The Top Swimming Holes, Waterfalls, Freshwater Springs and Beaches in Samoa
This isn’t just another island in the South Pacific where you’re obligated to swim in the surrounding lagoon. Samoa is the islands of adventure, right down to the places you swim which consist of freshwater springs with caves, sinkholes connecting to fluorescent seawater, waterfall plunge pools and, of course, beaches. Number #1 on this list is just the beginning, so take a deep dive with us into the best swimming spots in Samoa!
1. To Sua Ocean Trench
If you have only seen one image of Samoa, it’s likely to be the lava tube sinkhole plunging 30 m (98 ft) into a turquoise swimming hole. Accessed by its iconic wooden rung ladder, To Sua Ocean Trench is easily one of the most photogenic and breathtaking swimming spots in Samoa. While you’re there, be sure to wander through the manicured grounds of this attraction to see more sinkholes and to follow a footpath down to the coast to a classic Samoan swimming pool for more bathing opportunities.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Lotofaga and Vavau villages on Upolu’s south coast.
2. Piula Cave Pool
Although Samoa is blessed with a number of freshwater springs making for the most refreshing experience you can get in the hot Samoan sun, the most famous is the Piula Cave Pool. A hit with travellers, locals and freshwater fish alike, the crystal clear waters provide a cooling swimming experience with caves to explore. There are two cave entrances connected by a short underwater tunnel. Alternatively, you can walk a few metres around the cave to find the other entrance.
Location: On the grounds of the Piula Theological College, Lufilufi village, signposted along the Main East Coast Road on the northeast coast of Upolu.
3. Mataolealelo Pool
Speaking of freshwater pools, the most famous on Savai’i is Mataolealelo Pool. The village pool is associated with the Samoan legend of “Sina and the Eel”, which is the story of the first coconut tree. The pool is split into two sections: one for the men and the other for women and children. Either way, the feeling of fresh springwater during a day of exploring the hot climate is ultra-reviving. What’s more, the site is well maintained with changing rooms and bathrooms.
Location: Matavai village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
4. Afu Aau Waterfall
One of the most stunning waterfalls and swimming spots in Samoa awaits down a short and gorgeously maintained jungle trail on the southeast side of Savai’i. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the aqua-blue waters at the base of the 15-20 m (49-66 ft) Afu Aau Waterfall. Pay your fees at the fale just off the main road (the entry sign is easy to spot) then it’s a 650 m (711-yard) drive on a flat dirt road to the car park with a toilet block and changing room. With a reasonable entry fee, this one easily makes it onto the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Savai’i.
Location: Palauli village, signposted off the main road on the southeast coast of Savai’i.
5. Sauniatu Falls
One of the rare natural attractions in Samoa that is 100% free, Sauniatu Falls provides amazing swimming in a verdant rainforest setting beneath a 20 m (66 ft)-high waterfall. After checking out the Piula Cave Pool (see above), follow the signposts inland to Sauniatu Falls on the grounds of a Latter-Day Saints compound. For more free attractions on Samoa’s main island, check out the 25 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Upolu.
Location: Sauniatu village. From Lufilufi village (near Piula Cave Pool), follow the road inland approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) and over a river bridge all the way to the end. Northeast coast of Upolu.
6. Lalomanu Beach
We can’t compile a whole list of the best swimming holes in Samoa and not mention its stunning beaches. One such coastal paradise is Lalomanu Beach: white sands, a turquoise lagoon, views of off-shore islets and breathtaking at both sunrise and sunset. The beach is ideal for swimming at any tide, unlike some of the other beaches in Samoa where the lagoon can sometimes get too shallow. There are around seven beach fales here, giving you plenty of options to spend the day or overnight. For more beaches to discover, don’t hesitate to check out the 10 Best Beaches in Samoa.
Location: Lalomanu village, along Main South Coast Road on Upolu’s southeast coast.
7. Togitogiga Waterfall
An awesome (and free) attraction in the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, Togitogiga Waterfall is actually a series of picturesque waterfalls that make for an idyllic swimming spot in the rainforest. There are changing rooms on-site, as well as a large recreational area to play sports or picnic. Note that the waterfall is prone to drying up if there hasn’t been enough rain, especially in the dry season. Samoa has many more waterfalls to discover in the 10 Best Waterfalls in Samoa.
Location: A short walk from the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park Visitor Centre along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on Upolu’s south coast.
8. Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
Try out nature’s waterslides at the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks! After walking down an anxiously high number of steps, knowing that you have to get back up them again, you’ll come across the first and biggest slide that locals call the “men’s slide”; a near verticle 5-m (16-ft) slide. Further down is the “kids’ slide”, a much less precarious slope with a little drop at the end for extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? Avoid the busiest times, which tend to be the weekends, to get optimal slide time. For more weird and wonderful attractions like this, check out the 10 Most Unique Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Se’ese’e, Faleata District on the outskirts of Apia. The access road turns off Maugafolau Road near the University of the South Pacific campus.
9. Namu’a Island
From spotting turtles on the boat journey across the lagoon to combing the sands of an uninhabited island, a day trip to Namu’a is one of excitement, relaxation and, of course, swimming! Boats run daily (except Sundays) from Mutiatele village, taking you to a stunning island with walks, amazing snorkelling and beach fales for a welcome break from the sun. There are toilets on the island, but no other facilities, so make sure to bring any lunch or snacks along with you. For more information, check out The Travel Guide to Aleipata Islands.
Location: Take the ferry from Mutiatele (check in at the shop opposite the wharf), Main South Coast Road on the east coast of Upolu.
10. Freshwater Village Pools (Vai Taele)
Nothing beats the feeling of cooling off at a village’s freshwater pool, known as a vai taele in Samoan. Easy to spot as you’re travelling along the coast, village pools have a manmade concrete barrier to contain some of the fresh springwater/protect swimmers from the tide. Some pools to look out for include Vaga Freshwater Pools (Lefagaoali’i, Savai’i), Vai Safe’e (Safotu, Savai’i), Lepa Freshwater Pool (Lepa, Upolu) and behind the John Williams Memorial (Sapapalii, Savai’i). For more swimming spots and activities that are suitable for families, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Samoa with Kids.
Location: All over Samoa!
More Swimming Spots in Samoa
That’s it for our list of the best swimming spots in Samoa! For more places to swim, take a look at the following guides:
Finally, for the rest of your Samoa bucket list, take a look at the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.