The weather in Samoa is warm and tropical all year round - with the dry season running from May to October, and the wet season from November to April. The climate is hot and humid with an average daily temperature of 29°C and ocean temperature in the low 20s. Lightweight summer clothing is appropriate for year-round wear, while cooler evenings could require a light cotton sweater. Smart casual evening-wear is appropriate for hotels and restaurants in Samoa. Wherever you go, be prepared for high temperatures and humidity. A lavalava, some jandals and a woven fan are the most useful souvenirs to buy during your time in Samoa.
Visitors to Samoa are not required to obtain an entry permit for stays of less than 60 days. Although travellers must have a return or onward ticket and, passports must be valid for six months or more at the time of entry into the country.
For visits more than 60 days, you must apply for a permit to enter the country from the Samoa Consulate General, High Commission or Embassy closest to you in New Zealand, Australia, New York, Tokyo, Beijing and Belgium. Permit extensions in Apia are handled by Samoa Immigration.
In Samoa there are two main telecommunications providers: Vodafone Samoa and Digicel. Both providers offer extensive coverage, with prepaid SIM cards available at Faleolo International Airport and outlets in Apia. Keeping in touch with family and friends online is easy with broadband internet cafes in Apia and one on the island of Savai’i. Major hotels and resorts offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres with WIFI available at many locations.
Fa'a Samoa - The Samoan Way
Fa’a Samoa is a way of life where family is all important, respect of elders is firmly adhered to, and being of service to your family is your duty. Fa’a Samoa culture has a strong focus on welcoming visitors, however it is vital that visitors and guests follow protocol when entering villages and family homes as well as using and accessing village resources including the beaches, waterfalls or swimming holes.
• Please avoid walking through villages during the evening prayer curfew (usually between 6–7pm). Sa (sacred) usually lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is often marked at the beginning and end by a bell or the blowing of a conch shell (wait for the third bell before continuing on your way).
• Samoans observe Sunday as a day of rest. While many visitor attractions are open, you are expected to behave quietly and to travel slowly through the villages. If you are staying at family-run accommodation, you may find that your hosts will not provide a cooked breakfast on a Sunday.
• Please dress appropriately as skimpy clothing is not recommended in villages. If you are staying in a village, it may even result in a fine for your tour guide/hosts.
• Nude and topless (for women) swimming or sunbathing is prohibited and when leaving the beach to venture into the villages, guests are asked to wear a lavalava (sarong) pants or shorts and t-shirt.
• If attending church on Sunday, women are asked to wear a dress or blouse and skirt and men trousers and shirt.
• Please remove shoes before entering a fale.
• When elders are seated in a fale, you should not stand.
• When sitting in a fale, avoid pointing your feet at others. Either tuck them away, cross them (yoga style) or cover them with a lavalava or mat.
• Please always ask permission from your tour guide/host before taking photos in a village.
• If in doubt about protocol, ask your tour guide/host or a village member for advice.