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The islands of Samoa have several incredible swimming spots, from waterfalls to cave pools to trenches - so it's not just the beaches that have your name written all over them if swimming and snorkelling are what you want to do most during your holiday.
Splash on over to one of these superb places to swim or snorkel.
To Sua Ocean Trench
Located in Lotofaga village, To Sua Ocean Trench is an idyllic spot for nature photography and swimming. Looking like a scene from a movie about a tropical paradise, the waters of this trench are a deep, glistening sapphire blue surrounded by tall rocks growing with ferns and emerald green plants.
'To Sua' translates to 'big hole', and indeed the 30-metre-deep waters and large size of this trench leave enough room for you and all the people you're travelling with to swim comfortably. What makes this spot truly special is the unique giant wooden ladder that connects the base of the waterbed to the top of the land around the trench.
Jumping off the wooden platform mid-way down the ladder, leaping off the edge and back-flipping into the cool waters below, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that makes you become one with nature in this South Pacific slice of heaven. You can take several trips up and down the ladder, or simply sit on the platform with your feet dangling off the end as you soak up the sun and dry off from your swim.
Papasee'a Sliding Rock
A great spot for families to visit while staying on Apia, the Papasee'a Sliding Rock is a series of natural slides created by waterfalls. A 200-step pathway has been cut into the rocks beside these waterfalls, allowing you to walk up to the top and then slide down along the slope of the rocks with the water flowing beneath you, landing in a pool at the base.
The tallest waterfall is 5 metres high, and in the wet season hundreds of tourists flock to take a seat down this slide and glide into the pools below. Younger ones can enjoy the other three smaller waterfall slides. If you're visiting Papasee'a Sliding Rock in the dry season, it's recommended you check the depth of the base pool before sliding down to ensure its safe to land in.
Changing rooms and fales are on site for convenience, and once you have had enough of slipping and sliding down these waterfalls, you can simply float around the pools and relax as you listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfalls surrounding you.
Piula Cave Pool
Two freshwater grottoes are located side by side to form the Piula Cave Pool system, only a few metres away from the sea itself. Fish swim within these cave pools, so be sure to carry your snorkelling gear to admire them as they dart around you.
Best of all, you can paddle into the caves themselves, and if you stay near the edge of the cave you can look back at the pools reflecting the clouds in their water as you gaze through the natural archway entrance of the dark caves.
Strong swimmers who can hold their breath confidently underwater may also wish to enjoy an adventure of swimming along a 3-metre underwater passageway that connects the two caves. It's usually dark inside the depths of these caves, so it can be somewhat tricky to find the mouth of this passageway. However, the blue-green waters of the pools just outside the caves are well-lit.
The Piula Cave Pools are beneath the Piula Methodist Theological College campus in Upolu, so there are bathrooms and changing rooms nearby.
Which one of these natural wonders will you be diving into?
> More stunning Samoan secrets here.
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