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Sea turtles are amazing creatures. They are fascinating to watch. Yet, most of the time, watching is as close as you get to experiencing them. We discovered a place on our recent trip to Western Samoa where you can do something even cooler than watch them. You can actually feed sea turtles at the Malua Turtle Feeding Pool! It was so much fun, and it is a great activity to do with kids. My son loved it!
Western Samoa (or Samoa as it is sometimes referred to) is a small island nation in the South Pacific. It is located northeast of New Zealand. It’s capital city is Apia, which is located on the northern shore of Upolu. Upolu is the island where most of the Samoan population lives. Apia is a bustling city. You will want to stay in Apia and use it as your base of operations during your vacation to Western Samoa.
The turtle feeding pool is actually located in the small village of Malua, which is about a 30 minute drive from Apia. You will want to drive west from Apia on the Main West Coast Road to reach it. The pool is easy to spot, if you know what you are looking for. Just as you enter the village of Malua, you will see a sign with the name of the village on it. A short distance after passing the sign, you will see the Malua Theological College. The turtle feeding pool sits right in front of the church at the college. Please note that the pool is actually located on the opposite side of the road from the ocean.
When we headed out there, I had a vague idea of where it was, but wasn’t entirely sure. Luckily, we had a cab driver who knew exactly where it was. He seemed surprised that we knew about this experience. Our cab driver actually waited for us to feed sea turtles. It cost us 80 tala for the round trip to the turtle feeding pool and back to our hotel in Apia. That worked out to be about $30 US dollars.
Tips to Improve Your Experience
Hours of Operation
The turtle feeding pool is open during the day six days a week. Like many things on this island, they are closed on Sundays. However, because the pool sits between the church and the road, you can still feed the turtles on Sunday. You just can’t get as close to them as you can if you choose to visit on any other day of the week. The only chance we had to visit was on a Sunday. We were able to have a great experience (and had it all to ourselves) even without getting close enough for the turtles to eat out of our hands. We had to throw the food down into the water from about 3 feet away. If you do visit on a Sunday, please be respectful of the church and stay on the road side of the pool.
Admission to feed sea turtles in Malua is free. You will need to bring your own turtle food, however. The turtles are partial to papaya. However, if you choose to bring papaya, remember to get a knife to cut it up. They will also eat bread and crackers as well. I’m not sure what other foods they will eat.
We didn’t want to mess with cutting up papaya, so we stopped before our trek out to the pool and bought a large package of crackers at a little store. We fed the entire package to the turtles. They gobbled them up quickly. The fish seemed to enjoy eating their share of the crackers as well!
Don’t Forget Your Camera
Don’t forget to bring your camera with you. The water is pretty murky, which at times, makes it hard to see the turtles approaching. However, you will have no trouble spotting them once they get close to the surface and start eating. Be ready with that camera, though, because they quickly pop their heads up to grab a bite and then submerge again to eat it. I had no problems getting several good shots of them eating crackers. If you are able to get to the water’s edge so they can eat out of your hand, you can get some unbelievable shots of your family with the turtles.
Sea turtles are fascinating creatures that most people never get to interact with in nature. If you visit the Malua Turtle Feeding Pool in Western Samoa, however, you can be one of the lucky few who can actually feed sea turtles! It was a wonderful experience that was unlike anything else we have ever done. My son loved it and talked about the turtles for the rest of our trip. This is a great activity for everyone in the family to enjoy together. I hope you get to feed sea turtles on your trip to Western Samoa. Happy travels.