Samoa on budget
--- the ultimate backpacking travel guide ---
This post is written by our host blogger nomadiciv@.
Samoa can be considered as a backpacker destination, if we do not take into account the remoteness of this destination. The accommodation is cheap and comprises breakfast and dinner and it’s extremely cheap especially in rainy season when you can haggle and get very friendly price.
The local currency is Samoan Tala (WST). The exchange rate in 2017 is 1 USD = 2.5 WST.
Average cost per person: 35 USD per day
including accommodation, food, transport, entrance fees, souvenirs
excluding visa and flight tickets
Check also top things to see in Samoa in our photo journey.
The main thing you can save money on are the flight tickets. Read our tips how to find cheap flights.
The cheapest way to travel around islands is by local buses. They are lovely, colorful and as a benefit you can hear local pop music. The only problem is that they stop at every corner which may extend your travel time way too much.
Other option is to hire a car. The 7th day is usually free of charge. The rent is cheaper than in New Zealand. We paid around 60 US Dollars for a small Chevy. There is a left-hand traffic in Samoa.
Accommodation & Food
The traditional and relatively cheap options are local falas. They are small cottages on the beach whose walls are from palm leaves. The owners will equip them with mats, sheets and mosquito nets. You get a lovely view and murmur of the sea. Don’t worry, there is a plug so you charge all your electronic devices.
Our average price per night in fala (breakfast&dinner included) was 30 WST (11.8 USD) per person.
The only drawback is that in the night you may feel a bit vulnerable. One night we stayed in fala in a small community in very remote western promontory of Samoa. We were the only tourists there. The locals were walking constantly by forth and back and I spend half of the night moving the passports from the backpack under the pillow and back.
There is no need to buy much food as you always get a breakfast and a dinner. We only bought fruit, bread and sweets from locals in village markets. Usually there is a bunch of bananas at accommodation to suit yourself. Coconuts by the road cost 2 WST (0.8 USD)
There are not many attractions in Samoa. Somehow locals like to charge for every possible nature sight. On the way around the island you will feel like you see them all. I mention those worth seeing. Prices example per person
- Alofaaga blowholes - 5 WST (2 USD)
- To Sua Ocean Trench - 20 WST (8 USD)
- Wailua waterfalls - 10 WST (4 USD)
- Lava field - may be for free
- Church destroyed by lava - 5 WST (2 USD)
- Canopy walk - 20 WST (8 USD)
- Fa'afafine are people who identify themselves as a third-gender in Samoa. They are usually males dressed and behaving as a woman. In contrast to the western world they usually choose the path of family a social service.
- Mailelai cosmetic. In a small house in the suburb of Apia there is a cosmetic company MAILELAI. They sell products (soap, shampoo, body lotion, lip balm) made of local coconut milk. The prices are relatively high, but the products are awesome, and the owner as well :)
- Lavalava is a skirt worn by local men. And not only in Samoa, also in New Zealand. Buy one and wear it at home, maybe you will find it very comfortable :)
More tips for traveling cheap here .