Papapapaitai Falls

Tiavi / Lake Lanoto'o National Park, Upolu Island, Samoa

About Papapapaitai Falls

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2019-11-11
Date last visited: 2019-11-14

Waterfall Latitude: -13.94128
Waterfall Longitude: -171.781

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Papapapaitai Falls (I’ve also seen it referred to as Papapapaitai Waterfall as well as Papapapai-tai Falls or Papapapai-Uta Falls) was probably the easiest of the Samoan waterfalls that we experienced as it was a roadside waterfall.

All we had to do was pull up to the signed lookout right off the Cross-Island Road (see directions below).

Papapapaitai_Falls_001_11132019 - Papapapaitai Falls
Papapapaitai Falls

From there, we looked across the canyon towards the impressively tall waterfall, which was said to have a height of 100m.

The best views of the falls were from the left side of the lookout, where there was a small retaining wall preceding a gully right between tall grass.

The right side of the lookout was mostly blocked by tall reeds as well as branches from a big tree essentially growing near the middle of the field of view.

So as far as our experiences with this waterfall went, we pretty much just pulled over to take a look and then head out.

Upolu_018_11102019 - Looking through a small opening on the right side of the overlook towards Papapapaitai Falls
Looking through a small opening on the right side of the overlook towards Papapapaitai Falls

There didn’t seem to be an official way to actually swim at this waterfall given its location across a deep canyon.

Thus, we typically spent perhaps less than 15 minutes here for each time that we made a stop here.

I’m not sure if this waterfall was part of the Lake Lanoto’o National Park, but we did not have to pay to experience it, which was surprisingly rare for waterfalls in Samoa.

Finally, according to our LP book, there was an unmarked track about 100m before the lookout that led to the Tiavi Waterhole, but Julie and I didn’t do this so we can’t comment on that any further.


Papapapaitai Falls resides in the Tuamasaga District near Apia on ‘Upolu Island, Samoa. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try the MNRE website.

Upolu_002_11102019 - Context of Julie checking out the Papapapaitai Falls when we first saw it on our first day in Samoa
Upolu_004_11102019 - Late afternoon shadows dominating the lighting when we first saw Papapapaitai Falls on our first day in Samoa
Upolu_007_11102019 - Zoomed in late afternoon look at the Papapapaitai Falls
Upolu_009_11102019 - Full contextual view of Papapapaitai Falls on a sunny day in the late afternoon
Upolu_016_11102019 - Context of the little retaining wall fronting a steep gully at the Papapapaitai Falls Lookout
Upolu_019_11102019 - The signed turnoff for the Papapapaitai Waterfall
Upolu_020_11102019 - When we first came to the Papapapaitai Waterfall, it must have followed some rain because the deep potholes were filled with water
Papapapaitai_Falls_005_11132019 - Focused look at the entirety of Papapapaitai Falls when we came back a few days later under overcast skies
Papapapaitai_Falls_009_11132019 - Full context of the Papapapaitai Falls view under overcast skies
Papapapaitai_Falls_010_11132019 - Looking back towards the Cross-Island Road from the Papapapaitai Falls Lookout

Getting to Papapapaitai Falls was pretty straightforward as it’s right off the Cross-Island Road, which connects the city of Apia with the south coast of Upolu Island.

Papapapaitai_Falls_012_11132019 - The signed turnoff for Papapapaitai Falls as seen from the Cross-Island Road heading south from Apia
The signed turnoff for Papapapaitai Falls as seen from the Cross-Island Road heading south from Apia

From the junction of Beach Road and Cross-Island Road, we went south on Cross-Island Road for a little over 14km (taking roughly 20 minutes).

The signed turnoff for Papapapaitai Falls was on the right roughly 3km south of the signed turnoff for Lake Lanoto’o.

The car park had quite a few deep potholes so if you don’t have a high clearance vehicle, there seemed to be space to park closer to the Cross-Island Road than closer to the lookout.

Going in the other direction, Papapapaitai Falls was on the left roughly 7km north of the junction of the Main South Coast Road and the Cross-Island Road (taking roughly 10 minutes).

Papapapaitai_Falls_013_11132019 - Lots of deep potholes at the car park for Papapapaitai Falls
Lots of deep potholes at the car park for Papapapaitai Falls

Finally, for a little local context, the town of Apia was about 23km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Maninoa (South Coast), about 50km (over an hour drive) northwest of Matatufu (Southeast Coast), about 62km (under 90 minutes drive) northwest of Lalomanu, and 41km (under an hour drive) east of Mulifanua (Northwest Coast).

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Dedicated sweep of the lookout focused on just the falls

Sweep of the lookout area under overcast skies

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Tagged with: tiavi, tuamasaga, samoa, upolu, apia, waterfall, south pacific, papapapai-uta, fusi, cross island road

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

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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