Transport and travel Samoa
The aerial landscape is in turmoil in Samoa. The essential Virgin Samoa, a joint venture company created in partnership between Virgin Australia and the Samoan government in 2006, was dissolved in the fall of 2017 and a new company launched by the country's authorities: Samoa Airways. It currently operates 4 weekly flights from / to Auckland (New Zealand) and 2 from / to Sydney.
At the same time, you can reach the archipelago with Air New Zealand (Samoa is a possible stopover on their round-the-world ticket) and Fiji Airways (from Fiji). Virgin Australia also maintains lines to / from Brisbane and Sydney.
The 4 companies all land at theFaleolo International Airport, 35 km west of Apia - which can be reached by taxi or bus (until 17 p.m.). On site, there is a bureau de change and a distributor.
Samoa Airways is at the same time in the process of taking over the flights of the former national company Polynesian Airlines to Pago Pago, in American Samoa, which depart from the small airport of Fagali'i, at the gates of Apia - at a rate of 12 daily flights during the week, 8 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday (approx 380 ST $ round trip).
Since 2016, the small Samoan company Talofa Airways has also offered direct flights to Pago Pago (at rates identical to those of Samoa Airways) and to Nuku'alofa (thus avoiding having to transit through Fiji to reach the Kingdom of Tonga); their flights serve both Faleolo and Fagali'i airports.
If you plan to travel quite a bit between New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands, the Air New Zealand Explorer Pass will probably come in handy.
Two ferries carrying passengers and vehicles connect Upolu (from Mulifanua, in the far west of the island, 45 minutes from Apia) and Savai'i (Salelologa) in about 1 hour. There are 5 rotations per direction from Monday to Saturday (6 on Thursday), but only 2 on Sunday.
Samoa Shipping Company also operates one return crossing per week to Pago Pago, in American Samoa (a priori Thursday; 7h trip).
To reach the islands of Manono and D'Apolima, we embark from the western end of Upolu, past the Mulifanua quay - each island has its own embarkation quay, 2 km from each other. For Manono, the boats only leave when there are enough passengers; for Apolima, you will undoubtedly have to charter the entire boat, otherwise you will have to wait forever ...
Finally, let us point out, for the adventurers having time in front of them, the bimonthly maritime connection connecting Samoa to the archipelago of Tokelau, 100% Polynesian dependency of New Zealand, made up of 3 small atolls populated by about 1500 inhabitants. The crossing is done on board the Mataliki, a very recent ship (2016) and normally lasts between 24 and 34 hours depending on the island served. Count around NZ $ 310 round trip.
Buses allow you to travel for three times nothing on the two large islands. Most are venerable Toyotas from the 1960s, very colorful, sometimes painted on the back, without side windows, and with wooden benches (much like the old Tahitian trucks). All aboard Jesus is Lord, Glory to God, Unbeatable, Roadrunner or Bon Jovi Express!
In Apia, they start from behind the Fugalei market and next to the fish market; in Savai'i, it is from the Salelologa market. Everywhere else, all you have to do is wave at them from the side of the road, extending your arm (hand turned down); to go down, pull the cord and pay at the exit.
Samoan courtesy requires, you will probably be offered a seat, even on overcrowded buses ... or failing that you sit on someone's lap!
It is easy to rent a vehicle in Samoa. Avis and Budget are present at the airport, but we cannot advise you enough to go through a local agency, generally two to three less expensive - like for example that of the Samoa Outrigger Hotel which offers great rates for those who stay at least 4 nights there.
Cars picked up at Apia or at the airport can be picked up at Savai'i, but must be returned to Upolu.
Warning, it is mandatory to have a temporary local permit to drive in Samoa, but the rental company usually takes care of it.
The Samoans, who have long driven on the same side of the road as us, suddenly changed in 2009 to move to the left ... as in New Zealand and Australia, where large Samoan communities live whose members often return to the country with their right-hand drive vehicles.
The two main roads bypassing Upolu and Savai'i are paved and in relatively good condition, but the speed is limited to 35 miles (56 km) / h and 25 miles / h, or 40 km / h in the city. This is useful in view of the large number of pedestrians, children, dogs, pigs and other chickens who walk along the road or cross it without warning. For this same reason, it is better to avoid driving at night ...
Remember to fill up in town, there aren't many pumps elsewhere.
They are easily found and their (regulated) prices are very reasonable, especially if you stay in town. They don't have no counter : so agree on the price of the race before.