About Fuipisia Falls
Fuipisia Falls (or Fuipisia Waterfall) was actually a series of two impressive waterfalls on different streams.
The first waterfall was partially concealed so viewing it was kind of awkward.
However, it featured a pretty impressive drop and deserved to be mentioned as a legitimate waterfall.
That said, as you can see in the picture above, the second waterfall was the main one of the pair.
It featured a dual 54m direct plunge into a seemingly inaccessible gorge.
I’d imagine that when it comes to the Fuipisia Falls, the internet literature tended to focus only on this waterfall, which tends to make the first waterfall overlooked.
However, I tend to refer to the overall pairing since we got to see them both upon a visit here.
Speaking of our visit, we were able to reach the very top of main waterfall, which allowed us to precariously peer down into the depths of the gorge while also looking in the distance at the convergence of the two streams responsible for the waterfalls here.
Although we didn’t try this, there might have been an opportunity to swim and cool off further upstream away from where the stream became too turbulent and too close to the dropoff of the main Fuipisia Falls.
Experiencing the First Fuipisia Falls
We began from a signed lawn area that I presumed was the car park for the waterfalls (see directions below).
After being greeted by the family that owned the land here, we paid 20 Tala each, and then we were directed to follow a wide grassy and gently descending path.
The initial descent went for about 150m before we reached a stream crossing that we could traverse without getting wet through some rock hopping.
Aside from one of the rocks being loose, we had no trouble with it.
Beyond the stream crossing, we then ascended briefly before the path reached a wide grassy area flanked by some plants and some strategically placed columns or stumps.
We could already hear the first waterfall, and after a few paces on this wide grassy path, we went to the edge of the gorge and looked back at that waterfall, which was awkward at best.
It turned out that the stream we had crossed earlier was the same stream responsible for this waterfall.
So I’d imagine that the greater the volume of this stream, the better the show the first waterfall would put on.
However, that would also mean the more difficult and potentially dangerous that stream crossing can become.
During our visit, there was someone working on a bridge so perhaps this crossing may become more trivial even under higher flow.
Experiencing the Main Fuipisia Falls
As we continued walking on the grassy area flanked by stumps or columns, perhaps another 150m after the stream crossing, we reached a corner where we could partially see both the first and the second Fuipisia Falls at the same time.
Continuing on the main trail for another 50m or so, we then reached the main lookout for the second Fuipisia Falls, which was located near a fale.
This lookout was still in work when we made our late 2019 visit, but we were able to stand besides this lookout and get a pretty satisfying view of its entire 54m twin drop.
The person working here told us that the trail kept going beyond this overlook so we pursued that path.
It initially entered a fairly muddy but brief bush track that made its way through a lush jungle grove before opening up again at the banks of the stream responsible for the main Fuipisia Falls.
Julie and I were content to get the views (and the stomach butterflies) from the edge of the cliff responsible for the waterfall.
However, upon looking further upstream, there were calm sections of the stream that might have offered some potential for swimming or cooling off barring a flash flood or high flow conditions.
After having our fill of this falls, we then went back the way we came.
The total distance hiked according to my GPS logs was about 800m round trip, and we spent about 35 minutes here.
The Admission Fee
Prior to making our visit to the Fuipisia Falls, we came across some negative reviews about the price of admission.
We agree that 20 tala per person (40 tala total) might be a bit steep compared to say the following entrance fees we have had to pay such as:
- To Sua Ocean Trench (we paid 10 Tala per person)
- Sopo’aga Falls (we paid 10 Tala per person)
- Falefa Falls (we paid 5 Tala per person)
- The Piula Cave Pool (we paid 20 Tala total for parking and admission)
- The Alofa’aga Blowholes (we paid 15 Tala total for parking and admission)
- Afu-Aau Waterfall (we paid 5 Tala per person)
- RLS Museum (we paid 20 Tala per person)
However, when you consider the third-world living conditions of the more rural parts of Samoa as well as the exchange rates ($1 USD was roughly 2.5 Tala when we were there), 40 Tala amounted to $16 USD, which was not too bad considering other trip costs.
Besides, if these people own the right to access the falls, they have the right to choose the price that they think the market will bear.
That said, I think tourists would be willing to pay to experience the sights if the prices were clearly signposted as opposed to being subjected to the possibility of being ripped off by someone making up a price on the spot.
So to that end, the prices weren’t signposted at Fuipisia Falls when we visited, and it might be something they might consider doing.
Nevertheless, we did witness work to improve the trail and the overlooks so I’m sure the fees are going right back to enhancing the visitor experience.
They also seemed genuinely grateful that Julie and I visited their waterfalls.
Personally, we had no problems paying the fee, but I’m sure this will remain a controversial topic in the near term.
Fuipisia Falls resides in the Faipule District. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try the MNRE website.
There were many ways to arrive at the Fuipisia Falls on Upolu Island, and how you get there depends on where you’re coming from.
The easiest frame of reference is the Sopoaga Falls, which was just under 4km to the south.
For directions on getting to Sopoaga Falls, see that page’s driving directions section.
We’ll describe the driving approach from Apia on this page.
There are two ways to go – the straightforward Main East Coast Rd / Le Mafa Pass Rd route or the Cross-Island / Main South Coast Rd route.
For the first route, we would drive east of Apia along the Main East Coast Rd for nearly 23km before going south on Richardson Rd / Le Mafa Pass Rd (just past the village of Falepuna) for about 13km.
The signed turnoff for Fuipisia Falls would be on the right.
Overall, this drive would take about 45 minutes.
For the second route, we would drive south of Apia on the Cross-Island Road for 22km before driving another 24km east on the Main South Coast Rd.
Turning left to go onto Le Mafa Pass Rd, we would then drive the remaining 3.4km to the Fuipisia Falls turnoff on the left.
Overall, this drive would take over an hour.
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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