10 Days In Samoa

July 20, 2016

Day 3: Waterfalls, Swimming Holes & Beach


It’s time to check out of Apia and hit the road once again. Get another early start but not because this day will be as action-packed as Day 2, but rather because you’ll want to make it to the Piula Cave Pool before everyone else arrives (T5 entrance). This magical swimming hole is fed by water seeping from the highlands. Go for a swim in these incredibly transparent waters and put on some snorkeling gear to really get the full experience!

Piula Cave Pool Samoa

Piula Cave Pool Samoa underwater

Adventure seekers can go off-road to the Sauniatu Waterfall, but to leave some relaxation time for later, let’s continue up the Richardson Road to the Le Mafa Pass. On a clear day, this is the ‘classic’ tropical island view you’ve envisioned.

Samoa Cross Island Scenic Drive

Continue on this road which now begins to descend to the south coast. Stop at the Fuipisia Waterfall (T7 entrance) and walk to the top of this 55-meter high waterfall. Wow!

Fuipisia Waterfall Samoa

Further down the road is the last waterfall of the day and the most impressive one on the island. The Sopoaga Waterfall (T10 entrance) emerges from the jungle-like some animated movie about paradise. Cascading from one pool to another, it eventually finds its way to the river, and into your dreams.

Sopoaga Tropical Waterfall Samoa


Take a left at the fork towards the eastern side of the south coast and stop for a picnic lunch and a swim in the To-Sua Ocean Trench (T20 entrance). You cannot come to Samoa without visiting one of nature’s finest achievements. Out of a seemingly flat grassy surface, two sinkholes are connected by a lava tube and one of them is filled with aqua blue waters delivered straight from the nearby ocean. The To-Sua Ocean Trench is a regular member of lists of ‘places you must visit before you die’, so consider this an achievement unlocked.

Tu Sua Ocean Trench Samoa

Tu Sua Ocean Trench Samoa floating in pool

The grounds above the trench make for an excellent picnic spot and don’t forget to walk down to the rocky pools for some more awesome views of the coastline.   

Tu Sua Ocean Trench Samoa beach

You’ll end the day in Lalomanu Beach where you’ll also check in to the backpacker-friendly Taufua Beach Fales or the more upmarket Litia Sini’s Beach Fales – both are fully reviewed in this post.

Taufua Beach Fales Lalomanu Beach Samoa

Lalomanu Beach Samoa fire show


The beach is a very popular place to stay in Samoa and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, you’ll be treated to a Polynesian dance and fire show at Taufua Beach Fales (donations expected).

Day 4: Relaxing On The Beach

Lalomanu Beach is arguably the best beach in Samoa and one of the best beaches in the South Pacific. It doesn’t get any better than this! While the snorkeling is nothing to write home about following the devastating effects of the 2009 tsunami, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything as pretty as this!

Lalomanu Beach Samoa view

Lalomanu Beach Samoa

Lalomanu Beach Samoa underwater color

Treat yourself to a day of pure relaxation, Polynesian massages, and happy hour cocktails! If you seriously want to explore yet another beach, find your way to nearby Vavau Beach (T20 entrance). It’s more secluded and also among Samoa’s best beaches.

Day 5: Going Off The Grid

Day five will be spent in nearby Namua Island. You can visit the island from Lalomanu on a day trip (T40) but I highly recommend spending the night at Namua Island Beach Fales to get the full experience. Though just across from Upolu, Namua Island feels like a world away. Spend your day snorkeling, lounging on the beach, hiking to the top of the island, and even circling it at low tide. Spend your nights counting the stars and watching the hermit crabs go to work.

Namua Island Samoa Beach Fales

Namua tropical island samoa

If you do spend the night in Namua Island, get up bright and early and hike to the top of the island for sunrise. It’ll no doubt be one of the highlights of your visit to Samoa and maybe you’ll even spot a coconut crab along the way.

Namua Island Samoa sunrise



  1. Hello! My boyfriend and I are planning a 10 day trip to Samoa and love your itinerary. Just a quick question about the rental cars. From your cost spreadsheet it looks like you only rented a car for two days on each island – is that correct? How did this work? Any information about the rental cars would be appreciated! Thanks so much.

    1. Talofa Emily!

      Thanks for the feedback. Since you’re traveling for 10 days and as a couple, I would recommend having a car for the entire time. I was on a long trip and traveling alone, so I mostly used to bus to get from point A to B (a recommended experience just for the sake of it). I rented cars for very targeted days where I went on road trips to cover a large ground. Hope this helps. Happy travels, Samoa is incredible!

      1. Thanks for the quick response! Did you return the rental car back to Apia? For example – you rented a car on days 2 & 3 but stayed the third night in Lalomanu. So did you return the car to Apia and then take the bus from there? Your website is awesome by the way!

        1. Hi Emily

          I stayed a full month in Samoa and prepared a few sample itineraries. As mentioned in the article. It’s best to have a car for the full stay, however, if you cannot for some reason, there are those specific days for which a car is a must if you wish to do what is written. If renting in Apia, you’ll need to return the car there and then take a bus to Lalomanu. Specifically in Lalomanu and a lot of the more popular spots (major hotels, beach fales in Manase on Savaii and others), you can rent a car directly from your hosts.

  2. Hi.
    Thanks for the very useful sharing of Samoan knowledge.
    Unfortunately this year we are limited to go to Samoa around Christmas holidays time.
    Any idea of how busy it will be?
    We’re prepared to go through few rainy days but hope to manage to move around without queuing too much.

    1. Talofa Ramon!

      My guess is that the islands will be busy as many family members living in New Zealand will be coming home for the holidays. This would just mean having to book your air ticket long in advance and perhaps slightly a slightly “busier” scene at the beaches. Happy travels!

  3. Thank you for this really complete article !! We’ll go to Samoa during Christmas (as we have 2 weeks off), so do you reckon we’d need to book the accommodation in advance ? Because I’ve heard that booking in advance is not really common there so I was wondering what would be best !

    Also, as we are probably gonna take a flight back also from Apia, it means that we’ll need to go back to Apia, do you know how long we need to plan to go from Manase Beach back to Apia ?

    1. Talofa Cindy

      You are right that normally there isn’t a huge requirement to book accommodations in advance in Samoa, however, this is not the case if you want to stay in resorts and/or if you’re planning to travel during the Christmas season.

      Manase to the ferry would take about 60-90 mins by bus, then the ferry is about 60 minutes and finally, a bus to Apia is about 30-45 mins. Add to that waiting times. I would factor about half a day to get back to Apia but do check the ferry schedule which could be affected by the holidays.

      Enjoy beautiful Samoa!

      1. Thank you for your quick reply !! I’m going to try to book the most of accommodations then as we’ll travel during the Xmas season… Do you think it’s doable to stay in one place for the first week in Upolu (to be more convenient for the booking) and then one place for the week in Savaii ? And then move from our accommodation to the different places you’ve advised ?
        Thanks !

        1. Staying in one place on either islands will def work but it’s best if you have a car. Busses are quite common in Samoa but they’ll probably run infrequently and in any case, only go from a specific area to Apia and back so you kind of have to “connect” in Apia most of the time.

  4. I’ve just checked the accommodations and some fales you advise are not available to be booked online.. Do you think we’ll manage to have spots even during Christmas or is it too risky ? I’d love to go with the flow for some days, but I also don’t want to end up in an expensive hotel because there’s no room available elsewhere :/

    And another question, can we bring our tent and camp on the beaches or elsewhere ? That could also be a solution in case we don’t find accommodation !

    Thank you for your answer !

    1. you can book these places via email or online for the “higher-end” spots. Maybe just book in advance for Christmas itself and then “wing it” for the other days just to be on the safe side. I think you’ll always be able to find an available beach fale somewhere but a lot of them are of poor quality.

      Regarding the tent, I can’t recall seeing that option offered at the beach fales. You cannot just pitch a tent on the beach as 99% of beaches in Samoa are private property owned by villages.

  5. Hello again Avichai,
    2 years after reading your incredible trip reports from the Pacific, I am now planning a trip to one group of the Pacific Islands. Since I am gonna use a RT award ticket from Tokyo to the Pacific, I can choose almost any destination in the Pacific (Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia…).
    Right now my plan is to combine Samoa and American Samoa, and after reading some trip reports on other websites, I have some concerns regarding the Samoas.
    I’d be grateful if you could contact me (in case my email address is visible to you).

  6. What a great guide! Made my life much easier to plan 10 days in Samoa.

    I have short question: how about getting to the ferry to Namua by bus from Apia? Is it feasible or rather car is necessary?
    Thanks !

    1. Hi Jakub. You can take a bus to the village across the island (tell your driver you’re going to Namua). Just coordinate the pickup with your hosts before (by email or phone).

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