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Samoa trip in July

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
110 posts
85 reviews
Samoa trip in July

Hi all. My hubby and I are heading to Samoa for 2 weeks in July. The first week will be aussie school holiday time, not sure if this makes a difference in Samoa as far as accommodation goes? Anyway, we are middle aged, quiet people, my husband loves to surf and we both love to snorkel, and we are wanting to stay in smaller places, but most of the recommended places appear to cater for larger crowds i.e. many fales close together, giant dining rooms etc. We like our privacy and would like more of a secluded setting. We will hire a car for our stay and will see both islands, saving Savaii for the last week preferably. I tried to find some info on Vavau fales, but couldnt....are they finished? Virgin Cove was another choice. Are there any other smaller, more private type places along the south coast of Upolu? Another place we would like to spend a few days is at the western end of Savaii, maybe Asau/Vaisala. Or around Satuiatua area, any recommendations for places there? We like the look of Lusia's Chalets, but is it actually on a beach or on some inland waterway? And at that time of the year, should we pre book? As much as we don't like restricting ourselves to bookings, we don't want to end up with nowhere to stay!

As for car rental, do any of the companies provide roof racks for surfboards or do we just take shorter boards and hope they fit in a Sante Fe or Tuscon or similar??

Thank you all for ANY help planning our trip :)

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
4,306 posts
35 reviews
1. Re: Samoa trip in July

Malo lava Cazoe

Firstly, you MUST book for July, regardless of school holidays it is peak tourist season in Samoa and if you don't book at least 2 months before you may well miss out.

What budget are you looking at? On the south coast of Upolu there is Seabreeze Resort, a small boutique type accommodation. It has been rebuilt since the 2009 tsunami and is stunning. Views from all rooms, great pool, wonderful food and fantastic staff, you can't go wrong with Seabreeze. You might also be interested in Samoana Surf Resort, it is not just for surfers and is a really nice resort. The great thing about staying at Samoana is that they take surfing guests out everyday to the reef. All surfing on Upolu is off the reef and really is only for very experienced surfers. You'll find most fale resorts are communal but Vavau is smaller and has an ensuite unlike other fale accommodation. Here is a link for Vavau samoa.pacific-resorts.com/vavau/index.html - if you need to contact them the email is info@samoa.travel which will probably lead you to a group email address so make sure you say you are enquiring about Vavau. All fale accommodation on both islands have cold water only but in the heat it's very refreshing. I really don't think Virgin Cove is good value and you'd be better looking at Seabreeze or Samoana.

Savaii does have both shore breaks and reef breaks, you'll find great surfing at Asau and Vaisala. There is a wonderful, old, rustic hotel at Vaisala Bay, funnily enough called Vaisala Hotel. Apart from Savaii Lagoon Resort it is my favourite place to stay on Savaii. It never gets over-crowded, I think people are turned off by the fact that it is run down but it is very charming and traditionally Samoan in it's decor and food. They have a beautiful little honeymoon cottage on the beach with a large ensuite with hot water, comfortable bed and a little veranda, just a stones throw from the beach. It is great value, as are all the rooms here and they also have air con. The food is amazing - huge fresh lobsters for 30 tala. The meals are simple but good and a large brekky is included. There is also a fantastic upmarket fale resort in the area called Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge. You can get your own facilites and it really typifies fa' Samoa (the Samoan way of live) and paradise. I mentioned Savaii Lagoon Resort, it is a wonderful resort at Fagamalo near Manase Beach, great food, ocean at your door, wonderful, huge rooms and bathrooms and so realaxing.

Given that you are hiring a car you'll be able to drive around Savaii looking for the best surf spots or if you want a guide get in touch with Savaii Surfaris and they will advise the best way to go about it and also the best surf spots. If you are exploring by yourselves bear in mind that anywhere you stop someone will more than likely approach you for a small fee for using the beach, this is because the beaches are on cultural land and often the fee is the only form of income for the village and it goes towards the kids education. When you're hiring the car (you'll also need to book) ask them for one with roof-racks and get confirmation in writing. If you don't intend on going into Apia you'll need the rental company to book the ferry for you as it needs to be done 72 hours prior to sailing. The rental company will also arrange for a temporary Samoan Drivers Licence. The most reputable companies are Samoana, Blue Pacific, Go Rentals, Island Renta and Funway.

Lusia's is not on a beach but an inlet from the straits. It is a lovely place to relax for a day though.

I hope this helps, any more questions you know where we are.

Happy planning

Manuia le aso (have a great day)

Deb

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
110 posts
85 reviews
2. Re: Samoa trip in July

wow, great reply Deb! gonna go digest all that and do some more research lol! I'll be back.................

cheers

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
4,306 posts
35 reviews
3. Re: Samoa trip in July

Happy planning!!

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
110 posts
85 reviews
4. Re: Samoa trip in July

OK, after a quick look, Samoana is out of our budget, the cheapest being $230au per night? I couldn't see if that included any meals though? Is still a bit over what we would like to spend.

The link to the Vavau info leads to that combined website as you mentioned, but it also says they aren't "offering" Vavau at present. Is there any other way to contact them? I might send an enquiry anyway to that website.

Seabreeze also is, unfortunately, out of our budget, as nice as it looks! And yes Vaisala looks fine, and very affordable, bargain in fact! Will shortlist that one for sure.

Any other ideas on smaller establishments now that you know our budget? Don't mind basic beach fales at all, just don't like the larger, crowded places .

Thanks again Deb

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
4,306 posts
35 reviews
5. Re: Samoa trip in July

I've just had a look at the website and I think now that they musn't be taking bookings at the moment or in fact no longer exist.The samoa-hotels isn't really maintained regularly so perhaps it should have been removed. Sorry about that.

Fao Fao beach fales (samoa.travel/accommodation/a16/Faofao-Beach-…) is a smaller concern not far from Lalomanu and more private without hoards of people. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Litia Sini at Lalomanu has also been renovated since the tsunami and is a little more upmarket than the other fale resorts on the south coast, not necessarily more private but they have their own little balcony and are enclosed but they still have communal dining and faciities - www.litiasinibeach.ws/samoa/accommodation/

That's about it on the south coast except, as you mentioned, VIrgin Cove. If you liked the look of it when you first saw it then maybe it is right for you. My concerns stem from the varying reviews regarding food and staff which go up and down every year. I personally haven't had any probs but many others have. Look at recent reviews and see what the masses are saying.

With the surfing, please tell your hubby not to attempt to go out on his own on Upolu. The guys from Samoana and Salani Surf Resorts offer pick ups to go out with them from most accommodations. You can usually arrange it from where you are staying but it might be best to see if you can pre-book trips before you go. Anyone at Samoana or Salani should be able to help.

I'm glad you liked Vaisala, it's a wonderful little piece of paradise.

I'm sorry I can't be of further help with Upolu but that's about all that's available on your budget unless you wanted to spend a couple of days in Apia. Another good source of everything Samoa, including accommodation, is jasons.com/samoa. Have a look there and there may be somewhere I've forgotten to mention or somewhere new.

Let me know how you go.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
1,129 posts
54 reviews
6. Re: Samoa trip in July

Malo le soifua

Don't overlook Faofao fales ... it's gorgeous and small, with fales right on the beachfront. They're on Facebook if you want to chat to them and ask questions.

Taufua Beach Fales is probably the biggest commercial beach fales, but it's on (my opinion) the best beach in Samoa, so ... up to you.

Savai'i might be more up your alley if you want smaller beach fale properties. Lauiula at Lano Beach might be good for you, or Satuiatua. Satuiatua are on Facebook too.

Fa soifua

Tina

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
110 posts
85 reviews
7. Re: Samoa trip in July

Thanks again Deb and Tina. I think we've shortlisted Faofao and Virgin Cove for Upolu, and Aganoa and Vaisala or Vaimoana for Savaii. Although Satuiatua looks awesome too. Decisions are so hard to make! I think we'll start on Upolu and end our holiday on Savaii. I'm sure i'll have more questions :), but thanks for all the help so far!

Cheers

Cas

Sunshine Coast, Qld
Level Contributor
367 posts
66 reviews
8. Re: Samoa trip in July

Hi Cazoe

My family of 5 did a surfing style holiday last September. We stayed at Samoana for a few nights and, although it is expensive, it is beautiful. Breakfast was included but other meals are ordered off the menu. There is another surf camp re-opened - Salani, which looked really nice. We stopped off at Vavau beach and thought it was one of the most beautiful on the islands, however, it appeared that the accomodation may have been there prior to the tsunami and hasn't been rebuilt. On Savaii we stayed at Aganoa which has some ensuite fales right on the water. Basic meals are provided and you have the ability to dine at your own table there - not at a large, shared table.

We hired a van as we found it so much easier with surfboards. We could just lie them down the middle of the van and lock them away when we were staying in the fales. We mixed up our accomodation by staying in basic fales,

ensuite fales and lashing out for 3 nights at Samoana and a last night at Le Vasa. Once you have a vehicle, you can easily move around the islands and mix your accomodation around to suit your overall budget.

I wouldn't rule out staying at fales like Taufua for a couple of nights as the food provided was great and the family were so lovely. We coincided our stay with a Wednesday night and thoroughly enjoyed their cultural show. Samoa truly is a paradise.

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
Level Contributor
4,306 posts
35 reviews
9. Re: Samoa trip in July

Malo Cazoe,

Jalaky is right, Salani Surf Resort has just re-opened after the long process of rebuilding post tsunami. They are more a dedicated surf resort though and only have 12 bungalows/fales so would be more private but I think they might be beyond your budget.

They are however very professional surf-wise and have the best guides in Samoa.

Deb

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
110 posts
85 reviews
10. Re: Samoa trip in July

I'm back again! With a suggested plan and would love any advice/tips. Our flight lands around 6am, not sure how to get our hire car yet, either delivered to airport but not sure what their hours are, or taxi into Apia, find some breakfast and have a look around, then pick up a car there.

Then drive ourselves down to Virgin Cove and stay there a few nights, then onto Fao Fao fales for a few nights. Then ferry over to Savaii and head to Asau area (probably Vai Moana) for a few nights, and last stop Aganoa for a few nights. As our flight home leaves around 6am, we will ferry back to Upolu the day before for an early start.

Where would be a nice place to stay for our last night (considering we have an early flight the next day)? And how does the rental car thing work when we leave so early? Would it be best to hire and return the car from/to Apia and stay there the night and get an early airport transfer? How reliable are the transfers or taxis at that early hour? Or stay somewhere closer to the airport?

Thanks for any help :)