There are dozens of car rental companies in Samoa and, on top of this, some of the larger accommodation providers also hire vehicles. Most of the car rentals are in or around Apia and the Airport, and prices can be quite competitive. Note that you can usually take rental cars from Upolu over to Savai’i and back, or vice versa.
It’s always safe to have your rental car covered by insurance. Insurance costs aren’t always included in the price of a quote, so always double-check this.
Traveling by public bus in Samoa is an experience in itself. The main bus station is behind the Apia Flea Market on Beach Road, but the buses stop at the New Market before leaving the town area en route to their village destinations. The vibrantly painted, wooden-seated vehicles each have their own character. They have the names of their villages written on the front. The first buses usually start at 5am and last departure at 5pm. On Saturdays, some buses do not run while others only operate half-day. All buses do not run on Sundays.
Taxis are abundant around the islands and can be found literally anywhere on the road. They are not metered so it’s always best to have an idea of how much the trip will cost and settle on a price with the taxi driver before starting the trip. Taxis from Apia to Faleolo International Airport or vice versa costs around WST$80 whereas trips around the town area are usually between WST$3 and WST$12.
By ferry (between Islands)
The Samoa Shipping Corporation operates the passenger-automobile ferry MV Lady Samoa II that runs between Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu (near Faleolo International Airport) and Salelologa on Savai’i every 2 hours Monday to Saturday from 6am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. One way passenger fares are WST$6 for children (2-12 years) and adults WST$12. Reservations are recommended for vehicles and charges are between WST$80-$110 depending on the vehicle size.
When planning to go to Manono Island, Manono-uta ferry landing just down the road from Mulifanua Wharf is where you can catch a boat which costs WST$1 for children and WST$3 for adults one way. Charter ferries to Manono Island will cost WST25 one way unless you want to wait for other passengers and pay only WST$3.
Visitors to Samoa need to obtain a temporary driving license. Most car-hire companies issue these, or visitors can contact LTA (Land Transport Authority) in Apia. A valid overseas driving license is required in order to obtain a temporary driving license.
In 2009, the Samoan government decided to change the law from driving on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side. Still, don’t be surprised to see a mixture of left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive vehicles on the road. When renting a car, insist on a right-hand drive vehicle. The speed limit within central Apia and through adjacent villages is 40km/h; outside populated area it’s 56 km/h.