Sport plays an incredibly important part in Samoan culture and has done all throughout history. While some of the most traditional Samoan sports include a version of cricket called Kilikiti and a type of football named Samoa Rules, this sporting nation is also known to partake and perform well in a range of mainstream sports which are popular all around the world – like Rugby Union and Soccer.
Many sporting events in Samoa are considered highly sociable occasions, with all kinds of games played in villages around the islands where spectators sing, cheer, and enjoy plenty of food and drink. At the same time, Samoa’s love for sport has seen the country host the 2007 and 2019 South Pacific games, the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, and many surfing events over the years.
Unsurprisingly, despite the small size of this island nation, Samoa offers a variety of sporting events and facilities, capturing the interests of all kinds of travellers from amateur athletes and fitness enthusiasts to the most serious competitors. Here are some of the top sports and fitness activities you can watch or enjoy in Samoa.
With little traffic and sealed roads around much of Upolu and Savai’i, cycling is both a safe and enjoyable experience in Samoa. You can easily do your own research before you travel to find exciting cycling routes, from journeys that’ll test your endurance to more gentle and relaxing scenic rides. Alternatively, you could join a guided cycling tour which might be anything from spending half a day travelling around local regions to multi-day cycle adventures across both Upolu and Savai’i. Hiring a bike is easy in Samoa with options around Apia and from some resorts while guided tour operators usually include bike hire.
Why not take advantage of Samoa’s typically dramatic and hilly terrain with a round of golf. While you could visit the Royal Samoa Country Club, Fagali, for a more exclusive experience on its pristine 9-hole golf course, the bigger 18-hole Faleata Golf course is the only public golf course and driving range in Samoa where people of all experience levels can enjoy the game and stunning surrounds. Alternatively, a game of mini golf at the Tuanaimato Sports Complex could be a fun morning or afternoon out for the entire family.
As you would expect from a series of islands girt by sea, water sports are huge in Samoa with plenty of options for hiring equipment and operators providing guided experiences. Some of the most popular water sports include sailing, surfing, diving, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing.
While many beach-fronting hotels and resorts will offer select equipment and guides as part of your stay, you could also choose to experience some of the many fishing charters, guided kayak tours, surfing stays and experiences, and top diving hotspots in various locations around Samoa.
Tennis is an easily accessible sport for visitors to Samoa because many hotels include on site tennis courts with equipment to hire or borrow. For an experience that’s a little more serious however, you’ll find the Apia Park Tennis Courts located behind the national stadium in the Apia Park Sports Complex. The Apia Park Tennis Courts include 7 international standard tennis courts, a two-storey viewing platform, toilets and showers, and a canteen serving food.
Volleyball is growing in popularity across the islands of Samoa. While it’s often played for fun in villages, both indoor and beach volleyball competitions were held at the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia. If you feel like having fun while burning some energy in Samoa, you’ll find plenty of beach volleyball courts dotted around the islands in beautiful settings.
Rugby Union is Samoa’s most popular sport with around 120 clubs across 12 provincial unions and an estimated 15,000 players around the islands – quite impressive for a nation of under 200,000 people. While Samoa’s national team, Manu Samoa, participate in a series of regional Pacific and international events including the Rugby World Cup, provincial union games are played throughout the year as part of the National Provincial Championship, with finals held at Apia Park. If you’re a Rugby Union fan, why not check out what’s on during your visit to Samoa.
Founded in 1968, the Football Federation of Samoa administers Samoa’s national football team and the Samoa National League. While there are several football grounds around Samoa, the National Soccer Stadium in Apia is the home of Samoa’s national team and National League, which means it could be worth a visit either just to see or to watch a game if your timing aligns with football fixtures.
Organised cricket in Samoa is thought to have begun around 1964 when locals came together to play against visitors from passing cruise ships. Samoa now has a national cricket team which represents the country at international competitions, but competitive cricket is also played at some key national events. The Teuila National Village Championships is held during the annual Teuila Festival in September, and there’s also the Upolu and Savai’i Rural Championships, and Independence Day Exhibition to look out for.