Samoa, Australasia - Stein Travel
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The island paradise of Western Samoa is an independent Pacific state situated half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. It is composed of 10 islands, surprisingly varied in their terrain and character from rainforest to volcanic mountain peaks, from lush valleys to miles of perfect sandy beaches, and immediately off-shore - crystal-clear azure water teeming with aquatic life and pristine coral. Samoa is effortlessly a place apart from the busy, populated world outside its borders. Amidst the vibrant nature and beautiful scenery of the islands, Samoans live with their ancient traditions and culture largely intact despite the influx of more modern influences. Family, religion and hospitality are values central to Samoan identity, as is the laid-back approach to life and legendary warm welcome extended to visitors. A holiday in Samoa presents a dilemma of whether to explore the many attractions around the islands, or just relax and do nothing on the perfect beaches. Upolu is the main island and home to the capital Apia, which is a fun and vibrant city, and the ideal gateway to Samoa's other islands. Upolu was where Robinson Crusoe lived and his time here is commemorated in the eponymous botanical gardens and museum. Other highlights on Upolu include Lalomanu Beach which adjoins a protected pristine lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling; the famous Malua Turtle feeding site; and numerous splendid waterfalls. Of the other islands, Savai'i offers unparalleled raw beauty, volcanic craters, towering waterfalls, mysterious archaeological sites and incredible natural blowholes. Manono Island, on the other hand, is a slice of old Samoa with just four fishing villages and no vehicles or electricity to disturb the peaceful way of life. Samoa is that rarest of holiday destinations: a place that exceeds one's wildest expectations, rewards one's laziest day or busiest excursion, and leaves visitors recharged, relaxed and ready for more.

Information & Facts


The weather is ideal with fairly constant 30 degrees C temperatures year round. The rainy season runs from December to March although this is no reason to postpone a visit.


The international dialling code for Samoa is +685. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Internet cafes are available at a few location in the major centres and will cost from $ST10 per hour. There is good cell phone coverage and roaming agreements are in place with major international operators. Cell phones can easily be rented from Go Mobile and Digicel Samoa.


Christianity plays an important role in the life of many Samoans with Sunday church services and Sabbath observances. Traditional Samoan men undergo tattooing as a rite of passage and the resultant patterns and images can be seen on many faces and upper bodies around the islands.

Duty Free

Travellers report the Faleolo airport duty-free stores are exorbitantly expensive. Passengers are entitled to import 200 cigarettes or 250g of cigars or tobacco, plus 1l of spirits duty free.


Electrical current is 240 volts (50Hz). Power-points are designed for three-pronged plugs commonly used in Australia and New Zealand.


The most significant health risk is over-exposure to the sun. There are mosquitoes but no malaria.


Samoan and English. English is widely spoken in cities and tourist areas, but is far less common in more outlying areas.


The unit of currency is the Tala (ST$), made of 100 Sene. Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, rental car agencies and travel agents. The best currencies to carry are Australian, New Zealand or US dollars, which can be exchanged at all banks. Most ATMs accept the full range of international credit cards and travellers cheques and cash can be exchanged in banks and currency exchange bureaux in Apia and at the airport.

Passport Visa

All visitors to Samoa must hold an onward or return ticket as well as valid documentation for their onward journey. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Crime rates are very low in Samoa, but petty theft occurs, partly inspired by a belief that property is communally owned. Consequently keep your valuables secure at all times. The Sabbath (Sunday) is observed, particularly in rural areas. It is recommended not to drive through villages during this time. Surfers should be cautious as waves tend to break onto coral reefs. Beware of stray dogs, particularly at night.


Local time is UTC -11. As Samoa is east of the international date line it shares the same date as North America is one day behind Australia and New Zealand.


Tipping is not usual and may even cause offence.

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