Travel To American Samoa
As a traveler, I love going to the places that are less travelled yet they are adventurous and fun. It is for this reason that I recently went to American Samoa islands in the company of my best friend that I have globe trotted with over the years. American Samoa is a vacation spot that is largely undiscovered within the heart of the Polynesian that comprises of Rapanui, Hawaii and New Zealand. The place stretches over a distance of about 76 Square miles and is a perfect place for your getaway within the pacific as it is dotted with numerous attractions among them the natural secluded beach that are quiet, the rainforests that offer breathtaking views and awesome hiking trails.
During our holidays in American Samoa, we were able to hear the sounds as well as see the sights of undefiled natural beautiful blend of the Samoan culture and Polynesian lifestyle within this paradise. One of the places that you need to visit when you are in American Samoa is Tisa’s Barefoot Bar that offers an incredible view. This bar is definitely the most laid back beach bars that you can find along the South Pacific. The most interesting thing about this bar is that it is built from driftwood stretching over the sandy Alega beach. Moreover, we were served with the best Pina Coladas we have ever tasted.
The entire place is well decorated with some interesting pieces and bits that are donated by travelers who stop by during their visit of American Samoa. The hosts Candyman and Tisa are also great. Generally, Tisa’s Barefoot Bar is place where you can laze away for an entire tropical day as you also have the option of swimming in the lovely and clear water with spaced out snacking breaks. It is great eating while seating on the decks that overlook the bay.
While here, we also discovered that you could stay at this secret gem while on your visit of American Samoa. The facilities are also not disappointing and they include simple toilets that are clean and a house shower. Although the bar only opens during weekends and on Wednesdays, visitors coming in on these other days are usually welcome.
The other must visit place in American Samoa is Mount Alava that has a three mile trail that will get you to the summit where you will enjoy amazing views of both the harbor and the island. Base on our experience, the walk is not too hard and can be taken by anyone who is fit. Just as it is with any other hiking experience, you will need to bring plenty of drinking water to avoid dehydration. When you get to the summit after about two hours, you will not be disappointed because the beautiful panoramic views of villages below will blow you away. One thing that you need to know is that it can really get hot so you will do well to leave at sunrise.
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The other hiking experience that is a must and worth taking part when you go to American Samoa is the Cloud Rainforest to Reef Hike that is run by the US park service. You will do well to bring along your camera and walking shoes. The good news is that you do not need to pay an admission fees to enjoy the breathtaking views as well as the beauty of Tutuila. We also went for the Pago Pago Tradewinds day Tour on an open bus that is not only roomy but also easy to get on and off with ease. Our guide was a young nice woman that is quite knowledgeable. The best part of this amazing tour was having to see a demonstration of the village life. This tour was quite interesting and was punctuated with nine stops where we spent a few minutes before proceeding to the next stop. Some of the places where we stopped during the tour include Tia Seu Lupe Pigeon Mound, Tauese Museum, Maliu Mai Beach, the scenic Golf course, Leone missionary, the village where saw a demonstration of Samoan Village Life, Fatu Ma Futi and the US national Park of American Samoa.
There was quite a bit to learn from each of these stops but for me the highlight was the demonstration at the Samoa Village as well as the activities such as how to cook dinner indoors, the kinds of food that they eat like copra, taro, papaya, and pineapple among others. In terms f dressing, both men and women were donning colorful sarongs. We also got a glimpse of how these people live engage in creative ventures like weaving hats and baskets from palm frond, as well as making coconut cream. We sampled the food as it was passed around for visitors to taste. There were numerous items on sale like placemats, cold local beer, fresh coconuts, palm hats, carved wooden bowls, striking shell jewelry and Samoan design sarongs. We spent some good time interacting with the people at this Samoan village while getting all our questions answered. I highly recommend this experience to everyone visiting American Samoa.
From the Samoan village, we moved on to have scenic drives around the Island where we saw the destruction caused by the 2009 tsunami that claimed 20 lives ON Tutuila Island. The tide was low and the residents enjoyed fishing and digging for clams. The people here are very kind and friendly. Another great moment of the tour that I cannot fail to mention is the visit to the former Governor Tauese’s home. It was interesting to learn that Samoans do not have public cemeteries thus people are buried in front of their family home with the grave reflecting the status of the person. For instance, the former governor’s grave was made from granite and it is over 10 feet tall. In addition, there is a permanent gated fale that covers as well as protects the site from elements. We also spotted different floral arrangements, photographs of the deceased and Holy Scriptures. We were humbled by his widow’s warm welcome. She also served us with refreshments and asked how we had traveled before she spoke fondly about her husband’s achievements and the vision he had for American Samoa. This was the most touching experience during our travel to Samoa. I would recommend this visit to anyone planning to visit American Samoa for the first time.
The Jean P. Haydon Museum is also another attraction that we visited in American Samoa. This museum is believed to have originally been Naval Commissary for World War II but it now houses an excellent collection of handicrafts and artifacts drawn from the Samoan community. Although this museum is compact, it is very interesting as the treasures found here paint a true picture of the colorful past of life in Samoa. While here, I could not help but imagine the kind of life people lived in the past. The guides did an excellent job with the narration even though this was supplemented by the some literature. This museum is one of the must visit spots in Samoa as it also offers an elaborate history of how American Samoa became a US territory in addition to the culture and tradition.
If you love shopping, then you can take advantage of the numerous retail outlets as well as shopping malls that are on the main island. American Samoa also boasts of boutiques and general stores that offer many items including traditional handicrafts at pocket friendly prices. You could also opt to spend some time on sightseeing as you explore other new destinations. This can be done by hoping on a local bus or going for a self-ride. We opted for the latter and drove around while getting the best of the numerous scenic sites. If you are interested in self-drive, you will be pleased to know that there are different types of cars ranging from vans, pickups and even 4WDs from which you can choose one that you prefer best.
American Samoa boasts of numerous historical sites that also well preserved. Some of these sites also have artifacts and information on these sites can be found at the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office. When we visited the office, we were informed that there are over 600 sites that have been documented to date. You will also do well to visit one of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa that is a centre for preservation and protection of cultural and natural resources as pertains to great lakes and oceans.
The sanctuary is a place you will love spending your time as you interact with the different marine species ranging from sharks, turtles and whales among others that are enclosed within the protected area. By the time we were coming to the end of our time in American Samoa, we sure had a great time. In closing, I can guarantee you that although American Samoa does not have too many attractions, it is a great place to visit especially if you love adventure. I cannot wait to make a subsequent visit.