Fa‘a Samoa: The National Park of American Samoa

Immerse yourself in the community and culture of American Samoa with a rare opportunity to visit all three of the islands where the breathtaking National Park of American Samoa is located. You’ll spend eight days sampling local food, visiting tropical rainforests and hidden beaches, canoeing and snorkeling above vibrant reefs and discovering NPCA’s role in preserving the park’s diverse ecosystem and cultural sites.

Download Detailed Trip Brochure (1 MB pdf)

Departure Date:

October 6-13, 2022 - SOLD OUT: WAITLIST ONLY

8 days/7 nights

Minimum/Maximum: 8 guests/12 guests

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Our goal is to offer premium itineraries in educational travel in the places we know best: America’s national parks.

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Schedule Highlights

  • Partake in the traditional cultural practices of Samoa while you enjoy a fascinating inside look from village leaders and community members
  • Witness the vibrant rainbows of tropical fish as you discover the exquisite beauty of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa
  • Learn about NPCA’s role in safeguarding the natural and cultural resources of the National Park of American Samoa
  • Experience the wonders of three different American Samoa islands
  • Cherish traditional Samoan dishes prepared specially for you by local village members
  • Adventure to hidden beaches and exciting geological sites on exclusive excursions
  • Explore the U.S. Naval Sation Tutuila Historic District (in Pago Pago Harbor) to learn about a more recent history and why NPCA prioritizes historical site protections

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Schedule

DAY 1: October 6 - Arrival Day Pago Pago, Tutuila: Arrive in the late evening in Pago Pago on the main island of Tutuila and your NPCA host and trip leader will meet you once you clear immigration and customs. When the group has gathered, transfer in private shuttles to your beachfront hotel, Sadie’s by the Sea, and check-in. Your NPCA host will provide an overview of their role and priorities in the region and the exciting sites you can expect to see throughout your carefully crafted NPCA small group adventure.
Sadie’s by the Sea (D)

Day 2: October 7 - Pago Pago, Tutuila: Start your first full day in American Samoa with a group breakfast, introductions, and an orientation to the islands and to fa‘asamoa. The group will then head out together for the National Park of American Samoa (NPAS) Visitor Center, where we will get an overview of the park, which spans land and offshore areas on and around the islands of Tutuila, Ofu and Ta‘ū. A National Park Ranger will join the group as we head out to the Pago Pago section of the national park, which is located on the north side of Tutuila island between Fagasā Bay and Afono Bay and extends from Mt. Alava and the Maunaloa Ridge to the offshore reefs. A picnic lunch will be provided to enjoy during our outing. On the way to the park, we will pass the villages whose chiefs signed the 50-year leases. You may also catch the first glimpse of the large fruit bats, some of which have the wingspan of an owl. Following the visit to the national park, the group will enjoy a tour of the state-of the art Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center to learn about the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, the largest and most remote of the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. Formed by extinct volcanoes, its habitats are host to a bewildering variety of tropical fish, invertebrates and algae. This ecologically diverse oasis with its abundance of extraordinary coral has faced unprecedented threats to its vital protections – threats NPCA matched with immediate action ensuring the sanctuary’s natural and cultural resources remained under protection. As you will experience first-hand, its unparalleled beauty is a legacy NPCA remains vigilant in preserving. The group will walk back to the hotel from the Ocean Center to prepare for a group dinner at a local restaurant. Sadie’s by the Sea (B, L, D)

Day 3: October 8 - Aunu‘u Island: After enjoying breakfast, depart for your day excursion to Aunu‘u National Natural Landmark. Aunu‘u is a small volcanic island 1.2 miles southeast of Tutuila with a land area of 0.58 square miles and is home to Aunu‘u Village. We will head out to Aunu‘u in water taxis (small boats) with your local guide from Aunu‘u who will take you on a special “insider’s tour” to meet the residents of the village. Residents will share typical aspects of daily village life and Samoan practices and customs, including a traditional “ava” welcome ceremony. They will also share beautiful sites where you can spend some time swimming or snorkeling if you choose. Treasured gifts, these majestic sites that local residents and trip leaders will share with you are not untouched by a changing climate. Although the beauty of these sites is unmistakable, residents of the village may share their experiences with challenges from rising sea levels – challenges NPCA is spearheading through innovative plans to help uplift communities most affected from these undue burdens. A local style umu lunch will be served, prepared especially for the group by a local family. The “umu” is a traditional Samoan above-ground earthen oven in which food is cooked on heated stones. Samoans usually prepare food in the “umu” on special occasions and for special guests. After lunch we will depart on our return water taxi ride back to Tutuila. At the hotel, you can enjoy a bit of free time before gathering for dinner at the hotel restaurant. Sadie’s by the Sea (B, L, D)

Days 4: October 9 - Pago Pago, Tutuila: Sunday is a day of worship in Samoa. Your morning schedule is free, and you may choose to attend one of the many church services in town. Christian missionaries were very successful throughout Polynesia, and church is a very important part of today’s Samoan culture. Attending church is an interesting cultural experience and an excellent opportunity to also hear wonderful Samoan singing. Services are available in Samoan and English and last approximately an hour. Enjoy lunch in the hotel restaurant, then join your trip leader to head out for a canoe excursion. Paddle an outrigger canoe in Pago Pago Harbor near the hotel with a local canoe club and enjoy panoramic views of Rainmaker Mountain and the historic World War II landmarks of Breakers and Blunts Points under your own power. The group will have dinner together at the hotel, and your trip leader will go over instructions for the three-day visit to the Manu‘a districts of the national park. The islands of Ta‘ū and Ofu are extremely remote with limited modern services. Due to the weight restrictions on the small aircraft for the flight, you will need to pack everything you will need in carry-on sized luggage. The remainder of your luggage will be kept at the hotel in Pago Pago. Sadie’s by the Sea (B, L, D)

Day 5: October 10 - Ta‘ū – Ofu, Manu‘a Islands: We will be departing the hotel early this morning to catch the flight to our first stop - Ta‘ū, the largest of the Manu‘a Islands. A boxed breakfast will be provided for you. Historically the island of Ta‘ū enjoys high status, not only because its size and beauty, but also because of its connection to Tu‘i Manu‘a, the oldest chiefly title in the Samoan Islands and in all of Polynesia. The national park covers the southeastern half of the island, which makes Ta‘ū’s portion the largest area (approximately 5,400 acres, of which 1,000 acres is offshore) of the national park. We will be exploring coastal areas and paths which are often overgrown. An “explorer’s spirit” will be rewarded with access to secluded beaches, a littoral forest and archaeological sites. While you delight in the deeply significant histories and culture on the remarkable journey through Ta‘ū, we’ll delve deeper into NPCA’s efforts to ensure national parks thrive for the next 100 years, a goal that prioritizes the protection of cultural sites and artifacts. We will enjoy lunch prepared by local residents before we depart on a 2-hour boat ride to Ofu. Upon our arrival on Ofu, the group will transfer to the Vaoto Lodge, located in the national park and check-in. There will be some time to explore the area and the sandy beach in front of the lodge before joining the group for dinner.
Vaoto Lodge (B, L, D)

Days 6-7: October 11 & 12 - Ofu, Manu‘a Islands: We will be spending 2 days on Ofu Island, hiking its mountains, exploring its island wildlife and plants, swimming and snorkeling in a pristine sea, getting to know their beautiful coral reefs and enjoying American Samoa’s loveliest beach all within the national park. As there are less than 200 residents on this island, it is truly a “private paradise.” As you enjoy the remarkable treasures of American Samoa National Park, get a behind the scenes look at how NPCA and thousands of park advocates helped secure permanent funding for our world-class national parks through the Great American Outdoors Act. In the evening, Ofu is a perfect spot for stargazing and viewing the Southern Cross and falling stars in the night sky of the Southern Hemisphere. All meals will be prepared by the owner and served at the lodge. Vaoto Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 8: October 13 - Departure Day - Return to Pago Pago, Tutuila: Today, we will enjoy our last breakfast at Vaoto Lodge and check out. We will walk over to the Ofu airport, just a few steps away from the lodge and check-in for our flight back to Pago Pago. We will arrive in Pago Pago in time to drop off our luggage at Sadie’s by the Sea before continuing on to a local restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we will take a historic walking tour of Fagatogo with a local guide. The village of Fagatogo has been the center of American Samoa since serving as the administrative headquarters of the U.S. Naval base Pago Pago from 1900 to 1951. It was for many decades the most westernized village in the Territory, and the only village with a paved road. Today, only 14 Naval buildings remain, and in 1988 many of them were entered onto the National Register of Historic Places to become part of the U.S. Naval Sation Tutuila Historic District (in Pago Pago Harbor). We’ll learn why expanding protections for historic sites is a high priority for NPCA. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town on your own or enjoy the beach in front of the hotel or squeeze in a late hike. Check-out of your room in the evening before joining the group for a farewell dinner at the hotel. After dinner, we will transfer to Pago Pago Airport by private shuttle to catch the flight to Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Day use rooms at Sadie’s by the Sea (B, L, D)

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions and park closures related to COVID-19.


NPCA TRAVEL ELIGIBILITY: NPCA is the only independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of the National Park System. We are 100% privately funded and we rely on donations from individuals like you. One traveler per group must be an active NPCA member to participate in an NPCA trip. An annual membership starts at $15 per person. Please make dues payable to NPCA by check or credit card at npca.org.

TRAVEL SAFE WITH NPCA Your safety is our top priority. NPCA has worked diligently with each of our travel partners to develop important safety measures for all our trips. As guidelines and protocols evolve, we are committed to creating flexible options for those interested in rescheduling or booking new travel. For more information, check out our COVID-19 Travel Update.

MORE INFORMATION For full details on this trip, including inclusions, exclusions, accommodations, terms and safety protocols, please download the detailed trip brochure.

Download Detailed Trip Brochure (1 MB pdf)

MAKING RESERVATIONS To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact Jared Dial, NPCA’s Associate Director of the Educational Travel Program, at 1.800.628.7275 or email the Travel Program at travel@npca.org.

TRAVEL PROTECTION We strongly recommend purchasing important optional travel insurance that will cover you for a variety of travel-related contingencies, such as trip cancellation, interruption, and/or delay; baggage loss, theft, damage or delay; accident and/or sickness medical expenses; accidental death; as well as evacuation/repatriation coverage. Please note that a Pre-Existing Condition waiver is available if you purchase the policy within 21 days of making your initial trip payment. Also consider the optional “Cancel for any Reason” protection. All questions regarding the plan’s coverage should be directed to Travel Insurance Select through USI Affinity at 1-800-937-1387 or by visiting their website.

Check out NPCA’s full tour lineup at www.npca.org/trips

  • Cost:
    $4,600 per person double occupancy; $325 single supplement
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