Country Spotlight: SAMOA
It was a recent idea of mine to introduce a new section to this blog called Country Spotlight. Posts in this section will introduce readers to countries around the world with roads and trails awaiting your bicycle tracks. Photographs, maps, and routes will be shared and I welcome you to post your rides in these countries if you have them. Please email me any photographs you would like featured on the blog at kbtc @ live.com
Country Name: Samoa
Location: South Pacific
Climate: Hot and Humid. Rainy season from December to February. Dry season typically July to September. Expect rain on 2/3 days as it is tropical.
Transport: Direct flights from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States are available into Apia. Flights are not all too frequent, and inter-island flights to Fiji are also available.
What to expect: A super laid-back lifestyle, lots of sun, nearly empty roads, and lots of food.
Where to ride: Around Upolu Island (2 routes), around Savaii Island (1 route)
(what are these?)
- The roads in most areas are perfect for cycling. The roads on Savaii are nearly perfect. The roads were made during WWII by US Marines, and are really well-signed. Every tourist site, town, city, swimming pool, and bus stop has a sign. Speed limits in Apia and Outside the capital are 25 and 35 mph respectively.
- There are 2 especially steep parts of the ride. On Savaii, there is a ridiculous climb from Sataua to Papa that is nearly vertical, requiring riders to weave back and forth to make it up! The climb to A’opo can be challenging on a rainy day. On Upolu, the cross-island road is an issue, with a more extended climb than that on Savaii. Other than that, mostly flat.
- Samoa is a gorgeous country to do a bicycle tour on. Most of the roads, with the exception of the jaunt to A’opo on Savaii, run along the beautiful coastline. Palm trees, sand, and flowers everywhere.
- Samoa is laid out very well for a tour. I think all in all you could do about 600km here and there are perfectly spaced beach resorts (don’t worry, they’re cheap) along the way. Each village has shops that carry water, basic food & medical supplies, and bike tubes.
Some awesome sights on the Savaii ride (~200km I think). Click on the photos to see the larger versions.
Papa Sataua Beach, Northern Savaii.
Some awesome sights on the Upolu ride (2 routes). Click on the photos to see the larger versions.
Now that you’ve got the basic information and seen some great photographs from the region, I’m going to jump into the bicycle routes you’ve got available to you. I’ve ridden around Samoa many times, so if you have any questions, send over an email to kbtc @ live.com
Upolu Island: (you can sleep in the bold towns)
These are difficult to read but are designed just to be an outline. The roads in Samoa are pretty simple and there are only a couple of them, hard to get lost.
Route 1: Airport, Leulumoega,Falease’ela, Paradise Beach, Matareva, Salamumu,Vava’u, Lalomanu,Falevao (view over the Salimu), Apia.
Route 2: Airport, Fale’ula, Papase’a, Apia, Saletele (gets rough here, bad in rainy season), Salimu, Lalomanu, Cross-island road to Salimu overlook, Aganoa beach, Lake Lanoto’o, Apia, Lepale, Airport, Wharf—>Savaii.
I used to live on this island, so I know it pretty well. I like this island more than Upolu, it is quieter and there are more things to see. You’ll also find more isolated beaches here.
Route One: Wharf, Faga, Mauga, (Fagamalo,Manase,Safune), A’opo, Vaisala, Sataua, Papa (Great beach here), Falealupo loop, Foailuga, Foailalo (Great beach here), Satuiatua, Taga (blowholes), Vailoa, Wharf—->Upolu.
Click on the images to see the larger files at Flickr.