For a small island nation, Samoa is blessed with many beautiful fresh water resources. Base yourself around a waterfall playground for a day, or plunge into the cool watering holes to escape afternoon heat.
Some of these thundering torrents of fresh spring water cascading down natural rock faces are a little too powerful for a dip, while others are perfect for a shoulder and neck massage.
On Upolu, the most spectacular falls are situated off the southern coast. The ideal way to explore them is by doing a ‘waterfall crawl’ – this will take you about half a day – or more depending on how long you decide to linger at each. The quickest way to get there from Apia is by taking the Cross Island Road, then hang a right into Lanotoo Road about half-way down for your first stop, the Papapapai-Tai Falls. There’s an outlook from where you can admire this 100m-high waterfall, but don’t go too close – it’s very powerful!
If you follow the Cross Island Road to the southern end and take a left, you’ll find a number of waterfalls pretty close to one another. The first is Togitogiga Waterfalls, where you have swimming holes, and even a changing room and toilet – perfect for refreshing your body on a hot day (which is almost every day) and a picnic. Another good spot for a picnic is the Sopoaga Falls on Le Mafa Pass Road, a little further westward. It comes complete with a garden and picnic area overlooking the falls – perfect! And if you’re in for more, you could always hike to the 55m-high Fuipisia falls north.
The rugged rainforest covered interior of Savai'i also has its share of southern waterfalls. One of the most popular is the Afu Aau falls off the south coast, which plunges from the rainforest into a deep swimming pool. It’s ideal for swimming and it’s deep too – hence you’ll often see brave (or mad) local boys diving into it from various heights off the cliff.
A little further east are the Mu Pagoa falls, where Samoa’s largest river flows to meet the open ocean. Safe and shallow, it’s a favourite stomping ground for village kids, and you’ll often see the women using this ‘natural washing machine’ to do their laundry.