Traveling to Samoa’s South Coast

On the main island of Samoa, Upolu, there is mainly one place that backpackers and tourist alike go: the south coast. This is where all the good beaches are and where most of the fale operation exist as well.

It is just over the mountain from Apia which is pretty easy to get to so it is popular for backpackers. Surfers are especially known for visiting the south coast of Upolu because it is said that Samoa has some of the best surf in all of the Pacific.

Many just rent a car and make the drive over themselves and that is probably the easiest but if you are trying to visit Samoa as a backpacker, I assume that renting a car is not within your idea of a budget.


Understanding Samoa’s South Coast

The first step into traveling to it is understand the geography of it so you know where you want to go.

There is the tip of it that is where the iconic pictures from Samoa are taken. It is called the Lalomanu Beach and the whole area is known as Aleipata District. This is more the tourist destination than the rest of the south coast.

The middle of the South Coast is where the surfers go. It is a collection of villages like Maninoa, Tafitoala and Si’umu.

The reason this important they are arrived at by different buses.


How to get the bus and what to expect?

The old Flea Market has burned down so I do not know if they are still going from there. They would leave in the morning and afternoon. They do not have many trips, especially to Lalomanu Beach. Make sure you come early and talk with the driver to find out his plans for the day. The fare will be between $5-$7 USD.

The trip there is very long. They will stop at a store before leaving town for people to pick up bread and basic things. Get some snacks while you are there. The trip is about three hours and it includes alot of hill climbing. Amazing views too I may add.

The trip to Si’umu is more often, shorter and cheaper. It is straight across Cross Island Rd. It takes about an hour to do it and the trip should be about $2-3 USD. They also leave from the Old Flea Market as well.

The only thing about the bus along Cross Island is they fly and you are on a wooden seat. This means you could have a hurt butt by the time you get to the south coast of Upolu.


Moving around the coast

One challenge that I had was getting from Lalomanu Beach to Maninoa. There is no buses that run along the highway there. You will need to either go back to Apia and take the other bus or get a taxi at a very high price. No other official options.

I ended up just walking until some Samoan farmer would stop and give me a ride as far as he was going and then I would walk again until a new guy offered to help me get down the road some.




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  1. […] Airport and Mulifanua Wharf (boat to Savaii) are at the market and the buses going to the South Coast are over at the Old Flea Market. (Update: the Flea Market burned down so this might have […]

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