Taking a day or more for a “waterfall crawl” on both Upolu and Savai’i islands is highly recommended.
Gather in a car, van or head off on bikes and see these natural wonders of Samoa for yourself - be sure to make time for a swim in one of the cool crystal-clear pools as well.
Here is a list of some of Samoa’s most stunning waterfalls to get you started...
Location: O Le Pupu-Pu’e National Park, south coast, Upolu
This is actually a series of swimming holes separated by cascading waterfalls and surrounded by lush tropical gardens. There’s plenty to do here, from swimming and jumping off waterfalls to playing games in the recreation area, so plan to spend a couple of hours. There are changing rooms, toilets and a recreation area on site, but because this area is in a national park entry is free.
Location: Lotofaga Village, south coast, Upolu
More than just a waterfall, Sopoaga is a cultural and natural experience all in one - you may even learn the elusive art (to Westerners, at least) of opening a coconut correctly so you can enjoy a cool coconut drink. As you walk along a path to view the waterfall you’ll encounter signs labelling Samoan plants and trees. There is also an area for umu demonstrations, picnic tables and toilets. For all this, you will pay an entry fee.
Location: Tiavi, Upolu (signposted from Cross Island Road)
Accessible from the Cross Island Road, Papapapaitai waterfall is a 100-meter high waterfall that plunges from the lush jungle into an ancient volcanic crater on a tropical island.
These falls can be viewed in all their beauty from the roadside, but you can’t get near the falls - once you see the steep sides of the gorge, you’ll understand why.
Location: Off Pass Road, Lotofaga, east end of Upolu
A spectacular 55-meter high waterfall in the jungle, this waterfall is viewed from the top. The short walk can be very muddy but it is worth it for the unspoiled beauty.
People do swim in the pool at the top of the falls, but, with sheer unfenced cliffs, make your own safety judgment, and be particularly cautious with small children. This is also an excellent place for bird watching.
Open daily, and expect to pay a fee.
Location: Palauli, south-eastern Savai’i
The waterfall emerges from the rainforest and plunges into a deeps freshwater pool that is divine to swim in on a typically hot Samoa day.
You’ll find access to this waterfall on a dirt road that is maintained by the village, for which they will ask an entry fee. You can pay the fee at a fale which is located about 650m from the main road, and you can also park your car here before continuing on foot for about 10 minutes. The falls are closed on Sundays and no alcohol is permitted around the pool.
Location: east end of the north coast, Upolu
A short stroll through some lovely gardens and well-formed concrete steps take you to the river’s edge to see Falefa Falls. Enjoy the beautiful scenery from a day fale or picnic table arranged on the riverbank, and enjoy a swim. It’s an interesting fact that Falefa Bay was used as a harbour in the late 1800s and early 1900s for ships transporting crops.
If you want to get a closer look at the falls from above, head up to the Falefa Bridge. Expect to pay an entry fee.
Location: eastern end, Upolu
This stunning waterfall requires a bit of dedication, and a 4WD vehicle, to get to. A 7km unsealed road leads from the main road near Saoluafata to the waterfall, and it’s a bit of a rutted track for the last 5km or so.
Those who make it to the end are rewarded with a crystal clear pool at the base of a beautiful waterfall that is perfect for a refreshing swim.
The land surrounding the waterfall is owned by the Mormon church, so modest dress is required when not swimming in the pool.
Location: Puleia, south coast, Savai’i
Mu Pagoa Waterfall may not be particularly high but its allure lies in the fact that you’re looking at Savai’is largest river dropping quite abruptly off a cliff and into the Pacific Ocean. It is wider, and more spectacular, after rainfall. Mu Pagoa Waterfall is located at the village of Puleia and surrounded by a rugged landscape of solidified lava, which has shaped this coastline, and which clearly formed the waterfall as it is today.