It's quite easy to get around by car in Samoa, just keep an eye on your speed, and watch for children walking at the side of the road.If you hire a vehicle in Samoa, make sure you read this information about driving rules first. Since September 2009, Samoa drives on the left side of the road rather than on the right. Most vehicles are left hand drive, but you may see a few older vehicles equipped for right-hand driving.
Catching a taxi in Samoa
Taxis are abundant around the islands and offer their services at very good value. Taxis are not metered so it’s good to have an idea of what the journey will cost and agree on a price with the driver before setting off. The Samoan Land Transport Authority has current information on taxi fares.
Trips from the Faleolo International Airport to Apia cost around SAT$60 whereas small trips around town will be between SAT$3 and SAT$12 depending on the length of the journey.
Catching the bus in Samoa
Another fun way to explore the islands – and get to know the locals – is to take a map and board a local bus. Samoa’s brightly coloured buses provide inexpensive transport for the locals, and an invaluable experience and memories for visitors.
In Apia, the bus terminals are located next to the food market in Fugalei and also opposite the flea market at Savalalo. On Savai'i, the bus terminal is at the market in Salelologa.
All buses are named with their destination, so ask the driver which bus you need to catch. Note that aside from the terminals, there are no designated bus stops, so you will need to wave down a bus (use your whole arm and keep your palm facing downwards) as it approaches.
The seats are wooden benches, and if the bus becomes full, the locals will opt to sit on each others’ lap, rather than stand in the aisles. This is a courtesy often offered to visitors as well, so don’t be offended or shy if someone offers you their lap. If the bus is heading into either Apia or Salelologa, the locals may carry their produce on board to the markets.
When you want to get off, simply pull the cord to ring the buzzer. You pay your fare as you leave the bus. The Samoan Land Transport Authority has current information on bus fares within Samoa.
Getting between the Samoan islands
The Samoa Shipping Corporation runs the passenger/vehicle ferry between the mains islands of Upolu and Savai'i. The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu near the international airport, so if you are travelling from Apia, allow 45 minutes for the journey. The ferry departs from the Salelologa Wharf on Savaii for the return journey. The trip takes just over one hour each way and it pays to arrive early at the wharf to purchase your tickets.
Check with your accommodation hosts or online here for sailing times. One way passenger fares are ST$6 for child 2–12 years and adults ST$12. Vehicle charges (depending on the size of the vehicle) are between ST$80–$110 each way. The full fare list is available here.
Polynesian Airlines operates flights between Fagalii (Upolu) and Maota (Savai'i) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For schedule information and bookings visit the Polynesian Airlines website.
To get to Manono Island, boats operate from the Manono-uta at the western end of Upolu, just down the road from Mulifanua Wharf. One way fares cost ST$1 for children and ST$3 for adults one way. The boats to Manono Island do not operate to a set timetable, but can be arranged onsite at Manono-uta. If you wish to take a charter ferry, you will need to pay WS$25 one-way. If not, you can wait for other passengers and pay WS$3.