A visit to Samoa is only complete with a stop at the To Sua Ocean Trench. Just about every Samoan tour guide or internet site has a cover picture of To Sua, and for good reason. This absolutely spectacular tropical formation is so much more than just a swimming hole.
Formed by the roof collapse of an ancient lava tube, To Sua Ocean Trench sits just inland from the Pacific Ocean. The underground piping connects to the ocean, so the water inside To Sua rises and falls with the tides. Take in the unique surroundings from the rim, or climb down the steep ladder for a one of a kind swimming experience.
Finding the To Sua Ocean Trench
To Sua Trench is one of the top things to do in Samoa we recommend. Located on the island of Upolu, this is the same island you will fly in and out of during your Samoa holiday.
See More: Navigating Flights to Apia Samoa
You will need to travel out of Apia, to the eastern end of the south shore of Upolu. To-Sua Ocean Trench is located in the village of Lotofoga, along the Main South Coast Road. A car rental is by far the easiest, and will allow you to see more of the sights around Upolu.
Travel time from Apia to Lotofoga is about 1.5 hours. Samoan roads are curvy and somewhat rough, and you’ll frequently see kids walking on the road side. Don’t rush the trip, especially if you are new to left side driving. There are no addresses in Samoa, but village names are marked with obvious signs at the road.
The turn off from the main road to To Sua Trench is well marked with a large sign. Plan to visit for a few hours, or turn the stop into a full day of relaxing. There are beautifully manicured gardens above The Trench, and day use fales for shade.
Entrance Fees: 20 WST/adult and 10 WST/child
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Experiencing To-Sua Ocean Trench
The views from above To Sua are beyond magical, but to fully experience The Trench takes some careful footwork down a slippery, wooden ladder. A set of concrete stairs leads you down from the top of the rim.
From there you climb down the ladder for the final journey into the water.
Once you are down floating in that turquoise water, the view looking up is just as spectacular. The moss and vines hanging from the steep cliffs above add to the unique feel of the entire experience.
Getting down into the tidal swimming hole is definitely not a young kid friendly experience. The steep ladder will likely be slippery, and the current in the water was very strong for us. There are ropes stretched across the water surface, and we definitely held on tight to those while the current was sweeping in and out.
We’ve seen reference to visitors jumping off the sides of To Sua, so please be aware that at low tide the water can be very shallow. Stick to jumping off the platform at the bottom of the ladder, but not until you’ve checked the water depth!
To Le Sua
When you first enter the grounds, you’ll see the sign and the small viewing hole for To Le Sua. Once you are down in the water of The Trench, you can follow one of the guard ropes through the cave into To Le Sua. The water will be shallow, and you can walk up to the rocky edge for another perspective into the old lava tube.
Explore the Grounds and Coastline
Take the time to explore the beautifully manicured gardens around the surface of To Sua Trench after you’re done swimming. The walking paths leading down to the coastline showcase miles of rocky shoreline. If you have the time, bring a picnic lunch and take advantage of the day use fales to lounge and relax.
Add To Sua Trench to Your Bucket List
We’re not sure of any other swimming holes as spectacular as To Sua Ocean Trench. Combined with the tropical beauty of Samoa, its definitely time to add a stop at To Sua to your world wide bucket list!
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This post was first written in March, 2019 and recently updated in May, 2021