Talofa! Welcome to American Samoa and to the only U.S. National Park south of the equator. On this tour, you have the rare opportunity to visit all three of the islands where the National Park of American Samoa is located. You will be spending time with the community and learning about the customs of the islands, while also visiting paleotropic rainforests and seeing flora and fauna that are found in no other U.S. National Park. During this unforgettable NPCA small group tour, you’ll feel the warm welcome of Samoan culture as a guest in an immersive experience of community, culture and conservation.
November 2-9, 2023 - SOLD OUT FOR 2023 (WAITLIST ONLY)
8 days/7 nights
Minimum/Maximum: 8 guests/10 guests
- Travel with ease through one of the most remote national parks in the U.S., getting a behind-the-scenes look from NPCA experts at the challenges facing the area
- Spend two full days on Ofu Island: hiking its mountains, exploring its wildlife and plants, snorkeling among the more than 950 species of fish and 250 types of coral and relaxing under a thick blanket of stars
- Paddle an outrigger canoe in the crystal-clear, tropical waters of Pago Pago Harbor with a local canoe club and enjoy panoramic views of Rainmaker Mountain and the historic World War II landmarks of Breakers and Blunts Points
- Embark with a local guide on an exclusive “insiders tour” of Aunu‘u Island, engaging with residents of the local villages and partaking in a traditional “ava” welcome ceremony
- Journey with expert guides through coastal areas and paths, secluded beaches, a littoral forest and archaeological sites on the island of Ta‘ū
- Immerse yourself in the oldest culture of Polynesia, the Samoan culture, with a local family who will prepare a traditional style “umu” lunch for you
Day 1: November 2 - 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: November 3 - 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 extraordinary marine national monument 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: November 4 - 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. Although the beauty of these sites is unmistakable, residents of the village may share their experiences with challenges from rising sea levels in the area – challenges NPCA is spearheading through innovative plans to help uplift communities most affected from these undue burdens. After swimming or snorkeling, 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)
Day 4: November 5 - 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: November 6 - 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. We will provide a boxed breakfast 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. Local residents will prepare a delicious lunch for us 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)
Day 6 and 7: November 7-8 - Ofu, Manu‘a Islands:
We will be spending two days on Ofu Island. We’ll hike its mountains, explore its wildlife and plants, swim and snorkel in a pristine sea, get to know the beautiful coral reefs and enjoy 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 treasures of the park, you’ll 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: November 9 - 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). During the tour, 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. Over 70% of our funding comes from donations from individuals like you. NPCA trips are an exclusive NPCA member benefit. One traveler per group must be an 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.
MAKING RESERVATIONS: To secure your space on this NPCA trip, please contact our Educational Travel Program team at 1.800.628.7275 or email the Travel Program at email@example.com.
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.
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