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Nature, Culture and Lore

Hikers won’t want to miss Mount Alava, at almost 500 meters above sea level, with its sweeping views of Pago Pago harbor. Another favorite, The Lower Sauma Ridge trail, takes you straight to an ancient mound. Two Dollar Beach, close to town, is the place to soak up the sun and local culture. To learn about the unique features of Tutuila’s marine environment, visit the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center within the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

Pago Pago’s villages have preserved fa’a Samoa, or “The Samoan Way,” so residents have a strong sense of tradition and observe many of the customs that began with them 3,000 years ago. Traditional meals are eaten while seated on the floor, businesses are closed on Sunday, and nearly all of the population primarily speaks Samoan, despite the predominance of English. To experience the real Pago Pago, stop in the Sadie Thompson Inn, whose namesake was made famous by W. Somerset Maugham in the short story “Rain” after the writer’s stay there.  For history buffs, the Jean P. Haydon Museum’s collections and artifacts bring American Samoa’s past to the present.

 

Authentic Shopping

Pago Plaza is a hub for small stores selling handicrafts while Fagatogo Square Shopping Center has ethnic restaurants and larger stores where you can find American-style clothing as well as Samoan fashions. The traditional puletasi dresses – typically matching skirt-and-tunic sets adorned in Samoan designs – are abundantly available as are snorkeling and swim supplies. Near the dock at the harbor and on the main street in Pago Pago, locals sell handmade crafts. 

Fun Fact

Two Dollar Beach in Pago Pago costs as much to enter as its name suggests, unless you spring for a VIP pass.
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Two Dollar Beach in Pago Pago costs as much to enter as its name suggests, unless you spring for a VIP pass.

Official American Samoa Travel Site

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