Are you itching for white, sandy beaches, stunningly clear waters, and lush rainforests? Head out of the continental US to American Samoa, five islands located in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, for a vacation you'll never forget.
American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States, and its remote location makes it the perfect place for a getaway vacation. The National Park of American Samoa has plenty of adventure opportunities - from hikes through the rainforest, long walks on the beach, snorkeling, and scuba diving. You'll be able to explore to your heart's content.
Because of its isolation, you'll need to plan in advance for transportation, accommodations, and activities. Not many tourists come to the islands, so any services or trips you take will have to be chartered. A lot of the time, you might just be asking a local fisherman to take you to a nearby island. Camping is prohibited within the park, and there aren't any campgrounds, so your only options are to stay in a hotel or a rustic beach fale - a thatched hut on the beach. Though the trip might require more effort to plan, your hard work will be rewarded stunning panoramic vistas, endless blue waters, and a one-of-a-kind vacation.
The National Park of American Samoa is in a remote part of the South Pacific ocean. Therefore, options for access are limited and often require much planning. Any flight you get is likely to stop in Honolulu on your way to American Samoa.
When you arrive, you'll find several car rental agencies near the airport. However, for a small fee, you can be driven around the island, even to the more remote parts.
Buses run on the island Mondays through Saturdays. You'll be able to just flag down any bus on the road, and they'll stop for you. Additionally, if you let them know, they'll drop you anywhere by safely pulling off the road.
There are no campgrounds available on the islands, so you'll have to find alternate accommodations.
Beach fales are simple, thatched huts, often found in the Pacific Islands. They're the most low-budget accommodations on the islands, and will provide you access to the island's stunning beaches. There are several places to book beach fales, so check online to find one near your area of interest.
There are plenty of hikes for everyone at the National Park of American Samoa. The options range from short 0.1 mile loops to climbing to the summit of Mount 'Alava using ladders and ropes. Whatever path you choose, you're certain to find something to whet your adventurous spirit.
The hikes in the park will take you to see wildlife, rainforests, panoramic vistas, and beach walks.
If you're stuck indoors because of rain, take some time to learn more about the rich history and culture of American Samoa. The visitor center has exhibits written in both Samoan and English.
Here, you'll learn about the island's diverse rainforests, fruit bats, coral reefs and Samoan culture. There are also interactive exhibits that combine both the island's natural ecosystems with its native people's culture.
There are over 950 species of fish and over 250 species of coral throughout the American Samoa islands. Out of all the snorkeling areas, Ofu has some of the best. It's challenging to get to. You'll need to fly to the island of Ta'u and hire a local fisherman to take you in a boat.
If you do choose to go snorkeling at the park, make sure you're trained in using the equipment, and bring your own gear. There are no rental options.
American Samoa is very modest regarding clothing, so make sure you are respectful of the community's customs.
American Samoa has a plethora of stunning beaches to visit. Grab your towel, sunscreen and some snacks and head to any one of their beaches for a relaxing day on the sand.
You'll find blindingly white sand and clear, aquamarine waters against a backdrop of lush forests and hills. It's the perfect way to spend at least one of your vacation days.
While you'll be able to rent air tanks on the island, you'll need to bring the rest of your gear to go scuba diving here. There are not many tourists who come to the National Park of American Samoa, so you won't find any regular boat trips that will take you to local diving spots.
As you will for most of the trip, make sure you plan accordingly and book your trips and charters ahead of time. The shore of Tutuila Island, the largest island in American Samoa, is the best place to start for any diving trips.
American Samoa was an integral player in American communication during World War II. If you're interested in learning more about its role in World War II and US Naval Operations, pick up a US Naval History and World War II Guide and explore the island's history.
This method of exploration works well since you can move at your own pace and stop and start as much as you wish.