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Samoa Travel Guide

Letolo Plantation Map

Letolo Plantation

Catch a bus from the Salelologa ferry wharf to Letolo Plantation, eight km west in Palauli District. The largest remaining prehistoric monument in Polynesia is here, as well as an idyllic waterfall and pool. The huge Pulemelei stone pyramid (tia), on a slope about three km from the main circuminsular highway, was concealed by thick undergrowth until the 1960s. This immense three-tiered stone platform on a hillside in the middle of the coconut plantation is 65 meters long, 60 meters wide, and 12 meters high, and stones used in religious ceremonies are scattered around it. The structure is similar to some of the stone temple mounds of Tahiti and is possibly their predecessor, though its origins have been completely erased from the memories of present-day Samoans.

The route to the pyramid can be hard to follow. About 100 meters after a bridge just west of Vailoa village, turn right onto a farm road signposted "Afu Aau Falls" into Letolo Plantation. You can only drive a regular car 200 meters down the access road to the first river crossing (a 4WD vehicle can continue right up to the edge of the falls). Continue on foot past a two-story concrete house on the right where an admission fee will be collected. About 200 meters beyond the house there's a well marked entrance through a stone wall on the right. Here a faint track heads east through a coconut grove where cows are grazing to Afu Aau Falls (also known as Olemoe Falls). Rather than visit the falls immediately, however, continue north on the plantation road toward the pyramid and keep left.

About 20 minutes from the falls turnoff, start watching for a small stream with a sizable concrete drainage pipe across the road (the only such pipe you'll see). The trail to the pyramid is on the left just beyond the pipe. The pyramid was cleared of ferns and bush during archaeological excavations in late 2002, and a trail runs right up and around the top. Radiocarbon dating demonstrated human activity in the area from A.D. 620 to A.D. 1690.

After exploring the pyramid, return to the falls for a well-deserved swim. The edge of the ravine is 400 meters straight east through the coconut plantation, and the steep path down to the pool is fairly obvious. The crystal-clear waters of Faleata Stream running down the east side of the plantation plunge over a cliff into a large, deep pool into which you can dive from the sides. Brown prawns live in the pool: Drop in bread crumbs and wait for them to appear.

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