Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
Palolo Deep Marine Reserve
Bodies of Water
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8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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433 reviews
Very good

Bryleigh W
18 contributions
Aug 2022 • Solo
Visited 7th of August. Walking up the muddy entrance way i was a bit dubious but once i got to the “counter” the lovely young girl coming home from church was great. Paid 5 tala and spent 3 hours relaxing in the many fale they had, snorkelling with the beautiful fish, and just enjoying myself. Well worth the visit.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

27 contributions
Oct 2019 • Friends
You have to to visit Palolo Deep. A must see. When you get to the beach, swim towards the stick the is situated just to the left. It looks a long way but there is coral on the way and is mostly at a depth that you can stand (given reef shoes/flippers)- be mindful not to stand on the fragile coral. When the pass the stick, keep swimming out and you will come to a coral wall. One of the very few places in the world that you don't need to scuba dive to see a coral wall. You can put you belongings behind the front desk. The ladies are always very kind and helpful.
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hong Kong, China54 contributions
Jan 2020
For the price they charge, the changing room, lavatory and other amenities provide are more than what we asked for. The dive itself is divine. Everyone should snorkel here.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mangawhai31 contributions
Jun 2011 • Couples
We've snorkelled at many spots on Upolu, and this is by far the best. Located virtually right in Apia town at Vaiala Beach, it is an easy walk from Aggies Hotel and, if you're driving, offers safe and shady parking. There is an a 4Tala entry fee, and you can hire snorkelling gear, and use toilets/changing rooms.
To reach the actual reserve involves about 100 metres of snorkelling in fairly shallow water to a maker post. Don't stop right there! Another few metres takes you to an amazing drop-off, and wonderful viewing for hours. It's best to turn right and follow the edge of the drop-off in an anticlockwise direction.
Written July 7, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wellington, New Zealand31 contributions
Jan 2012 • Friends
If you are staying in town, Apia, and want a quick swim but don't have time or transport to go to a nice beach. Then Palolo deep will suffice. But don't expect a nice place to sit on the beach and watch out for cockroaches! I went to Palolo deep about 7 years ago, and it was a wonderful place to relax in the little beach fales, have a swim and snorkel, bring the kids for a day out. Last week I went back, the fales have all fallen down - and the bits and peices lie all over the beach, dangerous nails poking out of bits of aluminium - make sure you keep an eye on the kids & that they wear shoes at all times. However the swimming was ok, the sea clean and warm for being so close to town.
It was sad to see this place so poorly looked after and turning to ruins.
Entry cost is 4 tala per person. Snorkel gear can be hired at 4 tala for goggles and 4 tala for snorkel. I advise to take your own as its doubtful their ones are cleaned between snorkellers!
Written February 3, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Glastonbury, CT150 contributions
Nov 2018 • Couples
Phenomenal snorkeling place for somewhat experienced snorkelers. There is a Blue Hole in the middle of this large coral reef. The reef has many kinds of corals and vegetation and it is excellent for seeing fish and turtles. Generally you are swimming about 2'-3' over the very diverse and healthy reef. Around the blue hole is a wall, you can snorkel over it and along it. Usually only divers get to explore walls of coral, snorkelers have little access to vertical walls. Here you get the best of everything.

There's a bit of a swim to the drop-off. There is a pole marking it and an established route. There is good fish life, renewing coral (there was a bleaching event some years ago), all on a vertical wall with great hidey-holes for critters of every kind. Going to the right from the pole that marks the drop off is the best way for viewing the wall. To the left is also good for fish, and especially spotting sea turtles who hide out on the sandy patches below. At a relatively high tide it is also worthwhile to explore the flats further out because the many holes conceal many different species of fish, but should be done by experienced snorkelers only. The currents can vary.

I have been here 2 times, about 5 years apart. The coral has developed beautifully, and it is quite excellent now (November 2018) This reserve is only a short walk from the cruise port, 5 minutes at the most.

The current over the blue hole was gentle, and it is quite neat to swim over the blue hole. Because it is so deep, you won't see fish-the experience is about the blue and the light reflections. On the flats further out, you should pay attention to the current which could sweep you sideways away from the only comfortable entry point. It's also a good idea to orient yourself in order to find the marker pole and entry point. Don't ignore the flats on the way back in. there are. interesting fish making homes in the sand, and a rich nursery on even the smallest coral headlets.

Last but not least, is the facility. You pay $5 a head and the family who owns/runs the place lets you pick out a picnic table area of your own that is on a platform and has a roof for shade. There is a fresh water shower, changing rooms and toilets. She also rents equipment. This family is lovely and takes good care of the place. You can leave your stuff on the picnic table and it is safe. There are local kids and families enjoying the place. How often can you go snorkeling and have facilities? It is a great place, and I recommend it highly.
Written November 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brisbane, Australia86 contributions
Apr 2017 • Solo
I loved this place. I visited 3 times over my week stay in Apia and recommend visiting. I will definately return again when I visit Apia again.

I loved the authenticity of the place, the snorkeling was perfect for me. The water was clear of rubbish and debris everyday I visited and of a warm temperature. The depth ranged from ankle deep to about 4.5" when I visited. At "the stick" it drops off to very deep. You only need to swim out to about 100 to 150m to start viewing some coral and interesting marine life.

On my first day the current was strong but not unbearable and pushing towards shore. I saw a variety of fish ranging from small schools to decent medium sized. I saw a good variety of coral and an abundance of blue star fish.

The equipment on offer for hire was not the best but what I hired served it's purpose and was fine for me. I do recommend bringing reef shoes as others have suggested due to the scattered dead coral on land. They have change rooms, an outdoor shower and toilets available, they are authentic and make shift but clean, secure and serve their purpose.

They offer food and drinks for sale at very reasonable prices. The chicken and chips were fantastic for me. The fried chicken was crunchy and probably one of the best I have experienced anywhere in the world, Well done!!! 10 tala. The lime juice..... this is just WoW!!!! 3 tala. I recommend this and the chocolate banana smoothie 10 tala is great too. I also had the sausages and chips too and the sausages were not great but they battered and fried them made them palatable and turned something crap into something good, 10 tala.

Laying around here under the trees was just paradise and even just swimming and laying around in the water was great for me. There were beautiful swings available for "kids" but they supported me 85kg. I think I would not leave if they had hammocks available for me to lay on. My visit was just bliss, thank you and I can't wait to return.

It cost 5 tala to enter and 11 tala for the hire of a mask and snorkel.
Written April 22, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

potsdam10 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
The marine reserve is a "deep", which lies protected behind the barrier reef. The coral reef here is quite healthy, and many species of fish can be observed. In contrast to the rest of Samoa, where I found 95% of coral in the lagoons are dead, due to Tsunami in 2009 and El Nino. You pay a small fee to get in. On the grounds, there are picnic tables and you can buy snacks. Staff have given us misleading instructions, so here´s how to reach the Deep: Best go at high tide ( google tide Apia ). At low low tide it´s rough going, and you will damage the marine life on the ground. Go to the leftmost beach, facing the sea. There´s a staff in the sea, sticking out at an angle, about 200m out. Aim a little left of it and swim out in shallow water. The deep will suddenly open before you. Go along the bowl the right hand side direction of the barrier reef- the left side is 90% dead. Look at the layout of the deep on Google Earth or Maps satellite. It´s roughly pear-shaped, with the wide and deep part to the barrier reef. Warning: if you go out far into the deep end and approach the barrier reef, take note of currents and immediately turn around if any are noticeable. Rip tides- strong currents that can carry you out to the open ocean- can always occur along barrier reefs. Unexperienced swimmers should stay away from the barrier reef.
Written August 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hastings, New Zealand28 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
One of the attractions of a Samoa holiday was to do some snorkelling. Palolo did not disappoint. First time it was low tide which did make getting offshore difficult and resulted in some grazes from the coral. The upside was the fact that the fish seemed to have left the shallows and congregated on the edges of the deep. Of our four outings at Palolo, the variety and number of fish was best on this one.
The next three times it was near high tide and getting to the deep was very easy. There are two poles in the water. To get to the deep it is much closer if you head for the westernmost (left hand) post. If you head to the eastern (right hand) post it is much further to the deep. The variety of fish and coral is about the same no matter which way you head but the chances of seeing turtles appears (we were told) to be better towards the right hand post and close to the sand island.
When viewed from the shore, the distance to the poles may look daunting to anyone who is not a strong swimmer. It is probably not as big a hazard as it may appear as the water right out to the post is never more than waist (maybe shoulder) deep on the average adult. Just be aware that the coral is living and if you are going to put your feet on the bottom to rest you must pick a solid rock. If you stand on coral it will likely be seriously damaged.
Some reviewers have criticised the place because of the dead coral. Yes there is dead coral near the shore and if all you see is dead coral then you have not gone out far enough. Coral is living. Living things die. The dead coral gets washed upon the beach by wave action. Further out the coral is very much alive and is probably as good as you will see anywhere in the world. The fact that in this case it is about a ten to fifteen minute walk from a nation's capital is quite remarkable.
We did one outing on the south coast but unfortunately it is still suffering the effects of the tsunami and does not compare with Palolo.
Written August 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wellington, New Zealand87 contributions
Jun 2017 • Family
The Palolo Deep reserve provides great snorkelling very close to Apia town - just around the corner from the port area and not that far from Aggie Grey's Sheraton hotel. There is a small charge to enter the reserve, even to take a look, so be prepared for this. We timed our visit, as per the reviews, to high tide and this was definitely the way to go. It is about a 200m swim from the shore out to the stick marking the edge of the drop-off. I was initially a little dubious about the distance out into the open water, but in fact you're swimming across a coral bed all the way out and it is not deep at all (no more than a couple of metres). The people in the ticket booth assured us there was not a strong current running that day. You can see a good variety of fish around the shoreline and as you swim out, so even if you don't go all the way out, it is still enjoyable. Out beyond the stick the fish and coral life is lovely. And the water is so warm, you can drift out there as long as you like. We had our own snorkel and mask so I can't comment on the hire ones. I also wore reef shoes and believe they're essential if you feel you need to put your feet down at any time on the swim out. Didn't need flippers.
Even though it looks a little rubbishy and rough with concrete chunks etc around the shoreline, the reef itself is lovely. I really enjoyed this attraction.
Written June 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Palolo Deep Marine Reserve (Apia) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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Palolo Deep Marine Reserve is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

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