Heaven on earth
Very remote (it takes a day and half of flying to reach these islands from Sydney), American Samoa is a spectacle of volcanic mountains towering against a backdrop of electric-blue seas and lush tropical forests. A protected territory of the United States, American Samoa consists of five volcanic islands and two beautiful atolls. The largest island of Tutuila hosts the capital of Pago Pago and one of the world’s most exquisite naturally-formed harbours. From the upper reaches of Mount Matafao; the view of the island, harbour and the vast Pacific Ocean is unforgettable for travellers wanting to explore American Samoa. The island infrastructure is well-developed but finding a long stretch of beach to oneself or a left break to surf is as easy as falling asleep on a hammock. Reason: these islands are yet to become touristy. Snorkelling, diving, hiking, adventure sports, cultural tours – American Samoa offers a huge number of activities for international travellers and is a pristine eco-tourism haven.
The great majority of the population (more than nine-tenths) is ethnically Samoan; there are tiny minorities of Tongan and Filipino origin and of people of mixed ethnicity. The Samoans are a Polynesian people closely related to the native peoples of New Zealand, French Polynesia, Hawaii, and Tonga. The Samoan way of life, or fa‘a Samoa, is communal. The basic unit of social organization is the extended family (aiga). Most American Samoans speak fluent English and Samoan (but of course!). About half of the population belongs to one of several Protestant denominations, among which the Congregational Christian Church has the largest following.
Although Samoa comes under the USA as its territory, it is unmistakably Samoa – as much as independent Samoa and its Polynesian neighbours. The cultural values, traditions and folklore are almost similar, as is their love for all things sporting and gastronomic. For travelling looking to explore American Samoa in terms of culture, food and traditions, there’s so much to see, do, eat and experience!
As is wont for an island nation, American Samoa is flush with home-grown produce like fruits, root vegetables and seafood. A tip for every visitor – if there is a chance to attend a fiafia night, drop everything and go for it. This feast night’s highlight is a suckling pig, along with breadfruit, taro, yams and an entire evening’s worth of dance, songs and entertainment. But those looking for popular fast-food chains will not be disappointed either.
Snorkelling, diving, kicking it back on the beach, off-road activities and tours, along with attending cultural events and Samoan festivals are some of the highlights while visiting American Samoa. The nation has amazing landscapes in the form of mountains, hills, forests, jagged cliffs facing the crashing blue of the Pacific Ocean and more which deserve a relaxed holiday to take it all in.
a world of unforgettable experiences
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