Turtles and Islands

Turtles and Kayaks

Explore the Islands and lagoons of Samoa by kayak

Moderate 4 Days/3 Nights 1,600 NZD pp

4 Day Fully guided kayak tour

Explore the diversity of Samoa's lagoons from the villages of Manono Island, to the isolated white sand beaches of uninhabited Nuusafee Island. Expect to see numerous turtles and appreciate the diversity of the mangroves. No paddling experience required (but read the details). The warm clear water is ideal for swimming and snorkelling while the islands of Manono and Nuusafee are ideal paddle destinations. Your guide has been trained to New Zealand standards and provides both kayak support and a wealth of knowledge on Samoa and its customs. It is not uncommon to see 30 or more turtles, while the giant, flourescent clams have to be seen to be believed.


Experience Level

Participants should be confident in the water.  While no paddle experience is required and the trip is mostly within the reef, there are some quite long paddling days and reasonable fitness is required.

Accommodation is in quite basic accommodation, more akin to New Zealand tramping (trekking).

Tour Prices (per person)

From NZD$1,600 pp  – This should be used as a guideline as most tours will be customised 

Children 5-11 from $1,100 (acceptance of children on trip subject to adequate safety ratios and experience of group).

Credit card (Visa, Mastercard) payments accepted.

To Book

email us: info@outdoor.co.nz or click the button below.  Whether you are joining a scheduled trip or thinking about a custom trip, we want to ensure you get the trip that is right for you and the rest of your group.  

Tour Details

Starting from our base in Mulifanua our first destination is the very traditional Island of Manono.  Here, after exploring the reef we will spend the night at Sunset View Fales.

The next day begins with a dawn paddle to see the sunrise at Nuulopa Island.  Later in the day we will snorkel over the Giant Clams, flourescent molluscs that are nearly a metre long that have to be seen to be believed.

The third day is turtle soup, where after paddling down through a mangrove stream we should find a bale of 30 or more turtles in the main lagoon.

Finally on the last day we paddle to Nuusafee Island to experience a pristine, uninhabited island with its own private lagoon.

Those not wanting to kayak can still enjoy the evening hospitality and the visit to the giant clams. 

If you would like to try but have never kayaked – talk to us, as the trip can work for first time kayakers.

The trip was designed for people with some kayaking experience, but water confident beginners with reasonable fitness also enjoy the trip. 

The standard itinerary involves paddling up to 12 kms a day.  Custom itineraries can be significantly longer or slightly shorter.

  • Sunhat, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Kayak clothes – A light top (long sleeved if you are sun sensitive) and shorts/swimwear
  • Kayak footwear – reef shoes are nice, jandals are fine, bare feet acceptable
  • Swim wear and towel/sarong
  • Comfortable wear for after kayaking (Shorts, light tops)
  • Toiletries, sleepwear, medications etc
  • Camera/phone – in waterproof bag
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle

Your personal Itinerary will contain a full list with more detailed suggestions.

The tour uses a variety of local accommodation providers. These are all variations on the traditional Beach Fales (pronounced far-lays) that 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, 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 units are often cooler and much more pleasant.

Turtles and Islands works best as a custom tour for two or more people.  This ensures that you move at a pace and with goals that suit the entire group.  A few regular departures are scheduled each year.  See the calendar for details. 

Turtles and kayaks works well as a custom tour for groups of 2-16.  We particularly  recommend this if you are a group of four or more.

Within the standard itinerary there is scope to create longer paddling days and more challenging destinations for experienced paddlers.  There is also scope to shorten the distances for novice groups.

Additional days and activities can easity be added or ths can be combined with other tours.

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 on-suite 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. 

  • Kayak hire
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Kayak Guide
  • All meals on tour (see detailed itineraries)
  • Entrance fees/Customary fees
  • Transport to/from resort
  • Filtered water

We use new top quality, New Zealand made polyethylene kayaks from Q-Kayaks. Choose from either Southern Endeavour double kayaks and Shearwater single kayaks. Spray decks and PFDs (lifejackets) are from Day Two. Your guide carries full safety gear including tow line, first aide kit, split paddle, PLB and phone/radio.


Day 1

Turtles and Islands

Turtles and Islands

Explore two special islands of Samoa by Kayak on this four day tour. Along the way visit a large bale (group) of turtles and snorkel amongst the giant clams.
Spend a night in the village fales at Manono Island, one of the most traditional places in Samoa and then spend a day exploring the remote and uninhabited island of Nuusafee with its private lagoon and sandy beach.

This trip can be adjusted to suit beginner paddlers (who are water confident and reasonable swimmers), or extended for experienced paddlers. But please talk to us first if your group has both novice paddlers and other who want to be extended.

Manono Overnight Kayak

Manono Island Overnight Kayak

The island is located 4 kms off the coast and can be reached by kayaking entirely within the lagoon. However in good conditions a trip outside the reef provides an opportunity to see giant turtles basking in the deeper water. Regardless of which route we take we normally spot several turtles along the 8km route to Sunset View Fales. There are often opportunities to snorkel on the reef on the way there and observing village life from the sea is a good introduction to Samoa.

The very traditional Island of Manono has banned dogs and cars with the four villages connected via a footpath around the coast. The 4kmwalk always seems to take at least 2 hours as you stop to watch village life or to get involved with a game of volleyball or kilikitti (local cricket).

A dawn paddle to see the flying foxes return to roost on Nuutele Island is always worth the lost sleep.

The return kayak journey is usually by a different route, leading to a full circumnavigation of the Island.

On Sundays the routine is very different as Church and a traditional Sunday Lunch or to’onai take priority with swimming and walking restricted till the afternoon.

Day 2

Snorkel tour of giant clams

Giant Clams (Kayak)

After kayaking to either the Outdoor Samoa base or the Manono wharf, load the kayaks onto a trailer.

Choose between cycling or driving to the clams. Or just cycle the easy bits.

The ride begins with a 14 km gentle ride around the coast is a very pleasant introduction to village life. Or for the more adventurous there is an option to ride the trails and 4WD roads through the bush.

At Falelatai the road heads steeply uphill for 2 kms. However, when you get to the top the view over the lagoons are well worth stopping for. The downhill section is only partly sealed but after the ford, at 19kms, the road improves for the last 3 kms around the coast to Le Faga bay in Savaia home of the Giant Clams (22.5 kms to here). These giant flourescent mulluscs are almost a metre long and easily accessible via an easy snorkel in a sheltered lagoon.

It is a further 10km to Matareva for the night.

The clams are best visited at half tide or more, so the schedule may be adjusted.

Matareva Beach Fales

Matareva Beach Fales (1 night)

Set in its own private bay on a white sand beach beside a blue lagoon this well run, basic fale resort is a lovely spot to experience a beach holiday as well as the culture of Samoa. A daily program of activities includes Fiafia nights with fire dancers and various tours.

Hosts Tavita and Fiauu continue to develop the resort adding new activities and experiences. Surfing is sometimes possible (but it is onto/over the reef), the Giant clams are a short ride away and there are several nearby beaches and pools to explore.

Meals: Dinner and Breakfast included. There is a lunch menu available and on Sunday a To’anai (traditional umu lunch) is available.

Day 3

Kayaking among the turtles

Turtle Kayaking

Kayak down a gentle mangrove stream and ou into the lagoon where we normally see a large bale (group) of turtles.

Vai Villas

Vai Villas (1 night)

Located beside a spring and natural pool, Vai Villas provides an introduction to Samoan village life.

The navigable creek flowing from the spring leads to a lagoon that is home to numerous turtles that breed on the sandy beaches.

Meals Included: Breakfast


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Dates to be added when travel restrictions ease

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What a top-notch, professionally run company! Ross was a real pleasure to deal with, as we made our kayak tour reservation online, prior to arriving on Upolu. He was incredibly friendly, genuine, honest, and quick to respond to all inquiries! Highly recommended!
From Trip Advisor
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Samoa is now fully open to tourists and all Covid restrictions have been lifted.  As of 22 September 2022, there are NO requirements for vaccination certificates or Covid tests.
The number of flights available is steadily increasing. Qantas starts flying from Australia in November  and Virgin resumes in March.  Air New Zealand flights are expected to reach almost two a day in 2023.