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Samoa Travel Guide

Tomb of a Matai, Apia
tomb of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, Apia

Southwest of Apia

Catch an hourly Seesee, Siusega, or Tafaigata bus at the markets and ask the driver to drop you at the closest point to Papase'ea Sliding Rocks. You can also come on the Alafua bus to the University of the South Pacific (see below), but this will add about 15 minutes to your walking time. Even from the closest bus stop you'll still have to hike uphill two km and pay small admission fee (don't give the money to children—only to the adult at the entrance). You slide down three rocks into freshwater pools—don't forget your bathing suit. It's open daily (Sunday included!).

At Alafua, below and to the east of this area, is the 30-hectare Samoan campus of the University of the South Pacific (the main campus is in Fiji). In 1977, the university's School of Agriculture was established here, with assistance from New Zealand. To the left of the main gate is an agricultural training center funded by the European Union. The university's two semesters run from February to the end of June and late July to mid-November. The university library is open weekdays 0800-1600. (In 1997, the campus of the National University of Samoa was established with Japanese assistance on the opposite side of Apia. The NUS has no connection to the USP, and its courses are oriented more toward Samoan studies, teacher training, and nursing.)

On the way back to Apia notice the site of the Apia Samoa Temple (1983) on the airport highway. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established its Samoan headquarters here in 1902, but in 2003 the temple burned to the ground as a result of undisclosed causes. A golden idol of the angel Moroni was saved, as it had been auspiciously removed just prior to the fire. Just a few minutes' walk west along the highway from the temple site is the impressive four-tier tomb of Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, the slain Mau Movement leader.

Beer lovers might like to visit the Vailima Brewery at Vaitele on the road to the airport. You'll be allowed in at 1430 weekdays, and it's a good idea to call the Personnel Manager (tel. 20-200) beforehand to make sure he'll be available for a tour. Plenty of buses run out this way (including those marked Afega, Faleula, Puipa'a, Toamua, Vaigaga, Vaiusu, or Vaitele).

Continue to   Apia Sights: Central Upolu   »