At just 75 kilometres (47 miles) long and 1,125 square kilometres (434 square miles) in total area, Upolu is small enough to easily explore but packs a lot of natural beauty in a small area.
The island's south coast is home to some of Samoa's most beautiful beaches, including Lalomanu - regularly voted as one of the world's top beaches – and stunning natural beauty. Upolu’s coastline is dotted with accommodation options, from traditional waterfront fales to luxury resorts.
Explore nature with Lalotalie River Walk - This site offers guided hiking tours from 3-6 hours, ancient mangrove forest exploration, outrigger canoe trips and cultural displays and activities. Lunch and overnight stays available upon request. The Falease'ela River Walk is an exhilarating hike that should not be missed by those looking for adventure and wishing to experience Samoa’s pristine natural environment.
Pay a small fee and get directions before slipping on your mask, snorkel and flippers to search for Samoa's giant clams. Be careful not to touch the giant clams as they close their shells extremely quickly! Best viewed at high tide.
Choose from one of the island’s many accommodation options, stay and enjoy the Fiafia Night (Dinner & Cultural Entertainment).
While you can easily rent a car from the many rental car companies on the island to explore the island on your own, there are also a number of guided tours available to choose from. Scooters are also available for hire which are ideal for short rides from your preferred accommodation. Drive further down the South Coast through local villages and have a feel of what the locals can be up to during the course of a day.
The waterfall is located in the small village of Saleilua and is situated a few miles away from the O Le Pupu Pue National Park. It's a popular swimming spot and place to linger for a picnic, plus there are changing rooms and restrooms. The fall is known to be used as a swimming area for the great warriors of Samoa in the past. The best time for viewing and swimming is during the wet season which is usually from November to April.
Journey with us into one of Samoa’s oldest villages Poutasi, and discover the Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way of Life) like never before. Cruise on through these mini-communities on a local bus before immersing yourself in a full day of Samoan culture including a customary welcome by village chiefs, your hand at the ancient games of Taulafoga (coconut tossing) and Tagati’a (spear throwing).
Apia - THE CAPITAL CITY OF SAMOA. While Apia may be small, it has a good share of restaurants, clubs, markets, shops, scenic and cultural attractions to keep your holiday interesting and busy. Apia is located on the central north coast of Upolu, Samoa's second-largest island, 40km east of the international airport. This charming colonial-style town is the hub of business, government and shopping within Samoa and is an excellent place to explore or base yourself while you discover Samoa.
One of Samoa's most famous residents was Scottish writer Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (1850-1895). The author and poet is best known for his novels Treasure Island (1881), Kidnapped (1886) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). In honour of his memory, his residence was converted into what is now known today as the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and includes excerpts from his work and family memorabilia.
Papaseea Sliding Rock is located at Se'ese'e in Faleata District. Brave Mother Nature’s waterslides and slide down these naturally formed rock slides, worn down by thousands of years of running water. The sliding rocks are divided into two, one for kids and one for adults. This splendid site is widely being used by visitors and guests for swimming and sliding.
For a quick insight into Samoa's culture and traditions, visit the Samoa Cultural Village today. The Samoa Cultural Village features tapa making, traditional tattooing or 'tatau', carving cultural artefacts, the preparation of the "umu" or Earth oven, and so much more!
The South East Coast is home to the popular To Sua Trench and of course the Lalomanu Beach – at one time voted by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Visit Namu’a Island which is roughly a 5-minute boat ride from Upolu Island. On your way over, you can jump in the water and swim with the turtles in their natural habitat. There are also a number of Resorts such as the Seabreeze Resort and Aga Reef Resort along the coastline that you can stop by for lunch or simply take up a day-fale at one of the beach fale properties in the area.
The TO SUA GIANT SWIMMING HOLE is one of the most unique historical site located on the coastal side of Upolu in the village of Lotofaga. To-Sua literally means 'giant swimming hole', 30 metres deep and accessible via a long ladder where a long platform sits for easy access in the pool.
The small island of Namu'a is approximately 5 minutes by boat from the east coast of Upolu. Accommodation is offered in open-sided fales, which are all beachfront and offer excellent views towards the island of Upolu. The island has an excellent swimming beach. Snorkelling, sea kayaking and swimming amongst turtles are popular activities.
Lalomanu Beach the white sandy seaside is called Lalomanu Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Samoa with beach fale accommodation run by locals, including Litia Sini Beach Resort and Taufua Beach Fales, for tourists and visitors. The beach has rich coral lagoons and one of the best views in Samoa. From the beach, one can view the uninhabited Nu'utele Island, off the coast from the village.
Savai'i is Samoa's largest island, less populated and renowned for its traditional way of life, natural beauty and lava fields. Cloaked in a pristine rainforest teeming with birdlife, Savai’i is often referred to as the “real Samoa” where locals enjoy a laid-back, traditional way of life. Catch one of the 2 ferries servicing the Upolu – Savaii route which is approximately a one-hour journey. You can also take your rental vehicle with you on the ferry but you will need to book at least 2 days in advance due to demand. Otherwise, you can also rent a car or scooter on Savaii.
The Afu Aau Waterfall, also known as Olemoe Falls, is a spectacular waterfall in south-eastern Savai'i that plunges from the rainforest deep into a fresh-water swimming pool. Access is on a dirt road which is maintained by the village. The pool is very deep but it gets very shallow towards the outer rim. The fall eventually flows into three other smaller separate falls offering a truly enchanting experience for visitors.
These impressive blowholes in the village of Taga on south-west Savai'i propel a roaring jet of water hundreds of feet up into the air. They are particularly worth watching when locals throw coconuts into the holes and these are blasted into the air as well.
The highlight of the low-lying tropical Falealupo Rainforest Preserve in the northwest of Savai'i island is a treetop canopy walkway built about 40 metres above the ground among giant Banyan tree. The Canopy Walkway, in particular, is part of the Falealupo Rainforest Preserve and remains one of the must-do activities for visitors exploring Savai'i.
Cape Mulinuu on the big island of Savaii is Samoa's most western point. According to legend, this is also the place where the dead pass into the underworld. There are several archaeological sites of interest in this area including Devil's Haden, Vaatausili's Cave, Paepae o Apaula, Vai Sua Toto (Blood Well), Lualotooalii Pool, Spirits Meeting Ground, Fusipotopoto Pool.
From the west coast of the island, continue on through the north towards the east coast. Explore the Peapea Cave which runs over a kilometre towards the coast or head straight for the Saleaula Lava Fields – site of the 1905 volcanic eruption which lasted for six-years.
Nearby is a stretch of Savaii’s most popular beaches which is dotted by a number of Beach Fale (huts) and Resort style accommodation.
This lava tube cave, named after the swallows that inhabit it, is easily accessible from the road and runs more than a kilometre towards the coast. This cave is home to a unique nocturnal creature, the white-rumped swiftlet. The 'clicking' of the birds is clearly audible as they fly in the darkness. The entrance to the cave is locked and that makes a guide essential.
Saleaula Lava Field is one of the most popular sites with visitors. Main features of the lava field include the Virgin’s grave, the LMS Church and stretches of lava rocks which are evidence of the destructive eruption in 1905. Molten lava from the 1905-1911 Mt Matavanu eruption buried 5 villages under this wide barren lava flow. Half buried churches, a virgin grave and lava mounds (imprints of tree etc) can still be found as you walk over this fascinating geological expanse.
Catch the ferry back to Upolu – Usually on the 2 pm or 4 pm Ferry depending on the day of departure from Savaii. This applies for all except Sundays which can have different ferry departure times from Savaii Island. Please consult with the Samoa Shipping Corporation for weekend ferry timetables.
Relax and enjoy before catching return flight. Please allow for travel time in order to arrive at the Faleolo International airport at least 2 hours prior to scheduled departure flight time. The furthest point on Upolu Island from the airport is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours.