Samoa has great many attractions and experiences to offer travellers all over the world, but some little gems may get lost in the hustle. For example, the Piula Cave Pools in Upolu. It’s not as fancy as others or doesn’t have the extreme wow factor, so often times… it gets overlooked.
But as places go, this one is special in its own right. Set under the Piula Theological College, the pool was formed when the limestone deposits under the volcanic rock dissolved away, creating a natural freshwater cave system. Yes, despite being close to the sea, the cave waters are refreshingly cool and support a local population of inquisitive fishes.
Just ask for directions to the Piula Theological College. There are few signs or markers along the way, but the villages and the college are clearly labelled and are visible from the road. Upon entering the college grounds, the attendant will charge a nominal fee which includes the parking and upkeep of the pool. He’ll give directions to the pool, which is a few minutes away.
Rather than exciting, the Piula cave pools are relaxing and ideally used for chilling out between adventure modes. Under the stone overhang of the main pool is an underwater connection to the secondary, underground pool. The rocky floor has broken here and there, letting small pillars of sunlight illuminate the beauty of the clear waters and the cave itself. Mind you, the connecting swimway is a bit dark, narrow and claustrophobic for all of 3 metres. Standard disclaimer. So, that said, it’s a beautiful sight any day.
The timings of the Piula cave pools are from 8am – 4pm. Depending on the day (and luck!), you can find the grottoes either filled with people or all to yourself. Even the locals love to take an afternoon off and soak in some cooling goodness on a hot summer day, so duly advised. The fishes are used to people splashing about and quite inquisitive, flashing about here and here. The college has also put up changing rooms, couple of loos and daybeds in traditional fales (or huts) for travellers.
There are a million and one things to see, do, eat and experience in Samoa. For example, did you know that just 40 minutes away from the Piula cave pools is the home of Robert Louis Stevenson? One of the most revered authors and travel-writers of all times, Stevenson fell in love with Samoa and lived a significant portion of his time on these islands. And it wasn’t a one-sided adoration. The Samoans had a deep and abiding regard for Stevenson, who they affectionately called Tusitala – the teller of stories. Now, his home has been converted into a grand museum where travellers and literature lovers can see his life through rare images and memorabilia. Just another fact-nugget that Samoa was, is and always will be so easy to fall in love with.
Then travellers can explore the island on hikes, 4×4 jungle tours and guided cultural walks. Speaking of all things cultural, most resorts have regular events, performances and the like to showcase Samoan heritage via songs and dance. Additionally, it’s a great idea to go visit a typical Samoan village and learn about Fa’a Samoa – which is the Samoan way of life. Its canons and traditions are interesting, and some are especially relevant in today’s day and age; like the society’s reverence of its elders and caregiving. Plus, you must get on one of their wildly colourful buses trundling around the islands – it’s a hoot and a half!
Did we pique your interest in Samoa and the Piula Cave Pools? We’ve a nifty little Samoa Travel Guide for First Timers to check out. Check out our other blogs and great Samoa holiday deals for families and couples – our South Pacific Specialists bundle in discounted airfares, transfers, complimentary nights, seasonal bonuses and more!
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