The five islands and two atolls of American Samoa bask in the warm South Pacific waters. This US territory is home to less than 100,000 people, mostly of Pacific Islander ethnicity.
Off the shores of the island of Tutuila lies the deep harbor of Pago Pago, once the caldera of an ancient volcano. The islands have lush rainforest interiors and dramatic volcanic coastlines. White sand beaches also grace American Samoa’s shores. Legends haunt the American Samoan folklore. It’s been said that porpoises saved 6 human lives off the Tutuilian shore. At Turtle and Shark Point, near the village of Vaitogi, two starving islanders reportedly dove off a cliff and were transformed into a turtle and shark. Rock formations with colorful names like Flower Pot, Cockscomb, Lions Head and Pyramid Rock lie carved by the wind and sea on American Samoa’s coastlines. A monument at Massacre Bay pays tribute to a doomed French expedition whose members met their maker at the hands of Samoan warriors in 1787. In Leone, American Samoa’s first church, built in 1832, still faces the sea. On Aunu’u Island one can visit a quicksand pit, while at Fagatogo Plaza one can make a pilgrimage to that most ubiquitous of American institutions, the shopping center.