Depending on which part of Samoa you are visiting, it’s a good idea to take a list of local medical facilities should the need arise, particularly if you’re travelling to rural areas. You should also keep in mind that most smaller clinics only have basic medical treatments available.
To avoid the unlikely event of illness or injury, it’s always best to do everything you can to stay healthy by taking the normal precautions that come with visiting a tropical country. You should also make sure you bring any healthcare requirements you have from home.
Here are a few tips and some useful information to help you stay healthy while on holiday in Samoa.
The World Health Organisation recommends vaccinations for Samoa that are already administered in most Western countries including: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
In response to a Proclamation of State of Emergency issued 15th November 2019, we recommend all travellers to Samoa ensure their vaccinations are up to date before travelling. If you’re uncertain of your immunisation status, seek the advice of your GP before travelling.
Visitors who are already in Samoa and are uncertain of immunisation status can visit one of the vaccination clinics including the National Hospitals.
All travellers who have recently returned from Samoa should report to a healthcare provider immediately if they experience any of these symptoms: high fever, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes and a rash.
For more enquiries, contact Samoa National Emergency Operations Centre on +997, or the Health Emergency Operations Centre on +685 66506.
It's advisable to avoid drinking tap water unless it has been filtered. Visitors to Samoa are recommended to drink bottled water or boil tap water for at least two minutes before drinking. Alternatively, you could bring a high-quality filter or water purification tabs or drops.
Bottled water is readily available and affordable in Samoa, and it’s recommended to only accept ice in a drink if you know it has been prepared with treated water.
Because of Samoa’s climate, dehydration can be a problem for visitors, particularly on active holidays. Always make sure you have plenty of bottled water with you and remember to keep drinking it.
While most food is safe to eat in Samoa, it is always wise to be cautious. Ensure cooked food is heated sufficiently and take care of higher risk food items including salads and poultry including eggs. While food from resorts and reputable restaurants and cafes is safe, you should look out for salads washed in tap water and be extra cautious about street stalls offering barbecue food and any raw meat or fish.
Like all tropical countries, Samoa has mosquitoes. Dengue fever and a similar disease, Chikungunya, may be present, and Zika virus is considered a risk, so mosquito nets and insect repellent should be used. Most accommodation providers have mosquito nets in rooms and fales for your comfort. Malaria is not considered a problem in Samoa.
Snorkelling is safe however, it is sensible (and best for the environment) to avoid touching coral because this can result in cuts which cause serious infection. Should this occur, seek treatment immediately with a topical antibiotic.
Snorkellers, swimmers and surfers are advised to avoid touching any living creatures because some species are poisonous, such as the Crown of Thorns starfish, cone fish, and pufferfish.
It's always recommended that international travellers purchase a comprehensive travel insurance package from a reputable company before leaving home. You should ensure the insurance policy covers any activities you are planning to undertake, such as scuba diving, and that it covers any pre-existing conditions you may have.
If you require prescription medications, ensure you have a plentiful and properly labelled supply to take to Samoa and take an extra prescription in case you need more. Always check with your doctor regarding regulations around medications.
If you're planning an active holiday in isolated areas with pursuits like mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking, it's a good idea to bring a personalised medical kit. Suggested contents include products to treat dehydration, mild stomach ailments and diarrhoea, standard pain relief, bandages, antibiotic cream, and antihistamine creams and tablets.
A wide selection of fresh food is readily available in Samoa creating plenty of delicious and safe options for people travelling with food allergies. As with any destination you visit, if you have a food allergy, you're advised to inform your host or tour guide about your dietary requirements.
If your allergy is severe, it's wise to carry a printed card with your allergy outlined in English and Samoan. It’s also sensible to carry your own appropriately packaged medication at all times, and you should ensure that you and your travelling party know how to use them. Check whether your travel insurance covers allergies because these are normally classed as pre-existing conditions.
Samoa has a number of hospitals and medical centres if you need medical advice or treatment.
If you need to bring food into Samoa, check with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to be sure these are permitted.
For ambulance, Police or fire service.