The Best of American Samoa: Restaurants, Hotels, and Things to Do

Discover American Samoa’s best things to do, restaurants to eat at, and hotels to stay in with the AFAR guide to American Samoa.

One of the newest America the Beautiful quarters will feature a fruit bat family in honor of the National Park of American Samoa. Here’s what you need to know about this gorgeous and lesser-known park.
Fagatogo, Eastern District 96799, American Samoa
The Jean P. Haydon Museum, set in a 1917 U.S. Navy commissary that later served as a post office, features exhibits on local history, sea life, kava making and traditional handicrafts. One of the highlights is a display of a small Samoa flag and three moon stones that were given as a gift to American Samoa by President Richard Nixon following the return of the Apollo moon missions. (The flag traveled to the moon on one of the missions.)

Utulei Beach, Rte 1, Pago Pago, Eastern District 96799, American Samoa
For those in search of souvenirs or artwork, the beachfront hotel Sadie’s by the Sea has an interesting gift shop on the premises. Despite its small size, the shop is home to some of the highest-quality Samoan art available in Pago Pago. Some of the paintings, canvas prints and postcards on sale are the works of artist Catherine Buchanan, who visits the hotel annually to run a painting workshop.

Route 1
Got good taste? Charlie the Tuna, the longtime mascot for StarKist, has his own statue outside the StarKist canning company in Atu’u on the north shore of Pago Pago Harbor. Wearing his signature Greek fisherman’s cap and Coke-bottle glasses, the statue evokes memories of the “Sorry, Charlie” slogan. Tuna canning is one of American Samoa’s main industries. Though tours of the facility are not available, the statue is always open for photos and selfies.

Rte 1, Alega, Eastern District, American Samoa
One of the island’s most popular dining and drinking spots, Tisa’s Barefoot Bar is a haven for seafood lovers. The small menu changes depending on what is available but can include specialties like lobster in coconut sauce and grilled prawns or octopus. Its breezy waterside setting adds to the authentic Pago Pago flavor.

An island institution for more than 20 years, the seaside Sook’s Sushi showcases Japanese and Korean dishes. It literally showcases the food: Meals are prepared in an open kitchen for all to see. Its beef kalbi and tuna sashimi are local favorites. This spot can get crowded, but there are private rooms in the back.

Forsgren’s, a department store, carries everything from household items to makeup, and also features inexpensive apparel and food. The business originally opened in 1982 as a photography studio and soon switched to selling clothes. The entire complex burned down in 2002 and was rebuilt.

Known for its handicrafts and home goods, Mr. Lavalava also features Samoan-themed serving dishes and plates designed with regional flavor by local artists. True to its name, the store also sells lavalavas, the decorative cloths worn by islanders like skirts, which makes the place something of a tourist draw.

Nuuuli, Eastern District, American Samoa
One of the island’s retail mainstays, the Shoe Tree was first established in 1975 at the shopping center in Nu’uuli. The company now has a warehouse and store and touts itself as the exclusive seller of Nike products in American Samoa. They feature several other brands as well, including Vans, and also carry handicrafts and jewelry.

P8C9+P63, Rte 001, Utulei, Eastern District 96799, American Samoa
Goat Island Café (which locals simply call “Sadie’s) is the place to go in American Samoa for tasty fish and chips or a breakfast of Spam and eggs. Goat Island Café, located inside the hotel, Sadie’s by the Sea, offers generous portions. The café also pours cold Vailima—a beer brewed in Samoa. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can choose to sit inside the restaurant or dine alfresco in a perfect poolside setting where you can also enjoy views of the ocean and nearby Rainmaker Mountain.
Road 001, Utulei, Eastern District, American Samoa
Located on the western end of Pago Pago Harbor, overlooking the harbor entrance, you’ll find two six-inch naval guns that were originally placed here by the U.S. Marines after the attack on Pearl Harbor to fortify the strategic base in American Samoa. The guns are mounted in concrete bases, and the lower gun is accessible by a hiking trail. Below the emplacement there is a magazine built into the hillside.

Situated at the westernmost point of Tutuila, Cape Taputapu National Natural Landmark holds the distinction of being the last place the sun sets each day. The cape’s shoreline features volcanic rocks and blowholes sculpted by strong wave activity—the same wave activity that created Tutuila Island itself. It is possible to hike out at low tide, with trail access near the village of Ämanave.

Tucked behind a religious statue behind the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Tafuna, you’ll find one of the island’s several tia seu lupe, or star mounds. This example, three meters (almost 10 feet) high, is one of the best-preserved and most easily accessible of these mysterious configurations. Believed to have been used in a ritual by tribal chiefs to capture pigeons for an unknown rite, these stepped-stone structures are similar to others found throughout Polynesia.

Pago Pago, Eastern District, American Samoa
The Fagatogo Market, which debuted in 2010, is a place for farmers and fishermen to hawk their fruits and vegetables, as well as their latest catch from the sea. Locals come to socialize, and the market can get busy Saturday mornings and Friday nights (when there’s occasionally even live music). There are some local craft and souvenir stalls, especially when cruise ships are in port.

Downtown Pago Pago and its surroundings are dotted with historic colonial buildings such as the 1904 Courthouse of American Samoa, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on the register is the Sadie Thompson Building, which currently serves as the Sadie Thompson Inn. The structure was previously a hotel where author W. Somerset Maugham stayed for six weeks in 1916. He used the hotel as the setting for his story “Rain,” the main character of which was a woman named Sadie Thompson. The Pago Pago Yacht Club in Utulei Beach Park is notable for being one of the few historic edifices open to the public.

Rte 6, Eastern District, American Samoa
Also known as Mount Pioa, 523-meter-high (1,716-foot-high) Rainmaker Mountain is credited with trapping clouds, which results in Pago Pago’s receiving the highest annual rainfall of any harbor around the world. It’s possible to get a closer look at this majestic beauty with a drive up Rainmaker Pass, from which the mountain’s summit, a series of three peaks rather than just one, is visible. Known for the tropical vegetation along its slopes, it was named a National Natural Landmark in 1972.

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