American Samoa Flag

American Samoa Travel Guide

Ofu and Olosega
The beach on southern Ofu, Manu'a Group,
with Olosega in the background.

Highlights

American Samoa's throbbing heart is Fagatogo Market, where buses unload passengers from both ends of Tutuila. Mt. Alava, the canneries, Rainmaker Mountain, and Pago Pago Harbor are all visible from the market. Mt. Alava itself may be the island's second best sight, accessible on foot from the Fagasa road.

A colorful island tour is easily arranged by boarding a bus to Tula or Leone. Those with more time can catch a flight to the twin islands of Ofu and Olosega with their spectacular beaches and cliffs. Four or five days is ample time to see Tutuila, and with two weeks you could do all of the above and then some.

National Park

In 1988, the U.S. Congress authorized the creation of the National Park of American Samoa, comprising 32 square km of tropical rainforest, coastal cliffs, and coral reef on Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta'u, and in 1993, nine villages signed 50-year leases involving annual fees of US$419,000 in total (this is the only U.S. national park in which the federal government leases the land).

On Tutuila the park stretches from Fagasa Bay to Afono Bay, encompassing everything north of the knifelike ridge. Countless seabirds nest on Pola Island. The largest unit is on Ta'u with Mt. Lata and the entire southeast corner of the island, including coastal, lowland, montane, and cloud forest communities. Ta'u's soaring cliffs and Laufuti Falls are spectacular. On Ofu, the lovely southeastern beach and coral reef are included. Two endangered species of pe'a (flying fox), pollinators of the rainforest, are protected in the park.

This splendid national park, which ranks with Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon in majesty, seems destined to become American Samoa's biggest tourist attraction if an appropriate infrastructure for visitors can be put in place. Park admission itself is free.