallis Island and the Futuna Island. The capital city is Apia.
The climate in Samoa is tropical with frequent trade winds. The winter lasts from May to October. The average temperature is +26°C. The water temperature never goes lower than +24°C. We recommend coming to the island during a dry season from May to October.
The people in Samoa are the Catholics and the Protestants. The official languages are Samoan and English.
To spend the time on a beach, go straight to the second largest island Upolu. The Salamuma beach, Agano Beach, Matareva Beach, and the Aleipata Reef are the most popular among the tourists who love rafting, waterfall rafting, snorkelling and beach activities. We also recommend going to the volcano craters and see the hot springs.
The best resorts for surfers are Samoana, Salouafata Harbor, and Maninoa Beach. There, anyone can also go to a sea fishing. The best places for diving are near the Maninoa Beach on the Upolu Island and near the Palolo Deep Marine-Reserva.
Thos who prefer out-of-town holidays, should head right to Savaii by a canoe or by boat and enjoy hiking and biking.
Apia is the center of city entertainments. The tourists can see the Mausoleum of the Samoan Leaders, the Mad Gallery, Clock Tower, the Mormon Temple, the Mulivai Catholic cathedral, and the Palolo national Marine Sanctuary.
For shopping, we recommend fish and flea markets in Apia and the famous Mock-Fou market.
There are no direct flights between Russia and CIS countries. The most convenient route is a transit flight with a stop in New Zealand, Australia, Los Angeles, Guam or Fiji.
The airlines of China and Korea offer flights to Nadi. From Fiji, there are 2 flights to Samoa (a transit visa is issued on arrival).
Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand offer flights to Apia from Australia and New Zealand. A flight to Samoa includes a transfer in Beijing, Dubai, Seoul, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. The citizens of Europe can take the flights to Australia offered by the British airlines.
If a tourist has a valid American visa, he or she can take a transit flight with a stop in Guam or Hawaii.
The citizens of the European Union and CIS countries do not need a visa to travel to Samoa provided that their stay in the country will not exceed 60 days. In this case, a visa is issued at the border.
The tourists must have an international passport valid for, at least, 6 months and return tickets.
The Customs officers may require confirming the financial sufficiency. Usually, the booking confirmation or a tourist voucher are enough.
One can extend his or her stay in the country for 60 days more by applying to the Immigration Office in Apia.
The legislation of Samoa does not restrict the import of foreign and national currency. It is prohibited to export the national currency and the sum of imported money is limited to the sum indicated on the declaration form.
Tourists over 16 years old can bring in Samoa the following goods:
- tobacco and alcohol;
- personal belongings the total cost of which does not exceed 250 talas.
Additionally to general restrictions, it is not allowed to import:
- items with historical and artistic value;
- crafts from a turtle shell;
- coral goods;
- skins of tropical animals and birds;
- feathers of tropical birds.
No animal can be imported in Samoa.
The traditional cuisine in Samoa was developing under conditions of food scarcity in the Oceania regions. The staple food here is seafood. Many products are not heat processed. The typical characteristic of Samoan cuisine is that all the ingredients are mixed together right at the table.
The locals often cook food in the ground oven umu and the dishes prepared in this way acquire a very unusual taste. Traditional ingredients are green bananas, taro root, and breadfruit.
The tourists can treat themselves to the local seafood dishes. The main dish is Oka (chopped fish marinated in coconut milk). Faiai Fee (octopus with coconut milk) will make your mouth water. You will surely enjoy the taste of Faiai Eleni (herring with coconut meat and water) and Vaisu (fish roasted over the charcoal). Do not miss a chance to try shark meat, sea serpents, lobsters, crayfish and mussels. Discover an exotic taste of Si (sea cucumber) and Fia Fia (a mix of seafood and vegetables prepared in umu).
Traditional meat dishes are Supasui (beef with soy sauce and ginger served with noodles), Povi Masima (corned beef), Puaa Tunuvilivili (roast pork), and Puaa tuna (roast whole pig in umu).
Poultry gained popularity among the local people. We recommend trying Taisi Moa (roasted chicken wrapped in banana leaves), Moa Tunupau (chicken roasted over the charcoal), and Lupe Tunuvilivili (roasted wild pigeon).
The foodies will be delighted by the soups Supoesi (paw paw and coconut soup) and Sua Arasa (rice soup with coconut meat).
For a dessert try Fausi made from taro root and coconut milk, Koko Arasa (rice flour pastry), Keke Faasina, Puligi, Masi Samoa, and Pani Popo.
Do not leave Samoa without trying the local alcoholic beverage Vailima. The most popular refreshing drinks are Nui and Kava.
The national currency is Tala (WST). In circulation are the banknotes from 2 to 100 talas and 1 sene and 1 tala coins.
We recommend exchanging currency in hotels or at the following banks Samoa Commercial Bank, National Bank of Samoa, ANZ Bank Samoa Ltd and Westpac. In Samoa, there are also special exchange offices.
Although tala is the official currency in Samoa, in many places US dollars are accepted.
The tourists can pay for rent with a credit card. In other places, credit cards are not accepted.
There are ATMs at banks in Apia and in neighbouring cities. On the Savaii island, there is only one ATM.
One can cash traveler’s checks in travel agencies, at banks and in large hotels. It is better to have the checks in sterling pounds or US dollars to avoid additional costs.
A Unitary State Tax 12.4% is introduced in Samoa.
Details of interest
Customs and traditions in Samoa
The Samoan people are committed to their traditions and they do their best to preserve their ancient culture. The majority of the population lives in Fale, traditional oval-shaped houses.
In Samoa, the tourists should observe the main rules of behaviour such as:
- Do not wear swimming suits beyond the beach. Topless and nudism is disapproved by the locals and even prohibited.
- If a woman wants to visit a church, she must wear a dress or a skirt. It is not recommended to wear too tight clothes.
- Try not to walk across the village during a night prayer (a gong informs about the beginning and the end of the prayer).
- You can take pictures of the local people only with their consent.
Sightseeing in Samoa
- In the capital city Apia, you should visit the Memorial Tower built in honor of the victims of the Second World War, the Catholic Church and the Christian church with the relics of John Williams. Go to the Church of England and enjoy fantastic stained-glass windows. Do not go past the Apia Historical Museum and numerous churches in the suburbs. In Villim, there is the grave of the British writer R.L. Stevenson.
- You will be greatly impressed by the Pappas Waterfall, Fogaafu Waterfall, Falefa Waterfall and the water basin which was formed in the Puila Cave. The Papasea Rock is a unique waterfall sliding from the top to a very picturesque forest lake.
- The ceremonial city Mulinuu in the western part of Apia. The Old Observatory and the Parliament House are the must-see places.
- On the Upolu island, the travelers can visit amazing waterfall Falefa, the Lanooto lake, the Bahai Temple, and the Forest Reserve Uafato. The south-western coast gained popularity due to the 5 meter Papassea-Sliding Rock Waterfall. If you want to spend lazy time on the beach, go to the famous Paradise Beach or visit the O le Pupu-Pue National Park.
- If you stay on the Savaii island, take a trip to the Paia Dwarfs Lava Cave and Peapea Lava cave, the Mulinuu Cape, the Tia Seu Mound and the Alofaaga Volcanic Cavern. The ancient Fagaloa village also presents a great interest. There, you can go to Satiuatua Beach and old Polynesian villages. On the Savaii, the tourists can see unique hot springs, Olemoe Waterfall and take a walk in the Tafua Nature Reserve.
- The main sights on the Manono Island are the 99 Grave Stones and the Star.
Souvenirs in Samoa
- Baskets, rugs, and bags, paper-tree textiles are sold on the Savaii Island;
- The tourists can buy bows, hatchets and other arms as well as canoe models on the Samoa islands;
- Handmade wooden cups, fans and female jewelry from the coconut shell are sold in the capital city of Apia.