Shopping in Samoa

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When shopping in the country, you'll find lots of items made locally. You will have no problem finding gifts for your loved ones as well as treats for personal spoils. If you are wondering what to purchase here, you’re in the right place. To help you find that perfect memory or keepsake from your trip, here is our guide to shop in Samoa.

The country is not a notable shopping destination, but the locals have created a nice little handicraft and art industry complemented by some very sumptuous packaged food items. Each of Samoa’s unique ethnic groups makes their own crafts using local materials and traditions. The coastal Creoles are well-known for their jewelry made from coral and shells, as well as woodcarvings of sea creatures and ships. The style is kept simple, but the talent is there, making for some nice souvenirs to bring back home.

Jewelry made from coral is a big seller in the coastal villages, but foreigners should be aware that coral is a living creature and not an inexhaustible material like stone. Black coral in particular is very charming but also very endangered. Coral grows so slowly that it is almost impossible for the supply to strike the demand, so look to your conscience when considering products made from endangered species. The shopping life here is a rumble jumble for exploration every single moment!

Samoa is like other Pacific island countries. Shopping here can be enjoyable, but it isn’t the same as one would find in the United States of America. There are not any shopping malls to speak of, and main fashion brands are generally not available anywhere in the country. In addition, visitors wwii not find pushy merchants looking to ‘rip-off’ unwary tourists. The shopping culture of the country is extremely laid-back, with many of the items offered being traditional products.

Apia is where much of the busier market places are found. Most shops are open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with a one hour break at lunchtime. Saturdays only open until midday. Sundays are the Sabbath in Samoa, so businesses generally close on these occasions. Samoa is famous for its siapo items. This is a cloth made from the bark of local mulberry trees, commonly used as a type of canvas for traditional Samoan artwork. The masterpieces from Samoa are frequently seen as the Pacific’s most beautiful forms of art. It is possible to pick up less expensive siapo items at Savaii’s Palauli village.

Another popular item for sale in Samoa is the traditional jewelry made from coconut shells and marine shells. They can be found in the beautiful markets across the country. A great place to find these items are the Apia Flea Market, which is located the Fugalei Street Food Market in Samoa’s capital city. Apart from the locally made jewelry and siapo items, there are many other traditional items for sale. Lava lavas are extremely popular. These are the Samoan sarongs that can be found all over the islands, worn by both men and women. Tourists should not forget to pick up some kava bowls. They are usually polished to a bright shine, and perfect for souvenirs.

One of the best times to visit Samoa is during the Apia Arts and Crafts Fair. This important event is held in the month of  March every year, in the capital city. The most impressive products on display during the festival are local products mentioned above, and beautiful artwork. Visit the Madd Art Gallery on Ifiifi Street to find the most alluring crafts in the country.

"I enjoy shopping and I found it affordable but some of the clothes are definitely not of the highest quality." - Hassan from Turkey

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