Samoa’s Piula Cave Pool – Everything You Need To Know

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Snorkeling through a cave pool under a church in Samoa

Heading into Apia from the airport we saw so many of these ocean pools right next to people’s homes or as what seemed to be part of a village community. Our driver couldn’t really explain what they were but we were determined we were going to swim in one before we left.

Little did we realise, part of our day tour “The Pristine Waters of Upolo ” from Samoan Highland Adventures was a visit to Piula Cave Pool.

About Piula (Fatumea) Cave Pool

This pool is slightly different to the village ones, in that there is a cave you can swim right through and get out the other end, which was very exciting. The water is just beautiful and while it’s not super warm, it’s not freezing cold to get into. I’m sure it probably doesn’t change in temperature much at all even during the winter months so it was really nice to snorkel and not get cold, which I often do.

There are steps on one side of the pool and you can easily get in and out there, or from the concrete path around the pool at almost any point. The rocks can get very slippery so be careful. Swim shoes or reef shoes are my recommendation.

Piula Cave Pool - with the church in the background.
Piula Cave Pool – with the church in the background.

Once you are in the pool you can swim into the cave as far as you like. It does get very dark but there is always a glow from the other end of the cave which is the opening that you swim into at the other end.

Artur our guide was very excited pointing out fish and an eel which totally freaked me out. They won’t hurt you, but I had a very bad scare on the Great Barrier Reef years ago with a moray eel and have never recovered.

Needless to say when Artur say “look an eel” I bolted back into the sunlight. I did later on (with Brad firmly in tow) swim through the cave and out the other side but I was thinking about that damn eel the entire time.

If you are also eelphobic – they won’t come out of the dark so you can swim quite a way into the pool without coming across the eel. Once it starts to get really dark – RETREAT!

We spent about an hour snorkeling in the pool, through the cave, taking photos and just floating peacefully which was so relaxing.

What facilites are at the cave pool?

The cave pool is situated about 40 minutes south of Apia, at the Piula Theological College in the Village of Lufilufi.

The cave pool has fales available for day use right next to the pool overlooking the ocean, some with sun lounges. There are toilets on site, however I didn’t use them so I can’t attest to their quality.

Fales at Piula Cave pool Samoa
Fales at Piula Cave pool Samoa

What are the opening times of Piula Cave Pool?

The cave pool is open from Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday): 8am-4pm.

Is there car parking at the cave pool?

There is car parking right next to the pool, however it is limited. There is a large space, however plan to walk across the carpark if the parking right next to the pool is taken. You do have to pay for parking but I think it was only 10 Thala to park the car.

How much does it cost to get into Piula Cave Pool?

Entry to the cave pool is:

Adults: $5

Children: $3

Vehicle: $10 (If you are using the Car Park by the pool)

What rules must I follow?

  • Remember that the pool is accessible through the College so please be respectful and don’t try to sneak in.
  • If you are parking outside the grounds or getting off the bus, please walk down the driveway and not across the oval.
  • There are no alcohol or drugs allowed on site.
  • Nudity is 100% forbidden
  • Swimwear is for use in the pool area. Please do not be walking around the grounds in your swimsuit.
  • There is no fishing allowed and please don’t feed the fish.
  • There is no lifeguard so no diving or jumping into the pool

We met some very nice local people, a woman and her nephew who despite being in his early 20’s had never actually been to Samoa.

Jen at Piula Cave Pool Samoa
Jen at Piula Cave Pool Samoa

Directions to Piula Cave Pool

Piula Cave Pool is about half an hours drive from Apia along the via Main East Coast Rd. It’s a lovely drive and you could do it as part of a full day around the island stopping at all the local swimming spots.

We did this the same day we did To-Sua Ocean Trench which was a great way to do it. Combining two of Samoa’s most instagramable spots in one day was pretty cool.

The map below will take you to Google Maps location if you click the image.

Piula Cave Pool - Upolo Samoa
Click the image for the Google Maps Location

What should you bring for your day trip to Piula Cave Pool?

  • Make sure you bring your snorkel and flippers to swim through the cave. There aren’t that many fish, but there are eals in the dark of the cave that are worth having a snorkel on for.
  • I would also bring/wear reef shoes to get in and out as even on the stairs (on the opposite side of the pool from the car park) its slippery and rocky to get in and out. If you have reef shoes or booties with your flippers you will find it much easier.
  • I would check the tides possibly. We could swim all the way through the cave and out the other side but I have seen reviews where people couldn’t do that so a very high tide might affect your ability to swim through the cave.
  • GoPro or waterproof camera. There isn’t too much fish life but its worth filming the swim through the cave.
  • If you have one I would bring a waterproof torch for eel spotting. You can see the exit of the cave as a light in the distance once you get in there, however do watch your head as the cave does come in quite low.
Piula Cave pool surrounds Samoa
Piula Cave pool surrounds Samoa

What else do you need to know about Piula Cave Pool?

We visited Samoa in December of 2019 directly after a massive measles outbreak. It was very quiet which was amazing for us, but terrible for Samoa. I’ve seen photos of both the ocean trench and this cave pool just swamped with people so if you are visiting in a busy time, check with a few locals as to what might be a quieter time of the day to visit.

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She’s always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.