Upolu Escape

Upolu Escape

Explore Upolu on a one week ride

A week long cycle tour of Upolu that takes in the popular attractions of the Island. Swim at the best beaches, snorkel over the giant clams, jump into To Sua Trench, cool off under Togitogiga falls and experience village life on this 160 km ride.

Description Cycling Beaches Comfort Adventure Culture
A tour of the Upolu at your pace and comfort level Fales
Motels
Description
A tour of the Upolu at your pace and comfort level
Cycling
Beaches
Comfort
Fales
Motels
Adventure
Culture

Explore the beaches and attractions of Upolu in this one week tour of the most populous Island.

Ride gently through coastal villages stopping regularly to observe village life and maybe join a game of village cricket before stopping for the afternoon and evening at your hotel or fale on the beach.  The coast is dotted with sandy beaches that provide safe swimming and snorkelling in the lagoon.  Maybe kayak to a remote island with its own sandy beach, or snorkel with turtles from our kayaks.

Or add in a dose of adrenaline with some of our side trips like waterfall jumping, lava tube caving, underwater caves and coastal challenges.

Travel between locations by bike, electric bike or car transfer.

Highlights include:

  • To Sua Trench - leap into the pool at the bottom of this deep collapse lava tube - One of the iconic locations of Samoa
  • Piula Cave pools - swim in these freshwater pools formed by raised sea arches
  • Apia Markets
  • Kayak amongst the wild turtles or out to the private Nuusafee Island (optional extra tour)
  • Safe swimming on great beaches
  • Explore the waterfalls and pools of the main rivers
  • Lava tube caving
  • Fish for Giant Trevally (optional extra)
  • Snorkel over the Giant Clams

While the trip is designed as a cycle tour, it is also suitable for non-riders who can travel in the support van. 

There are two longer days of cycling (35 and 32 kms) and 4 days of cycling 12-20 kms).  There are opportunities to swim and snorkel every day and numerous waterfalls, pools and caves to explore along the way.  As well as opportunities for kayak trips and a fishing half day.

Cyclists should be comfortable cycling 40kms in a day with some hills.  While the longest two days are 35 and 32 kms, the heat makes riding a bit harder.  This trip can be coordinated with Friday evening flights from Auckland or Sydney and return flights the following Saturday to fit into five days leave.

Accommodation is a mix of fales and motels.  See FAQs for Cyclists for more details.

Alternatives

  • If you have more time - combine the Savaii Escape Plus with add-ons of either the van tour or kayak tours
  • If you prefer to see a more traditional side of Samoa - check the Savaii Escape
P7090475

Relax and unwind in Samoa!


Arrival

This Itinerary is based on arriving on Friday Night from Auckland.  Options are available for people arriving on Saturday or for groups arriving on any day - see Pricing and Extensions for more information.

Air New Zealand and Virgin flights arrive around 9pm.  We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Apia (Either the Amanaki or Tanoa Tusitala).

Saturday - Apia and the North East Coast

We will meet you after breakfast to fit your bikes and  provide a briefing on cycling and culture in Samoa.

There will be time for a quick tour of the markets (fruit, tourist and fish markets) before hitting the road East.

Once out of Apia the road meanders along the coast.  Squeezed between the cliffs and the beaches it twists and turns with a few small undulations. Its 25 kms to your destination of Le Uaina and along the way the suburbs of Apia give way to much more traditional villages.

Just before Le Uaina the Piula Cave Pools are located inside the Methodist Seminary.  Its a great place to stop for a rdip in the freshwater pools, but you mat want to check into the Le Uaina hotel first and walk back 200m along the coast to the pools.

Le Uaina provides a beachside motel setting with a pool, bar and restaurant beside the lagoon.  A nearby marine reserve is suitable for snorkelling - best above half tide.

Sunday - Le Mafa Pass and Namua Island

This is the toughest ride of the day so start early before it gets too hot. Theres 35kms to cover and at least 350m of climb.  It may also be worth asking at Le Uaina if they can prepare a picnic lunch for To Sua (there is some food available at To Sua and nearby Sea Breeze has excellent food, but the journey may flow best with a packed picnic for To Sua). 

The road begins with a gentle ride to Falelfa where its worth stopping to admire the waterfall.  Then its a steady climb to Le Mafa Pass (those that regard anything less than an 80k ride as not worth counting can attempt the route via Saletele - but the road is not well maintained).

From Le Mafa Pass the easier route is down to the South Coast via the Fuipisia and Sopoega falls There is a good interpretive walk at the Sopoega Falls but it may not be open on Sundays.    From the coast head east to To Sua Trench, the spectacular swimming hole that features on most Tourism brochures.  Whether you take a giant leap into the pool (caution - check the water depth and tide carefully), a long snorkel out through the deep tunnel to the open sea (even more caution with sea conditions and tide)  or  just relax in the picnic grounds and gardens, its well worth a visit (although you pass here again tomorrow).  From here continue to Lalomanu and around to Malaela and the wharf to Namua Island, stopping at Sea Breeze or Lalomanu for lunch.   

Namua Island, A km off the coast is reached by a "ferry" that is usually a 14ft dinghy.  The Beach Fales are the only habitation on the island and are set on a small sandy beach.  Your bikes can be left at the shop by the "ferry terminal".  Once on the island - climb to the top and lookout for the resident school of dolphins and the odd passing whale and admire the seabird life including frigate birds engaging in dog fights for food from other birds.  At low tide the island can be circumnavigated (it's a bit slippery).  or just relax, swim and snorkel.  

Note there is no electricity on the island and no shop.  So buy beers and softdrinks etc at the ferry terminal.

Monday - To Tafatafa

The 35 km ride begins on the flat beside the lagoon (back the way you came).  If you didn't go there yesterday - visit To sua Trench.  Make sure you take the turnoff to Saletoga Sands (as otherwise it's a long, unneeded uphill diversion).  Saletoga is a nice place for lunch.

Vaiula Beach fales have their own signposted access to Tafatafa Beach (the second road to the beach).  The fales are right beside the beach where there is excellent swimming.  Nug runs a beach nard here serving stubbies at about $3NZD a bottle.  Even if you don't drink its a great atmosphere.  If Nugs away - its probably because he is surf guiding on the nearby reef break (don't try this if you cant surf 2 metre swells breaking onto coral reef).  Dave who owns the fales is a legendary big game fishing skipper.  He doesn't have an ocean boat at Tafatafa, but he can take small groups out for a half day fishing for Giant Trevalli - at very reasonable prices.  His sons will also take you on a guided tour of the nearby lava tube caves.

 Tuesday - Vaiula Beach

 This can be a beach and rest day, but there is heaps to do.  

We run kayak trips from here to nearby Nuusafee Island.  A magic deserted island with its own beaches and reef.  We always struggle to get people to leave the island after a day swimming and snorkelling there.  The trip can also include a tour of a mangrove lagoon at Poutasi.  Bookings essential.

Dave's fishing trips should also be booked in advance.

Or ride out to some of the nearby attractions: Togitogiga Falls, Coastal walkway, Aganoa Beach or the Ma Tree.

Wednesday - Sightsee to Vai Villas

Todays 21 Km gentle ride will take longer than you anticipate as theer is much to see along the way:

Togitogiga falls are a lovely spot for a freshwater dip and possibly a jump from the top.

Walking the 1km to the Ma Tree is worth it to see the large buttressed tree (if you have a support van do the through trip from Togitogiga to the Ma tree and on out to the road).

The Coastal Walkway runs along the clifftops.  The access road is opposite the Ma Tree entrance.

Aganoa black sand beach is 3 kms down a rough road, but the beach is quite special as it has no coral reef protecting it.  There is often a small swell making the swimming a bit more active than lagoon lounging.  Unfortunately the coral beds have been bleached, but its still worth the small customary fee to use the road. 

Maninoa offers a range of places for lunch;  Sinalei and Coconuts are upmarket beach resorts, Two smaller restaurant only places may also be operating.  Wherever you eat the vistas and beach are excellent.

Once back on the road take care not to miss the sign to Vai Villas at Lotofaga-uta.  Vai Villas is set in the village by a spring and freshwater pools.  Your hosts Jill and Lua have developed a unique place and have a big fund of stories about Samoa and their return from NZ to build it.

Thursday - Beach or Turtle Kayak Day

Todays ride is only 12 kms to Matareva Beach, one of the most secluded and pleasant beaches on Upolu.  So if you want a bit more activity we offer a day's kayaking among the turtles (booking essential).  The trip begins paddling down the mangrove lined stream to the lagoon.  It's a good chance to practice your maneuvering skills, while being distracted by the orchids and bird life on the way.  Once in the main lagoon we paddle up beside the beach to a small keyhole gap in the reef where we usually see a number of giant turtles (shells over 1m long).  There is often an opportunity to snorkel along the reef walls where the turtles can be observed in their natural environment.  

Matareva Beach road requires payment of a small customary fee.  The resort has been rebuilt following the Tsunami and cyclone and is once again a favourite spot for Apia locals and expats.  It has its own private beach and lagoon and an atmosphere that is very conducive to just relaxing.

Friday - To Le Faga Bay

Another very short 12 km ride (take the turn to Return to Paradise and then just before the coast turn right to Savaia).   Le Valasis Fales are 300m along the coast from the Savaii village centre, Lalotalie is a further 3kms around the coast by the ford.

The Giant Clams are in the marine reserve opposite Le Valasis and should be considered a must see.  These giant, fluorescent molluscs weigh about 200kgs are almost a metre long and located about 50m offshore.  There is a 10 tala customary fee to see them, and the fee is supposed to include a guide.  Pay the fee either to the woman in the fale at the corner or at the nearby shop.  There have been challenges with people demanding money who were not the guardians and who did not know where the clams were.   The clams can only be visited on the top half of the tide (and you would not want to risk getting a foot caught in them at lower tide as they close quickly and firmly).  

Saturday - Tofa Soifua to the Enchanted Isles

The last 22 kms around the coast includes a steep climb to Falelatai Saddle and an even steeper descent before a flat ride through villages beside the lagoon.  

The ride begins heading west along the coast for 3 kms before a ford and the beginning of a short gravel section.  Shortly before the top the seal resumes.  Stop at the saddle (200m) and look back at Le Faga Bay, then stop and admire the view of the Falelatai coast on the way down.

Le Vasa Resort on the eastern most point of Upolu is a good place for a beer, lunch. smoothie or coffee before riding the last 3kms to our base.

Alternatively, after a relaxing morning, transfer to our base and then on to the Airport.  

 

Say Tofa Soifua (Goodbye) and come back again soon.

Pricing

The trip is available as either a Supported Tour or with a Bag Carry only service.

Supported bike ride.

Includes:

  • Support vehicle traveling at your pace
  • Services of driver as local guide on cycling legs
  • Participants can travel in van at any time for as much of the journey as they want
  • Includes bag carry service

Bag carry service:

Your bags are collected each morning and dropped at your scheduled destination

Payment method

Trips can be invoiced in NZ$ or AUS$. 

Visa and Mastercard are accepted but subject to a merchant cost surcharge of 4%.

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on all 8 nights
  • 8  breakfasts 
  • 6 Dinners 
  • Bike hire
  • Upolu transport while cycling (as per supported/bag carry only options)

Price excludes:

  • Airfares
  • Additional recommended Tours 
  • Customary fees

Price Total

Because these trips are always customised to some extent to match flights, hotel availability and support levels the following should be taken as a guide:

Upolu Escape 2 People 4 People 8 People
   Bag Carry Service NZD 1,360 pp NZD 1,160 pp Call
   Fully Supported NZD 1,580 pp NZD 1,250 pp Call

Additional Tours:

Add a day kayaking to Nuusafee $170NZD pp or the Turtle Kayak for $140pp.

Arrival

This Itinerary is based on arriving on Friday Night from Auckland.  Options are available for people arriving on Saturday or for groups arriving on any day - see Pricing and Extensions for more information.

Air New Zealand and Virgin flights arrive around 9pm.  We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Apia (Either the Amanaki or Tanoa Tusitala).

Saturday - Apia and the North East Coast

We will meet you after breakfast to fit your bikes and  provide a briefing on cycling and culture in Samoa.

There will be time for a quick tour of the markets (fruit, tourist and fish markets) before hitting the road East.

Once out of Apia the road meanders along the coast.  Squeezed between the cliffs and the beaches it twists and turns with a few small undulations. Its 25 kms to your destination of Le Uaina and along the way the suburbs of Apia give way to much more traditional villages.

Just before Le Uaina the Piula Cave Pools are located inside the Methodist Seminary.  Its a great place to stop for a rdip in the freshwater pools, but you mat want to check into the Le Uaina hotel first and walk back 200m along the coast to the pools.

Le Uaina provides a beachside motel setting with a pool, bar and restaurant beside the lagoon.  A nearby marine reserve is suitable for snorkelling - best above half tide.

Sunday - Le Mafa Pass and Namua Island

This is the toughest ride of the day so start early before it gets too hot. Theres 35kms to cover and at least 350m of climb.  It may also be worth asking at Le Uaina if they can prepare a picnic lunch for To Sua (there is some food available at To Sua and nearby Sea Breeze has excellent food, but the journey may flow best with a packed picnic for To Sua). 

The road begins with a gentle ride to Falelfa where its worth stopping to admire the waterfall.  Then its a steady climb to Le Mafa Pass (those that regard anything less than an 80k ride as not worth counting can attempt the route via Saletele - but the road is not well maintained).

From Le Mafa Pass the easier route is down to the South Coast via the Fuipisia and Sopoega falls There is a good interpretive walk at the Sopoega Falls but it may not be open on Sundays.    From the coast head east to To Sua Trench, the spectacular swimming hole that features on most Tourism brochures.  Whether you take a giant leap into the pool (caution - check the water depth and tide carefully), a long snorkel out through the deep tunnel to the open sea (even more caution with sea conditions and tide)  or  just relax in the picnic grounds and gardens, its well worth a visit (although you pass here again tomorrow).  From here continue to Lalomanu and around to Malaela and the wharf to Namua Island, stopping at Sea Breeze or Lalomanu for lunch.   

Namua Island, A km off the coast is reached by a "ferry" that is usually a 14ft dinghy.  The Beach Fales are the only habitation on the island and are set on a small sandy beach.  Your bikes can be left at the shop by the "ferry terminal".  Once on the island - climb to the top and lookout for the resident school of dolphins and the odd passing whale and admire the seabird life including frigate birds engaging in dog fights for food from other birds.  At low tide the island can be circumnavigated (it's a bit slippery).  or just relax, swim and snorkel.  

Note there is no electricity on the island and no shop.  So buy beers and softdrinks etc at the ferry terminal.

Monday - To Tafatafa

The 35 km ride begins on the flat beside the lagoon (back the way you came).  If you didn't go there yesterday - visit To sua Trench.  Make sure you take the turnoff to Saletoga Sands (as otherwise it's a long, unneeded uphill diversion).  Saletoga is a nice place for lunch.

Vaiula Beach fales have their own signposted access to Tafatafa Beach (the second road to the beach).  The fales are right beside the beach where there is excellent swimming.  Nug runs a beach nard here serving stubbies at about $3NZD a bottle.  Even if you don't drink its a great atmosphere.  If Nugs away - its probably because he is surf guiding on the nearby reef break (don't try this if you cant surf 2 metre swells breaking onto coral reef).  Dave who owns the fales is a legendary big game fishing skipper.  He doesn't have an ocean boat at Tafatafa, but he can take small groups out for a half day fishing for Giant Trevalli - at very reasonable prices.  His sons will also take you on a guided tour of the nearby lava tube caves.

 Tuesday - Vaiula Beach

 This can be a beach and rest day, but there is heaps to do.  

We run kayak trips from here to nearby Nuusafee Island.  A magic deserted island with its own beaches and reef.  We always struggle to get people to leave the island after a day swimming and snorkelling there.  The trip can also include a tour of a mangrove lagoon at Poutasi.  Bookings essential.

Dave's fishing trips should also be booked in advance.

Or ride out to some of the nearby attractions: Togitogiga Falls, Coastal walkway, Aganoa Beach or the Ma Tree.

Wednesday - Sightsee to Vai Villas

Todays 21 Km gentle ride will take longer than you anticipate as theer is much to see along the way:

Togitogiga falls are a lovely spot for a freshwater dip and possibly a jump from the top.

Walking the 1km to the Ma Tree is worth it to see the large buttressed tree (if you have a support van do the through trip from Togitogiga to the Ma tree and on out to the road).

The Coastal Walkway runs along the clifftops.  The access road is opposite the Ma Tree entrance.

Aganoa black sand beach is 3 kms down a rough road, but the beach is quite special as it has no coral reef protecting it.  There is often a small swell making the swimming a bit more active than lagoon lounging.  Unfortunately the coral beds have been bleached, but its still worth the small customary fee to use the road. 

Maninoa offers a range of places for lunch;  Sinalei and Coconuts are upmarket beach resorts, Two smaller restaurant only places may also be operating.  Wherever you eat the vistas and beach are excellent.

Once back on the road take care not to miss the sign to Vai Villas at Lotofaga-uta.  Vai Villas is set in the village by a spring and freshwater pools.  Your hosts Jill and Lua have developed a unique place and have a big fund of stories about Samoa and their return from NZ to build it.

Thursday - Beach or Turtle Kayak Day

Todays ride is only 12 kms to Matareva Beach, one of the most secluded and pleasant beaches on Upolu.  So if you want a bit more activity we offer a day's kayaking among the turtles (booking essential).  The trip begins paddling down the mangrove lined stream to the lagoon.  It's a good chance to practice your maneuvering skills, while being distracted by the orchids and bird life on the way.  Once in the main lagoon we paddle up beside the beach to a small keyhole gap in the reef where we usually see a number of giant turtles (shells over 1m long).  There is often an opportunity to snorkel along the reef walls where the turtles can be observed in their natural environment.  

Matareva Beach road requires payment of a small customary fee.  The resort has been rebuilt following the Tsunami and cyclone and is once again a favourite spot for Apia locals and expats.  It has its own private beach and lagoon and an atmosphere that is very conducive to just relaxing.

Friday - To Le Faga Bay

Another very short 12 km ride (take the turn to Return to Paradise and then just before the coast turn right to Savaia).   Le Valasis Fales are 300m along the coast from the Savaii village centre, Lalotalie is a further 3kms around the coast by the ford.

The Giant Clams are in the marine reserve opposite Le Valasis and should be considered a must see.  These giant, fluorescent molluscs weigh about 200kgs are almost a metre long and located about 50m offshore.  There is a 10 tala customary fee to see them, and the fee is supposed to include a guide.  Pay the fee either to the woman in the fale at the corner or at the nearby shop.  There have been challenges with people demanding money who were not the guardians and who did not know where the clams were.   The clams can only be visited on the top half of the tide (and you would not want to risk getting a foot caught in them at lower tide as they close quickly and firmly).  

Saturday - Tofa Soifua to the Enchanted Isles

The last 22 kms around the coast includes a steep climb to Falelatai Saddle and an even steeper descent before a flat ride through villages beside the lagoon.  

The ride begins heading west along the coast for 3 kms before a ford and the beginning of a short gravel section.  Shortly before the top the seal resumes.  Stop at the saddle (200m) and look back at Le Faga Bay, then stop and admire the view of the Falelatai coast on the way down.

Le Vasa Resort on the eastern most point of Upolu is a good place for a beer, lunch. smoothie or coffee before riding the last 3kms to our base.

Alternatively, after a relaxing morning, transfer to our base and then on to the Airport.  

 

Say Tofa Soifua (Goodbye) and come back again soon.

Pricing

The trip is available as either a Supported Tour or with a Bag Carry only service.

Supported bike ride.

Includes:

  • Support vehicle traveling at your pace
  • Services of driver as local guide on cycling legs
  • Participants can travel in van at any time for as much of the journey as they want
  • Includes bag carry service

Bag carry service:

Your bags are collected each morning and dropped at your scheduled destination

Payment method

Trips can be invoiced in NZ$ or AUS$. 

Visa and Mastercard are accepted but subject to a merchant cost surcharge of 4%.

Price includes:

  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on all 8 nights
  • 8  breakfasts 
  • 6 Dinners 
  • Bike hire
  • Upolu transport while cycling (as per supported/bag carry only options)

Price excludes:

  • Airfares
  • Additional recommended Tours 
  • Customary fees

Price Total

Because these trips are always customised to some extent to match flights, hotel availability and support levels the following should be taken as a guide:

Upolu Escape 2 People 4 People 8 People
   Bag Carry Service NZD 1,360 pp NZD 1,160 pp Call
   Fully Supported NZD 1,580 pp NZD 1,250 pp Call

Additional Tours:

Add a day kayaking to Nuusafee $170NZD pp or the Turtle Kayak for $140pp.

Namua Island Fales

Coastal Adventure

A great place for kids to ride

Carving a paopao (outrigger) in the forest

1 of 18 2 of 18 3 of 18 4 of 18 5 of 18 6 of 18 7 of 18 8 of 18 9 of 18 10 of 18 11 of 18 12 of 18 13 of 18 14 of 18 15 of 18 16 of 18 17 of 18 18 of 18