To Sua

Samoa’s best kept secret: To Sua Ocean Trench

  |   Samoa, South Pacific, Travelogue   |   5 Comments

It may sound a little bit silly but as a matter of fact there was just one reason for me to drag my family to Samoa for our yearly summer vacation: To Sua. A colleague at work had been there before and had shared fantastic photos of this freak of nature. I was getting really itchy looking at it, so beautiful and fascinating, and truly unique, I had to see it with my own eyes.

So when we travelled to Samoa, To Sua was definitely on the list of things to do around the island. So what exactly is To Sua?

To Sua is a “big hole” (this is the actual Samoan translation) near the ocean that was created many many years ago through volcanic activity. The hole is around 30m deep and filled with sea water that is directly connected underground with the nearby ocean. You can access the water by a steep ladder, and there is a suspended rope and a platform to ensure that swimmers can conveniently enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Ocean Trench Samoa

To Sua

To Sua

To Sua walls

To Sua is located on the south coast of Upolu Island near Lotofaga village. The hole is actually located in a park-like setting, and you need to pay a small fee to enter the area. In return, you can swim in the hole, enjoy the beautiful tropical gardens, go swimming on a small beach, have the kids discover the shallow lava formed pools and walk the lava fields. Plus, there are some fantastic views up and down the coast, so there are plenty of photo opportunities.

To Sua sign

Gardens around To Sua

Views along the coast

At To Sua

Burial site

To Sua Tree

To Sua is well maintained with beautiful little picnic fales that provide protection and shade, as well as toilet facilities, and benches; ideal to spend a whole afternoon here.

Orange Flowers

Gardens To Sua


Yellow Flowers

Picnic Fale

Climbing down the ladder is a bit of an adventure, considering you are far away from any medical services somewhere in a not very accessible area. However, the ladder is definitely very sturdy and the steps have rough surfaces so that you don’t risk slipping. Unfortunately, when I visited it was low tide and the water was cloudy, so snorkelling was not very good.

But still it was an amazing experience to swim in the water, surrounded by the tall black walls that are covered in green tropical foliage. The water would push and retract with the tide, so at any given time you would be gently pushed and pulled one way or the other. Just hold onto the rope that stretches across the full length and you can just relax, or swim around and discover the nooks and crannies of the hole.

But there is more: If the hole is too daring for the kids, take them to the nearby lava pools instead. These are just a couple of metres away and right by the sea. The shallow water is even warmer than the water in the hole, and there are some great natural things to explore. However, be mindful that the lava surfaces are sharp, so kids should wear some kind of protective footwear such as plastic sandals or reef shoes.

Kids ponds

Little blowhole

The lava fields stretch to the east from here, a wide area of flat surfaces, ponds, streams, caves and underwater channels. The landscape is surreal with its black grounds, the lush green backdrop and the clear blue water of the ocean.

There are many opportunities to test your courage – places you can jump in when the tide is just right, to dive under a lava bridge and come up again in a hole on the other side. There are blowholes that you can stand on to be sprayed by the salty water when the big wave comes.

For more stories about Western Samoa, click here

Lava fields


Lush scenery

Lava fields


Green palm tree

Daring adventures


Lava fields

To Sua Palm Tree

The water around us in the lava fields is teeming with life. There are shallow areas that rarely catch the tide, and you can see how fish chase each other in murderous pursuit, dashing out of the water and in again. There are crabs everywhere, alive ones, and those that have been smashed against the rocks by freak waves.

We are salty from the spray, hot from the sun, and loving it. What a great way to experience nature. To Sua should definitely be on your itinerary should you consider Samoa as your next travel destination. If you have already been, let me know how you liked it!

To Sua is open daily from 7am to 6pm, adults pay around $7.50 AUD, kids $3.00 AUD (under 7s free).


Lush foliage

Purple flower

A butterfly

Pink flowers

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Silke Elzner

AUTHOR - Silke Elzner

Hello! My name is Silke. Happiness and Things is a travelogue about amazing European destinations and beautiful places around the world. I believe that beauty is even in the smallest things and I want to inspire you to see the world differently. Read more about it here.

  • Georgia | Jul 8, 2015 at 6:59

    I just got back from Samoa, isn’t it beautiful?? I’ve been reading all your blog posts about it and I stayed at Saletoga Sands aswell 🙂
    We were also cautious about the whole ‘how far away from medical care are we’ when climbing down the ladder….
    Hope you enjoyed your stay as much as we did!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Jul 8, 2015 at 7:10

      Hi Georgia, magical place, beautiful island, gorgeous people… Thanks for your kind comment, this means a lot to me!

  • The 16 Best Lakes & Rivers to Tour in the Tropics - | Feb 2, 2016 at 18:12

    […] Samoa is a beautiful island in the Pacific close to Australia and New Zealand. Offering great beaches and excellent snorkeling and diving, the island is a perfect destination for a tropical island getaway. On the south coast of Upolu island, Sua Trench is a very attractive swimming hole in this idyllic tropical paradise. Located in the village of Lotofaga, the Sua Ocean Trench was formed when the volcanoes on the island erupted and left this sinkhole, which has since filled with water and vegetation to create a beautiful swimming spot. To enter the sink hole, watch your step down a wooden ladder that takes you deep down into the grotto for a leisurely and unique swim. The crystal clear waters, lush vegetation, and tropical fish add to the experience. As an idyllic spot, the water is not too deep and there are usually not too many people making it a great place to relax and escape. Surrounding the trench are white sandy beaches and some beautiful gardens. A travel bloggers who visited Sua Trench is Silke from […]

  • Karyn Jane | Apr 24, 2016 at 22:59

    Wow this looks amazing! Both To Sua and the lava pools. I always wanted to go to Samoa but now I’m thinking I’ll have to make that happen sooner rather than later!!

    • Silke Elzner

      Silke Elzner | Apr 25, 2016 at 9:40

      Out of all South Pacific destinations I have to confess that Samoa is my favourite. It just has so much going for it!

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