Food and alcohol prices are fairly reasonable in Samoa. Sometimes there’s a charge to use a beach or visit a waterfall on private land.

Currency and Exchange

The Samoa currency units are the tālā (dollar) and sene (cent), written as ST$ or WST. You can exchange major foreign currencies in Samoa; as of this writing, $1 equals 2.34 WST.

Credit cards are widely accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and stores. EFTPOS and ATM machines are found throughout Upolu and Savaii in major hotels, resorts, and supermarkets.


Samoa has a value-added goods and services tax (VAGST) of 12.5%. When inquiring about accommodations, check whether quoted rates include this tax. The tax is also levied on meals.


Tipping is not part of Polynesian culture and may cause embarrassment because the receiver may feel an obligation to do something in return. If visitors wish to express gratitude in the form of cash, it’s best to stipulate that it’s a gift to help with school fees or other items. Likewise, bargaining isn’t common practice, as the price displayed is what the retailer believes an item is worth.

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