Samoa Basic Information
Due to its location in the South Pacific, trouble can brew in paradise with Cyclone Evan hitting Samoa on December 13, 2012. However, most of the damage to local services and tourist infrastructure has been repaired and rebuilt, allowing Samoa to get back in business. For more need-to-know info before you go, read on.
Australian passport holders can obtain a free visitors permit valid for 60 days upon arrival in Samoa. In order to travel under these terms your passport must have at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia and you must have a return or onward ticket. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute information, contact the nearest Embassy of Samoa.
The currency of Samoa is the Tala. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Samoa Tala fluctuates constantly so it’s a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit card or debit card.
As you’d expect on a tropical island, fresh local produce is plentiful, delicious and ideal for the balmy weather. Think bananas, taro, breadfruit, papaya and coconuts paired with fresh seafood and crustaceans, chicken and pork. Meals are traditionally cooked in an umu (a hot stone oven in the ground) with produce wrapped in banana leaves or coconut shells to cook. Local must-try delicacies include palusami (young taro leaves baked in coconut cream) and oka (raw fish cooked in coconut cream). Western and Chinese cuisine is also readily available in the capital, Apia. Dining in Samoa is a social event where tradition, culture and family come together. The kava or ‘ava ceremony featuring the intoxicating powder of the kava root is an intrinsic part of the Samoan way of life, while the local Vailima beer is considered to be one of the best brews in the South Pacific.
The majority of Samoa’s after-hours scene happens at the bars and pubs along Beach Road in the capital, Apia, where Friday and Saturday eves are the big nights out for bar hopping. Enjoy a cocktail or local ale at popular nightspots like the Lighthouse Bar & Grill, an open-air venue on the beachfront; live music at RSA Night Club; or check out a fa’afafine drag show with the Divas of Samoa at Maliu Mai. Monday to Thursday is pretty quiet in Apia with a 10pm curfew on loud music and most nightspots closing at midnight. You’ll also find bars attached to restaurants and resorts like Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows and Le Vasa Resort as well as Le Lagoto Beach Resort on Savai’i.