Travel Guide American Samoa

  • Sandy beach, American Samoa Photo: CC0

American Samoa

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With its dense dark forests, waterfalls and torrents, and lagoon-colored waters fringed with coconut trees, Samoa Islands offer a typical "South Sea" scenery. Bound in archipelagos in the heart of the South Pacific, south of Hawaii and north of New Zealand, these tiny islands are made up of ancient volcanoes surrounded by coral atolls. A land where Polynesian traditions are still very strong.

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Tourism here is still in its infancy, mainly focused on the environment, sport, outdoor adventure and cultural traditions. It is above all this virgin and original nature that will attract visitors.

In this tropical destination, American Samoa rewards intrepid travelers with incredible natural beauty and an authentic glimpse of Polynesian culture. The islands of Tutuila, Ta'u and Ofu are the main natural attraction, the National Park of American Samoa. Enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and hiking in a wild landscape of tropical forest, beaches and protected coral reefs teeming with wildlife.

Tutuila, with its walls of greenery rushing into the ocean, is one of the most spectacular islands in the Pacific. Be careful when swimming: if the locals do not bathe, do not dive either! However, don't hesitate to join them for a game of local cricket, called "kirikiti".

The capital Pago Pago on Tutuila Island offers popular activities and attractions: hiking on Mount Alava, Two Dollar Beach, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, but also hotels, shops and restaurants on Pago Plaza and Fagatogo Square. If you are in search of solitude, the beaches of Ofu will fill you with happiness. September and October are the best months for humpback whale watching. Throughout the year, you can also see a whole gallery of marine and terrestrial creatures: flying bats, geckos, dolphins and sea turtles.

For culture lovers, American Samoa is a magical experience. Apart from the introduction of Christianity in the 19th century, local culture has remained almost unchanged for 3,000 years.  The aiga, or extended family, forms the nucleus of society. The elders and village chiefs, the matai, are deeply respected. Samoan is spoken by more than 90 per cent of the indigenous population. You will also discover inhabitants wearing lavalava (sarongs) or puletasi (skirts and patterned tunics), dancing the siva, cooking in an umu (clay oven) and drinking milk directly from a fresh coconut. Every evening and Sunday, Samoan villages observe religious prayer and rest. This is the Fa'a Samoa, the Samoan way of life.