Guide American Samoa, all the things to know for the trip, required documents, best times to go and how to get to the archipelago.
American Samoa in a nutshell
- Capital: Pago Pago
- Area in sq km: 199
- Population: 67,352 (2009)
- Religion: majority congregationalist Christians, followed by Catholics, Protestants and other religions.
The Samoa islands form an archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean. From a political point of view, the archipelago is divided between western Samoa and American Samoa corresponding to the eastern islands, which constitute an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. American Samoa are made up of the largest island, Tutuila, Aunu'u island, the Manu'a group of islands made up of the volcanic islands of Ta'u, Ofu and Olosega, the Rose and Swains atolls.
The islands closest to Samoa are the Tokelau islands to the north, the Tonga islands to the south, the Cook islands to the east, and the islets of Wallis and Futuna to the west. Tutuila Island is of volcanic origin, reaches its maximum altitude with the Matafao Peak which rises 653 meters above sea level. The capital Pago Pago is located on the coast of the island, overlooking the large natural harbor, Pago Pago Harbor. Near the island of Tutuila there is the small island of Aunu'u and about 100 km east of Tutuila are the islands Ofu and Olosega which belong to the Manu'a group.
The two small islands are connected to each other by a bridge, are of volcanic origin and are characterized by impervious mountains. The highest peak of the two islands is Mount Piumafua (639 m.s.l.m.) which is located on the island of Olosega; while the island of Ofu reaches its highest point with Mount Tumu (494 s.l.m.). A beautiful white sand beach stretches out on the island of Ofu, which together with the coral reef in front are part of the American Samoa National Park.
Ta'u is the largest island in the Manu'a group, it is of volcanic origin and reaches its maximum altitude with Mount Lata, 995 meters a.s.l. (the highest peak in American Samoa), most of its territory is part of the American Samoa National Park. The southern coast of Ta’u is characterized by very high cliffs overlooking the ocean.
The climate of American Samoa is tropical. The heat is mitigated by sea breezes and, during the southern winter (May-October), the trade winds blow from the southeast, fresh and fairly dry. The rainy season begins in November with the arrival of the southern summer which coincides with the hottest period (January-March), and the most humid of the year. The rainfall reaches its maximum intensity in the months of January and February. Typhoons can occur during the southern summer.
The population is mainly made up of Samoans.
The time difference in American Samoa is 12 hours behind Italy which becomes 13 when daylight saving time is in effect.
The official languages are Samoan and English.
The economy of American Samoa is mainly based on agriculture practiced on common land (over 90%). The main products are coconuts, bananas, taro, vegetables, fruit from the bread plant, copra, pineapple and papaya. Economic activity is closely linked to the United States, with which most of the trade takes place, represented almost entirely by the export of tuna which is caught and processed in the canning industries on the island (80% of the occupation).
When to go
The best time to visit American Samoa is from June to September.Recommended readings
- Fraser (Australia): what to see on the island
- New Caledonia (Oceania): what to see
- Sydney (Australia): what to see
- American Samoa: useful information
- Oceania: useful information
For entry into American Samoa, the documents required are the same as those needed to enter the United States. The passport must have a residual validity of at least six months beyond the period of stay in the islands. Italian citizens can take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program without a visa. The requirements to join this program are:
- A period of stay of less than 90 days for tourism, business or transit.
- Be in possession of a return ticket or a continuation of the trip and a passport
The passport must have one of the following characteristics:
- Optical reading passport issued or renewed before October 26, 2005.
- Optical reading passport "with digital photo" issued or renewed between 26 October 2005 and 25 October 2006.
- "Electronic" passport issued or renewed starting from 26 October 2006.
- The international prefix for calling from Italy to American Samoa is: 00684
- The international prefix for calling from American Samoa to Italy is: 001139
The electric current is at 120V 60 HZ. Various types of sockets. A power adapter is useful.
The official currency of American Samoa is the US dollar. Credit cards are accepted in the most important hotels and restaurants.
How to get
Air travel to American Samoa from Italy involves several stops. One option is to fly with Thai via Bangkok or Singapore Airlines via Singapore to Auckland in New Zealand. From Auckland, the airline Air New Zealand flies to Apia (western Samoa), then Polynesian Airlines connects Apia to Pago Pago. The main airlines serving Samoa are Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue. Inter Island Airways is the airline that connects Pago Pago to the Manu’a Islands of Ofu, Olosega and Ta’u.
To visit American Samoa no vaccination is mandatory. Vaccination against yellow fever is required only from those who come from infected areas. Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, anti-tetanization and anti-tetanus are recommended, always after medical consultation. It is appropriate to follow some hygienic measures, drink only bottled water without adding ice, eat only cooked meats and vegetables, fruit only if peeled personally. Before departure, it is recommended to take out health insurance that covers medical costs and a possible repatriation.