Samoa Country Report
Very few issues are likely to negatively impact a trip to faraway Samoa (population 20,000) for the informed traveler. This South Pacific island nation is composed of four inhabited islands (Upolu, Savai’i, Manono, and Apolima) and six uninhabited islets.
POLITICS and SECURITY
Crime rates are low and political stability is the norm in this atypical constitutional monarchy, where upcoming parliamentary elections are planned for the spring of 2021. The election of the next head of state will be held in the summer of 2017. It should be noted that a recent change to driving laws requires cars to drive on the left side of the road.
The recent international financial crisis has, however, had an impact on the archipelago’s economy (recession in 2009 and 2013) before a return to stability (GDP growth of 2.6 percent in 2018). As of 2016, two-thirds of the active population is still employed in the primary sector (seafood, coconut oil exports).
Visitors should also be aware that Samoa is located in an active seismic zone (a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck the island nation on July 25, 2010) and that during spring months (October to December) cyclones regularly hit the islands (e.g. in mid-December 2012). Beach-goers in particular should note that strong currents in coastal lagoons are responsible for a number of deadly accidents every year.
TRANSPORTATION and INFRASTRUCTURE
The quality of medical infrastructure present in the country is below Western European standards. Major roads on the two main islands (Upolu and Savai’i) are paved and taxis and minibuses are available. Finally, the large number of stray dogs present in the country should be noted; they may bother some visitors.
Samoa has a tropical climate and enjoys sunny skies all year long. The rainy season lasts from December to April during which time temperatures are higher than during the rest of the year (31°C). Tropical storms and cyclones sometimes strike the archipelago at this time. The dry season lasts from May until September with temperatures moderated by trade winds (24°C).
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +685 Police: 995 Fire Dept.: 994 Ambulance: 996
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz
Samoa: Cyclone Gita brings flooding Feb. 9-10
TIMEFRAME: from 2/9/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/11/2018, 11:59 PM (Pacific/Samoa).