10 Days In Samoa

July 20, 2016

Day 6: Swimming With Giant Clams

Day six will take you to the western side of Upolu’s south coast. Your goal is to make it to Savaia Village and if you take the bus, you’ll need to change lines in Apia. Savaia Village is a tranquil seaside village where the evening curfew (sa’a) is observed. This just means that every day from 6-7 pm, villagers must stay indoors and either do their evening prayer or have some quality family time. Don’t let that scare you, Savaia is home to the best sunsets on the islands and Le Valasi’s Beach Fales. Helen, Taula the Orator, and their family will take excellent care of you. If you stay with them on a Sunday, you’ll get the real Samoan experience (scroll to the final paragraphs).

Savaia beach Samoa

Savaia children playing

Savaia beach Samoa Lefaga Bay

Giant Clams

Savaia is also home to the Giant Clam Sanctuary (5T entrance). Put your snorkeling gear and swim to the protected area for a close encounter with colorful giant clams. Their meat is highly sought after in Australia and New Zealand, but the clams in these waters are protected.

Savaia Giant Clam Beach Samoa

Return To Paradise

If you feel like doing a bit of relaxing, you can do so in Savaia or head to the Return To Paradise Resort. Your T25 ticket can be redeemed at the beach bar, which is just perfect considering the view. The beach was the filming spot for the 1953 hit movie ‘Return To Paradise’. These days, the beach is home to a family-friendly resort though it’s a bit rough swimming wise. So have a drink, something to eat and relax on the beach before heading back to catch the sunset.

Return to Paradise beach Samoa

Day 7: Tropical Beach Hopping

Today, you’ll either use a hired car or the free bicycles from Le Valasi’s Beach Fales to visit a few tropical beaches. If you’re cycling, take plenty of water, a hat, and be prepared for off-road cycling as the beaches are always a few kilometers from the main road (T2-10 entrance fees are collected at the turnoff).


Start with Salamumu Beach, watching young fishermen trying their luck before reaching the end of the line at the Sa’Moana Resort. It’s an excellent resort for those seeking this kind of holiday, but daytrippers can use this oasis for a fresh drink under the gazebo shade.

Salamumu Tropical Beach Samoa

Salamumu Tropical Beach Samoa


The next beach is Matareva Beach, which is a series of beaches culminating in a crescent-shaped stretch of blindingly white sand. Does it get any better than this?

Matareva Beach Samoa

For lunch or if you didn’t come here yesterday, stop at the Return To Paradise Resort for the final beach in this tropical beach hopping day.



  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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