The Famous Locations in Samoa
What are the most famous places in Samoa? From the most popular tourist attractions to places that have literally been featured in cinema, we go through the top famous locations of the Samoa right here!
1. To Sua Ocean Trench
If you have only seen one image of Samoa, it’s likely to be the turquoise swimming hole with the iconic wooden rung ladder of the To Sua Ocean Trench. This coastal sinkhole plunges 30 m (98 ft) deep where an underwater cave allows crystal clear sea water to flow through resulting in a paradisical swimming spot. To Sua Ocean Trench is located on Samoa’s main island, Upolu, which you can learn more about in the 50 Best Things to Do on Upolu.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Lotofaga and Vavau villages on Upolu’s south coast.
2. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Final Home, Villa Vailima
The famous author behind Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), lived in Samoa for the remaining four years of his life. The colonial mansion, “Villa Vailima”, and the manicured grounds surrounding it have been resurrected and transformed into a museum for visitors to learn more about the Scottish author’s life in Samoa. Visitors can also hike to the top of the neighbouring Mt Vaea to see the final resting place of RLS along with outstanding views of Apia. Learn more about this famous place in Samoa in the 5 Best Museums in Samoa.
Location: Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia.
3. Lefaga Beach
Samoa’s first representation in cinema, the beaches of Lefaga starred in the 1953 blockbuster, Return to Paradise. The exposure had such an impact that a resort and beach directly in front are now officially named Return to Paradise Resort & Spa. Find out more about the movie in the 5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Samoa.
Location: At the southern end of Upolu’s Cross Island Road, take the turn-off at the Return to Paradise Beach sign and continue past Matautu village all the way to the end of the road (the last part is a rocky unsealed road). Set your GPS for the resort; not the beach.
4. Alofaaga Blowholes
The most iconic attraction of Samoa’s largest island, Savai’i, it’s no surprise that the Alofaaga Blowholes are featured on this list of famous places in Samoa. Watch a spectacular show of wave power between the fissures of volcanic rock on the island’s southern shores. There’s a lot more to visiting the blowholes, so if you’re interested, head over to the 50 Best Things to Do on Savai’i to learn more.
Location: Taga village, signposted off the main road on the southwest coast of Savai’i. Note that the road to the blowholes is about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) of rough unsealed road. 2WDs will just manage but drive carefully.
Apia is the capital of Samoa! With a population of approximately 35,200, it’s the largest and most bustling settlement on the islands; a far cry from the traditional villages scattered across the rest of Samoa. For visitors, there’s plenty to do, so take a look at the 25 Best Things to Do in Apia to get inspired.
6. Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Baha’i Temple
Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is not only an incredible piece of architecture among immaculate grounds but it’s one of only eight Baha’i Houses of Worship in the world! If that’s not fame-worthy enough, we don’t know what is! Learn more about visiting this temple, as well as Samoa’s other famous places of worship, in the 10 Best Churches in Samoa to Experience as a Visitor.
Location: Malololelei village along the Cross Island Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) south of Apia.
7. Aganoa Beach
One of your more secluded beaches on the island of Upolu, Aganoa Beach is famous for starring in TV shows such as Australian Survivor (one of the tribes was also named after the beach), as well as partially in Survivor US. It’s also famous amongst surfers for having one of Samoa’s biggest surf breaks just off its far point. Learn more about filming Survivor in Samoa in the 5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Samoa.
Location: Signposted along Main South Coast Road at the western end of Sa’agafou village on the south coast of Upolu.
8. Fono, the Parliament of Samoa
As in every country, the local parliament is a hotpot of news, scandal and intrigue. Fono, the Parliament of Samoa, is not only a noteworthy sight with its contemporary-meets-traditional fale architecture, but is where important legislature have been made, such as Samoa “skipping a day” when the country changed time zones in 2011! Find out more about the story in What is the Samoa Time Zone?
Location: Mulinuu Road, Mulinuu Peninsula, Apia.
9. Saleaula Lava Field
From 1905 to 1911, Mt Matavanua on the island of Savai’i famously erupted, with locals still passing on stories of their ancestral villages being wiped out by the lava flows. One of the most striking remnants of the destruction can still be found at the Saleaula Lava Field where the eerie remains of a church lie with lava flow solidified right through its arching entrance. Also at the site is the mysterious “Virgin’s Grave” where the lava flow is said to have avoided the grave of a young girl.
Location: Saleaula village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.
10. American Samoa
Famously confused with Samoa, like, all of the time, American Samoa couldn’t be avoided from this list of famous places in Samoa. Indeed, Samoa and American Samoa are two different countries, even if they are only separated by 70 km (43.5 mi) of ocean. The story of their separation is an interesting one, which you can read in What’s the Difference Between Samoa and American Samoa?
Location: 70 km (43.5 mi) east of Upolu.
More Famous Places in Samoa
That’s it for our list of the most famous places in Samoa. However, there may be many more places that you recognise listed in the guides below:
- Sightseeing in Samoa: Top 10 Sights in Samoa
- Where to Take Pictures in Samoa: 10 Best Photography Spots
- The 5 Biggest Towns & Villages in Samoa
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, no doubt you will find it in the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List.