‘The picture’s don’t do it justice’: Samoa’s sensational natural swimming pools

Samoa’s incredible To Sua Ocean Trench is just one of five natural, sparkling blue swimming pools dotted across the stunning Pacific Island Nation.

Take one look at Trip Advisor and you will see how many people rave about the place.

“This place was incredible,” one reader wrote of his stay.

Said another: “The pictures don’t do it justice”.

That is shocking, because the pictures are breathtaking.

To Sua Ocean Trench. Credit: haakeaulana / Samoa Tourism

Samoa is one of the few countries in the world without a local case of COVID-19. It’s at the top of the list of Pacific Nations likely to be included in an Australia Pacific travel bubble.

Just five hours from Sydney, Samoa is home to dramatic waterfalls, lush tropical forests, crystal-clear freshwater pools, ancient volcanoes and pristine beaches.

Coupled with its traditional 3,000-year-old culture, incredibly friendly locals and laid-back island vibes, Samoa is guaranteed to enchant and surprise. 

It also has some of the most dramatic and beautiful natural blue pools in the world.

We asked Samoa Tourism to give us the scoop on the five best natural swimming pools to visit in Samoa.

Fiafia! (Enjoy!)

To-Sua Ocean Trench, Upolu 

To Sua Ocean Trench. Credit: Shutterstock

The To-Sua Ocean Trench is a Samoan landmark. Formed during an ancient lava eruption when the land around it slipped away, To Sua (which literally means “big hole”) consists of two large holes joined by a lava tube cave.

The main hole – the pool – is filled with seawater and is connected to the ocean by an underwater cave. Set on the edge of a tropical paradise, this 30-metre deep swimming pool is truly idyllic. 

Piula Cave Pool, Upolu

Piula Cave Pool. Credit: Samoa Tourism

One of Samoa’s hidden gems, the Piula Cave Pool is a crystal-clear freshwater swimming hole that originated from an old lava tube.

You’ll find it behind the historic Methodist Church Chapel on Samoa’s main island of Upolu. Piula Cave Pool is open to the public daily.

Consisting of two blue-green, fish-filled freshwater grottos, the brave can swim between them via a creepy three-metre underwater passage.

Surrounded by fales (a traditional thatched hut), this unique beauty is the picture-perfect spot for an afternoon of swimming and picnicking. 

Fuipisia Waterfall, Savai’i 

Fuipisia Waterfall. Credit: Samoa Tourism

Calling all adventure junkies – this spectacular 55-metre high jungle waterfall is guaranteed to induce an adrenaline rush.

Whether it’s witnessing the falls dive into a deep end or taking the courage of bathing with a panoramic view from the falling point, the Fuipisia Waterfall is sure to be unforgettable. 

Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, Upolu 

Papase’aa Sliding rocks. Credit: Samoa Tourism

These natural waterslide formations at Seesee in the Faleata District, offer a great and fun way to cool off on a hot day.

You can slide down the naturally formed rock slides, worn down by thousands of years of running water, into the blessedly cool waterholes beneath.

The sliding rocks are divided into two – one for kids and one for adults. The longest slide is five metres long, but there are a couple of smaller ones at the bottom of the stairs. Laugh, slide, splash and enjoy this natural aquatic playground. 

Mataolealelo Pool, Savai’i 

Mataolealelo Pool. Credit: Samoa Tourism

Steeped in legend, the Mataolealelo Pool is integral to the local mythological story of Sina, said to have formed when the eel swam all the way from Fiji to be with Sina.

The site is also symbolic to locals as the springs played a part in how the coconut came to be.

In this pool of freshwater next to the ocean, men and women cannot swim together, thanks to the legend of Sina and the Eel.

There is a large pool for men and a smaller pool designated for women and children. Maintained by the local village, the Mataolealelo Pool offers a traditional swimming hole experience in Samoa.

Watch the legend of Sina and the Eel in the video below:

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