Mu Pagoa Waterfall

Puleia / Gautavai, Savaii Island, Samoa

About Mu Pagoa Waterfall

Hiking Distance: 250m round trip
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2019-11-15
Date last visited: 2019-11-15

Waterfall Latitude: -13.77689
Waterfall Longitude: -172.37857

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Mu Pagoa Waterfall was kind of a locals waterfall as it didn’t seem to have any tourism infrastructure devoted to it.

That said, the falls featured a wide drop of about 5m tall and perhaps 15-20m wide as the Lata River spilled over an old lava flow right into the churning South Pacific Ocean.

Mu_Pagoa_Falls_040_11142019 - The Mu Pagoa Waterfall spilling right into the South Pacific Ocean
The Mu Pagoa Waterfall spilling right into the South Pacific Ocean

Indeed, you could count this as one of the waterfalls that dropped directly into the ocean!

Julie and I made a somewhat awkward visit by pulling up into a driveway of the nearest residence to the falls and asking around.

We knew where the waterfall was beforehand, which was how we guessed at the closest residence to make our inquiry.

It turned out that the place we stopped at accommodated us after we paid the 10 Tala (5 Tala per person) to go across their property to visit the falls.

Mu_Pagoa_Falls_001_11142019 - A local girl leading Julie and I through their property towards the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
A local girl leading Julie and I through their property towards the Mu Pagoa Waterfall

The girl that took the money, then led us to the lava cliffs overlooking the Mu Pagoa Waterfall as well as the turbulent ocean before leaving us alone.

Julie and I were careful not to get too close to the edges of the cliffs because the ocean swells crashed against the cliffs creating this constant battle of erosion against erosion-resistant lava.

We managed to look towards the falls, which from this angle was backed by sparse palm trees and cows grazing in the pastures beneath.

We didn’t cross the wide Lata River to get to the other side for a completely different perspective, but we really didn’t need to as the views were already good enough.

Mu_Pagoa_Falls_018_11142019 - Looking down over the Mu Pagoa Waterfall from near its brink
Looking down over the Mu Pagoa Waterfall from near its brink

Prior to us showing up, we had noticed locals standing atop of the lava cliffs perhaps fishing or daringly jumping into the swells.

All I could say was that there was no way we were even thinking about doing that given that we weren’t as familiar with the area nor were we as strong swimmers as the locals in the know.

So our visit pretty much was limited to around 20 minutes before we had our fill and returned to the parked car, where we carefully had to back out within the limited space that they had.


The Mu Pagoa Waterfall resides in the Palauli District near Salelologa on Savai’i Island, Samoa. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try the MNRE website.

Mu_Pagoa_Falls_002_11142019 - Our first look at the impressive Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_004_11142019 - Zoomed in look at the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_009_11142019 - Looking down the coast in the opposite direction of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_012_11142019 - Looking right towards the brink of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_013_11142019 - Portrait view from the brink of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall backed  by palm trees
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_023_11142019 - Brighter look down in the other direction away from the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_028_11142019 - Broad view of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall showing the ocean context
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_029_11142019 - Another broad look at the Mu Pagoa Waterfall and the open ocean to the left of it
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_033_11142019 - Looking down at the lava rocks where we suspected that locals might climb up out of if they dared go into the turbulent waters beneath the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_035_11142019 - Julie standing above the Mu Pagoa Waterfall for a little sense of scale
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_043_11142019 - Contextual view of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall focusing on the cliffs and the ocean
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_051_11142019 - Looking beyond the Mu Pagoa Waterfall towards the peninsula beyond where cows were grazing beneath the palm trees
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_053_11142019 - Another look at Julie getting a top down perspective of the Mu Pagoa Waterfall
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_055_11142019 - Our last look at the Mu Pagoa Waterfall before we headed back
Mu_Pagoa_Falls_057_11142019 - Julie heading back to the home where we stopped the car and asked around to pursue the Mu Pagoa Waterfall

For the purposes of simplicity, we’ll describe the driving directions to the ferry terminal at Salelologa since just about every visitor to Savai’i comes by ferry.

First, we had to get from the Salelologa Ferry Terminal to the South Coast Road.

The easiest way to do this would be to turn right upon leaving the terminal, then driving about 1.4km to the South Coast Road, where we’d then turn left to go west on that road.

Salelologa_Ferry_013_11162019 - Beautifully-coloured waters off the coast at the Salelologa Ferry Terminal
Beautifully-coloured waters off the coast at the Salelologa Ferry Terminal

We then continued on the South Coast Road for about 23.5km where we then to stopped at the driveway of the residence nearest to the Mu Pagoa Waterfall on the left.

The waterfall was downstream of the road bridge traversing the Lata River, and the residence was just before this bridge (roughly 10km west of the signed turnoff for the Afu Aau Waterfall.

Overall, this drive would take about 30 minutes.

Note that when we left the ferry terminal, we also could have turned left out of the ferry terminal and followed the road for 1.2km.

Then, we would turn right and follow this road for 2.4km before finally reaching the South Coast Road, where we would then turn left again.

Once on the South Coast Road, we would then drive 21.5km to the nearest residence to the Mu Pagoa Waterfall just before the bridge over the Lata River.

Doing the drive in this manner would also take about 30 minutes.

Finally, for a little local context, the town of Salelologa was about 11km (over 15 minutes drive) south of Tuasivi (East Coast), about 47km (about an hour drive) south of Fagamalo (North Coast), and 88km (about 1 hour and 45 minutes drive) southeast of Falealupo (Northwest Coast).

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A couple of left to right sweeps starting with a distant look at Mu Pagoa Falls while the second panning action checking out the falls from closer to the brink

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Tagged with: mu pagoa, puleia, gautavai, savaii, savai'I, samoa, waterfall, ocean, south pacific

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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