American Samoa is a tropical island paradise at the heart of Polynesia. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this so-called sub-region, which is made up of hundreds of tiny islands, American Samoa consists of seven freckles of land. And glorious nuggets of land they are, complete with volcanic backdrops, tropical forests and wildlife-rich woodlands.
If you're wondering about the name, American Samoa belongs to the US, but is not a part of it. They harbour a couple of the Manu'a group of islands, too, which are volcanic in origin and dominated by high peaks.
American Samoa's volcanoes, inactive since 1911, have left an intriguing land formation, including cavernous lava tubes. The stunning uniqueness of the landscape is why American Samoa has such a reputation for being photogenic. Of course, it’s the deep-blue sea and immaculate beaches that attract many visitors.
One of the most famous spots in American Samoa is Pago Pago on the main island of Tutuila. Still holding on to its roots as an old fishing town, its natural harbour is one of the most spectacular in the world. In fact, you'll find no shortage of idyllic villages in clinging on to the old ways on these islands.
Most people live in villages along the narrow coastal plains, living off the fruits of the sea, and cultivating agriculture on the plains and nearby hills. Traditional Samoan society is based on a chieftain system of hereditary rank, and is known as the Samoan way or Fa'a Samoa. Despite the inroads of modern, Western civilisation, local cultural institutions remain the strongest single influence in American Samoan life.
If hiking is your thing, you won't be disappointed, with breath-taking trails traversing the National Park of American Samoa. In fact there are many opportunities for adventure tourism here. So whether you decide to stick to the beaches or go trekking across the jagged landscapes, you'll feel as if you've landed in some forgotten paradise.