Complete guide to Fagalii Airport in Apia, Samoa

Just on outskirts of Apia town, the capital of Samoa is Fagalii Airport. It is here that you would go to fly to American Samoa using smaller eight seater planes. It is not much of an airport and you might miss it if you are not looking for it but it is useful for the purpose it was designed for: for planes to take off and land. Read more

Cheap Flight to American Samoa?

One of the most common questions that I hear is about cheap flights to American Samoa. After looking online, people want to know if they even exist and if there is a way to get to American Samoa on a backpackers budget. The simple answer is not really. The complex answer is maybe. Read more

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What the Samoa passport scandal means to travelers to the Samoan Islands

There is a scandal underway concerning Samoan passports. It seems to go all the way up to the Prime Minister (not a surprise) and involves several levels of leadership. Part of this is being blown out by a mysterious guy named OLP (clearly not his real name). However, it could have some indirectly effects on travelers to Samoa. Read more

NEW rules for Australians and New Zealand visiting American Samoa

There are new rules for Australians and New Zealanders visiting American Samoa. They went into effect this week and in true Samoans fashion, there was no warning. When you are visiting countries in the Pacific, the rules governing things like visa can change at any moment for any reason. That is why visiting Valenisoqo often is recommended. (However, I do have a bias) Read more

How Puerto Rico statehood movement could change American Samoa

It is official, Puerto Rico has voted to become a state of the United States. It has been talked about forever but it has finally been voted. American Samoa has many of the same challenges and the political status has been a topic of discussion there as well.

First of all, the vote was close to a half a million (they are still counting) and only 7,500 for free association (like Marshall Islands has) and about the same for completely independence. In reality, the question was statehood or status quo.

There are many things that are left unanswered such as how Puertro Ricans will deal with the language barrier (was a problem in the past) and how taxation will work but the bottom line is the people have made a point of self-determination that they are better with America than they are without.

What does this mean for American Samoa?

It could mean nothing or it could force the political status issue again. I was on island when the former governor tried to force the people to support independence. The end result of that was over 80% flying the middle finger to the governor.

The current governor has send mixed signals about where he stands on political status. He has said that he is for closer ties to the Union but he has given other signals that he is not interested in statehood due to “cultural issues.”

It is important to state that just a few years ago that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against giving American Samoans citizenship unless they became part of the United States. Many people, including myself, feel that American Samoans should be full citizens like the people of Puerto Rico are.

What could it mean for people travel to American Samoa?

I would say nothing to really speak of. The islanders will debate it and there will be the yearly rally at the football stadium crying about the political status in April.

It will be an open discussion in the political circles (called Fono) and it will be openly talked about over coffee at McDonalds by veterans. In most other cases, it will be business as usual.

While you travel there, you will still have all the benefits of being in America. You will still have free access to the island as long as you want. You will still pay with your right kidney for the flight to Hawaii.

As I said, business as usual for us but it will be interesting if it sparks a political movement to right a 120 year old wrong.

LBJ Medical Center: America’s worst hospital!

When I came to American Samoa, I had a medical emergency. That means a trip to LBJ Medical Center. It is not what you want but when you have a seizure disorder, it happens. I was looking forward to be on US soil to see an American doctor, at least. Read more

Football culture of American Samoa

The NFL is full of American Samoans. A few of them are from American Samoa and the rest are American Samoans raised in the United States. Junior Seau and Troy Polamalu are names that everyone would know. Both are American Samoans. Read more

Fagatogo Market in American Samoa

The Fagatogo Market is a brand new market that was built with government funds under President George W. Bush. It was officially opened a few years ago but has never really been used for some reason. It is also a point of frustration for some local American Samoans. It was over budget and scaled way down from the original plans. Read more

National Park of American Samoa

One of the best things to do while in the territory is to visit the National Park of American Samoa. The National Parks Service has a presence on island and they manage the only rainforest in America! Read more