20 Things To Do While in American Samoa

20 Things To Do
1. Take a tour of Maugaoalii Government House. Originally built in 1903 as the “Commandant’s Residence” during the U.S. Naval Administration, Maugaoalii Government House is the official residence of the Governor and First Lady. Tours are by arrangement and email Kathryn McClutchan-Tupua, kathryn@americansamoa.gov for a booking form.

2. Visit the National Park of American Samoa on Tutuila and the Manu’a Islands and hike the lush tropical rain forests and enjoy the magnificent scenic views and secluded beaches, and even stay with a local family in the village at the end. Contact the National Park Visitors Center, phone (1 684) 633-7082 for further information or to arrange a free guide.

3. Take a drive from Pago Pago Harbor over to the village of Vatia on the northern coast and at the top of the mountain ridge stop and enjoy the breath taking view of the harbor below. Then further on pull over to the scenic lookout with views to Cock’s Comb and Pola Island before you reach the tranquil village of Vatia.

4. Drive towards the west and take the turn off to Larsen’s Bay and Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The hike down to both bays is very rigorous but once you get to the end both bays offer a secluded beach settings like no other. Enjoy the pristine surroundings and swim and snorkel the bays to view abundant sealife. For more information contact the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary office, phone (1 684) 633-7354.

5. Lunch at the Goat Island Café in Utulei and enjoy the spectacular view of Pago Pago Harbor with Rainmaker Mountain opposite looking down as boats, yachts, ships and canoes glide past and the occasional turtle pops his heads up in the bay to see who is around.

6. Experience a traditional Samoa Fiafia Night Show where a buffet of authentic Samoan food is served and entertainment groups perform the famous Samoan Siva and Fireknife Dance. Contact the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, phone (1 684) 699-9805 for Fiafia venues and times.

7. With a map in hand hop on a local bus and head east or west and take in the picturesque villages and explore. When the mood takes you jump off and wonder along a beach and have a swim, then catch another bus to your next destination. There is nothing like riding a local bus and contact the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, phone (1 684) 699-9805 for a bus fare schedule and departure point information.

8. American Samoa’s motto is “Samoa Ia Muamua Le Atua” – Samoa, God is first, and Sunday is a day of worship and spending time with family. So whatever your religious background is, visit a local church on a Sunday morning and enjoy the rousing sermons and melodic singing.

9. Let’s go shopping! If it’s American goods you are after then you will be amazed at the huge range of products available on island at prices cheaper than anywhere else. Our main shopping areas are Fagatogo, Nu’uuli and Tafuna with a few US brand stores like Cost U Less and Ace Industries. Be prepared to have some extra luggage when you go home and your only shopping limitation is the retail hours and your credit card daily limit.

10. American Samoa is steeped in history as our Territory was once administered by the US Navy. The American Samoa Historic Preservation Office (ASHPO) has produced a “Walking Tour of Historic Fagatogo” booklet and the National Park of American Samoa office has maps to lead you up to the gun placements at Blunts and Breakers Points that guarded the Pago Pago Harbor entrance during World War II. For further information contact ASHPO, phone (1 684) 699-2316.

11. A must do while in American Samoa is to take a trip to the Manu’a Islands, half an hour flight east of Tutuila Island. Known as the sacred islands of the Territory, their chiefs were the last to sign the Deed of Cession in 1904 handing over control to the United States of America. These lush tropical islands (three in total) are home to less than 2000 people with some of the most dramatic landscapes and the tallest peak, Lata Mountain standing at 3170 feet high.

12. Waters surrounding Ofu Island in the Manu’a Islands are the most pristine in the Territory and Ofu Beach was voted in 2009 as the most beautiful undiscovered beach in the world by the travel website, so a visit here is another must do.

13. Head east from Pago Pago Harbor until you reach the Auasi Boat Harbor where you can catch a local alia boat for the short trip to Aunu’u Island off shore. Enjoy a swim at the islands main beach and take a hike and visit the quick sand lake.

14.Visit the Tia Seu Lupe Park (Starmound) in Ottoville and view this ancient stone structure said by archeologists to have been platforms built for the chiefly sport of pigeon catching. Contact the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, phone (1 684) 699-2316 for information.

15. The view of Pago Pago Harbor from the water is one of the most spectacular in the Pacific, and nothing could be more so when you are viewing it from an outrigger canoe. The American Samoa Association of Paddlers offers Pago Pago Harbor Outrigger Tours in canoes seating eight paddlers. You will be guided by two experienced paddlers (with six guest paddlers) on a tour across the harbor (under your own manpower, no power boat engines here) taking in the dazzling panoramic views of Rainmaker Mountain and the World War II historic landmarks of Breakers and Blunts Points, as well as viewing underwater wildlife. The tour costs $25 per person and to make a booking email pago.paddling.tours@gmail.com or phone (1 684) 258-1772.

16. Traditional Samoan garments, for women the puletasi (two piece long fitted blouse and skirt) and for men, Samoan island shirt are great gifts to take home. There are a number of sewing shops on Tutuila who can make a puletasi or shirt in a day to any design you choose at very inexpensive rates. So all you need to do is choose the material you like and have it made for you.

17. Take a drive up to the mountain village of Aoloaufou and take in the grand views of the Tafuna Plain below and when you reach the top where the air is cooler you have magnificent views of the northern coastline and northern Pacific Ocean. On a clear day if you look west you can see the islands of Independent Samoa.

18. Take a visit to the Jean P. Haydon Museum in Fagatogo which houses historical artifacts and exhibits including a small exhibit of American Samoa’s link to the Apollo Moon Missions. During the space race in the 1960’s and 70’s the Apollo Moon Missions on their return to earth splashed down in the Territory’s waters with all the astronauts transiting through Tutuila on their way back to the US mainland. On one of the missions a small American Samoa flag that was carried to the moon by the astronauts, and this flag and three moon stones were presented to the Territory by then President Richard Nixon. For further information contact the Jean P. Haydon Museum, phone (1 684) 633-4347 and opening hours are 7.30am – 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

19. There is nothing like the hustle and bustle of local market and the new Fagatogo Marketplace is a local favorite shopping spot. Pop down and pick upsome fresh fruit, fresh flowers and handicrafts or souvenirs to take home.

20. The thrill of catching some big game fish like tuna, marlin and sailfish is one sport fishermen travel the world to do. And here in American Samoa just half an hour cruise from shore you will be fishing in the most untapped game fishing waters of the Pacific. Every year the Territory places host to the Ia Lapoa (Big Fish) Game Fishing Tournament in May where anglers compete and boast as towho caught the big one. So pack your fishing rod and come and join us for the tournament and hopefully you go home with bragging rights and a picture to prove that you did catch the Big Fish! For more information on the tournament dates and registration call the Pago Pago Game Fishing Association phone (1 684) 699-1453.