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Samoa Travel Guide


From Falealupo-uta on the circuminsular highway it's nine km down a paved road to Falealupo-tai, which stretches 1.5 km along a white sandy beach.

A unique attraction of this area is the highly publicized Rain Forest Canopy Walkway, two km up the Falealupo-tai access road. Stairways ascend a tower to a shaky suspension bridge spanning a 30-meter gap to a large banyan tree. Then the stairways climb another five stories to a large platform high above the rainforest.

The rainforest here was badly damaged by a hurricane in 1991, followed by a devastating forest fire in 1993. Built in 1997 by Seacology, the Canopy Walkway is part of a conservation project intended to provide local villagers with a financial incentive to preserve their lowland forests. Falealupo Primary School next to the entrance is partly funded by the stiff admission fee collected here. It's also possible to sleep on the uppermost platform for an overnight charge, although there would be no shelter in case of rain.

Four km beyond the Canopy Walkway is Moso's Footprint, on the right beside the road and clearly visible out a car window. It's said to have been left when the war god Moso leaped from Samoa to Fiji. You'll pay a fee to stop and admire the print.

Another designated tourist attraction is the House of Rocks, in the bush 300 meters behind the ruined Methodist church at Falealupo-tai, three km beyond Moso's Footprint. Here your guide will point out a row of stone seats, the largest belonging to Maleatoa, in a lava tube with a hole in its roof. You'll pay a fee and make sure the price is understood. Bween Moso's Footprint and the House of Rocks are the ruins of a large church and school destroyed during the 1991 hurricane.

Falealupo-tai village was devastated by Hurricane Val in 1991, and the picturesque thatched fale of yesteryear have now been replaced by modern housing. There's a small charge to use the beach at Saupesepese Beach Fale in Falealupo-tai. Beware of strong currents if you swim here. If you're staying at one of the fale resorts of this area, a good day hike is east along the coast to sandy Fagalele Bay and the lava cliffs of Cape Puava.

Canopy Walkway
the Rain Forest Canopy Walkway near Falealupo, Savai'i.

Three km southwest of Falealupo-tai is palm-covered Cape Mulinu'u, shaped like an arrow aimed against Asia and the spirit land of Pulotu. This lovely white beach is Samoa's westernmost tip and the place where the world's day comes to an end. Dubbed Sunset Beach for tourists, it's controlled by Tufutafoe village and a variable and sometimes rather high entry fee is charged. The rough track continues past Tufutafoe, 1.5 km southeast of the cape, to Neiafu on the main highway, a couple of hours walk.

As you may have gathered by now, the Falealupo/Tufutafoe locals are quite adept at collecting multiple customary fees from foreigners, and it's one of their few sources of income. If you're driving you can usually get everyone in your vehicle in for the basic amount (or just drive on), but individuals roughing it on public transport may have to pay the same fees per person (or bargain).

Unless you have your own transport, getting to Falealupo is difficult—there's only one bus a day, which leaves the village for Salelologa wharf at 0500 every morning westbound. This bus may only go as far as Falealupo-uta, although it's usually possible to hitch a ride in a pickup the last nine km to Falealupo-tai.

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