The easiest way to escape the congested Pago Pago harbor area is to jump on a bus to Vatia on Tutuila's north coast. Several public buses shuttle back and forth via Aua and Afono all day, so getting there is easy.
Vatia is a picturesque village with a nice beach, and the scenery around here is superb with jungle-covered peaks surrounding the village on all sides.Look across to unforgettable Pola Island (also known as the "Cockscomb") with its sheer 100-meter cliffs and wheeling seabirds.
Vatia is in the center of the Tutuila section of National Park of American Samoa., and if you're interested in some organized hiking or boating while at Vatia, call local resident Rory West (tel. 258-3527 or 644-1317) who offers boat trips at US$45 pp if there's sufficient demand and who can arrange hiking guides at the same rate.
Eastern Tutuila is easily accessible on the frequent Tula buses that wind along the southeast coast through the day. At Alao and Tula are wide sandy beaches, but beware of the undertow. On Cape Matatula just past Tula is the Samoa Observatory, established in 1974 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of five such climate monitoring laboratories around the world. A sign on the access road reads "Private Property No Trespassing". From Tula (the end of the bus route), the road continues around to the north side of Tutuila as far as Onenoa.
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