FAQs for Kayakers
Reefs protect about 50% of Samoa’s coastline, which provides sheltered and easy kayaking within the lagoons. Many of the small islands surrounding Upolu and Savaii can be reached within the lagoon systems providing interesting paddles.
Outside the reef, particularly on the south coast, there is often a big, lazy swell providing for more interesting, but very manageable conditions.
The open water temperature is about 28°C all year, it’s very pleasant and safe too.
April and May are particularly calm months in Samoa, while the trade winds from June to October create more days with moderate to fresh winds, particularly in the afternoons when the sea breeze kicks in. However, there are very few mornings when kayaking is less than a delight and there are always sheltered bays or directions of travel for a good paddle.
Hurricane Season (from December to March) is often a time with very little wind most days. With reliable forecasting now in place, this can be a good time to paddle.
Our singles are a mixture of older Penguins and new Shearwaters. The doubles are new Southern Explorers. The kayaks come with spray decks, buoyancy vests (life jackets), bailer, sponge, pump, split paddle and tow line etc.
Many villages offer fales (pronounced far-lays) as tourist accommodation. These beach huts 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 usually 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; the more traditional ones like Namua 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.
Hotels and upmarket resorts
These come in all shapes and sizes with varied reputations. Unfortunately, they are not distributed to fit with a kayaking tour and the very good ones are usually too full to accept kayakers for 1-day visits while the poor ones are less enjoyable than the fales. We use a selection of accommodation options (see the itineraries) because they are conveniently located, appropriate quality and usually offer something unique.
There are no camping grounds and generally camping is not worthwhile. This is because there are no public beaches, as all beaches are communally owned by the local village. So if you are not staying in a resort or village fale you will be asked to pay for your camping spot. Tents tend to be too hot and not nearly as pleasant as a fale. So it just becomes easier and not much more expensive to stay in a fale and have the added opportunity to interact with the locals.
Samoan currency is the Tala, often abbreviated to WST (Samoa changed its name from Western Samoa to Samoa, but do not confuse it with American Samoa, a dependency of the US located 60kms to the east).
A Tala costs 60 to 70 NZ cents (or 50-60 Australian ones). Exchange rates vary hugely and the gap between buy and sell rates is larger than for most countries. On Savaii in particular you will need to pay for most of your expenses in Tala cash. The economy end resorts often do not take Visa or NZ$. The best rate for buying Tala is often at the airport on arrival (even at 2am). ANZ banks in NZ and Australian cities have much better rates than those at Auckland and Sydney Airports.
There are ATMs that accept NZ cards in Apia, Salelologa and Manase; the rates are reasonable, but fees can be substantial.
Never travel anywhere overseas without at least Medical Travel Insurance. Client feedback indicates online deals from Tid.co.nz are competitive. SCTI.co.nz is often well priced.
The best time to purchase travel insurance is when you decide to travel, as it also covers travel cancellation due to health issues.
There are no poisonous land snakes, spiders or scorpions or large predatory mammals in Samoa. There is a giant centipede that (from personal experience) has a very unpleasant bite, but it is not fatal.
There are no box jellyfish and swimming is safe and pleasant so long as you observe the usual cardinal rules of look don't touch (there are poisonous cone shells that look attractive to pick up) and watch for rips when swimming.
Malaria and yellow fever are not considered risks but dengue fever is present. Do use mosquito repellent at dusk and do sleep under the supplied mosquito nets or in mosquito proof rooms.
This is the biggest and most commonly seen issue with travellers. Drink plenty of fluids, always carry spare water and watch your companions. Coconuts and Coke are incredibly refreshing, even if you usually avoid fizzy drinks!
Food and Water Quality
Despite a solid program to supply safe piped water to all villages, tap water is often not safe to drink. Bottled water is cheap and available in all resorts and some villages. On escorted trips we take high quality filtration kits and have some available for hire.
We have seen occasional incidences of upset stomach, but think this is seldom related to food. Swimming in the turtle ponds is strongly recommended against as the water is badly contaminated. Watching water quality will generally keep stomachs at optimal efficiency.
The hot climate keeps bugs alive and skin infections can quickly turn nasty - take a good antibiotic with you and know how and when to use it.
Bookings and Cancellations
See our Booking and Cancellations page