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To Sua Ocean Trench is the most popular and most iconic attraction in Samoa, and for us, it was seeing pictures of it that piqued our interest in Samoa. Even if you haven’t heard of the the Ocean Trench in Samoa, you have almost definitely seen pictures of it.
What is To Sua Ocean Trench?
To Sua Ocean Trench is a 30-meter deep swimming hole filled with crystal clear salt water, surrounded by lush jungle hanging down the edges of the trench. To sua is one of the most unique places to swim in on the planet, and going here is an absolute must if you’re visiting Samoa.
To Sua literally means ‘Giant Swimming Hole’. This Samoan water hole was formed by a cave-in of an ancient lava tube system that connects to the ocean, and thousands of years if erosion made it into the unbelievably beautiful spot it is now.
An underground cave system connects the swimming hole to the ocean, and the hole is accessed by climbing down a wooden ladder.
Despite its size, To Sua is pretty much hidden from sight as you approach it from the entrance of the park. We didn’t know we had reached it until we were basically looking straight down into the hole, and seeing it with our own eyes stunned us in place and made our jaws drop for a few seconds.
Visiting To Sua Ocean Trench
No trip to Samoa is complete without a dip in To Sua Ocean trench. Samoa’s ocean trench is located in the South-East coast of the island of Upolu near the village of Latofoga.
It is a 20 minute drive to To Sua Ocean Trench from Lalomanu Beach or a 1 hour drive from Apia.
Monday – Saturday:
From 8:30 am to 5 pm
From 12:30 pm to 5 pm
Adult: 20 WST
Children 6-11 years: 10 WST
Children under 6 years: Free
Rules & tips for visiting To Sua Ocean Trench
- Don’t wear bikinis or other revealing swimwear outside of the pools. Samoa is a very religious country. Please be respectful of their culture and wishes.
- No drones allowed. We know, we know… how good would a drone shot of this place be right?! But this rule is purely for safety reasons. Drones are known to act weird in places like these due to the lack of satellite reception and magnetic interference from the iron in the rocks.
- Best to visit at high tide when the water is deeper.
- Depending on the tides, the current in the trench can get strong. Hold onto the ropes provided to avoid getting dragged around.
- The ladder gets wet and slippery. Be mindful when climbing up and down.
- Although there are almost always locals and other tourists at To Sua, outside of high season this beauty never gets really crowded. During high season, try to find that perfect spot between high tide and early morning to enjoy this wonderful swimming hole before it fills up.
Inside To Sua Ocean Trench Samoa
Once you’ve made it down the slightly dodgy and slippery ladder you get to a platform just above the water. From here you can either take the ladder a few more steps down into the water or go in the fun way and jump from the platform into the water which is deep enough for that even at low tide.
If you’re feeling brave you can jump from higher up the ladder, or even from the top of the ladder which we’ve seen people do, but jumping from the ladder is only ‘safe’ during high tide. At low tide you will hit the rocks!
We took Joyce, one of our local friends to To Sua trench. She had been here before but is so terrified of heights that she never went down the ladder. With a bit of encouragement from us, she did go down the ladder this time and she carried a smile from ear to ear for hours once she was in the water, that’s how happy being there made her. And if she can do it, you can too!
The water in the trench is warm and full of fish, so bring your snorkelling mask and you’ll be able to see heaps of colourful wildlife.
Depending on the tide there can be a bit of a current in the trench. When we were there it wasn’t strong enough to drag us, but if that makes you feel uncomfortable there are ropes in the water to hold on to.
On the south end of the trench, there is an underwater cave (an old lava tube) that leads out into the ocean. We’ve been told that there are air pockets in the cave that you can dive to on your way out into the ocean. But this can only be done if you’re an experienced free diver.
Around To Sua Ocean Trench
You can easily spend a whole day floating blissfully in the crystal clear water, listening to the soothing sound of the water softly rippling around you, we sure did. But there is more to see in the park beside the trench.
Follow the walkway through the gardens past the fales towards the cliff’s edge for great views over the southern coastline. Go further down the walkway to the west, past the bar and restaurant. From here a usually overgrown path leads down to a pristine little hidden beach, perfect to escape the crowds in the trench if you’ve found it on a busy day.
Go back up the walkway and now follow it back and past the trench to find a lava field stretching out to the east. While the tide is coming in water sprays up high in the air through blowholes in the rocks, and during high tide, the lava fields turn into rock pools with little channels that you can swim in.
Where to stay near To Sua Ocean Trench
Upolu is the smaller island of Samoa and driving to To Sua from anywhere doesn’t take much more than one hour. However, staying on the south-eastern coast of the island makes for the perfect starting point to explore this Samoan attraction. These are our top picks for accommodation in the area
GORGEOUS PRIVATE BEACH
Who doesn’t love a swim up bar? We do, and this one is fantastic! Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa offers modern accommodation with free breakfast and wonderful sea views, a day spa and fitness centre. Guests enjoy free access to snorkelling equipment and stand-up paddle boards.
ADULTS ONLY RESORT
With private beach access and impressive ocean views, this adults only resort is the perfect getaway! Seabreeze Resort features 2 restaurants, a bar, a swimming pool and free glass-bottom kayaks. All air-conditioned rooms include a patio with outdoor seating.
A trip to Samoa really isn’t complete without visiting the To Sua Ocean Trench, because if you miss it, you’ve missed out on one of the most amazing spots in the country.
No matter if you want to do acrobatic jumps from the platform into the water, just want to go for a swim, or casually stroll around the gardens and chill in the fales, a day at To Sua is guaranteed to be a day well spent!
Would you like to swim in To Sua? Have you been to an ocean trench before?
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