Information for cyclists
Cycle either or both Islands. While it is only 200kms around each, we recommend allowing 7-10 days per island as there is so much to see and do. It is an experience, not just a ride.
Savaii is the more interesting, remote and traditional island and the usual first ride.
Upolu is more developed and has more up-market resorts. All roads are usually quiet and safe to ride except the stretch between Apia and the airport/ferry terminal which is very busy and best avoided on a bike.
We publish a small booklet on cycling in Samoa with suggested routes, gear lists and advice on what to expect.
STA (The tourism authority) publishes a free map that is readily available on arrival that is quite adequate for cycling.
We are in the process of publishing all our routes on ridewithgps. The map below is the first of these. We welcome GPS files of new routes and interesting finds and will endeavour to make these available to all.
The routes around both islands nominally follow the coast, but they still include significant hills. See the elevation chart on the map below. There are several days that will require 40kms of travel between suitable accommodation.
Many villages offer fales (pronounced far-lays) as tourist accommodation. These are thatched roofed, matting sided, wooden floored beach huts. They are often in the most stunning settings and allow you to sit or lie on your bed and look out across the beach to the most amazing sunsets. Breakfast and dinner are usually included and served in a common dining room and the bathrooms are shared facilities. Mattresses, mosquito nets and bed sheets are included. I regard them as analogous to a permanent campsite and the more traditional ones like Falealupo are a highlight for me and almost everyone on our trips. Fale resorts are changing with the times and some offer lockable rooms, corrugated iron roofs, hot showers and ensuites. However the traditional units are often cooler and much more pleasant. Note that while some fale resorts are well organised, several of those in the best locations are very hard to book remotely. If you want a fully booked holiday – consider our tours.
Our recommendation in the past has been that you will always find accommodation as a cyclist, even in the busy times, however recently we have had several of the best places say they have been very stretched and requested that people at least call ahead a day before. This applies particularly to Lauiula in Lano (option to stay at Joelans next door if they are full) and at Satuiatua (options are a night on a floor of a fale in the village). Phone numbers are in our Samoa Cycle guidebook.
Savaii Escape Tours are designed to fit in with arriving on a Friday Night flight and departing on a Saturday evening or Sunday flight. Allowing the tour to fit into 5 days leave. There are scheduled tours starting most Friday nights/Saturday mornings from April till October. More details on the calendar.These come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of reputations. Unfortunately they are not distributed to fit with a cycling tour and the very good ones are usually too full to want cyclists for 1 day visits while the poor ones are less enjoyable than the fales. We use several (see the itineraries) because they are conveniently located and usually offer something quite unique.
There are no camp grounds and generally camping is not worth while. There are no public beaches, as all beaches are communally owned by the local village. So if you are not staying in a resort or village fale you will be asked to pay for your camping spot. Tents tend to be too hot and not nearly as pleasant as a fale. So it just becomes easier, lighter riding and not much more expensive to stay in a fale and use the experience to interact with the locals.
Samoa has a tremendous culture of extending hospitality and turning up in a village with no accommodation won’t mean sleeping on the beach. However you need to be comfortable sleeping on a mat, possibly without a mosquito net and keen to eat the local food (lots of Taro and high in fat). For some the highlight of their freedom trip was an unexpected night in a remote village.
We have a formal homestay arrangement at Palauli for our full tour clients. This is generally only for our full tour clients and is of a higher standard.
See the Bike Hire Page.
Dates to be added when travel to Samoa recommences
The fale resort is on a sandy beach beside the lagoon at Lano. It’s the perfect place to practise your snorkelling, or just laze in the warm water for an hour or two. Lano sometimes has a Siva show and umu feast. Dependent on numbers staying and availability of the dance team.
*Undulations occasionally becomes a swear word as in – “another of Ross’s undulating climbs”. They are never very high, but they are repetitive and noticeable in the heat.