Lonely Planet’s Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013 American Samoa
American Samoa ranked 5th in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013
Lonely Planet’s comments on American Samoa were
Did you know that a US passport can get you to an isolated South Pacific paradise without even leaving US territory? From the US mainland, American Samoa is a longer trek than Hawaii, but the distance rewards the visitor with some of the most stunning, untouched beauty of the Pacific and a national park that even the most ardent park system fans won’t have checked off their list yet. From the US, flights run from Honolulu to Pago Pago on lovely Tutuila, with waterfalls, fishing villages and spectacular beaches nearby. But press on with a quick flight on Inter Island Air to nearby, 3-sq-mile Ofu in the Manuʻa Islands, with shining, palm-fringed white sand flanked by shark-tooth-shaped mountains. The best time to visit is Flag Day, April 17, when there are activities galore. This may be US territory, but it’s some of the purest Polynesia you’ll find anywhere.
It’s simple, but the family-run Vaoto Lodge can get you snorkeling within minutes of arrival.
American Samoa’s islands are located in the heart of the Polynesian, with Hawaii, Rapanui (Easter Island) and New Zealand making up the three points of the Polynesian triangle.
The Samoan Islands (American Samoa and Independent Samoa) were first discovered by European explorers in the 18th Century but its islands have been inhabited for over 3000 years.
During international rivalries in the latter half of the 19th Century over the Samoa Islands, Germany and the United States divided the Samoan archipelago by the signing of the 1899 Berlin Treaty, with the US formally taking over the eastern islands of Samoa.
On April 17, 1900 the high chiefs of the eastern islands of Samoa and the US signed the ‘Deed of Cession’ where American Samoa became a Territory of the United States.
Today, the Territory of American Samoa is a growing Pacific economy with a central government, sound infrastructure and a growing business sector, with international flights from Hawaii and Samoa as well as shipping connections from New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Hawaii and the US Mainland.
The Territory is regarded as one of the last undiscovered paradises of the Pacific with a tourism industry 100 percent locally owned and operated.
American Samoa is an unincorporated and unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior.
Chief of State – President Barack H. Obama
Head of Government – Governor Togiola Tulafono
Cabinet – Made up of Government Department Directors
US House of Representative Delegate (Non-voting) Eni F. H. Faleomavaega
Fono or Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (18 seats) and the House of Representatives (21 seats).
Capital – Pago Pago
Population – 65,000 +
Religion – Christian
Languages – Samoan and English
All visitors to American Samoa require a valid passport, return ticket or onward ticket and sufficient funds to support your stay. US Citizens and US Nationals do not require a visa and may enter and leave freely. Australian, New Zealand and citizens of the United Kingdom upon entering American Samoa are issued with a 30 day permit under the US Visa Waiver Program. All other international passport holders intending to visit American Samoa for business or holiday are required to apply for an entry visa. For further information contact the Attorney General’s Office, phone (1 684) 633-4163.
American Samoa has two major banks on island, the Bank of Hawaii and the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank. Bank of Hawaii (BOH) has branches in Utulei (main branch), Pavai’ai and Tafuna open from 9.00am to 3.00pm Monday to Friday. BOH ATM machines can be found at: KS Mart; Laufou Shopping Center; Pavai’ai Haleck Building, BOH Tafuna branch and BOH Utulei branch. ANZ Bank Amerika Samoa (ANZ) has branches in Fagatogo (main branch) and Tafuna open from 9.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 12.00 noon on Saturdays. ANZ ATM machines can be found at: Pago Pago International Airport; Tradewinds Hotel; Kruse FJ & P Store Leone; Laufou Shopping Center; Cost U Less Ottoville; LBJ Hospital; Starkist Satala; ANZ Fagatogo branch and ANZ Tafuna branch.
The United States Dollar is the currency of American Samoa. Major foreign currencies can be exchanged at the local banks.
Government Offices and retail stores are open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 4.00pm. Stores open on Saturdays from 8.00am to 2.00pm and the majority of retailers are all closed on Sundays.
110 volts using American power points.
American Samoa has a tropical climate all year roundwith two distinct seasons, the wet and dry season. The wet season is usually between December and March and the dry season from April through to September with the average daily temperature around 82˚- 83˚ Fahrenheit all year round.
American Samoa time is 11 hours behind GreenwichMean Time (GMT – 11)
Samoan and English are spoken by over 95 percent ofthe population with English being the main business language.
The country dialing code to call American Samoa is (1 684). To make an overseas call from American Samoa dial (1), area code, then the phone number if calling the US and (011), area code and the phone number if calling any other country. The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority and Bluesky Communications sell overseas calling cards offering cheap international calling rates.
Heffernan Capital Management
Business Development Director – Private Client Group,
3 Raffles Place #07-01
Bharat Building Singapore 048617
Tel: +65 6329 6408
Fax: +65 6329 9699
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