Transportation - Get In
- Just to the east of Apia is Fagalii airport (IATA: FGI). This is used by Polynesian Airlines for flights from American Samoa. There are usually five or six flights a day.
- The main international airport, Faleolo (IATA: APW), is approximately a 45-minute drive from Apia. There are several banks at the airport and changing money on arrival is no problem, even though many flights arrive at inconvenient times. Most of the major hotels provide a transfer service on request, often free of charge. There are abundant taxis, and local buses during daytime. If you want to use the local bus, head straight to the main road and go where the locals wait. Ignore taxi-drivers who will want to make you believe there are no local buses.
- Air New Zealand provides six flights per week from Auckland and also flies weekly between Auckland-Tonga-Apia-Los Angeles.
- Virgin Samoa, a subsidiary of Virgin Australia, has started flying to Apia from several cities in Australia and New Zealand, i.e. Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Melbourne and Auckland.
- Fiji Airways has three flights a week from Nadi in Fiji, and one a week from Honolulu.
If flights permit, try to arrive in daylight. From above, the lagoon is a stunning aquamarine colour. The ride between the airport and Apia is also very attractive.
Note that shops and restaurants close early and most hotels do not offer 24-hour room service. So if you arrive late at night still hungry after airline food it might be a good idea to pick up something at the airport.
As of October 25, 2010, there has been a WST 40 departure tax levied on passengers 12 years of age or older. This may eventually be incorporated in the ticket price but for the time being you have to pay it. Passengers who are in transit and are leaving within 24 hours of arriving are exempt from the tax. Only cash is accepted. There are ATMs in the airport. Payment is made at one of the several banks near the check-in area.
There are frequent boats from Pago Pago in neighbouring American Samoa.
A twice-monthly service by the MV Tokelau connects Apia Harbour with Tokelau.
Depending on the season, people sail their yachts to Samoa and dock at Apia. There are good facilities close to the main port, with 60 berths offering electricity, fresh water and 24-hour security. Visiting boats must arrive in Apia and should contact the Samoa Port Authority at least two days before ETA to arrange necessary clearances on arrival. Permission is required to sail elsewhere in Samoa.
Ports and harbours include Apia, Asau, Mulifanua, Salelologa. Container ships and cruise liners dock in Apia Harbour or Salelologa, but many smaller fishing boats and village boats use the smaller docks.
You can sail to or from Samoa by tallship. The STV Soren Larsen from New Zealand sails through there each winter. See [www]
Transportation - Get Around
Traffic in Samoa drives on the left. Samoa changed from driving on the right-hand side of the road in 2009. Since then there has been an avalanche of cheap, reconditioned cars from Japan and traffic jams, previously unknown, are now common in the capital, Apia. Even on the roads outside the capital traffic tends to move slowly, due to the cautious and inexperienced drivers and to the numerous speed bumps.
Generally your best bet. They are cheap and plentiful. The Samoa Tourism Authority [www], to be found in front of the Government office complex on Beach Road, Apia, has a price list for Apia. Do agree on a price ahead of time; if they think you look rich they may try to overcharge you. You can get one for a whole day for about the same price as a rental car.
As international driving licences are not accepted you need to obtain a temporary local licence. These are easy to get from the police station in Apia or direct from a number of car rental firms. Details on car rental firms are provided on the pages on Upolu and Savaii.
Buses are cheap and a ride on one will be a memorable experience. Buses on Upolu fan out from two locations in Apia, close to the main market and behind the flea market. On Savaii, all routes begin near the ferry wharf at Salelologa.
Possible and quite enjoyable but 'Upolu has a few fairly steep and hilly sections and the cross island roads are about 7km steep uphill to their crests. Savai'i has only 2 or 3 small steep sections (around the western end).