Take home beautiful memories of your stay in Samoa
Most people visit Samoa for the white sandy beaches, warm sunshine, and huge variety of water sports and other outdoor activities on offer around the islands. But shopping in Samoa really is a one-of-a-kind experience. Nothing will help you understand Samoan culture more than spending a few hours browsing the many boutique shops and thriving markets for homemade wares, traditional arts and crafts, and fresh native produce.
Even if you’re not much of a shopper at home, or if the thought of it usually fills you with dread, you should never let this put you off some retail therapy the Samoan way. Here, there are no bright lights, multistorey carparks, and huge concrete-jungle shopping centres to get lost in – your experience will nearly always be out in the open air, filled with the smells and sounds everyday life, and you’ll probably enjoy some casual local chats along the way.
Because of the fertile soil and warm climate with plentiful sunshine and rainfall, fruits and vegetables are easy to find in Samoa. Fruit and vegetables are usually sold direct from growers at open-air markets around Upolu and Savai’i, which means freshness and quality are always guaranteed.
Fugalei Fresh Produce Market in between Fugalei and Saleufi streets in Apia is open seven-days-a-week selling a plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables, while Salelologa Market is one of the biggest and most popular fresh produce markets on Savai’i. You’ll also find fruits and vegetables being sold on roadside stalls around the islands.
Freshness is a big thing in Samoa’s food culture which means the locals like to buy their seafood in the same way they buy their fruits and vegetables – straight from the source. From as early as 5.30am, the outdoor Apia Fish Market is open every single day selling the daily catch brought in by the local fisherman.
Even if it’s just to marvel at the range of seafood on offer or to soak up the buzz and excitement, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to visit Apia Fish Market at least once during your stay.
Whether you’re looking for a souvenir or a few extra threads for your holiday in Samoa, you’ll find affordable locally made traditional and contemporary clothing at the Salelologa Market on Savai’i, and the Savalalo Flea Market on Upolu. But for something more special, a visit to MENA might be more your thing. MENA is an award-winning family-owned fashion brand that designs contemporary clothing which celebrates South Pacific heritage.
Handcrafts are highly prized in Samoa with traditional craft-making skills and methods having been passed down the generations for centuries. Some of the most impressive and intricately crafted items you might bring back from a visit to Samoa include wood carvings, beautiful ava bowls, handwoven pandanus mats, and hand printed lavalavas (sarongs). Upolu’s Savalalo Flea Market and Salelologa Market on Savai’i are popular places to go to explore a wide selection of traditional Samoan crafts.
Alternatively, you could visit Janet’s store or the Pacific Jewell Gift Shop in Apia or Plantation House in Alafua near Apia for a more boutique-style collection of traditional and contemporary handicrafts, gifts and clothing accessories. Vanya Taule’alo Gallery near Apia also offers a stunning collection of paintings, jewellery and other crafts made by select Pacific artists.
Samoa is known for all kinds of sports with swimming, snorkelling, diving, surfing, golf, walking, and cycling being some of the most popular sports activities for people visiting the islands. Fortunately, if you’ve forgotten something or you’re planning to get kitted out on your arrival in Samoa, you can visit Seb & Rene Sports which is the largest sports shop on Upolu island selling top quality sports equipment for every activity. You’ll also find select sports equipment being sold at smaller stores around Apia.
As you might expect from a nation with so many natural riches, Samoa is an ideal destination for those who want to stock up on a few cosmetics made with naturally occurring ingredients. At any of Samoa’s markets selling crafts and local wares, you’re likely to find a few handmade beauty products like soaps, moisturisers, and other skincare lotions. The Mailelani store in Apia is also worth a visit. As Samoa’s most renowned beauty brand, Mailelani makes and sells all kinds of skincare products using the natural rejuvenating qualities of Samoan organic coconut oil.