APIA

Samoa

Apia is the capital and the largest city of Samoa. Apia was founded in the 1850s and has been the official capital of Samoa since 1959.

Info Apia

introduction

Apia is the capital and the largest city of Samoa. Apia was founded in the 1850s and has been the official capital of Samoa since 1959.

The harbor was the site of an infamous naval standoff in 1889 when 7 ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave the harbor when a typhoon was approaching, for fear of losing face. All the ships were sunk, except for one British cruiser. Nearly 200 American and German lives were lost.

Eventually, New Zealand occupied the area after World War I. During the struggle for independence organised by the Mau movement, a peaceful gathering in the town resulted in the killing of the paramount chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III and ten others by New Zealand police on 28 December 1929. The country attained independence in 1962.

info
POPULATION : City: 36,735 
FOUNDED :  1850s
TIME ZONE : UTC+13:00 (UTC+13)  Summer: UTC+14:00 (UTC+14)
LANGUAGE : Samoan (Polynesian), English
RELIGION : Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, Latter-Day Saints 12.7%, Assembly of God 6.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.5%, Other 7.8%
AREA : 47.80 sq mi (123.81 km2)
ELEVATION : 7 ft (2 m)
COORDINATES : 13°50′S 171°45′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 51.02%  
 Female: 48.98%
ETHNIC : Samoan 92.6%, Euronesians 7%, Europeans 0.4%
AREA CODE :
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE : +685
WEBSITE :

Tourism

As with most Pacific Island capitals, Apia is a little shabby and run down. Reasonably small in size and with few obvious attractions, Apia is very useful as an initial stop-off point for first time visitors to get their bearings, plan travel around the island of Upolu, organise accommodation on the beach, and recover from jet lag. The vast majority of Samoa's highlights can be found outside this town, although most are within a very short drive.

The Samoa Tourism Authority manages an information centre offering maps, brochures and other information for tourists.

STA Visitor Information Fale, Beach Rd, Matafele (next to the government building on the harbour),  +685 63520, +685 63521, fax: +685 20886, e-mail: [email protected] 9-5pm Monday to Friday and 8am-12pm Saturday morning.

A walk along the sea wall is enjoyable. But only on a milder day (i.e. 25 degrees), and not after dusk because of dogs. Many Apians walk along the sea wall in the late afternoon.

Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, Vaiala Beach, Apia. The only beach in Apia to the East of the harbour. Not really much a beach, though, it's mostly coral gravel. It's an official underwater park. The snorkelling initially seems pretty poor but if you venture further out (probably a good quarter mile swim) it gets a bit more interesting with the occasional turtle and black tip reef shark. Ask at the entrance where to swim - there's a marker post that helps. If you are stuck in Apia it's not a bad way to kill a few hours or just hang out at the "beach".

Fishing. Samoa is a popular fishing destination and most of the charter companies operate out of Apia. The Samoan International Game Fishing Association is based near the port and can provide information about boat companies. Every year it runs an International tournament, attracting anglers from all over the world. Fish in the local waters include blue and black marlin, sailfish, yellowfin, and the giant trevally.

Golf. Two courses are close to Apia: the Royal Samoan Country Club near Fagalii Airport and the Faleata Golf Club, which is close to the sports complex constructed for the South Pacific Games.

Markets in Apia are host to many interesting stalls and locally made souvenirs. Note, however, that many of the items on sale, such as cloth in Samoan patterns, are actually imported from China.

  • The flea market nearby the fish market to the west of the Clock Tower, sells a variety of local handicrafts and imported items.
  • The new market or marketi fou is a traditional market selling all sorts of local produce as well as some handicrafts. One section sells kava by the cup.

History

Apia was originally a small village (the 1800 population was 304), from which the country's capital took its name. Apia village still exists within the larger modern capital of Apia which has grown into a sprawling urban area with many villages. Like every other settlement in the country, Apia village has its own matai chiefly leaders and fa'alupega (geneaology & customary greetings) according to fa'a Samoa.

The modern capital Apia was founded in the 1850s and has been the official capital of Samoa since 1959.

The harbor was also the site of an infamous 15 March 1889 naval standoff in which seven ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave harbor while a typhoon was clearly approaching, lest the first moved would lose face. All the ships were sunk, except the British cruiser Calliope, which barely managed to leave port at 1 mile per hour and ride out the storm. Nearly 200 American and German lives were lost, as well as six ships sunk or beyond repair.

During the country's struggle for political independence in the early 1900s, organised under the national Mau movement, the streets of Apia became the center of non-violent protests and marches where many Samoans were arrested. In what became known as "Black Saturday", a peaceful Mau gathering in the town resulted in the killing of paramount chief Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III by New Zealand constabulary on 28 December 1929.

Climate

Apia features a tropical rainforest climate with consistent temperatures throughout the year.

Apia's driest months are July and August when on average about 80 millimetres (3.1 in) of rain falls. Its wettest months are December through March when average monthly precipitation easily exceeds 300 millimetres (12 in).

Apia's average temperature for the year is 26 °C (79 °F).

 ClimateJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
 
Daily highs (°C)302930302929292828293029
Nightly lows (°C)232423232323232323232323
Precipitation (mm)4503803502501601208080130170260370
 

Source:w:Apia#Climate

Geography

Apia is situated on a natural harbour at the mouth of the Vaisigano River. It is on a narrow coastal plain with Mount Vaea (elevation 472 metres (1,549 ft)), the burial place of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, directly to its south. Two main ridges run south on either side of the Vaisigano River, with roads on each. The more western of these is Cross Island Road, one of the few roads cutting north to south across the middle of the island to the south coast of Upolu.

Economy

Polynesian Airlines and Virgin Samoa has its headquarters in the Samoa National Provident Fund Building in Apia.

Prices in Apia

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$ 1.75
Tomatoes1 kg$ 4.50
Cheese0.5 kg$ 7.00
Apples1 kg$ 5.50
Oranges1 kg$ 5.70
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 2.20
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$ 13.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$
Bread1 piece$ 1.15
Water1.5 l$ 1.50

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$ 20.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$ 45.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$ 8.00
Water0.33 l$ 0.90
Cappuccino1 cup$ 3.60
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$ 3.10
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$ 2.30
Coca-Cola0.33 l$ 2.00
Coctail drink1 drink$ 9.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$ 5.50
Gym1 month$ 45.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut
Theatar2 tickets
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$ 4.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces
Deodorant50 ml.$ 3.20
Shampoo400 ml.$ 3.50
Toilet paper4 rolls$ 2.50
Toothpaste1 tube$ 1.65

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$ 78.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$ 65.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$ 110.00
Leather shoes1$

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter
TaxiStart$ 1.10
Taxi1 km$ 0.95
Local Transport1 ticket$ 0.80

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Apia is approximately 20 miles from Faleolo Airport. Outside the terminal are the normal stream of taxis, which will cost between 30 and 50 tala for a ride into Apia. Several hotels operate shuttle buses for guests. Arrange this in advance, as the scrum of arriving passengers and eager taxi drivers can be confusing when a whole planeload of tourists step outside to the small drop off/pick up point. Flights from American Samoa land at Fagalii Airport, which is very close to Apia.

Transportation - Get In

By boat

Occasional cargo ships dock at Apia port on their way around the world. A twice monthly ferry sails to Tokelau. Yachties can berth in Apia Harbour, where there are good facilities.

 


Transportation - Get Around

Much of Apia is within walking distance, although this may not be a comfortable experience on a hot and humid Samoan Day. Another thing to consider is the number of aggressive dogs towards dusk and in the evening. A walk from the suburbs into the centre is best avoided at any time for this reason. Most households have a dog, and even an innocent walk past their driveway could encourage an attack. Culling prior to the South Pacific Games (August 2007) reduced the numbers in the centre of town for a short period of time.

Taxis are cheap, safe and easy to hail down but single women are advised to sit in the back seat, particularly if wearing a short skirt.

Buses fan out to the whole of Upolu from downtown Apia. If you are staying at a hotel outside the immediate center of the town it may be possible to get downtown by bus. Ask at your hotel.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

Markets in Apia are host to many interesting stalls and locally made souvenirs. Note, however, that many of the items on sale, such as cloth in Samoan patterns, are actually imported from China.

  • The flea market nearby the fish market to the west of the Clock Tower, sells a variety of local handicrafts and imported items.
  • The new market or marketi fou is a traditional market selling all sorts of local produce as well as some handicrafts. One section sells kava by the cup.

Restaurants

Apia has several quite reasonable places to eat. Beer and soft drinks are available at most places.

There are numerous restaurants that cater for locals on a budget and will sell the sort of food that is eaten in the average household. The menu is likely to include chop suey, chicken curry, and mutton flaps. Umu or earth oven cooked local food include roast pig, and the great delicacy, palusami. Palusami is made of onions, and coconut cream with possibly chicken or prawns, all wrapped in a new taro leaf and baked. This is a "must try" and goes well with taro.

Remember that restaurants tend to close early by Western standards and that, with a few exceptions, the restaurants in the big hotels are the only ones open on Sunday. There are no street numbers in Apia so you will have to ask for directions if you do not take a taxi. The town is divided into lots of smaller villages and the restaurant location is given by village, road (e.g. Beach Road, which is a couple of miles long), or the building, which is not much use to foreigners.


Budget

  • Amanis Restaurant (from farmer Joe's supermarket, 200m more inland, on the right just before Tatiana motel),  +685 25363. Breakfast/Lunch only. Delicious local food by the scoop for takeaway or eat-in. Good Oka! WS$4-20.
  • Hotel Amanaki (on the beach road, towards the Mulinu'u peninsula, the second one after the park). Decent food for decent prices (WST 20 for fish steak w/fries). A popular meeting place for locals and ex-pats.
  • Uncle Bills (At farmer Joe's supermarket,). Has delicious fish 'n chips. WS$8.
  • Up Cross Island Road and just before Vailima (the RLS museum) are the Indian Curry House and Koko Banana, with both offering reasonable food and good views.
  • The Italiano Café on the beach road, halfway between the tourist office and Aggie Grey's has decent pizzas for 18/27/36 (small/med/large)WS$. A “medium” is enough for 2!
  • At the Fish Market you get delicious fush and chups.
  • At the Flea Market and at Marketi Fou there are lots of food stalls selling local food, mostly fried stuff. "The Samoan pancakes" (small fried banana dough balls) are delicious and cost 10 sene each.
  • Marketi FouSaleufi Street (Entering Apia from the Airport, turn right at Mr Lava Lava). Mon - Sat. The main produce market in Apia. Operates 6 days a week with a few additional traders on a Saturday. A great selection of local food and exotic fruits, including fresh limes, mango, avocado, pawpaw, pineapple, soursop, breadfruit, coconut, taro, leafy greens, and several varieties of banana (including red ones). Absolutely try the palusami (taro leaves baked in coconut cream). It's a good idea to stock up on fruit here before heading anywhere on the islands.

Mid-Range

  • Swashbucklers Restaurantat the Yacht Club on Mulinu'u peninsula+685 28584. Tues-Sun from 17.00. Deck overlooking the harbour and serves decent food. Excellent Poke and Sashimi! WS$20-40.
  • Sails RestaurantBeach Road, Mulinu'u Apia (on waterfront just past Parliament House),  +685 20628. M-Sa 11AM till late, Su (dinner only) from 6PM. Oldest restaurant in Apia. Excellent food—steaks, seafood salads, and pastas—and well priced. Jazz nights, huge deck overlooking the harbour, very friendly service. ST 8-45.
  • Seafood Gourmet (near the wharf). Good food for reasonable prices and provides a view over the harbour

Splurge

  • Paddles (Far end of Beach Road close to the harbour.),  +685 21819. Popular, if slightly overrated, Italian-style restaurant.
  • Bistro TatauBeach Road, corner of Fugalei St.,  +685 22 727. Monday-Friday 12.00-14.00 and 18.30-21.00. Dinner only on Saturday.. Australian-run restaurant generally agreed to be the best in Apia. Guys running the place reportedly a bit distant.
  • Apaula Heights. A deck affords views across the eastern part of Apia and the Pacific. It is a must for a full-moon night. The food is above average standard for Apia and prices range from tala 30-70 a main course.
  • Giordano'sFalealili St (2km south of Beach Road on the Cross Island Road).Italian restaurant, popular for its pizza.
  • Tu-I-Moana. Café and bistro in Beach Road near the flea market, good food and a bar with a live band.
  • The Hotel Millennia just down the road is a favourite meeting place for locals for a drink and a bite to eat in the late afternoon.
  • If you are wandering around town and absolutely stuck for a place to eat, the most westerly and remote McDonalds in the world can be found in central Apia.

Coffe & Drink

Alcohol can be bought at almost all restaurants. Soft drinks and bottled water are generally available and safe. While the purity of the tap water is questionable, all factory-bought ice is safe. It is only later handling that can contaminate it.

  • Kava at the market.
  • There is a mall (meaning a pedestrian street) in the centre of town with two coffee shops, the Sydney Side Cafe and Cappuccino Vineyard both offering a cafe atmosphere and a great place to sit and watch people passing by.
  • There is a string of bars in the centre of town between the fire station and the Australian High Commission. This is a good area to visit in the late afternoon and early evening but is best left before closing time when things can get a bit troublesome.
  • Le Well liquor store sells a good range of spirits and wines that are much cheaper than buying them by the glass from your hotel.

Sights & Landmarks

  • Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. 09.00-16.00 Mon-Fri; 09.00-12.00 Sat..About 5 km south of town in the village of Vailima. This was built by RLS during the final years of his life, which he spent in Apia. It is now a very well-kept museum with a good collection of items either originally from the home or equivalents. WS$15.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's grave. Located at the top of Mt. Vaea overlooking the home, it is best visited in the early morning. As long as there has not been a lot of rain the longer and shallower path takes about an hour and is an easy walk. The steep path downhill is an option if it has been dry recently. Take water. From the grave, there are good views to the east and across the Pacific. There is no charge to climb to the grave.
  • Museum of Samoa. 10.00-16.30 Mon-Fri. Formerly located on the first floor of the courthouse building on Beach road, this museum has been temporarily relocated to the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture Headquarters. Among other things it has Lapita pottery and stone adze heads, used by the early arrivals to the islands; a good selection of historical photos; information about tattoos, and examples of Samoan birds.
  • The fish market. 6AM on Sunday morning. This is when the locals go to buy fish for the special meal of the week, Sunday tonai.
  • Mulinu'u peninsula. Holds the parliament house, the law and titles court, the historic observatory, and many important tombs.

Things to do

  • A walk along the sea wall is enjoyable. But only on a milder day (i.e. 25 degrees), and not after dusk because of dogs. Many Apians walk along the sea wall in the late afternoon.
  • Palolo Deep Marine ReserveVaiala Beach, Apia. The only beach in Apia to the East of the harbour. Not really much a beach, though, it's mostly coral gravel. It's an official underwater park. The snorkelling initially seems pretty poor but if you venture further out (probably a good quarter mile swim) it gets a bit more interesting with the occasional turtle and black tip reef shark. Ask at the entrance where to swim - there's a marker post that helps. If you are stuck in Apia it's not a bad way to kill a few hours or just hang out at the "beach". You can rent snorkels here although it's a good idea to take your own. Also check the tide chart at the gate before you pay, at low tide there is a long paddle out over very sharp coral to get anywhere deep enough to snorkel. $3 USD.
  • Fishing. Samoa is a popular fishing destination and most of the charter companies operate out of Apia. The Samoan International Game Fishing Association is based near the port and can provide information about boat companies. Every year it runs an International tournament, attracting anglers from all over the world. Fish in the local waters include blue and black marlin, sailfish, yellowfin, and the giant trevally. Charter companies include:
  • Samoa Sport Fishing [www]
  • Troppo Fishing Adventures [www]
  • Golf. Two courses are close to Apia: the Royal Samoan Country Club near Fagalii Airport and the Faleata Golf Club, which is close to the sports complex constructed for the South Pacific Games.

Nightlife


Bars

At the end of 2010 the Apia bar scene had been thrown into some confusion by the puritanical tendencies of the Prime Minister, who was trying to get them closed by 22.00. Given the confusion opening hours are not specified here. You should check when you arrive. All bars are closed on Sundays.

  • Hennie's Sports BarFugalei (opposite Hennie's Motel). Large screens for watching sport with occasionally loud bands that disturb the neighbours.
  • Mount Vaea NightclubVaitele St. Fairly rough place that can get so crowded you can hardly move. Good place to connect with locals of the opposite sex.Cover charge after 20.00.
  • On the RocksBeach Road (just west of the Clock Tower). Well-established cocktail bar, often with some attractive Samoan girls seeking the "company" of foreign tourists.
  • The RSA Club on Beach Road is a local club that tends to be a bit rough and ready and caters to an older, beer-drinking clientele, but is a great way to meet locals and chat.

Safety in Apia

Stay Safe

Samoa is generally very safe. Locals who strike up a conversation are unlikely to have sinister motives, however you will often be asked for money.

Free roaming dogs can be a safety problem in the capital Apia. The Government of Samoa (GoS) passed the Canine Control Act in 2013 as an initial step toward addressing dog management. Most dogs ignore you and don't see you as a threat if you ignore them.

Nearly all of Samoa's nightlife is centered in Apia, and so, like anywhere in the world around closing time, it can get a bit rowdy. Samoans are, on the whole, extremely friendly and despite their size, remarkably relaxed and gentle people. This does not mean you should let your guard down. Alcohol related violence is a major problem in Samoa.

The concept on ownership in Polynesia is different. Locals believe in sharing everything, and this does mean that items can be swiped. Do not leave anything of value lying around.

Very High / 8.9

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Low / 4.0

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Samoa - Travel guide

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