Pago Pago Travel Guide
American Samoa's colourful capital, Pago Pago (pronounced pa-ngo pa-ngo), has a beautiful deepwater harbour surrounded by high, forest-clad mountains that plunge down dramatically to the sea. Considered to be one of the most beautiful harbours in the Pacific, Pago Pago was also the setting for Somerset Maugham's famous story, Rain. You can catch the cable car up Mount Alava for stunning views over the harbour and north-west coast.
American Samoa's government convenes at the fono (parliament house) next to the museum. The American influence on American Samoa is most obvious in Pago Pago, and you'll find fast food, cable TV and American football, but Pago Pago still enjoys a relaxed pace. The market near Fagatogo village is a colourful place for a wander. The Visitor Information Centre is located next to the yacht club at Utelie, and there is a National Park Visitor Centre in Pago Plaza.
Things to Do:
- Jean P Haydon Museum of American Samoa
The museum in Pago Pago is located in a national historic building, that was home to the United States Navy Commissary during World War II. The museum exhibits artefacts, handicrafts and items of cultural history. In front of the museum entrance are traditional fales (thatched, open sided buildings) where local arts and crafts are demonstrated and taught. The museum is open 8am – 4pm Monday to Friday.
The market at the western end of Fagatogo village sells all sorts of local produce including bananas, coconuts and breadfruit. The best day to visit is Saturday.
- Mt Alava
This scenic point above Pago Pago can be reached by cable car/tramway and has magnificent views of the harbour and north-west coast. The harbour is the deep crater of an ancient volcano, one side of which has collapsed to form the harbour mouth. There is also a trail leading to the summit, which begins at Fagasa Pass about a kilometre past the National Park's visitor information centre.
There is magnificent rainforest just a few hours drive from Pago Pago Harbour - the National Park Visitor Centre has details of trails.
- Flowerpot Rocks (Fatumafuti)
Local legend has it that these two rocks, near Faga'alu village, are the lovers Fatu and Futi. Forbidden to marry, they tried to escape from Manu'a to Tutuila, but were stranded on the reef by a tsunami.