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Polynesia - American Samoa

American Samoa's islands are located in the heart of the Polynesian. The islands have a total land area of 76 square miles. Tutuila contains about two thirds of the total area and is home to 95% of the 65,000 islanders. American Samoa is located 14 degrees south of the equator, and 172 degrees meridian west, and is the center of Polynesia. Located 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii and 1,600 miles northeast of New Zealand, it forms a strategic midpoint on vital shipping and air routes. Hawaii, Rapanui (Easter Island) and New Zealand make up the three points of the Polynesian triangle.

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U.S. Naval Station Tutuila Commissary 
(now the Jean P. Haydon Museum)
as it looked in 1999 - Courtesy of Museums/Gallery Jean P Haydon Museum

Courtesy of Nature/Parks/Beaches National Park of American Samoa

Utulei Beach Park - Image coming soon! Nature/Parks/Beaches Utulei Beach Park

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Travel Information  Travel Information

Hawaiian airlines flies into Tutuila (PPG), the largest island in American Samoa, from Honolulu (HNL) on Mondays and Thursdays. The flight comes in late at night, so get a good night's sleep and catch the earliest inter Island Airways flight possible from Tutuila to Tau the next day. Advance reservations are a must, as is checking in early. They don't hesitate to bump on this flight. This will likely be the only time during your entire stay when you need to know what time it is.

On Tau, hitch a ride around to the harbor (about 20 minutes: don't freak out when the pavement ends). Bargain with one of the boats that will be headed to Ofu - every plane brings at least a couple of people who need to get across. Figure it will run about $100 per person for the boat ride each way, although the actual price largely depends on the mood of the guy running the boat (if you don't want to try this on your own, the Visitors' Bureau is happy to set it all up for you).

find flights to American Samoa [PPG]Find flights into PPG

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History: Linguistic and cultural evidence suggest that the first Samoa inhabitants migrated from the West, possibly by way of Indonesia, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, to the eastern tip of Tutuila near the present village of Tula around 600 B.C.. It is believed that there was at least an 800 year history of contact with Fiji and Tonga, before the Samoan islands were "officially" discovered by Dutch Explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722.

American Samoa has been a territory of the United States since the signing of the April 17, 1900 Deed of Cession. The Pago Pago Harbor area was the site of the coaling station and a naval base. During the late 1930's, the strategic importance of American Samoa proved valuable in its aggressive retaliation with the Japanese Empire. In 1940, the Port of Pago Pago became a training and staging area for the U.S. Marine Corps. During the War Years, the United States built roads, airstrips, docks and medical facilities exposing island residents to the American way of life. It was also then that American Samoans enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, thereby establishing a home guard unit. In 1945, the Marines left the island territory to resume its peaceful lifestyle.

English-Speaking?: YES

Weather: Samoa is warm, humid and rainy year-round with a long, wet summer (October - May) and a slightly cooler and drier season (June - September). A tropical climate prevails. Temperatures are warm year-round (high 70's to low 90's F) with high humidity. Rain showers are frequent and may last only for a few minutes, or last all day.

Customs/VISA: Traditional Samoan society is based on a chieftain system of hereditary rank, and is known as the "Samoan Way" or fa'a Samoa way of life. Despite the inroads of modern, Western Civilization, local cultural institutions are the strongest single influence in American Samoa. The fa'a Samoa way of life stems from the aiga, the extended family with a common allegiance to the matai, the family chief who regulates the family's activities. Religious institutions are very influential in the community and the village minister is accorded a privileged position, equal in status to a chief or matai. The Fa'a Samoa also reflects a communal lifestyle with non-public ownership and 90% of the communal lands controlled by the family matai.

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Goat Island Cafe - Image coming soon! Goat Island Cafe

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Courtesy of Sadie Thompson Inn

Beach and Rainmaker mountain - Courtesy of Sadie's by the Sea

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Random User Comments

Dave D. wrote about St. Maarten/Martin:

"Back in 2011 my wife & I visited St. Maarten/Martin as part of a Royal Caribbean Cruise. We were blown away by the beauty of the island. Here's an excerpt of a blog post about our day on the island:

The beach was absolutely beautiful, with the white sand and the teal tinged water, not to mention the great view of the mountains off to the right of where we were resting. The weather couldn't have been better either, with a few clouds to break up the hot sun. We went from laying on the beach chairs to soaking in the Caribbean Sea back to the beach chairs and beers. I could get used to this! The best part was that the beach wasn't overly busy, so it was nice & quiet and you could swim around in the water without bumping into people.

What a great day on St. Maarten. We had such a great time during those few hours while our cruise ship was docked, that we went back to St. Maarten for a full week later on in the year.


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