Samoa (Western Samoa)

Samoa (Western Samoa) Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Samoa (Western Samoa)

Western Samoa drives on the left (after switching from the right in 2009) and you need to obtain a temporary drivers permit to drive here for up to 90 days. You need to present your own licence at the Samoa Tourism Information Center, Samoa Post or Samoa Land Transport Authority in Apia. Alternatively, most car rental companies can also arrange this. The permit costs WST$21. Speed limits range from 25MPH in built up areas to 35MPH in rural areas.

Western Samoa has 870km of roads, around half of which are paved.  The main population areas are on the islands of Savai’i and Upolu, with smaller areas of habitation on two smaller inhabited islands, Manono and Apolima. Most of the road infrastructure is on the two larger islands. Savai’i has a good paved road leading round the coast of the island, which can be driven in around 3 hours. On Upola, main paved roads run from Apia along the East coast to Falefa where it heads inland ; Along the top of the East coast to where it becomes the South Coast Road ,then runs right along the island to Samusu in the West; and also the Cross Island road which heads inland and runs to the South coast.

As many vehicles currently being driven in Samoa have steering wheels on the left, care should be taken when driving on the roads, as left hand drive cars on left hand drive roads mean overtaking is difficult . There are few sign posts on Upola and many of the sites and beaches are on small unmarked roads which may not be on satnavs so you’ll probably need to stop and ask directions regularly. Savai’i also has few signs but both islands have small quiet roads and you shouldn’t find driving stressful.If you rent from a local company check what insurance is included as many don’t offer it. Take care driving through villages and slow right down – village children are known to throw stones at cars that drive too fast and if you hit a pig or even worse a person, the police advise you don’t stop for your own safety but rather drive straight to the nearest police station. A normal car is fine for driving on the main roads but a 4×4 may be required to reach sites which are off the beaten track. Tell the rental company where you intend to travel and let them recoomend and appropriate vehicle.

There is a car ferry which runs several times a day between Upola and Savai’i. The journey takes just over an hour and more details can be found here.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Samoa car rental (Western Samoa)
Avis have two outlets in Apia on Upola. They don’t make it clear whether cars can be taken to Savaii Island.

We currently have no local car rental partners in Western Samoa. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on


Leave a Reply