The Only Thing You Need to Know About Transportation in Samoa

Transportation in Samoa is an essential aspect of daily life on this enchanting Pacific island nation. Situated in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, Samoa is renowned for its lush landscapes, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture. To fully immerse yourself in the Samoan experience, it’s crucial to understand the unique transportation options available in this tropical paradise. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about getting around Samoa, from traditional modes of travel to modern conveniences, ensuring you can make the most of your visit to this mesmerizing destination.

private car-Transportation in SamoaThe Backbone of Transportation: Roads and Highways

Samoa boasts a well-maintained network of roads and highways that connect its two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, along with the numerous villages scattered throughout the archipelago. The key to navigating these roads successfully is to familiarize yourself with the local customs and conditions.


The term “island time” is often used to describe the relaxed pace of life in Samoa, which extends to its roads. While most roads are in decent condition, some may have potholes or be narrow in places. It’s advisable to drive cautiously, and if you’re renting a car, be sure to drive on the left side of the road as Samoans do. Remember that wearing a seatbelt is mandatory, and adhere to speed limits, which are typically lower than in many other countries.


Additionally, keep an eye out for wandering livestock, as it’s common for animals to roam freely along the roadsides. While public transportation is readily available, renting a car can provide greater flexibility in exploring the islands at your own pace.


The road network in Samoa is constantly evolving, with ongoing improvement projects. The government is committed to enhancing the infrastructure to facilitate smoother travel experiences for both locals and visitors. Travelers should stay updated on road conditions and any temporary closures, especially during the wet season when some areas may be prone to flooding.

The Lifeline of Samoa: Public Transportation

Public transportation in Samoa is primarily served by buses and small, brightly painted vans known as “faleolo.” These communal vehicles are an integral part of local life and offer an authentic way to experience the island’s culture.


Buses are a common mode of transport for both locals and tourists. They follow set routes between major towns and villages and are an economical choice for getting around. Keep in mind that bus schedules can be somewhat flexible, so be prepared to wait a bit longer than planned at times. However, the laid-back atmosphere of Samoa makes this a charming part of the experience.


Faleolos, on the other hand, offer more flexibility in terms of destinations and stops. They are essentially shared taxis that pick up passengers along the way, making them an excellent option for reaching more remote or less frequented locations. Just flag one down, hop in, and let the driver know where you’re headed.


While public transportation is generally reliable, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of the Samoan language, as some drivers may not speak English fluently. This can be especially helpful when communicating your destination and ensuring a smooth journey.

Catamaran-Transportation in SamoaSailing the Samoan Seas: Ferries and Boats

Given Samoa’s archipelagic nature, water-based transportation plays a significant role in connecting its islands. Ferries and boats are essential for inter-island travel and provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.


The inter-island ferry service between Upolu and Savai’i is a reliable and affordable option for those looking to explore both major islands. These ferries are well-maintained and offer a comfortable journey, complete with opportunities for dolphin and whale watching.


For a more adventurous experience, consider taking a boat ride along Samoa’s coastline. Local operators offer various boat tours, including snorkeling and fishing trips. Exploring the hidden coves, caves, and vibrant coral reefs by boat is a memorable way to witness the natural beauty that Samoa has to offer.


When planning inter-island travel, it’s crucial to check ferry schedules and book tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, keep an eye on weather conditions, as rough seas can affect ferry operations.

Taking to the Skies: Air Travel in Samoa

For travelers who prefer to save time and enjoy a different perspective of Samoa, domestic flights are readily available. Samoa has two main airports, Faleolo International Airport on Upolu and Maota Airport on Savai’i. These airports connect the islands and provide access to international flights as well.


Domestic flights are operated by Samoa Airways and provide a convenient way to traverse the islands quickly. The short flight between Upolu and Savai’i is not only efficient but also offers breathtaking aerial views of Samoa’s picturesque landscapes. However, it’s advisable to book flights in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, as availability can be limited.


If you’re arriving in Samoa via an international flight, Faleolo International Airport on Upolu will likely be your point of entry. The airport is equipped with essential services such as currency exchange, car rentals, and shuttle services to major hotels. Maota Airport on Savai’i serves domestic flights and offers a smaller, more relaxed atmosphere.


Whether you’re flying between the islands or arriving from abroad, Samoa’s airports provide a warm welcome, complete with the sounds of traditional Samoan music and the scent of fragrant tropical flowers.

bike-Transportation in SamoaAlternative Modes of Exploration: Bicycles and Scooters

For those seeking a more environmentally friendly and active way to explore Samoa, bicycles and scooters are becoming increasingly popular. Many accommodations offer bicycle rentals, and there are scooter rental services available in major towns.


Biking or scootering allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Samoa while enjoying the freedom to stop and explore at your leisure. It’s an excellent way to discover hidden gems, such as secluded beaches or charming villages, that may be off the beaten path.


When renting bicycles or scooters, ensure that you receive proper safety gear, including helmets, and familiarize yourself with local traffic rules. Samoa’s slower pace of life extends to its roads, making cycling or scootering a pleasant and leisurely way to take in the sights and sounds of the islands.

Safety and Practical Tips for Transportation in Samoa

As you plan your transportation experiences in Samoa, here are some essential safety and practical tips to keep in mind:


Respect Local Customs: Samoans are known for their warm hospitality and strong sense of community. Show respect for their culture by adhering to local customs, including dress codes and conservative behavior, especially in traditional villages.


Currency and Payment: The currency in Samoa is the Samoan Tala (WST). Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, but it’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and in more remote locations where card facilities may be limited.


Health Precautions: Make sure you have travel insurance and check whether vaccinations or health precautions are necessary before your trip. Mosquito repellent is advisable, as Samoa has a tropical climate and is prone to mosquito-borne diseases.


Responsible Travel: Practice responsible tourism by respecting the environment and local wildlife. Be cautious when snorkeling or diving to protect fragile coral reefs, and avoid touching or disturbing marine life.


Language: While English is commonly spoken, learning a few basic Samoan phrases can enhance your experience and show respect for the local culture.


Weather Awareness: Samoa experiences a tropical climate with a wet season from November to April. Be prepared for occasional heavy rainfall and storms during this period. Check weather forecasts and road conditions before embarking on your journeys.


Transportation in Samoa is a diverse and fascinating aspect of island life. Whether you choose to explore the islands by car, bus, faleolo, ferry, or plane, each mode of transportation offers its unique experience and opportunities to connect with the warm and welcoming Samoan culture. As you embark on your journey through this South Pacific paradise, remember to embrace the “island time” mindset and savor every moment of your adventure, knowing that getting there is an integral part of the experience itself.


So, pack your bags, plan your routes, and get ready to explore all that Samoa has to offer. With its varied transportation options, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time discovering the beauty and charm of these Pacific jewels. From the scenic coastal roads to the tranquil boat rides and the exhilarating flights over the islands, Samoa’s transportation choices will leave you with lasting memories of this tropical paradise.


Book with Far and Away

Our Top FAQ's

You can travel between Upolu and Savai’i via the inter-island ferry service, which provides a comfortable and affordable option.

Renting a car is a great way to explore Samoa at your own pace, offering flexibility and convenience for your travels.

Public transportation in Samoa mainly consists of buses and faleolos (shared vans), both of which are economical and commonly used by locals and tourists.

Yes, you can take domestic flights in Samoa operated by Samoa Airways to quickly travel between the main islands, Upolu and Savai’i.

You can explore Samoa on bicycles or scooters, providing an eco-friendly and active way to discover hidden gems on the islands.

Always respect local customs, currency regulations, and health precautions. Be cautious of weather conditions, practice responsible tourism, and learn a few basic Samoan phrases.

The dry season in Samoa is from May to October, making it an ideal time to visit for pleasant weather and smoother transportation experiences.

Samoa has two main airports, Faleolo International Airport on Upolu and Maota Airport on Savai’i. These airports offer essential services and a warm Samoan welcome to travelers.

Book your dream vacation here