Best time to visit Samoa

Samoa has a stunning tropical climate – but the tropics can have very different moods during different months of the year. Be sure to consider these factors when choosing when to visit Samoa

WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE IN SAMOA

What's the weather like in Samoa

Pretty heavenly, we’d say. Samoa experiences a tropical climate – without any real extremes when it comes to temperature. Most of the year the temperature sits around 30 degrees (maximum) – the range is only approximately two degrees between the coldest and hottest average temperature months. But there’s two very distinct seasons (as opposed to four seasons like the rest of us outside the tropics) – the Dry and Wet Seasons. The Dry Season occurs between June and September when temperatures average about 28 degrees maximum and humidity and rainfall is at its lowest. The Wet Season occurs between November and April – it’s when 70 percent of the annual rainfall of Samoa takes place. Temperatures max out at around 32 degrees but you won’t get much respite at night when temperatures won’t drop below approximately 24 degrees.

The temperature of the water, however, changes very little during the year (between 28 and 30 degrees) – so don’t let that affect the timing of your visit – it’s always warm! 

 

IS THE DRY SEASON THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SAMOA

Is the dry season the best time to visit Samoa

If you HATE rain on your holiday… yes, it is! In Samoa’s highest season – July and August – you’ll only ever experience less than five days of rain in an average month (and that means any rain at all, even just a tiny drizzle). The temperature will sit in the very high 20s but at night you’ll likely need a light jumper… perfect, right? But there’s two factors to consider in choosing if the peak of the dry season is the best time to come. 

One, don’t forget the July school holidays of New Zealand and Australia – apart from Christmas, this is the busiest time in Samoa, meaning there’s more tourists about. And you’ll have to book a little further out to make sure you get a plane ticket and hotel (and everything will cost a little more). Also – the Dry Season – particularly after July, is when the south-easterly trade winds (which cool down the islands of Polynesia) are at their strongest. You’ll get gorgeous sunny days, but be prepared for a higher chance of a strong breeze.

 

IS THERE A CYCLONE SEASON IN SAMOA

Is there a cyclone season in Samoa

Yes, anywhere tropical on Earth has a chance of experiencing cyclones (whether we call them cyclones, hurricanes or typhoons). Technically (and particularly in these days of climate change) the season begins in October and ends in April, though you have the greatest chance of experiencing a cyclone between December and March. But cyclones don’t occur frequently in Samoa – the last cyclone of any note was in 2019.

 

IS THERE A BEST MONTH TO VISIT SAMOA?

Is there a best month to visit Samoa

Yes. It’s before the trade winds blow. And it’s before the school holiday crowds arrive. It’s when airfares are lower and you’ll pay less for your hotel room - but it’s when you’ll likely experience less rain and less humidity. The best month to visit is April, or May. April carries more chance of the odd shower if there’s a later wet season (but think of the waterfalls, read on for more about that) – but it’s also when you’re likely to have Samoa to yourself. May is your safest bet, airfares will be only slightly more expensive than April, but you’re getting closer to the Dry Season, with less rain, lower temperatures and cooler evenings. 

You should also consider the months of Spring to visit – it’s likely to be slightly breezier, but October will likely be close to the perfection of May – before the rain begins but when the trade winds stop blowing and airfares and accommodation prices are lower.

 

WHEN SHOULD A SURFER COME TO SAMOA?

Surfing in Samoa

Samoa is the world’s most under-rated – and (relatively) undiscovered – surf destinations. It’s actually widely considered that surfing began here (eat your heart out, Hawaii), and still today you can find world-class waves that have never been surfed before. Don’t come if you’re a beginner, waves break across reefs – so you should at least consider yourself a strong intermediate surfer to surf Samoa.

You can surf in Samoa all-year round – but there’s two distinct surf seasons worth planning your visit around. If you’re looking for the biggest and best waves – which break at surf spots close to the highest concentration of surf resorts in Samoa on (Samoa’s main island) Upolu’s south coast, you should visit between April and October. 

This is when bigger south swells originating from the Southern Ocean hit Upola’s southern coast – where most of its best surf resorts are. This is also the windiest time of the year– so be prepared to wake early to beat the wind. 

However, true adventurists seeking the least crowded waves might prefer to visit Samoa between February and April – during the end of Samoa’s Wet Season. The swell might be slightly smaller but it’s just as consistent and the wind’s less likely to be blowing. What’s more – you’ll have less surfers around you in the water!

There’s over 40 surf breaks across both Upolu and Samoa’s ‘wilder, bigger’ island, Savaii – where many of its lesser known surf resorts are. If you visit during this time and slightly earlier (from November to April) you also have the chance of surfing both the north and south coasts of Upolu and Savaii (the same northerly swells which hit Hawaii in November to April often hit Samoa too).

 

IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE IN COMING DURING SAMOA’S WET SEASON?

Advantage in coming to Samoa in the wet season

If you visit Samoa during its Wet Season – though avoid school holidays in December and January when Samoan families living in Australian and New Zealand visit and airfares and accommodation prices sky-rocket – you’ll likely have Samoa for yourselves. 

Aside from this exclusivity – the best thing about visiting Samoa during its wet season is that Samoa is home to some of the South Pacific’s best waterfalls. Visiting during the Wet Season is the time to see these waterfalls at their mightiest.

Avoid Christmas school holidays and come to Samoa from late January to April and higher average rainfall will mean these waterfalls are raging. Upola’s South Coast is home to the highest concentration of Samoa’s best waterfalls and there’s a Waterfall Circuit you can follow to see the best of them in a day or half-day. 

Take a tour or drive your own car between the waterfalls – including Samoa’s largest waterfall, Sapoaga Falls, which has a viewing platform close by. Not far from Sapoaga Falls are the Fuipisa Falls which have a pool to swim in by the top of the falls and a 55-metre drop. There’s plenty of other waterfalls in this region, all require a small fee to local families to visit, and you can swim below the falls at many of them.

There’s also waterfalls on Savaii – including Afu Aau Falls, hidden away behind green foliage with lots of areas you can leap from into calm waters near the base of the falls.

 

WHAT IS THE WETTEST MONTH IN SAMOA?

In general, if you don’t like to get wet on holiday, avoid January - the wettest month of all. Expect to have some sort of precipitation on 18 days of January – though you have a 40 percent chance of having some sort of rain event during the summer months.

But we’re not talking about all-day rain events here. The Wet Season in Samoa is characterised by afternoon storms – sudden rain events which often are over as quickly as they came, and are followed by cooler, clearer evenings that sometimes feel as cool as they can in July or August.

 

IS THERE A WINDIER TIME IN SAMOA?

Is there a windier time in Samoa

If you prefer still days over windy days, it’s worth remembering that south-east trade winds blow mostly during the Dry Season, particularly between June and October. For the most part, these winds just serve to cool you down a little (which isn’t so bad in a place that experiences temperatures with a yearly average maximum of 30 degrees).

However, Samoa is characterised by its mountainous hinterland – with mountain ranges over a kilometre high in both Upolu and Savaii. So even on the windiest days, you’ll always find somewhere in the lee of the wind. Consider resorts on Upolu and Savaai’s north coast during the windier months of the Dry Season – the mountains will block the trade winds and provide you with constant shelter. 

Craig Tansley - Published 26 October 2022
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