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Help with transport!!!!

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Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
Help with transport!!!!

We are travelling to Samoa for the first time in August with two families (4 adults, and 6 kids) and are visiting both Upulo and savaii. Just wondering the best way to get around. Do we use a driver or taxi. Appreciate any advice and tips.

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
posts: 2,959
reviews: 17
1. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Malo lava

How long are you going for and where are you staying? Taxi's can be OK and relatively inexpensive on Upolu but as everything is a long way from anywhere else in Savaii you'd be best off hiring a car for a few days to do a few of the "must do's".

Car rental is undoubtedly the best way to see Samoa and will work out cheaper than taxi's in the long run and driving around both islands is quite easy.

If you can give me an idea of where you're staying and where you want to go from there I'll be better able to give you an idea of the overall taxi cost compared to car hire.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
2. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Thank you for your advice, our first night we are staying just near the airport, then catching a ferry on Sunday to Savaii and staying at Lusias Lagoon lodge for 4 nights, we will then catch a ferry back over to Upolu and are staying 3 nights at Tao Fau Fales and then 5 nights at Aggies beach resort. There are many things we would like to visit and see, waterfalls, cave pools, snorkelling, markets, lava tubes, blow holes, swimming with turtles, but I havent really investigated which things are best with Children, as we are two families, with kids ranging from 6years old to 11 years old, (10 of us all together), and yes we are struggling to work out the best way to get around both islands and the best way to get out and see the sights. Many thanks for your advice.

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
posts: 2,959
reviews: 17
3. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Lusia's is a good base to use to see and do everything you want on Savaii, it's not far from the ferry and markets in Salelologa and it's an easy drive to Taga blowholes and Afu Aau Falls - picture perfect falls with a beautiful, cool pool to take a dip in. Swimming with the turtles is about 40 mins from Salelologa where Lusia's is, about an 80 tala taxi van ride if you can find one that will take 10 people. You will also see lots of lave fields along the road to the turtles. Taxi's aren't metered but after the first hour the drivers start to charge by the hour and because you want to see quite a bit the price can mount up so I really would recommend hiring a car so that you can stop when, where and for as long as you want. Lusia's do have rentals (or they did, it was a bit of a dodgy business) or you can get one from Jetover Hotel which is in the centre of Salelologa.

Do you mean Taufua Beach Fales or Fao Fao on Upolu? Either way you and the kids will love Lalomanu Beach, it's great for snorkelling and swimming and because it's in a village you'll get to experience life fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) and the kids should have fun with the local children who love to play with tourists. Piula Caves is on the way to Lalomanu, it's in the grounds of a monastery and you can swim in the caves.

Have you arranged transfers from the wharf to the fales? If not a cab will cost around 160 tala and the same back to Aggie's. Aggie's has a kids club so it might give you a chance for the adults to have some "grown up" time. From the resort they run a free shuttle bus into Apia at 9.30 each morning returning at 3.30, double check that though because they used to drop guests off at Aggie's Hotel and Bungalows in town which is now closed for reno's as a result of Cyclone Evan last year. A day in Apia is well worth it, you can wander around the markets and the small specialty shops have a drink at one of the many cafes in town or lunch at one of the restaurants near the international wharf - Gourmet Seafood and Grill has the best fish and chips in Samoa at only 13 tala pp, kids are probably half that, or you could try Paddles for Italian food.

I really don't think you need a car for the whole time you're on Upolu, maybe just while your at Lalomanu to get around to the sights. Samoana Rentals and Blue Pacific Car Hire will deliver to your accommoation and pick up when you leave or alternatively you could take it back to Apia, waive the pick up fee and get the 3.30 shuttle to the resort.

Everything you mentioned is fine for kids.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
4. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Wow, thank you so much Deb, that is all so very helpful. We have just emailed Lusias to enquire about car rentals, and Blue Pacific have already got their van hired out so we will now try Samoana Rentals.

And yes it was TauFua Fales that we have booked. Quick question about that, what do we do with all our luggage when we are staying at the fales and go out sight seeing for the day. The other thing I have been hearing a little bit about are the dogs, is it much of a concern, or nothing really to worry about? I would really love for my kids to experince villiage liife a little, and experience a little culture, any suggestions on where we should visit for this? So would you say the beaches closest to Tau Fua Fales are the nicest beaches for kids/families for swimming and snorkelling? This has been very helpfull as the travel agents have very limited information on Samoa, and this is my first time using Trip advisor and the information that is provided is unbelievably helpfull!

Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
5. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Hi Deb, another quick question, do you know anything about "AA rent a car" this was suggested by blue pacific as they didnt have anything availalble for us. Many Thanks

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
posts: 2,959
reviews: 17
6. Re: Help with transport!!!!

You're welcome.

AA are good as is Samoana, you can also try Go Rentals, Island Rento and Funway Rentals.

Are you staying in enclosed fales? If so, most are lockable. If you're staying in open fales then you can leave any valuables with reception and ask them about luggage as I'm not sure. Theft is very rare in fales so your luggage should be safe.

Dogs in tourist places that are part of a village like Lusia's and Taufua are not a problem, most properties have their own dogs which are very friendly. If you are worried when you see a dog you can pick up a rock or carry a stick and just the act of doing so wards them off, they're used to it. You can also shout 'alu' (aarh-loo) which means go away and they do!!

If you wander around the villages you are in you will get to meet the locals, have a chat and see how they live. Also, as the staff come from the villages have a chat to them and you'll learn a lot. Samoan kids love to play with 'palagi' (foreign) kids on the beach so your children will have a lot of fun and hopefully learn a little about the culture from them. Samoan kids generally don't have all the mod cons that ours kids do so they play outside, a forgotten joy of being a child in the developed world. At one of the places you're staying you'll get to experience a FiaFia night - a celebration of Samoan culture, song, dancing (incl fire dancing), story-telling and food. I'm not sure if Lusia's has one but I'm pretty sure Taufua's is on a Saturday night and Aggie's on a Friday. There is also a cultural show every Thursday behind the Samoa Tourism Fale on Beach Road in Apia so you might want to plan your trip to town then. The Taufua family live close to the resort and are at the fales most day, Tai and Sili and all the staff will be happy to help you with any questions about fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way). Have you considered a day trip to an island? Namua Island is easy to get to from Lalomanu, a day trip is 40 tala pp (kids probably half) and that includes the return boat trip, lunch and a tour around the island which is uninhabited except when there are guests staying in the fales there. You can swim there and often see turtles and dolphins playing in the wild, I'm sure you'd all love it.

Lalomanu Beach is a postcard perfect one. It's great for swimming but don't expect too much from snorkeling as the marine life is still suffering the effects of Cyclone Evan last year.

Unfortunately most travel agents are just after a buck these days and just sell any country without knowing anything about it, you'll know more about it before coming home!!

Hope this helps.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
7. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Thank you again Deb,

Yes we are in open Fales, after reading other peoples posts, I am getting worried we wont all fit in, I am hoping they are family sized as we are two adults and three children staying in each one, do you think they will be big enough at TauFua fales?

Yes that island trip sounds amazing, is that something we will need to pre book or could we do it once we arrive, which Island does it leave from, Upolu or Savaii?

Also you said Lalomanu beach is perfect for swimming, cant wait to get there, sounds wonderfull, now what about snorkelling with young kids, our children havent really done much snorkelling so we would like them to get to experience it, where would you suggest for that?

Thank you .

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
posts: 2,959
reviews: 17
8. Re: Help with transport!!!!

You're welcome.

How old are the kids? If they are only toddlers you'll be fine in the fales but if they are older you might be a bit cramped so it might be best to book a separate fale for the kids. It's really up to how you feel, the fales are said to fit up to 4 people but I always find them cramped with just 2 of us.

Namua is off the south east coast of Upolu, you can see it on your way to Lalomanu. All the arrangements for a day trip can be arranged by reception staff at Taufua and you can wait until you get there, it does get booked out accommodation wise but not for day trips.

Lalomanu will be great for snorkelling with the kids, you just need to keep an eye on them in case there are any strong rips, you can judge that for yourself when you go in. Don't expect to much from the snorkelling as the coral is still regenerating after the cyclone last year. If you're in Apia for a day you can snorkel at Palolo Deep Marine Reserve which is a more controlled environment.

Hope this helps.

Manuia le aso

Deb

Geelong
posts: 11
reviews: 4
9. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Thanks Deb, the kids ages are 8, 10 & 11, the original email from the fales says it will fit 5, so fingers crossed. The other thing I have just found out is that I cant get Somoan Tala in Australia, I need to get it once I arrive, apparently the exchange rate is better in Apia than at the airport, but our first week of holiday is at Lusia's on Savaii, what would you suggest we do for money? Also, just wondering if there is more to see and do around TauFua fales rather than around Aggie greys Lagoon resort, as I am just trying to work out when to rent the car, as I don want to rent it for our whole stay, perhaps for the three days whilst we are at TauFua fales and then do the Island day trip whilst we are at aggies and then utilize the bus whilst at aggies, and perhaps get a car (if we can find one, lol) whilst at Lusias to get in all the sights of Savaii?

Another thng I have noticed recently, were quite a few negative comments about Aggie Greys Lagoon resort, do you know much about it and what it is like now, we were just thinking of staying in a resort for the last few days to give the kids a chance to live it up a little, and have a bit of luxury and R&R before the flight home? Whats your opinion?

Woolgoolga...
Destination Expert
for Apia, Samoa
posts: 2,959
reviews: 17
10. Re: Help with transport!!!!

Malo lava

Taufua might have some family fales that I haven't seen, you should be OK but if it's too cramped just ask reception if they have another available.

You can get tala at Travelex at any international airport in Australia, but DON'T - eg if Western Union is Samoa were to give you 2.25 for $AU1 then Travelex would probably give you 1.85, they're a rip off. You're best getting tala at the Western Union outlet at the airport, it's not too much lower than in Apia, you will get a higher rate at ATMs but then you have to factor in the fee your own bank charges and the one the Samoan banks charge, unless you're with Westpac or ANZ.

There's not much to do in the north west where Aggie's is unless you want to drive around that part of the coast, there is some magnificent scenery and quaint villages that way that tourists don't often get to see.

You'd be best hiring the car for Taufua as you can travel along the coast to waterfalls, Piula Caves, To Sua Trench and just generally sight-see.

Lusia's used to have their own private rental company, I'm not too sure whether it still exists, if not Jetover Hotel is not far and they are pretty reputable. It'd be a good idea to work out which days you want the car so you can book them before you go, they do get booked out in high season.

Aggie's..........a very long story. We've stayed at Aggie's resort 7 times since it opened in 2005. At first it was a great place if not a little too touristy but then they started to host Survivor and turn back guests who had already booked and paid, this happened for 3 seasons of the show and everyone just got jack of them letting people down, not paying back money that was owed to people who had booked etc. I haven't been there for a while but believe from Samoan friends who still work there that it is quite run down. Other traveller's have complained about the food and service but on the plus side the rooms are huge, there is a choice of 5 restaurants, they have a Kid's Club which children love, a great pool and the Manaia (spa) is worth a visit as well. Also, as you've mentioned, there is the convenience of the free bus into town everyday. Unfortunately there aren't many other resorts that take kids under 12 on Upolu unless you stay in Apia. The kids will be able to live it up because none of the history and negative comments are important to them and if you just chill you should be able to get the R&R you want. Samoa is all about living on island time and part of that is letting minor problems pass you by.

If the negative reviews still bother you perhaps you could have a look at Sa'moana Resort or Le Uaina.

Hope this helps

Manuia le aso

Deb