The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜
The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜

© SamoaPocketGuide.com

The Most Amazing Natural Attractions in Samoa

Jungle-clad volcanic islands jutting out of the deep blue Pacific Ocean, Samoa hides an array of breathtaking natural attractions. Whether you’re visiting the main island of Upolu or venturing to the “big island” Savai’i, this list of natural attractions in Samoa is sure to inspire the places you visit on your next trip.

1. To Sua Ocean Trench

If you have only heard of one natural wonder in Samoa, it’s likely to be the turquoise swimming hole with the iconic wooden rung ladder of the To Sua Ocean Trench. Situated on the main island, Upolu, 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.

There are more sinkholes to peer into throughout the site, so be sure to wander through the manicured grounds of this attraction. You can also follow a footpath down to the coast to a classic Samoan swimming pool for more bathing opportunities. For more sights on the main island, take a look at 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.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

2. Alofaaga Blowholes

An icon of Savai’i and Samoa, it’s no surprise that the Alofaaga Blowholes rank so high on this list of natural wonders in Samoa. Watch a spectacular show of wave power between the fissures of volcanic rock on the coast. Although a treat at any time, the best time to go is high tide. It’s a short but rugged walk that can be slippery, so sturdy shoes are best. Note that you may have to pay two entry fees (totalling approximately ST$10 per person) as the attraction crosses two family lands. Locals will sometimes put coconuts on the blowholes for extra drama. It’s worth asking for directions to the culturally significant Pa Sopo’ia Cave also at the site. For more natural wonders on Savai’i, take a look at the 50 Best Things to Do on Savai’i.

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.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© Samoa Tourism Authority

3. Afu Aau Waterfall

One of the most stunning waterfalls and swimming holes in Samoa (and the South Pacific) 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. For more waterfall wonders, check out the 10 Best Waterfalls in Samoa.

Location: Palauli village, signposted off the main road on the southeast coast of Savai’i.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

4. 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.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

5. Laauoleola Cave

The 15-minute forest trail through mahogany, ifilele, teak, kava, eucalyptus and banyan trees is just the beginning… As you begin to approach the entrance of Laauoleola Cave, you’ll hear the unusual clicking of swiftlets as they move in and out of the caves. Then, it’s up to you to decide how far you walk through the large lava tube that is said to span 5 km (3.1 mi) under the surface! It’s a short flat walk (with a few muddy patches) through the cave to the first descent, which the guides can organise a ladder should you want to continue – let them know you would like to do this before you begin the tour.

The walk is fully (and casually) guided. The guide has a torch but you might want to also bring your own. This isn’t the only cave in Samoa, so check out others in the 10 Best Caves in Samoa.

Location: A’opo village, signposted off the main road on the northern coast, Savai’i.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

6. 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, octopuses 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. For more sweet snorkelling spots, check out The Best Snorkelling in Samoa: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.

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

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

7. Saleaula Lava Field

A mix of natural and human history awaits on the northeastern shores of Savai’i at the Saleaula Lava Fields. Discover the remnants of the destructive Mt Matavanua 1905-1911 eruption at this enchanting site. It’s a short walk to the lava field’s most striking feature, the LMS Church which sits in ruins with a lava flow solidified right through its arching entrances.

Walk approximately 300 m (328 yards) west following the sign and you’ll encounter the mysterious “Virgin’s Grave” where the lava flow is said to have avoided the grave of a young girl. Past the church ruins is an attractive wetland viewpoint, then head back on the trail and go northeast for approximately 900 m (984 yards) over an exposed lava flow to the striking lava cliffs. For more historical wonders, check out the 15 Best Historical Sites in Samoa.

Location: Saleaula village, signposted off the main road on the northeast coast of Savai’i.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

8. Mt Silisili

Samoa’s highest mountain and a multi-day excursion to tackle, Mt Silisili provides an awesome adventure on Savai’i. As long as you have your own tent, food, jacket as it gets cooler as you go up in altitude, and any other gear you usually hike with, A’opo village can supply the guide. The trail encompasses plantations, the lush A’opo Conservation Area rainforest, and an impressive crater ridge with orange and white moss clinging to fragile lava rocks. Check out the 15 Best Walks & Hikes in Samoa for more details, as well as more stunning walks through nature.

Location: A’opo village on the north coast of Savai’i. Organise guides through the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© Samoa Tourism Authority

9. 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. Check out more stunning swimming spots listed in the 10 Best Swimming Spots in Samoa.

Location: On the grounds of the Piula Theological College, Lufilufi village, signposted along the Main East Coast Road on the northeast coast of Upolu.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© Samoa Tourism Authority

10. Moso’s Footprint

Although the locals have other ideas to explain this natural phenomenon, this 2 m (6.6 ft)-long foot-shaped depression in the ground is certainly one of the quirkiest natural wonders in Samoa. Moso’s Footprint is a simple hop-out-of-the-car stop on the way to Falealupo Beach where an interpretation panel beside it describes the legend of Moso who stepped his right foot onto Savai’i, extending his left foot across the Pacific onto Suva in Fiji. The sign also describes the less colourful geological interpretation.

Location: Signposted approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) down Falealupo Road from Falealupo-uta village on the northwest coast of Savai’i.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

11. Asaga Mangroves

A very special experience if you can get it organised (book through the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association or Samoa Tourism Authority), villagers at the Asaga Mangroves offer guided canoe/kayak trips through one of the earth’s most important yet underrated ecosystems, a glorious mangrove forest. Although guides are not often fluent in English, they’ll point out interesting aspects of the forest as they go. The relaxing 10-15-minute paddle terminates at a freshwater spring where a refreshing dip awaits!

If there’s no one there providing tours when you arrive, you can walk alongside the stream to a volleyball net where a short trail leads to the freshwater spring. For more kayaking excursions, take a look at the 10 Best Kayak Tours in Samoa.

Location: Tours depart from the road bridge in Asaga village (there is a sign for the Asaga River Pool and Beach Fales) on the northeast coast of Savai’i.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

12. Vavau Beach

It’s no surprise that Samoa has no lack of beaches – this is the Pacific, after all. Vavau Beach, however, is arguably one of the best, offering a secluded and stunning destination on the south coast of Upolu. Exclusively for day visitors, there are a number of fales set back from the white sands. Enjoy picturesque islands dotted around a shallow lagoon and soak in the scenery of the bush-clad environment that tops the coastal cliffs on all sides. Pay your entry fees at the access road. For more beaches to discover across the islands, take a look at the 10 Best Beaches in Samoa.

Location: Vavau Beach Road, signposted off the Main South Coast Road between the villages of Lotofoga and Vavau on the south coast of Upolu.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

13. The Coastal Arches of

O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park

One of the little-known natural attractions of Samoa, these magnificent arches isolated from the lava cliffs of the O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park can be found along what’s called the “Coastal Walk“. The one-hour return trail winds its way through lush pandanus forest before emerging on rocky lava cliffs. With the waves crashing below, seabirds occupying the horizon, and a number of coastal sea arches to uncover as you walk, this certainly is a special place. Speaking of, closed footwear is recommended and the trail is mostly flat, making it suitable for most fitness levels. For more little-known areas like this, check out the 10 Best Hidden Gems in Samoa.

Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park. Signposted along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua on Upolu. Note that the 3 km (1.9 mi) road to get to the trail car park is a 4WD road but 2WD is usually Ok if taken with care. Otherwise, you can park at the information boards along the main road and walk to the Coastal Track, which makes the walk last a total of 2h30mins return.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

14. Ma Tree

“Ma” meaning “shame”, the Ma Tree was named by the paramount chief of A’opo on Savai’i possibly due to the uniqueness of this tree compared to other rainforest species, such as its silver-brown patches under the leaves and its occurrence in solitary patches. Most notable about O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park‘s Ma Tree, however, are the giant buttress roots extending metres around its base. The family-friendly walk to the Ma Tree is only 780 m (853 yards) from the well-established car park and information boards in the National Park. For more family-friendly activities, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Samoa with Kids.

Location: O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, at the information boards (not the Visitor Centre) along Main South Coast Road between Sa’agafou and Saleilua villages on the south coast of Upolu.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

15. Mt Matavanu

For those looking for an interesting hike and a volcano to climb, try Mt Matavanu. Mt Matavanu can be found on the north coast and was the volcano responsible for the 1905-1911 eruptions that sent lava flowing 13 km (8 mi) along the coast. Organise a hike with a guide from the village of Safotu or pay your entry fees and they’ll point you to the easy-to-follow road/trail. You can either drive (20-25 minutes) or walk (2-3 hours) up the 4WD track to the summit, providing the opportunity to spot flying foxes and take in magnificent views of Savai’i‘s western villages.

Location: Approximately 10 km (6 mi) inland from Safotu village on the road that passes through Paia, Savai’i. A 4WD is recommended for driving to the summit. Otherwise, guides can be hired for hiking via the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

16. 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 both excitement and relaxation. Boats run daily (except Sundays) from Mutiatele village, taking you to a stunning island with walks, amazing snorkelling and beach fales to make sure you get plenty of shade. 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. Plus, for more island trips, have a look at the 10 Best Island Day Trips from Upolu, Samoa.

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 Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

17. Sopoaga Falls

Another waterfall on the list, one of Upolu‘s most impressive is Sopoaga Falls. Around 32 m (105 ft) and seen surrounded by jungle-clad cliffs from a high viewpoint, the waterfall provides a majestic photo opportunity. The site with a viewing platform is also used for coconut husking demonstrations; ask at the counter (if someone’s around) if you would like to see one.

Location: North of Lotofoga village just before the junction where the Main South Coast Road turns onto Le Mafa Pass Road, on the southeast coast of Upolu.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

18. Lake Lanoto’o

A pea-green crater lake set in the Upolu highlands, Lake Lanoto’o is also known as the “Goldfish Lake” after, well, the goldfish that live in the lake. Getting to this intriguing swimming spot is a worthwhile adventure for those who are fit and able, as there are often plenty of muddy patches to negotiate, as well as its fair share of uphill sections. Although it is possible to work through the trail yourself, we highly recommend using a guide, such as Samoan Island Adventures, Manoa Tours and Rainforest Runaway Ecotours to guarantee that you won’t get lost. Speaking of, long pants and closed footwear are recommended, as is your swimwear to change into. Discover more guided walks in the 10 Best Guided Walks in Samoa.

Location: Lanoto’o Road, signposted along Cross Island Road approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Apia. A rough 4WD access road leads to the small parking area.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

19. Falease’ela River and Conservation Area

An epic adventure of waterfalls coupled with conservation, the Falease’ela River is an example of the fun nature can provide when it’s protected. The village here has rejected schemes to utilise hydro energy at the river time and time again, and we have to say we’re glad, as you otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy a canyoning trip up the river with Lalotalie ECAT Ventures.

Olsen and the local boys will gladly take you through the gorge with each waterfall getting more grandiose than the next! If you’re feeling brave, the boys can show you the best jumping spots – even as high as 20 m/66 ft (they’ll certainly be doing it) – but you’re in no way pressured to do the crazy if you prefer to swim and take in the rainforest scenery that is preserved as a conservation area. Oh, but you will get wet – soaked, in fact, so closed shoes that you don’t mind submerging in water, as well as a T-shirt and shorts that will get the same treatment, are recommended. For more adventures in nature, check out the 10 Best Adventure Tours in Samoa.

Location: Falease’ela village in Lefaga Bay on the southwest coast of Upolu. Lalotalie ECAT Ventures’ base is beside the ford on Main South Coast Road.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

20. Malololelei Recreation Reserve

Excellent for birdwatching and even better for getting off the beaten track, the Malololelei Recreation Reserve offers an array of trails through 30 acres of bushland. Enjoy waterfalls, picnic areas, swimming holes and a viewing platform overlooking Apia on a series of rough trails that can take one hour to a whole day! The conservation area is one of the best spots on Upolu for spotting endemic birds, as listed in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Samoa.

Location: Malololelei village. There is no signage for the reserve. Take the Cross Island Road south of Apia and past the Baha’i Temple, turning right onto Kelsey Lane. Follow the road all the way to the 90-degree bend (past the Shrine of the Divine Mercy). The gate to the reserve is located on this bend.

The Top 20 Natural Wonders in Samoa ๐Ÿ˜© SamoaPocketGuide.com

Frequently Asked Questions About Nature in Samoa

Now that you know about some of the natural wonders in Samoa, here are the answers to some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions about nature in Samoa.

What are Some Natural Features of Samoa?

What sort of natural features can you expect in Samoa? Both of its main islands are awash in rainforests with waterfalls, ancient and not-so-ancient lava fields, volcanoes with volcanic craters and lava caves, white sandy beaches with lagoons and coral reefs, and a scattering of islets.

Does Samoa Have a Rainforest?

Not only does Samoa, indeed, have rainforests, but the Central Savai’i Rainforest is the largest continuous rainforest in Polynesia at a size of 727 kmยฒ (281 miยฒ).

Where is the Rainforest in Samoa?

Rainforests can be found in many areas across Samoa, such as in protected areas like the Mt Vaea Reserve, O Le Pupu Pu’e National Park, Uafato Conservation Area, A’opo Conservation Area and more as listed in The Guide to Ecotourism in Samoa.

More Natural Attractions in Samoa

Now that you know some of the top natural attractions in Samoa, discover more articles that just happen to mention more natural wonders:

Finally, complete your bucket list using the 101 Best Things to Do in Samoa: The Ultimate List and plan all the logistics using The Best Samoa Travel Guide.

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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