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Pago Pago - America Samoa


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We will be in America Samoa for a day in April 2020.

We would like suggestions, from those that have been, on things to do or possibly a great tour for the day so we can see the island.  

Looking for a great experience. 

Thank you for your assistance!

Edited by OntarioCruiser38
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We were there in November 2019. First we booked a local bus tour inside the perimeter of the port wehre all the vendors have put up their stalls, then we looked at the bus and decided to cancel because the bus had wooden seats that barely fit 2 people.

 

Outside the port gate, locals were offering their tours. We took one of the taxis for one and a half hours. He took us up to an overlook of the other side and then we went down again to drive along the coast line. We were more interested in learning about  life on the island than seeing another beach. I probably asked the driver more questions than he could answer. 😉

 

By the way, the island is vey pretty. 

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5 hours ago, Floridiana said:

We were there in November 2019. First we booked a local bus tour inside the perimeter of the port wehre all the vendors have put up their stalls, then we looked at the bus and decided to cancel because the bus had wooden seats that barely fit 2 people.

 

Outside the port gate, locals were offering their tours. We took one of the taxis for one and a half hours. He took us up to an overlook of the other side and then we went down again to drive along the coast line. We were more interested in learning about  life on the island than seeing another beach. I probably asked the driver more questions than he could answer. 😉

 

By the way, the island is vey pretty. 

 

Hi Floridians for your reply.

 

I was researching local transport and schedules last night.  I like your idea though.

I have not seen very many tours online so I may just wait the day of and arrange something at the port.  Was there anything other than the lookout that you feel was a must see?   Could you give me an idea of the cost of the 1.5 hours?

 

Thank you so much!

J

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I don't remember the cost. It was not high and was decided before we left.

 

Another option would have been to drive down on the other side into the Natl Park. The park service offered tours on the ship and at the port. Our driver said everybody wants to go to the park, but according to him, it doesn't look better than the coastline on the non park side. We wouldn't know, of course.

 

There isn't that much to see except verdant nature. The hospital, the school, the parliament, the city park, churches, the tuna cannery (outside and smell)… Pago Pago is a modest village strung along the fjord. Our driver was from Samoa (Apia) where these buildings are large and impressive - paid for by loans from a Chinese bank. Like many of his compatriots, he had come to American Samoa to work in the tuna cannery. Now he is married to an American Samoan wife and doing well without tuna. He said that American Samoans go to the mainland for education and jobs. Some come back. 

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Sounds like you had a great discussion as part of your tour.

It is great to learn about the people as well as seeing the countryside.

We are really looking forward to seeing these islands.  

I am sure no matter what we do we will have a great time. 

Thank you so much for the post.

J

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We were there in March this year. We did Best Tours/Tour American Samoa, they have a website. They were with everyone else at the Pier.

Yes the bus seats are a bit hard on the backside but you are in and out of the bus. The best thing about the busses are the artwork on the outside. 

We had a good time. And yes the island is lovely.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Cathy611 said:

We were there in March this year. We did Best Tours/Tour American Samoa, they have a website. They were with everyone else at the Pier.

Yes the bus seats are a bit hard on the backside but you are in and out of the bus. The best thing about the busses are the artwork on the outside. 

We had a good time. And yes the island is lovely.

 

 

 

Hi Cathy,

Thank you so much!  I will look into this group.

Did you have a guide?  Anyone you would recommend?

How many did the bus hold?  

Thank you again

Jonathan

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Hi Jonathan 

 

Yes we had a guide, a young lady studying to be a nurse. Very informative and taught you a few local words as well. As we were there on a Saturday, her services were free as Saturday is volunteer day and everyone comes out to do a few things for a few hours for the community. Not once did you get the impression of that I have to be here.

The bus would hold about 30. They are a F350 chassis and the bus is built on top.

Cathy

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3 hours ago, Cathy611 said:

Hi Jonathan 

 

Yes we had a guide, a young lady studying to be a nurse. Very informative and taught you a few local words as well. As we were there on a Saturday, her services were free as Saturday is volunteer day and everyone comes out to do a few things for a few hours for the community. Not once did you get the impression of that I have to be here.

The bus would hold about 30. They are a F350 chassis and the bus is built on top.

Cathy

 

Cathy

Thank you for the detail.  This is excellent.

Jonathan

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Island Thyme,

 

Great blog! And great photos! We were indeed on the same cruise without ever taking the same tour. On Mystery Island's main island we took a very similar tour. I did not even know there was a second one by a different villager. Excellent translation for the mystery sign. I thought it meant that you were not allowed to let your cow into the garden, but your interpretation sounds much more likely.

 

Island Thyme made the pretty wool ball for my handicraft bag. Thank you very much. I do not remember if I ever said thank you. If not, I apologize.

 

 

bag.JPG

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A number of years ago, not too many; we did the following NCL tour;  It was very enjoyable and informative.

 

PAGO PAGO

West Island Drive & Ava Ceremony

4 Hrs

Witness one of the most esteemed ceremonies in Samoan culture, performed at a traditional village and enjoy a scenic drive with photo stops along the way.

Begin your tour with a drive west, during which you'll delight in the island's natural beauty and historic landmarks. Highlights include the monolithic Fatu-ma-Futi or Flowerpot Rock that rises straight out of the ocean as if standing sentinel at the entrance to Pago Pago Bay. Your tour carries on back towards the west end of Tutuila, to the village of Leone, the original capital of American Samoa. It is also the proud grounds of the London Mission Church and Monument where missionaries first successfully landed in 1830. Stop at the Leone Healing Garden Monument, a memorial to the victim’s lost in the 2009 Tsunami and the Leala Coastline.

 

Samoans still cherish traditional ways, especially with regard to ceremonies and social occasions. You’ll be able to participate and witness one of the oldest and still practiced welcoming ceremonies in the island. The Ava Ceremony is performed at the beginning of all important services and gatherings and promotes unity and respect among groups. Visitors are greeted and seated in a semi-circle facing the Chiefs. The solemn ritual involves a speech given by the high chief, preparation and drinking of the ceremonial beverage.


Need To Know:

Transportation is via wooden island buses, with bench style seats, with no air-conditioning. Due to the limited tourism infrastructure in this part of the world, there is a lack of professional tour guides. We may use students with basic English language skills, that are eager to share their country with you and make your visit enjoyable. Due to local culture, conservative attire is required; skimpy or revealing outfits are not appropriate on tour.

 

I was made "Matai"; quite an experience.  But please be prepared to play a full part.  At another port one of the "Matai" refused to drink the Kava; a real cultural insult!!   Also be prepared, all over American Samoa and also Samoa, that you may well come across Fa'afafine.

Edited by casofilia
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Hello everyone.    We will be traveling to Pago Pago in April.    There are not a lot of ship tours listed but that's ok.    I see where they use local buses and wooden seats which is fine.   They also state that they use local students as tour guides and that's perfect.    My question to all of you is   what do we do as far as tipping at the end of the tour.   Is it customary   to tip?    I would think yes as we will probably get a student as a tour guide and I'm sure students can always use some extra money.    Is it the standard tip as most other tours we have been on?   And the big question is really   what type of currency should we give them.   Is it only local or can we give them US dollars or NZ dollars or Australian dollars.   Are the able to easily  cash foreign currency?   So many questions,  Help.

Thank you all for your help. 

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32 minutes ago, waltd said:

Hello everyone.    We will be traveling to Pago Pago in April.    There are not a lot of ship tours listed but that's ok.    I see where they use local buses and wooden seats which is fine.   They also state that they use local students as tour guides and that's perfect.    My question to all of you is   what do we do as far as tipping at the end of the tour.   Is it customary   to tip?    I would think yes as we will probably get a student as a tour guide and I'm sure students can always use some extra money.    Is it the standard tip as most other tours we have been on?   And the big question is really   what type of currency should we give them.   Is it only local or can we give them US dollars or NZ dollars or Australian dollars.   Are the able to easily  cash foreign currency?   So many questions,  Help.

Thank you all for your help. 

 

Tipping is always a personal thing.  We normally tip for our excursions and ask if the driver and guide share the tips.  Both are equally important.  

 

In Pago Pago, US currency is the currency of the island as it it a US territory.

 

I hope that helps.  

Best

J

Edited by OntarioCruiser38
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Just now, OntarioCruiser38 said:

 

Tipping is always a personal thing.  We normally tip for our excursions and ask if the driver and guide share the tips.  Both are equally important.  

 

In Pago Pago, US currency is the currency of the island as it it a US territory.

 

I hope that helps.  

Best

J

Yes always remember the driver.  😀  US dollars works for me.   Thanks this makes my life a bit easier.

 

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While researching what to do on our own on our Emerald Princess cruise this October for each port, I read on CruisePortWiki that the island has frequent but unscheduled family buses.  For 50 cents to a dollar you can be taken around the harbor and to the more remote parts of the island.  The bus terminal is at Fagatogo market.  Hail a bus with a wave of your hand.  When you want off, tap the window a few and times and the bus will stop.  Pay the driver when you exit.  We thoroughly enjoy taking local busses at various ports.  The site also indicates that two hour island tours are usually available from the pier for $20.00.   I would enjoy reading your post when you return about what you decided to do and what you recommend.

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