Vailima, Samoa

Vailima is the name of a village about four miles south of Apia, the capital of Samoa. The population is 769.[1] Vailima is part of the electoral political district Tuamasaga.

Villa Vailima


The name Vailima means "water in the hand", according to an old Samoan tale. A woman gave some water (vai) in her hand (lima) to help her thirsty companion. A widely quoted misinterpretation states that the name means "five waters", as the word "lima" means both "hand" and "five" in Samoan.[2]

Connections with Robert Louis StevensonEdit

Stevenson family and friends, Vailima

The village is most known as the location of the last residence of Robert Louis Stevenson, named "Villa Vailima", which is now the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.[3] The estate has had a varied past with it functioning further as the residence for the governor of German Samoa, the administrator of the New Zealand mandatory authority and the Samoan head of state. It is now a museum in honour of Stevenson and has been substantially restored.[4]

Stevenson is buried in a tomb on Mount Vaea overlooking Vailima.[4] He had two wishes for his burial, to be buried on the top of Mount Vaea and to be buried with his boots on as he used those boots to walk on the Samoan lands.[5]


  1. ^ "Census 2016 Preliminary count" (PDF). Samoa Bureau of Statistics. p. 7. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  2. ^ Theroux, Joseph (1981). "Some Misconceptions about RLS". The Journal of Pacific History. 16 (3): 164–166. doi:10.1080/00223348108572422. JSTOR 25168472.
  3. ^ Bennett, E.M. (1 January 2017). "Representations and belonging: a brief study of the social contexts of museums in Samoa and Fiji". Senior Capstone Projects.
  4. ^ a b "Robert Louis Stevenson Museum". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  5. ^ "IN THE WAKE OF ROBERTd LOUIS STEVENSON". Tara Expeditions. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2021.

Coordinates: 13°51.59′S 171°45.56′W / 13.85983°S 171.75933°W / -13.85983; -171.75933