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Most people have never heard of American Samoa, a tiny United States territory in the South Pacific. This is just one of the many reasons why you should plan a visit to this tropical paradise. A trip to this hidden gem gives you the opportunity to relax in a beautiful setting without all the crowds. Additionally, you will be rewarded by some amazing sights that you can’t see in most places. Here are 10 awesome things to see in American Samoa.
1. Blue Starfish
So, you thought all starfish were brown? Well, think again! The starfish in American Samoa are bright blue and huge! They are plentiful in the waters around this island, so they are fairly easy to find. The best places to see them are at Fatumafuti or Airport Beach.
2. World War II Guns
It’s not often that you get a chance to get an up close and personal look at historical items. Usually, these sorts of things are in museums inside glass cases or roped off to prevent you from getting too close. But, not in American Samoa! Here, after a short hike up Blunt’s Point, you can see (and play with) large World War II guns that are still mounted on the side of the mountain overlooking the harbor. My son loves pretending to be a soldier operating these massive guns.
3. Historical Pillboxes
Guns aren’t the only World War II leftovers to see in American Samoa. There are also approximately 80 pillboxes scattered around the island. Pillboxes are small concrete bunkers that served as lookout posts during the war. We love spotting them as we drive around the island. A few of them are even accessible to explore. Kids are fascinated with these cool hideouts.
4. Impressive Blowholes
American Samoa was created out of lava rock. So, at several points around the island, you can see lava rock cliffs with giant waves crashing onto them. In some ares, such as along the hike to Airport Beach, there are also impressive blowholes. I could watch the waves shoot up out of these blowholes for hours. This is one of the most fascinating things to see in American Samoa for sure!
5. Beautiful Churches
Samoans are very religious people. Churches are generally the biggest and most well-maintained buildings in the villages. There are hundreds of beautiful churches scattered throughout the island. You could spend hours touring the island admiring them all! For a bigger treat, visit one of these churches on Sunday morning to marvel at the amazing singing of the church members.
6. Lush Rainforest
Running the length of American Samoa’s main island of Tutuila is a mountain range covered in lush rainforest. This dense vegetation can be seen from everywhere on the island. It is beautiful to look at from any angle. It is also a lot of fun to hike through the rainforest and check out all the exotic plants hidden within it.
7. Secluded Beaches
One of the best things to see in American Samoa, or anywhere else for that matter, is a secluded beach. Yet, most of the world’s best beaches are full of people. But, not in American Samoa! Because most people have never heard of it, there aren’t many tourists here. This means that you can usually have any of the beaches all to yourself. And nothing says relaxation like being on a beach with no one else in sight!
8. Aiga Buses
One of the most fun things to see in American Samoa is the aiga buses. Aiga (aye-ing-ga) is the Samoan word for family. These buses serve as the public transportation in American Samoa. Unlike most places in the world, these buses are privately owned and operated. On the outside, they are painted fun colors with airbrushed pictures on the back. Many of them feature superheroes or other popular characters. They are decorated even crazier on the inside. Everything from feather boas to crocheted blankets to Christmas bows find themselves used in the beautification of these buses. They also up the fun factor with loud music. Some of them also feature flashing lights or televisions showing professional wrestling. No trip to American Samoa would be complete without at least one ride on an aiga bus!
9. Breathtaking Views
Whether looking from the water or the land, you will enjoy breathtaking views in every direction during your time in American Samoa. While driving, you have gorgeous green mountains on one side and lovely blue water on the other. From atop the mountain, marvel at the sweeping vistas of the island below you. Relax as the waves lull you into a tranquil state most anywhere around the island.
10. Flying Foxes
Flying foxes are the largest species of bats in the world. They are also the only mammals native to American Samoa. In the evenings, they fly from tree to tree looking for fruit to eat. Sometimes, on cloudy days you can even see them out gliding from place to place. These are fascinating creatures to watch. And don’t worry, they are fruit eaters, so they won’t come after you!
American Samoa is a hidden gem in the South Pacific that is worth a trip! This US territory may be small, but it packs a big punch when it comes to amazing things to see. The above list includes the top ten things to see in American Samoa. How many can you see during your trip? For more ideas on things to do, see tips for visiting, best hikes, and things to do with kids in American Samoa. Visit American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau to start planning your trip. Happy travels!