Freedom Hires

Freedom Hires

Hire what you need to self explore

20-500kms 1-20 Days

Hire your bike and create your own adventure

For experienced riders, with a flexible itinerary and confidence in finding their own accommodation this can be a great choice.

A great way to see Samoa is to just grab one of our bikes, throw a small amount of gear on the back and tour the great beaches at your own pace. Stay as long as you want at each place and enjoy the extra freedom. We have published a booklet on what to take, where to stay and how to prepare - click the button below to order it. Outside of school holidays there is no need to book accommodation as the village will always find somewhere for you to sleep. However, during school holidays finding a booking in many places can be a challenge. Attempting to book fale style accommodation from outside Samoa is often a challenging exercise. If you want the certainty of a booked bed, consider our tours as we specialise in customising them to your requirements. However, note that we do not provide a service of bike hire with accommodation bookings only.

Cycling

While you may be used to cycling 100kms a day, it's warmer in samoa, the beaches are great and the people friendly. It's better to plan on 40-50kms a day

Unsupported

While our tours are fully supported with gear transferred if you want the independence of a freedom ride you will need to carry your own gear. All our bikes have pannier racks and we have panniers for hire.

Beaches

Stunning white-sand beaches with safe swimming in coral lagoons almost every night.

Accommodation Options

This style of travel suits those used to travelling without accommodation bookings. While some fales and resorts are online and organised for internet bookings, others are not. We do not offer a casual accommodation booking service.

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.

Does this look like fun?

Dates to be added when travel to Samoa recommences

[booked-calendar calendar=50]
"A fabulous holiday cycling around the beautiful Savaii thanks to Outdoor.co.nz".
Emma Tina

Trip Itinerary

The regular 2021 Savaii Escape runs from Friday night to the afternoon of Sunday week

Arrival (Day 1)
Most people will tend to arrive at Faleolo (Apia) Airport on the Friday afternoon or evening where you will be met by our representative and transferred to the Tua O Maauga Motel. If you are arriving earlier or would prefer an upgrade to a resort, please contact us for options.
Day 2 - Introduction to Savaii
After getting your bike fitted, ride the 3kms to the ferry terminal. The crossing takes a little over an hour and then it is a 19km ride to Lano. The road meanders beside the lagoon and is a delightful introduction to village life. Your arms will get tired from waving to the kids and calling out “bye-bye” as you pass. Along the way there are several good swimming spots on beaches and in fresh water pools.

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.
Day 3 -Ride to Manase
Look forward to a 32km ride on mostly flat roads. The middle section of the ride is through a jungle corridor before winding over the lava fields. There is time to inspect the LMS church with a metre of lava on the floor from the 1905 eruption. Relax at the Manase fales(some motel upgrades available), where again the water laps within a few metres of your feet.
Day 4 Over the hill
This is the big ride day. Although it is only 40kms to Vaisala, the 500 metres of climb can get a bit warm, so start early. If you stay with the van there is no compulsion to ride the hills, just throw your bike in the van and enjoy the company of your support crew. The ride starts with a gentle meander through seaside villages before gradually heading inland and climbing through forest to avoid the lava cliffs.There are now two lava tube cave tour locations along the way offering the opportunity to see the swiftlets pretending to be bats as they echo-locate to their nests as well as a chance to admire the geology of the caves. The road climbs steadily to 200m before heading across the lava fields in a series of undulations* and down to Asau. Swim in the freshwater pools at the bottom of the hill before riding the last 3 kms to Vaisala Hotel or Va-I-Moana Resort. Stay at either Vaisala, with its Somerset Maugham atmosphere and great beach or Va-I-Moana Resort with its great atmosphere and vibe.
Day 5 Explore Asau
Snorkel at the beach at Vaisala, Kayak to the island from Va-I-Moana, Visit the cocoa factory where Whittakers get their Samoa ingredients or just laze on the beach and relax at the bar. Local outrigger canoes (paupaus) are available for hire at Vaisala. School visits and plantation tours can be arranged.
Day 6 To the western edge of the world
This is a gentle 20km ride to Falealupo with a number of attractions along the way: climb a giant banyan tree, realise the power of cyclones at the church (ruined in 1990) and hear stories about surviving cyclones at the House of Rock. Falealupo is a beautiful isolated beach at the western edge of the world; the sunsets across the coral sands are memorable and the swimming in the small lagoon refreshing.
Day 7 South coast ride
There are numerous villages on the 40km ride around the coast to Satuiatua. The road winds along the cliff tops and beside beaches through many villages. Stop at Lovers Leap for a nui (drinking coconut) and to admire the view. Satuiatua Resort is located right on the beach under giant banyan trees. When the tide is right (greater than half) there is wonderful snorkelling amongst dense schools of fish and we have often seen whales breaching while we were enjoying a beer on the restaurant balcony. There is an opportunity to attend a tapa making session to see mulberry bark turned into cloth and a good plantation tour is offered by the resort, but the beach usually wins out as the best spot for the afternoon.
Day 8 R&R
Enjoy a day at the beach at Satuiatua. Snorkel, take in the cultural activities or just chill out and look for the whales. There is some surfing available nearby, but this is for experts only as its onto the reef and subject to strong currents at the lagoon entrance. There is no resident surf guide.
Day 9 Blowholes and waterfalls
It’s the last big cycling day and while it’s 45km, the ride is mostly flat and with a lot to see on the way (there is so much to see that some groups elect to take the van for part of this day). The blowholes seem to perform in almost any sea condition and tide but can be huge in a good southerly swell. The waterfalls at Afu Aau are probably the second most visited attraction on Savaii, and for good reason. Set in a shady, leafy valley the pool beneath the falls provides a very refreshing swim for all, with opportunities for the more confident to leap from the surrounding cliffs. Depending on your flights and preferences your last night will normally be at Florence’s place, a small homestay with very interesting and entertaining hosts.
Day 10 Departure
Catch the ferry back to Upolu after an easy 10km ride, wave your sad farewells to this uniquely hospitable country and fly home (or if you are simply not ready to leave, stay a while longer).

*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.
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