Choose from 4 Fun Things to Do in Samoa
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If there’s a single image of tropical paradise it’s a hidden waterfall in the rainforest. That’s the scene that visitors will encounter at Afu Aau Falls, where a waterfall peacefully plunges into a cool, crystalline pool. After paying a nominal entry fee at the gate to local villagers, park the car by the changing station and make the short, 10-minute walk to the tumbling stream of water. Be sure to pack along a swimsuit, since one of the highlights of Afu Aau Falls in splashing and swimming in the water. It’s the perfect refresher on a hot day of exploring Savai’i, and you could easily while away hours just splashing and hanging out on the rocks.
For visitors traveling without a car, the waterfall is a popular stop for half-day, guided tours of the island, where you can experience the lush, natural beauty just minutes away from town.
Insider's Tip: Be sure to bring proper walking shoes for the short hike up to the falls.
Alcohol is strictly forbidden at the falls, and there is no access on Sundays. There are basic toilets and changing rooms that offer minimal privacy, and the walk to the waterfall can often be slippery—particularly after it’s rained. Because the road to the falls is narrow, visitors who choose to drive independently will need to reverse down a long driveway since turning around can be a challenge.
Address: Afu Aau Falls, Vailoa, Samoa
Hours: Closed on Sundays
Admission: $2 donation
From $ 64
Bursting with colorful clothing and produce, the Salelologa Market is the beating heart of southeastern Savai’i. Just as popular for people-watching as it is for purchasing goods, the market is where you can tap into the pulse of everyday life in Samoa, as well as sample exotic produce or find some locally made crafts. Since Salelologa is the island’s only town with a ferry off of the island, the market exudes a port town feel with the comings and goings of commerce, and is also the central meeting point for many of the island’s tours. It’s also the site of the central bus terminal, where residents from every corner of the island will come to sell their wares at the stalls or catch a ride to the village. When visiting Salelologa Market, search for local clothing items like colorful lava lavas, or watch as locals pick through fish that was caught earlier that morning.
Insider's Tip: Since ferries tend to run on time, don’t get stuck haggling over prices at the market and end up missing the boat.
Most stalls at Salelologa Market are open from 7am through later afternoon. The market is 1.2 miles from the wharf, which takes 20 minutes to reach on foot or 3 miles in a car.
Address: Salelologa New Market, Salelologa, Samoa
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-5pm
From $ 64
Created by a network of lava tubes, the thundering blowholes at Alofaaga are arguably the most popular visitor attraction on the island of Savai’i. When waves crash on the coastal shelf outside the village of Taga, some of the water gets trapped in the tubes that are right by the surface of the water. When the pressure simply becomes too much and it notices an opening to escape, it erupts as a natural, saltwater geyser that often reaches neck-craning heights of over 100 feet. Depending upon the swell angle and tide, multiple blowholes can all erupt within powerful moments of each other, and are often accompanied by a deafening roar of water being jettisoned through the hole. Because the spot is popular with visitors, local villagers will often be there to offer their services as a guide—or simply to toss a few coconuts in the hole and then watch as they take off like cannonballs. The blowholes are part of south coast tours that leave from Salelologa, and if you choose to visit the site on your own, the drive to the blowholes can sometimes be rough, especially for low-clearance cars.
The Alofaaga Blowholes are most powerful around high tide and on days with elevated surf. The hike from the initial entrance can be rugged so you’ll want to have proper footwear, and the rocks around the blowholes can be very slippery, so be extra cautious when walking. There are basic toilet facilities near the blowholes, and remember to lock your car.
Insider's Tip: Whatever the locals do or tell you, do not get close to any of the blowholes since a fall through the hole would be fatal.
Address: Alofaaga Blowholes, Taga, Samoa
Admission: About $2 initial entry fee and $2 -$4 parking fee to park at the closer lot.
From $ 64
There once was a time when Sale’aula was a thriving Samoan village, but all of that changed in 1905 when Mount Matavanu rumbled to life and covered the village in lava. While a couple of hardy families have built atop the hardened black rock, much of Sale’aula today is what lies in ruins, partially covered, unseen but not yet forgotten. A popular stop on Savai’i day tours, the Saleaula lava fields are most commonly known for the haunting church that rises up out of the lava—a building that somehow, despite the odds, continues to stand here today. Riddled by tree trunks and twisted old branches, the roofless church is close to the spot that’s known as the “Virgin’s Grave,” which locals believe was spared by the lava because of its sacred past.
Try to avoid visiting in the middle of the day since the rocks can be hot and there is minimal shade. Be sure to bring sunscreen and proper footwear, and the Saleaula lava fields are a popular stop when touring the northern coast.
Did You Know? Even though the village was swallowed by lava, villagers had months, and in some cases, years, to gather their belongings and leave the area before the lava took over.
Address: Saleaula Lava Fields, Sale’aula, Samoa
Hours: Daylight hours
Admission: 5 talas (about $2)
From $ 64