Upolu Escape

Upolu Escape

Explore Upolu on a one week ride

A week long cycle tour of Upolu that takes in the popular attractions of the Island. Swim at the best beaches, snorkel over the giant clams, jump into To Sua Trench, cool off under Togitogiga falls and experience village life on this 160 km ride.

Description Cycling Beaches Comfort Adventure Culture
A tour of the Upolu at your pace and comfort level Fales
Motels
Description
A tour of the Upolu at your pace and comfort level
Cycling
Beaches
Comfort
Fales
Motels
Adventure
Culture

Explore the beaches and attractions of Upolu in this one week tour of the most populous Island.

Ride gently through coastal villages stopping regularly to observe village life and maybe join a game of village cricket before stopping for the afternoon and evening at your hotel or fale on the beach.  The coast is dotted with sandy beaches that provide safe swimming and snorkelling in the lagoon.  Maybe kayak to a remote island with its own sandy beach, or snorkel with turtles from our kayaks.

Or add in a dose of adrenaline with some of our side trips like waterfall jumping, lava tube caving, underwater caves and coastal challenges.

Travel between locations by bike, electric bike or car transfer.

Highlights include:

  • To Sua Trench - leap into the pool at the bottom of this deep collapse lava tube - One of the iconic locations of Samoa
  • Piula Cave pools - swim in these freshwater pools formed by raised sea arches
  • Apia Markets
  • Kayak amongst the wild turtles or out to the private Nuusafee Island (optional extra tour)
  • Safe swimming on great beaches
  • Explore the waterfalls and pools of the main rivers
  • Lava tube caving
  • Fish for Giant Trevally (optional extra)
  • Snorkel over the Giant Clams

While the trip is designed as a cycle tour, it is also suitable for non-riders who can travel in the support van. 

There are two longer days of cycling (35 and 32 kms) and 4 days of cycling 12-20 kms).  There are opportunities to swim and snorkel every day and numerous waterfalls, pools and caves to explore along the way.  As well as opportunities for kayak trips and a fishing half day.

Cyclists should be comfortable cycling 40kms in a day with some hills.  While the longest two days are 35 and 32 kms, the heat makes riding a bit harder.  This trip can be coordinated with flights arriving Sunday or Monday and departing Wednesday.

Accommodation is a mix of fales and motels.  See FAQs for Cyclists for more details.

Alternatives

  • If you have more time - combine the Savaii Escape Plus with add-ons of either the van tour or kayak tours
  • If you prefer to see a more traditional side of Samoa - check the Savaii Escape

Arrival

This Itinerary is based on arriving on Mondays.  An overnight kayak can be added by arriving on Sunday or custom tours can be created starting on any day.

Flights from Air New Zealand, Samoa Airways and Virgin Australia connect well with these trips.  

 

Sunday - Optional early start with kayak to Manono Island

- See Options for more details.

Monday - Arrival Day

Most likely you will arrive on an afternoon flight from Auckland - See Flights for more details.  We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your choice of either Le Vasa Hotel or a village homestay.  The hotel is ideal for traveller wanting an afternoon of luxury, while the homestay suits those arriving in the evening and provides an introduction to Samoa in a modern home with local hosts.

Tuesday - To Matareva (32 kms)

 After fitting the bikes and a full briefing the 15 km gentle ride around the coast is a very pleasant introduction to village life.  At Falelatai the road heads steeply uphill for 2kms. However, you get to the top the views over lagoons are well worth stopping for.  The downhill section is only partly sealed but the road improves for the last 3 kms around the coast to Le Faga bay in Savaia home of the Giant Clams .

Follow the Main South Coast Road into the centre of the village (100m) where it turns left.  Then turn right in another 100m by the school and continue parallel to the coast.  At 2kms the road ends in a T junction, turn left and climb gently then turn right onto the Main South Coast Road at 4kms.  5 kms - Turnoff to Matarava Beach.  Survivor Australia is currently being filmed nearby and we will advise which of the two roads is open on the day. This is a hidden gem and lovely picnic and swimming spot. It’s 4 kms downhill to the beach and there is a small road toll.  

Wednesday - Matareva Beach Day

Matareva Beach Fales are located on a secluded and private lagoon.  The resort has recently reopened under new management and is rapidly regaining its reputation as one of the hidden gems of Upolu.  Relax on the beach, swim in the lagoon or explore the surrounding beaches. 

Thursday - Matareva to Vai Villas (12kms)

Today's ride is only 12 kms to Vai Villas which is situated on the mangrove swamps and Lua and Jills hospitality and great food make it a memorable stay.  

Note that Vai Villas is undergoing a major upgrade early in the season and it is possible that trips may have alternative accommodation this night.

Turtle Kayak Option:

After a briefing paddle down a gentle, meandering mangrove stream, taking time to observe this unique ecosystem with numerous varieties of orchids.  On reaching the main lagoon we paddle along the shore line often spotting turtles as we go. We land on a sandy beach for a snack before heading out to a small keyhole entrance to the reef where we usually see several giant turtles.  For those who are confident there are opportunities to snorkel here along the edge of the reef and hopefully spot the turtles beneath.  If there is a big surf outside the reef the trip may be changed to spot the numerous turtles inside the reef.  These are a bit smaller, but incredibly agile as they charge away from the kayaks.

Paddling back there will be an opportunity for a swim before heading up the mangrove stream back to Vai Villas in time for a late lunch on the deck. 

Friday -Vai Villas to Tafatafa Beach - Togitogigi Falls  (24kms)

The route follows the undulating sealed coast road and while it's easy to focus on just getting  to the destination, there is a lot to do along the way.  Potential stops include the Sinalei resort for a taste of luxury, Aganoa Black sands beach for a remote sandy beach with good snorkelling and the walk to the Ma Tree.  But my favourite is a long swim at Togitogiga waterfalls. Your ride ends on the lagoon beach at Tafatafa.  With clear water, safe swimming, fales at the water's edge.

8 kms - Maninoa.  This bay is home to Coconuts and Sinalei Resorts with the fiafia Club nestled in between.

10 kms - Cross Island Road junction. 

14 kms - Ma tree and Coastal Walkway. It’s a short forest walk to this tree with large buttress roots.  Directly opposite is

 the road down to the coastal walkway. This runs along the top of the lava cliffs.

16 kms - Togitogiga Falls.  One of the best freshwater swims in Samoa.  The turnoff is well signposted and it's only a

very short ride to the changing rooms and toilets by the falls.  The pools are a good place to cool off, but the

adventurous will jump the falls.

19 kms Poutasi Development Trust arts centre.  Poutasi was destroyed in the 2009 Tsunami. 

Here you can try your hand at various crafts or just buy well-made local items.  Judging by how long our

groups spend here - it’s a popular stop.

23 kms – Take the third turnoff to beautiful Tafatafa Beach 

Saturday Tafatafa Beach Day


After a full schedule of riding and kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Tafatafa Beach is a stunning white sand beach.

Nearby at Vaiula Beach Fales Nugg runs a great bar/lunch and Dave is a renowned fishing guide who can offer fishing trips inside and outside the reef. There is also a lava tube tour you can ask about.

Alternatively take the optional kayak tour to Nuusafee Island.  A deserted tropical island with its own beach and lagoon (additional cost).

Sunday Namua Island getaway (31kms)

Get on your bikes early as there is a lot to do again today. 13 kms down the road is To Sua Trench. This collapsed lava tube is one of the picture postcard attractions of Samoa  with the steep ladder leading down into the sea water pools. The trench and surrounds deserve a couple of hours at  least. Take in the seascape, blowholes, beach and history along with a gentle swim in the pool.

When you eventually drag yourselves out of the pool, ride another 13 kms to Lalomanu Beach and then on to Namua Wharf where you can catch the ferry to Namua Island. The fale resort is the only habitation on the island and is located on a sheltered sandy beach.

Monday Namua Island to Le Uaina (40 kms 400m climb)

Catch the ferry back to the mainland and make sure that you start early so that you are climbing up to Le Mafa pass in the cool of the day. We recommend that you return along the coast and take the cross island road just past Lotofaga. Take in the waterfalls along the way and then at Le Mafa Pass you are rewarded with great views looking down to the North coast. It's a pleasant ride down and along to Le Uaina. At le Uaina you can snorkel out to the reserve to see a variety of coral and reef fish. Piula Cave Pool is just next door also. 

Le Uaina is a comfortable waterside hotel fashioned more like a traditional NZ motel.

Tuesday Le Uaina to Apia

Just after you start make a point of visiting Piula Cave Pool (if you missed it the day before) which is a very refreshing  pool below the historic Methodist Chapel at Piula. It's then a coastal cycle till you reach the hectic pace of Apia. You need to head down towards the waterfront and then further along past the government buildings till you reach the Amanaki Hotel. You may have time to do a little sightseeing. 

Wednesday Homeward bound

Depending on your flight time you may have time to explore Apia. Apia has a lot to see. If you are up early enough visit the fish markets to see several colourful and large fish. The flea market has many local handicrafts. The Cultural village behind the visitors centre is well worth a visit. By taxi you can visit the Sliding rocks, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum to see his home & resting place and stop off at the soap factory which is a nice place to purchase souvenirs. Further up the Cross Island is the Bahai Temple set in tranquil grounds overlooking Apia. Palolo Deep, just out of Apia, is a great place to snorkel but best visited when the tides are near high tide.
Catch the shuttle to the airport in time for your flight or stay on for a few more days.

 

Options and Extras

Addition day (Sunday start) with overnight guided kayak to Manono Island $250(NZD) pp

Turtle Takay Day  $130 pp

Nuusafee Kayak Day $160 pp

Hotel accommodation (Le Vasa) on first night $100 pp

Talk to us about other accommodation upgrades that may be available.

 

Flights

From Auckland

Air NZ flights arrive at 4:50pm and 8:35pm on Monday and at 1:30pm and 8:35pm on Sunday.

Samoa Airways flight arrive at 4:05pm on Monday.

From Brisbane

Virgin Flight arrives 5:15 am Sunday(departs Brisbane at 9:30 on Saturday)

From Sydney

Samoa Airways flight arrives 6:15am Sunday (departs Sydney Saturday at 9:40pm)

Other Airlines

Fiji Airways has a direct flight from Honolulu and flights via Nandi from a variety of cities in NZ and Australia.

Several other airlines are investigating flying to Samoa.

Pricing

Bag Carry Service

Your bags are collected each morning and dropped at your scheduled destination.

Talk to us about full support options with a van driver/guide travelling with the group.

Payment method

Trips can be invoiced in NZ$ or AUS$. 

Visa and Mastercard are accepted but subject to a merchant cost surcharge of 4%.

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on all 9 nights
  • 9  breakfasts 
  • 5-6 Dinners 
  • Bike hire
  • Gear transfer service while biking

Price excludes:

  • Airfares
  • Additional recommended tours 
  • Customary fees

Price 

Scheduled Tour Prices:

10 day/9 night Tour $1,300 (NZD) pp  (Child $800)

11 Day/10 night tour (includes Manono Island Kayak) $1,550 pp (Child $925)

Turtle Kayak add-on  $130 pp (Child ($65)

Nuusafee Kayak add-on   $160 pp (Child $80)  Children to Nuusafee subject to suitable experience and strength of party

Hotel accommodation (Le Vasa) on first night $100 pp   (talk to us about other accommodation upgrade options)

Single supplement $250 - Note this is for hotel accommodation only.  At beach fales we will do our best to secure single accommodation, but the beach fale booking systems are not robust enough to guarantee it.

Children are those aged 5-12.  Please talk to us about the kayaking options for children as we need to ensure parties are strong enough for safety.  Children under 5 can be accommodated on the cycle sections as we have kiddy seats and kiddy trailers.

All prices in New Zealand Dollars.  

Arrival

This Itinerary is based on arriving on Mondays.  An overnight kayak can be added by arriving on Sunday or custom tours can be created starting on any day.

Flights from Air New Zealand, Samoa Airways and Virgin Australia connect well with these trips.  

 

Sunday - Optional early start with kayak to Manono Island

- See Options for more details.

Monday - Arrival Day

Most likely you will arrive on an afternoon flight from Auckland - See Flights for more details.  We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your choice of either Le Vasa Hotel or a village homestay.  The hotel is ideal for traveller wanting an afternoon of luxury, while the homestay suits those arriving in the evening and provides an introduction to Samoa in a modern home with local hosts.

Tuesday - To Matareva (32 kms)

 After fitting the bikes and a full briefing the 15 km gentle ride around the coast is a very pleasant introduction to village life.  At Falelatai the road heads steeply uphill for 2kms. However, you get to the top the views over lagoons are well worth stopping for.  The downhill section is only partly sealed but the road improves for the last 3 kms around the coast to Le Faga bay in Savaia home of the Giant Clams .

Follow the Main South Coast Road into the centre of the village (100m) where it turns left.  Then turn right in another 100m by the school and continue parallel to the coast.  At 2kms the road ends in a T junction, turn left and climb gently then turn right onto the Main South Coast Road at 4kms.  5 kms - Turnoff to Matarava Beach.  Survivor Australia is currently being filmed nearby and we will advise which of the two roads is open on the day. This is a hidden gem and lovely picnic and swimming spot. It’s 4 kms downhill to the beach and there is a small road toll.  

Wednesday - Matareva Beach Day

Matareva Beach Fales are located on a secluded and private lagoon.  The resort has recently reopened under new management and is rapidly regaining its reputation as one of the hidden gems of Upolu.  Relax on the beach, swim in the lagoon or explore the surrounding beaches. 

Thursday - Matareva to Vai Villas (12kms)

Today's ride is only 12 kms to Vai Villas which is situated on the mangrove swamps and Lua and Jills hospitality and great food make it a memorable stay.  

Note that Vai Villas is undergoing a major upgrade early in the season and it is possible that trips may have alternative accommodation this night.

Turtle Kayak Option:

After a briefing paddle down a gentle, meandering mangrove stream, taking time to observe this unique ecosystem with numerous varieties of orchids.  On reaching the main lagoon we paddle along the shore line often spotting turtles as we go. We land on a sandy beach for a snack before heading out to a small keyhole entrance to the reef where we usually see several giant turtles.  For those who are confident there are opportunities to snorkel here along the edge of the reef and hopefully spot the turtles beneath.  If there is a big surf outside the reef the trip may be changed to spot the numerous turtles inside the reef.  These are a bit smaller, but incredibly agile as they charge away from the kayaks.

Paddling back there will be an opportunity for a swim before heading up the mangrove stream back to Vai Villas in time for a late lunch on the deck. 

Friday -Vai Villas to Tafatafa Beach - Togitogigi Falls  (24kms)

The route follows the undulating sealed coast road and while it's easy to focus on just getting  to the destination, there is a lot to do along the way.  Potential stops include the Sinalei resort for a taste of luxury, Aganoa Black sands beach for a remote sandy beach with good snorkelling and the walk to the Ma Tree.  But my favourite is a long swim at Togitogiga waterfalls. Your ride ends on the lagoon beach at Tafatafa.  With clear water, safe swimming, fales at the water's edge.

8 kms - Maninoa.  This bay is home to Coconuts and Sinalei Resorts with the fiafia Club nestled in between.

10 kms - Cross Island Road junction. 

14 kms - Ma tree and Coastal Walkway. It’s a short forest walk to this tree with large buttress roots.  Directly opposite is

 the road down to the coastal walkway. This runs along the top of the lava cliffs.

16 kms - Togitogiga Falls.  One of the best freshwater swims in Samoa.  The turnoff is well signposted and it's only a

very short ride to the changing rooms and toilets by the falls.  The pools are a good place to cool off, but the

adventurous will jump the falls.

19 kms Poutasi Development Trust arts centre.  Poutasi was destroyed in the 2009 Tsunami. 

Here you can try your hand at various crafts or just buy well-made local items.  Judging by how long our

groups spend here - it’s a popular stop.

23 kms – Take the third turnoff to beautiful Tafatafa Beach 

Saturday Tafatafa Beach Day


After a full schedule of riding and kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Tafatafa Beach is a stunning white sand beach.

Nearby at Vaiula Beach Fales Nugg runs a great bar/lunch and Dave is a renowned fishing guide who can offer fishing trips inside and outside the reef. There is also a lava tube tour you can ask about.

Alternatively take the optional kayak tour to Nuusafee Island.  A deserted tropical island with its own beach and lagoon (additional cost).

Sunday Namua Island getaway (31kms)

Get on your bikes early as there is a lot to do again today. 13 kms down the road is To Sua Trench. This collapsed lava tube is one of the picture postcard attractions of Samoa  with the steep ladder leading down into the sea water pools. The trench and surrounds deserve a couple of hours at  least. Take in the seascape, blowholes, beach and history along with a gentle swim in the pool.

When you eventually drag yourselves out of the pool, ride another 13 kms to Lalomanu Beach and then on to Namua Wharf where you can catch the ferry to Namua Island. The fale resort is the only habitation on the island and is located on a sheltered sandy beach.

Monday Namua Island to Le Uaina (40 kms 400m climb)

Catch the ferry back to the mainland and make sure that you start early so that you are climbing up to Le Mafa pass in the cool of the day. We recommend that you return along the coast and take the cross island road just past Lotofaga. Take in the waterfalls along the way and then at Le Mafa Pass you are rewarded with great views looking down to the North coast. It's a pleasant ride down and along to Le Uaina. At le Uaina you can snorkel out to the reserve to see a variety of coral and reef fish. Piula Cave Pool is just next door also. 

Le Uaina is a comfortable waterside hotel fashioned more like a traditional NZ motel.

Tuesday Le Uaina to Apia

Just after you start make a point of visiting Piula Cave Pool (if you missed it the day before) which is a very refreshing  pool below the historic Methodist Chapel at Piula. It's then a coastal cycle till you reach the hectic pace of Apia. You need to head down towards the waterfront and then further along past the government buildings till you reach the Amanaki Hotel. You may have time to do a little sightseeing. 

Wednesday Homeward bound

Depending on your flight time you may have time to explore Apia. Apia has a lot to see. If you are up early enough visit the fish markets to see several colourful and large fish. The flea market has many local handicrafts. The Cultural village behind the visitors centre is well worth a visit. By taxi you can visit the Sliding rocks, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum to see his home & resting place and stop off at the soap factory which is a nice place to purchase souvenirs. Further up the Cross Island is the Bahai Temple set in tranquil grounds overlooking Apia. Palolo Deep, just out of Apia, is a great place to snorkel but best visited when the tides are near high tide.
Catch the shuttle to the airport in time for your flight or stay on for a few more days.

 

Options and Extras

Addition day (Sunday start) with overnight guided kayak to Manono Island $250(NZD) pp

Turtle Takay Day  $130 pp

Nuusafee Kayak Day $160 pp

Hotel accommodation (Le Vasa) on first night $100 pp

Talk to us about other accommodation upgrades that may be available.

 

Flights

From Auckland

Air NZ flights arrive at 4:50pm and 8:35pm on Monday and at 1:30pm and 8:35pm on Sunday.

Samoa Airways flight arrive at 4:05pm on Monday.

From Brisbane

Virgin Flight arrives 5:15 am Sunday(departs Brisbane at 9:30 on Saturday)

From Sydney

Samoa Airways flight arrives 6:15am Sunday (departs Sydney Saturday at 9:40pm)

Other Airlines

Fiji Airways has a direct flight from Honolulu and flights via Nandi from a variety of cities in NZ and Australia.

Several other airlines are investigating flying to Samoa.

Pricing

Bag Carry Service

Your bags are collected each morning and dropped at your scheduled destination.

Talk to us about full support options with a van driver/guide travelling with the group.

Payment method

Trips can be invoiced in NZ$ or AUS$. 

Visa and Mastercard are accepted but subject to a merchant cost surcharge of 4%.

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on all 9 nights
  • 9  breakfasts 
  • 5-6 Dinners 
  • Bike hire
  • Gear transfer service while biking

Price excludes:

  • Airfares
  • Additional recommended tours 
  • Customary fees

Price 

Scheduled Tour Prices:

10 day/9 night Tour $1,300 (NZD) pp  (Child $800)

11 Day/10 night tour (includes Manono Island Kayak) $1,550 pp (Child $925)

Turtle Kayak add-on  $130 pp (Child ($65)

Nuusafee Kayak add-on   $160 pp (Child $80)  Children to Nuusafee subject to suitable experience and strength of party

Hotel accommodation (Le Vasa) on first night $100 pp   (talk to us about other accommodation upgrade options)

Single supplement $250 - Note this is for hotel accommodation only.  At beach fales we will do our best to secure single accommodation, but the beach fale booking systems are not robust enough to guarantee it.

Children are those aged 5-12.  Please talk to us about the kayaking options for children as we need to ensure parties are strong enough for safety.  Children under 5 can be accommodated on the cycle sections as we have kiddy seats and kiddy trailers.

All prices in New Zealand Dollars.  

Namua Island Fales

Coastal Adventure

A great place for kids to ride

Carving a paopao (outrigger) in the forest

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