Most visitors to Samoa stay on Upolu Island which is the most populated of Samoa’s two main islands and where everyone arrives, but Savai’i Island also offers a selection of high-quality beach-fronting resorts for those looking for a more remote and peaceful escape.
Situated to the west of Upolu and separated by the Apolima strait, Savai’i Island is larger than Upolu Island by size and is home to the volcanic peak of Mount Silisili (which towers over 6,000 feet above sea level), the Saleaula lava fields, and some of Samoa’s most dramatic waterfalls, caves and blowholes.
With Savai’i known for its beautiful undisturbed scenery and embrace of fa’a Samoa – the traditional Samoan way – the island is well worth a visit whether its to stay a few nights or even just for a day trip. So, how do you get there?
There are daily ferry services operating between Upolu and Savai’i which cater for both vehicle and foot passengers. The crossing is approximately 60-90 minutes and offers a scenic passage between the islands during which you’ll pass by the smaller islands of Manono and Apolima.
The Upolu ferry terminal is at Mulifanua on the island’s west coast, which is conveniently only a 6-minute drive from Faleolo International Airport and a 1-hour drive from the capital of Apia.
On the island of Savai’i, ferries arrive and depart from the terminal at Salelologa, which is the main township on the south-east coast.
If you’ve hired a car for your holiday and want to take it with you to Savai’i, you’ll need to book and pay for your ticket in Apia at Samoa Shipping Corporation (besides Paddles Restaurant). Alternatively, you might be able to arrange your ferry booking through your vehicle rental company. Depending on the size of your vehicle, fares are between SAT$80-SAT$110 each way and bookings include the driver only.
If you’re taking a vehicle to Savai’i and have other passengers, you will need to make time to visit the ticket office at Mulifanua Wharf to purchase tickets for everyone else travelling in your vehicle – and keep in mind that vehicle check-in closes one hour before each scheduled departure.
Always check with your vehicle rental company whether they allow their vehicles to board the ferry – some may ask you to book your ticket on the larger ferry only (Lady Samoa III).
Walk-on ferry tickets can be purchased at the Mulifanua (Upolu) and Salelologa (Savai’i) ferry terminals with one-way fares for children aged 2-12-years-old SAT$5 and for adults, SAT$10. Tickets can only be purchased in cash, so make sure you have enough for your party to depart and return.
For a more comfortable crossing onboard the ferry, you can choose to upgrade to the air-conditioned VIP lounge which gives you priority boarding and includes a snack, hot or cold drink, bathrooms, and a TV. VIP tickets can be purchased for an extra SAT$20.
You can check out the latest timetable and fare information via the Samoa Shipping Corporation website.