Cycle around Savaii over 9-10 days on quiet, sealed roads staying mostly on the beaches in traditional, family run Beach Fales.
The trip is partly about the cycling, but is more about the opportunities that cycling brings to meet the locals and get to know more about the culture.
Ride in the mornings and spend the afternoons swimming, snorkelling or relaxing on the beach at your lagoon-side fales.
While the trip is designed as a cycle tour, it is also suitable for non-riders who can travel in the support van. This works very well for family groups with children; the youngest rider to complete this trip was 8 years old. We also have e-Bikes available to hire.
Cyclists should be comfortable riding 40kms a day with some hills.
The map below also includes an elevation view.
Most nights are in Beach Fales (pronounced far-lays) These are provided by the villages and consist of thatched roofs, matting sides, and wooden floors.
The huts 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 included and served in a common dining room and the bathrooms are shared facilities. Mattresses, pillows, mosquito nets and bed sheets are included.
The fales are equivalent to a permanent campsite and the more traditional ones are often a highlight for guests. Fale resorts are changing with the times and some offer lockable rooms, corrugated iron roofs, hot showers and ensuites. However, the traditional fales are often cooler and much more pleasant.
Savaii Escape Tours are designed to fit in with arrival 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.
The Savaii Escape is available as a custom tour for groups of 2-16. We recommend this if you are a group of four or more.
It can be modified to include extra/fewer rest days or different accommodation options.
Scheduled tours have a normal maximum of eight and a minimum of two. Custom tours can accommodate up to 16.
A small number of upgrades to ensuite fales are available.
Upgrades to hotels/resorts are available at some locations and is more practical on custom tours when it becomes easier to adjust the destinations to match accommodation. ensuite
Join like-minded cyclists on the set departure date Savaii Escape Tour.
While the trip includes 200kms of cycling it is as much a beach holiday and cultural experience. There is so much to see that you will seldom ride for even an hour without stopping to chat or investigate the blowholes, waterfalls, village crafts (mat and Tapa cloth making), lava fields, volcanic cones, villages and remarkable beaches. Even on riding days, you will generally have the afternoons free to read, snorkel, explore or just enjoy a drink on the beach outside your fale or motel unit.
Dates and times are local time – Samoa is 1 hour ahead of New Zealand.
Savaii full support van included – On cycle days the van will transport gear and support the riders, giving lifts if required. It will travel at the pace of the slowest cyclist in your group. The support driver will ensure that you see the scenic attractions and can explain the Samoan customs and culture. Filtered water and picnic gear available for the use of the group on cycle days.
Generally, the driver will expect you to be ready to start riding at 8am each morning to avoid riding at the hottest time of day. The van will leap-frog the riders, stopping at points of interest and junctions. His focus is on the slower riders and people wishing to travel faster, may do so independently. The driver can organise picnic lunches for a small fee.
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 Tua O Maauga Motel or a village homestay. Upgrades to Le Vasa Resort may be available for travellers 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. Matareva Beach Fales are a good choice for those arriving in time for a swim.
Lauiula Beach Fales (1 night)
Lauiula Beach Fales are on a white sand beach beside a clear lagoon. This is a great place to learn to snorkel or brush up on snorkelling confidence as the shallow, sandy lagoon has regular coral outcrops, but plenty of places to stand up. To see turtles – take your eyes off the coral and tropical fish and look out towards the reef. In the 29 degree water you can stay in as long as you want.
Lauiula occasionally organise a traditional umu demonstration which you then eat for dinner followed by a fiafia evening. The small surcharge is well worth paying.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner are included
Outdoor Samoa to Lano (23 kms flat riding)
After getting your bike fitted and a briefing at our base you will catch the ferry to Savaii on a one hour crossing.
The ride to Lano is on flat roads through villages with little traffic. A pleasant introduction to village life with numerous oopportunites to stop for a swim or an icecream.
Total distance to ride 23kms. Total hill climb – 50m.
Lano to Manase (33kms / 100m climb)
A 33km ride with a gentle ascent and lots of stops for lava fields and interesting villages. The route initially winds alongside the lagoon before heading inland with gentle undulations through regenerating forest. Check out the village of Mauga which is built around a crater and the LMS church with a metre of lava across the floor at Saleaula.
Tailua Beach Fales (1 night)
These well run fales beside the beach are the ideal place to relax.
Manase has the biggest collection of beach resorts on the island and nearby Fagamolo has Le lagoto and Savaii Lagoon Resorts. Leap in for a swim before settling down with a well-earned beer.
Swimming and snorkelling from the sandy beaches are the obvious attractions, but for better snorkelling take the 3-4 hour Dive Savaii trip out to the reef and wreck (tide dependent), walk/cycle west to the next rocky bay or swim out from Fagamolo.
There are usually turtles around the small rock islands in front of Regina Beach Fales.
Ride 8km to Mt Matavanu crater, the source of the 1905 lava field. Admission is 15 Tala. It’s a tough ride up, climbing 550m to the cloud forest, but a thrilling descent.
Explore the Dwarf’s Cave (take a torch each). This is a pool and drop lava tube cave. To explore the final section involves swimming across a pool, and coming back involves a short, steep climb, so go only as far as you are equipped/experienced and allow most of the day.
Meals: Dinner and Breakfast Included
Manase to Asau (40kms / 500m climb)
Most people find that today is the hardest as you travel inland away from the cool breeze and there are quite a number of undulations and some significant ascents.
Take your time through the first few villages as there are lots of photo opportunities before the road starts climbing for the second time at Sasina. The Peopeo Caves at Letui are well worth a stop (have a torch handy) to watch and listen to the swiftlets echo-locating in the cave where they nest.
Aopo is located near the top of the first steep climb. One of the only inland villages in Samoa, it is relatively poor and the shops are not well stocked. The descent into Asau is fast and steep. Here you are rewarded with a swim in the large freshwater pool, the perfect place to cool off and celebrate the days ride as it is only a short distance to your accommodation.
Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge (2 nights)
Tuimoana Suite, Double
Enjoy a relaxed day in Asau Bay
Falealupo Beach Fales (1 night)
Falealupo Beach is a beautiful isolated white sand beach set beside a small private lagoon at the western end of Savaii. The weather is nearly always clear with stunning sunsets while the shallow lagoon is always safe and inviting with a good variety of fish and coral. The fales are basic and facilities are limited, but the setting and hosts make this a special spot.
It is sometimes possible to get an upgrade on the day to an ensuite fale.
Meals: Dinner and breakfast included
Asau to Falealupo (19kms / 160m climb)
A short, sharp climb leads to the Falealupo Peninsula. Take care not to miss the turnoff to Falealupo and a short way down the hill stop at the Canopy walkway to climb up to the crown of a giant banyan tree and take the swing bridge to a nearby tower.
The seal runs out as the road hits the coast and it’s a short ride on gravel and sand roads to Falealupo Beach. But don’t rush as there is much to see along the way. The 1990 and 1991 cyclones destroyed the village but the church ruins 1 kilometer before Falealupo are worth a visit to appreciate the power of these storms. Opposite the church is a small crypt that may surprise.
Falealupo to Satuiatua (38kms / 400m climb)
The ride begins on a gravel road through interesting regenerating coastal bush. The first 2.5 kms usually involves several photo stops before arriving at Cape Mulinuu. According to legend the spirits of the dead depart Samoa here in the deep channels. There are also mysterious star mounds across the road.
The road climbs steadily to 160m before heading back to the coast. More undulations follow as it later contours along the cliff tops with lots of wild seascapes where the surf crashes into the lava coast and sea arches.
Stop at the cliff top Lovers Leap to look for the shark and turtle that the lovers turned into. Then follow along the cliff tops through numerous villages. Faiaai Beach is worth the walk down to for those with energy to spare. There is also a lovely swimming beach at Foailalo that is worth riding back to if it’s low tide when you arrive at Satuiatua.
Satuiatua Beach Resort (2 nights)
Satuiatua Beach Fales are located on a white sand beach in the shade of giant banyan trees.
A highlight is drift snorkelling through the marine reserve beside the Fales. Here you will see plenty of coral, a wide variety of tropical fish and the occasional turtle. The lagoon is only deep enough above half tide, so whale watch from the bar, swing from the banyans, or just laze and swim.
There is surfing at the reef entrance (the resort sometimes hires boards and paddle boards), but only attempt this if you are an experienced surfer.
Meals: Dinner and breakfast included
Enjoy a relaxed day at Satuiatua
Florence's Place (1 night)
Florence’s Place is about 3kms past the Afu Aau falls in the village of Palauli so you can check in and ride back to the falls, or stop on the way. Florence’s Place is a homestay run by Kelvin and Ruth who are rebuilding the old family plantation. They have many interesting stories to tell and a tour of the plantation is well worth while.
Meals: Dinner and breakfast included.
Satuiatua to Florence's Place (42kms / 200m climb)
The day begins with a gentle climb through Lata, then it’s mostly flat for the rest of the way. Lata is an example of the original German copra estates, with its neatly planted rows of coconut palms. These were harvested mostly for their oil for use in lamps, while cattle were grazed under the palms.
The blowholes at Taga are usually a trip highlight as they tend to blow in all weather. Likewise, the falls at Afu Aau are magnificent and a swim here should be considered de rigour. Afu Aau is also a good place for a picnic lunch. You can order this from the driver the day before or buy food along the way to eat here.
Florence's Place to Outdoor Samoa (13 kms flat riding)
10km of easy riding brings you to Saleloga, the commercial centre and only town of Savaii. The markets offer a range of souvenirs before boarding the ferry back to Upolu.
Note that these ferry tickets are not included in your package.
Say goodbye to your driver/guide as you board the ferry. You will be met at Mulifanua Wharf by Outdoor Samoa staff for the last 3km ride.
The fale resorts can be best thought of as camping style. They have good, waterproof roofs, solid wooden floors, matting sides, mosquito nets, bedding, pillows and mattresses. Bathrooms are shared and dining is usually from a limited or set menu. Allocation of specific fales for singles/doubles cannot always be guaranteed within your group during busy periods due to limitations with fale resort booking practices. The fale locations and the hospitality often make these the magic nights of your trip.
Motel standard accommodation provides motel/hotel like rooms with ensuite facilities.
CULTURAL SENSITIVITY – DRESS CODE:
As Samoa is a very traditional country and the people deeply religious we recommend a modest dress code when cycling through villages. Tight lycra shorts should be covered with baggy shorts (or even a skirt for women).
When kayaking it is appropriate for women to have a sarong/lava lava handy to cover up when landing. Respect is especially important on Sunday as it is traditionally a day of rest in Samoa.
Your experience and interaction with the Samoan people and their culture will be enhanced by showing this appropriate cultural sensitivity.
See accompanying email for pricing details