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The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel
The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

The Top Snorkelling Sites from Upolu

With warm tropical waters inhabited by colourful fish, an array of coral species and adorable turtles, Samoa is a must for snorkelling! For those just sticking to the main island, Upolu, you have access to several stunning snorkelling spots from the beaches, as well as boat trips to its surrounding islets and reefs which are well worth paying the extra dough for. Check out the top places to snorkel in Upolu with this Upolu snorkelling guide!

Where to Hire Snorkelling Gear on Upolu

Although we highly recommend bringing your own snorkelling gear to Upolu – see our favourite gear for the islands in the 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for Samoa, if you really can’t fit it into your luggage then there are a few places on the island where snorkelling gear can be hired:

  • Outdoor Samoa – Snorkelling gear in a portable mesh bag with reasonable multi-day rates
  • Palolo Deep – Masks, snorkels and fins are available to rent for those snorkelling at Palolo Deep.

Also, take a look at the 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Samoa for accommodations that either hire snorkelling gear for their guests for free or a small daily rate. Snorkelling gear is also generally provided on snorkelling tours.

1. Palolo Deep

Hire snorkelling gear from the kiosk and swim out to the white buoy to see an underwater trench brimming with thriving staghorn coral, hundreds of tropical fish species, starfish, octopus and, if you’re lucky, perhaps even some turtles. That’s right, Palolo Deep Marine Reserve offers one of the most mesmerising snorkelling spots just 100 m (328 ft) from the shores of Apia. Note, however, that the water is way too shallow for enjoyable snorkelling outside of high tide, so time your visit accordingly.

Location: Between the Marina and Vaiala Beach along Beach Road, Apia.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

2. Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary

Pay your entry fees, go down the steps and slip on your mask, snorkel and fins for an adventure with giant clams at the Savaia Giant Clam Sanctuary! You’ll be amazed at how gargantuan these molluscs can get as you explore the waters beyond the white buoys roped together – best admired at high tide, might we add. First, you’ll need to swim over a section of sand before reaching the white buoys that cordon off the marine reserve area. You’ll see hundreds of small clams forming a pleasingly shelly pattern on the floor, while you might also be lucky to see a turtle or two. Swim around a little bit more (keeping an eye on a reference point on land, as there can be a little bit of current) and it won’t be long until you find the giant clams! Needless to say, you shouldn’t touch these feisty shellfish…

Location: Savaia village along Main South Coast Road (nearby Le Valasi’s Beach Fales) on the southwest coast of Upolu.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

3. Namu’a Island

Surrounded by marine-protected areas and on its own uninhabited island off the shores of Upolu, no wonder Namu’a Island Beach Fales provides an idyllic place to snorkel. The island is just a 5-10-minute boat ride across the lagoon where you’ll get your own day fale to relax in once you arrive. The caveat to this snorkelling day trip, however, is that they do not have snorkelling gear for hire so make sure you bring your own to make the most of the awesome pockets of regenerating coral right off its main beach, as well as the opportunity to see turtles. For more information about getting to Namu’a, 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.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

4. Manono Island

The snorkelling off Manono is outstanding even if some of the coral is still recovering from the 2009 tsunami. Either enjoy snorkelling from the wharf in front of Sunset View Fales or boat trips are included with your stay to Manono’s surrounding majestic reefs. At Aggie’s Reef, look out for turtles, rays, reef sharks and an abundance of colourful fish. Kayaking trips with Outdoor Samoa give paddlers the opportunity to snorkel at hotspots around Manono. Learn more about snorkelling tours in the 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Samoa. Plus, find out more about visiting Manono in The Travel Guide to Manono.

Location: Manono Island. Boats depart from Manono-uta village, along the Main West Coast Road on the west coast of Upolu.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

5. Aganoa Black Sand Beach

One of your more secluded beaches on Upolu, Aganoa Beach is well worth the journey (and 4WD/high-clearance vehicle). After an approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) rough dirt track through the forest with plenty of small hills – keep an eye out for kingfisher birds – you’ll reach the deep-water crescent-shaped black-sand Aganoa Beach. The snorkelling is beautiful here with stunning corals and tropical fish. However, there is no reef protection, so you’ll need to be mindful of currents. Snorkelling boat tours are also available to Aganoa Beach, should you not have a 4WD or want the safety of a guide. Again, learn more in the 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Samoa.

Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road at the western end of Sa’agafou village on the south coast of Upolu.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

6. Nu’usafe’e Island

With its own lagoon off the southern shores of the island, Nu’usafe’e is wonderful for snorkelling. Not only do turtles frequent the area but the reef passage beside the island provides a vivid underwater seascape. Get to the tiny uninhabited island by following the advice in The Travel Guide to Nu’usafe’e. Plus, for more places to encounter turtles, check out the 10 Places to See Turtles in Samoa.

Location: Off the coast of Poutasi, south coast of Upolu. Boat tours and kayaking tours are available from Tafatafa and Maninoa beaches. See the link above for more information.

 

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

7. Maninoa Beach

A shallow and mostly sandy lagoon in front of Maninoa Beach makes for worthwhile snorkelling, best at high tide. While certainly not the best snorkelling from Upolu, Maninoa Beach still boasts some interesting fish and coral finds. What’s more, high tide usually brings in more opportunities to see turtles. Find out more about the beach and others in the 10 Best Beaches on Upolu.

Location: Resort/beach fale entrances are signposted off Main South Coast Road between Mulivai and Si’umu villages, along the central south coast of Upolu.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

8. Lalomanu

The most popular stretch of sand on Upolu, Lalomanu is famous for its pristine sands lined with traditional beach fales. Although the beach used to have a renowned reputation for its snorkelling, unfortunately, much of the coral was destroyed during the 2009 tsunami. Nevertheless, the coral is regenerating nicely, making Lalomanu still a worthy place to don your snorkelling gear! Masks and snorkels are available to hire at some of the beach fales, such as Taufua Beach Fales.

Location: Lalomanu village, along Main South Coast Road on the southeast coast.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

9. Shilo Reef

Accessible by boat just a 7-minute ride from the Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, Shilo Reef is just one of the examples of the superb sites where snorkelling tours can take you. On most expeditions, snorkelers are treated to banner fish, flute fish, fusiliers, zebra fish, surgeon fish and turtles. Those with a keen eye and good free-diving skills also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the elusive and beautiful nudibranch.

Location: [Update: Tours to this snorkelling site are no longer available. This article will be updated when more options become available]. Sheraton Access Road, Faleolo, northwest coast of Upolu.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

10. Fanuatapu Island

Another small uninhabited island off Upolu’s east coast in the Aleipata Islands, Fanuatapu is much less visited, therefore, the coral here is fascinating to explore. The Namu’a Island boats will go to Fanuatapu on special request, while Fanuatapu is also accessible via kayaking trips. Find out more about getting there in The Travel Guide to the 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.

The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel© SamoaPocketGuide.com

More About Snorkelling in Upolu

That’s it for our guide to snorkelling in Upolu and the best places to snorkel. For more tips for underwater fun, take a look at the following articles:

Finally, Samoa isn’t all about snorkelling, so dapple your itinerary with more Pacific adventures using the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Samoa Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Samoa. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Upolu and Savai’i’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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