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Pago Pago, Samoa

Pago Pago is the territorial capital of American Samoa. It is in Maoputasi County on the main island of American Samoa, Tutuila. It is home to one of the best and deepest natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered from wind and rough seas, and strategically located. The harbor is also one of the best protected in the South Pacific, which gives American Samoa a natural advantage with respect to landing fish for processing. Tourism, entertainment, food, and tuna canning are its main industries.

Pago Pago is the only modern urban center in American Samoa. The Greater Pago Pago Metropolitan Area encompasses several villages strung together along Pago Pago Harbor. One of the villages is itself named Pago Pago. The constituent villages are, in order, Utulei, Fagatogo, Malaloa, Pago Pago, Satala and Atu'u. Fagatogo is the downtown area referred to... Read more

Pago Pago, Samoa


Pago Pago is the territorial capital of American Samoa. It is in Maoputasi County on the main island of American Samoa, Tutuila. It is home to one of the best and deepest natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered from wind and rough seas, and strategically located. The harbor is also one of the best protected in the South Pacific, which gives American Samoa a natural advantage with respect to landing fish for processing. Tourism, entertainment, food, and tuna canning are its main industries.

Pago Pago is the only modern urban center in American Samoa. The Greater Pago Pago Metropolitan Area encompasses several villages strung together along Pago Pago Harbor. One of the villages is itself named Pago Pago. The constituent villages are, in order, Utulei, Fagatogo, Malaloa, Pago Pago, Satala and Atu'u. Fagatogo is the downtown area referred to as Town and is home to the legislature, while the executive is located in Utulei. In Fagatogo is the Fono, Police Department, Port of Pago Pago, many shops and hotels.

Rainmaker Mountain (Mount Pioa) is located in Pago Pago and gives the city the highest annual rainfall of any harbor in the world.

American Samoa is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean that lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand and about 100 km (60 mi) east of its neighboring country of Samoa, which is part of the same archipelago and ethnicity.

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America. The citizens of American Samoa are US "nationals" and not US "citizens," but they are allowed to travel freely between American Samoa and the US mainland. They are not required to obtain green cards or visas to stay or work in the United States, and they are allowed to serve in the US armed forces (and often do). There are some ways that American Samoa's special status as an unincorporated territory has interesting legal consequences. The US Constitution is not necessarily the supreme law of the land in American Samoa, and Samoan cultural norms, in particular, those related to the ownership of property and public displays of religion, actually trump certain well-settled US constitutional rights in American Samoa.


The city of Pago Pago encompasses several surrounding villages, including Fagatogo, the legislative and judicial capital, and Utulei, the executive capital and home of the Governor. The town is located between steep mountainsides and the harbor. It is surrounded by mountains such as Mount Alava, Mount Matafao and Rainmaker Mountain, all mountains protecting Pago Pago Harbor. The main downtown area is Fagatogo on the south shore of Pago Pago Harbor, the location of the Fono (territorial legislature), the port, the bus station, and the market. The banks are in Utulei and Fagotogo, as are the Sadie Thompson Inn and other hotels. The tuna canneries, which provide employment for a third of the population of Tutuila, are in Atu'u on the north shore of the harbor. The village of Pago Pago is at the western head of the harbor.

Pago Pago Harbor nearly bisects Tutuila Island. It is facing south and situated almost midpoint on the island. Its bay is 0.6 miles wide and 2.5 mi long. A 1,630 feet high mountain, Mount Pioa (Rainmaker Mountain), is located at the east side of the bay. The town is centered around the mouth of the Vaopito stream. Half of American Samoa’s inhabitants live along Pago Pago’s foothills and coastal areas. The downtown area is known as Fagatogo and is home to government offices, port facilities, Samoan High School and the Rainmaker Hotel. Two tuna factories are located in the northern part of town.

Pago Pago is in the Eastern District of American Samoa, in Ma'oputasi County. It is approximately 2,600 miles southwest of Hawai'i, 1,600 miles northeast of New Zealand, and 4,500 miles southwest of California. It is located at 14°16′46″S 170°42′02″W. Pago Pago is located 18 degrees south of the equator.

The north-central part of town is blanketed by the National Park of American Samoa. A climb to the summit of Mt. Alava in the National Park of American Samoa provides a bird's-eye view of the harbor and town.


Pago Pago has a tropical rainforest (Köppen climate classification Af) climate. All official climate records for American Samoa are kept at Pago Pago. The hottest temperature ever recorded was 99 °F (37 °C) on February 22, 1958. Conversely, the lowest temperature on record was 59 °F (15 °C) on October 10, 1964. The average annual temperature recorded at the weather station at Pago Pago International Airport is 80 degrees, with an average relative humidity of 80 percent. A temperature range of about three degrees Fahrenheit separates the average monthly temperatures of the coolest and hottest months.

Pago Pago has been named one of the wettest places on Earth. It receives 119 inches (302 cm) of rain per year. The rainy season lasts from November through April, but the town experiences warm and humid temperatures year-round. Besides its being wetter and more humid from November–April, this is also the hurricane season. The frequency of hurricanes hitting Pago Pago has increased dramatically in recent years. The windy season lasts from May to October. As warmer easterlies are forced up and over Rainmaker Mountain, clouds form and drop moisture on the city. Consequentially, Pago Pago experiences twice the rainfall of nearby Apia in the country of Samoa. Rainmaker Mountain, which is also known as Mount Pioa, is a designated National Natural Landmark.

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Pago Pago, Samoa: Port Information

Your cruise ship will dock at the pier right in the center of Pago Pago.
Everything you need is within walking distance. 
You can always take a cab or bus.

Get around Pago Pago, Samoa

By car

Several car rental facilities are available at or near Tutuila airport. On Tutuila taxis are available at the airport, and near the market in Fagatogo.​

By bus

The island of Tutuila has good public transportation (frequent, but unscheduled) via "aiga" or "family" buses. For 50 cents to a dollar you can be taken around Pago Pago Harbor, and to the more remote parts of the island. Buses originate and terminate at the market in Fagatogo, the village next to Pago Pago. The roads are generally too narrow and the traffic too busy for bicycles.

Hail an aiga bus with a wave of your hand. Many Samoans carry a quarter or two in their ears for bus fare as the wraparound skirts (lavalava) don't have pockets. When you want off, tap the window a few times and the bus will stop and pay the driver by tossing your fare (a quarter up to a dollar depending on the route and distance traveled) onto the dashboard on your way out.

By boat

A weekly ferry service from Pago Pago to the Manu’a Islands is provided government operated excursion boat. This service travels around Tutuila, calling at the north coast villages of Afono, Vatia and Fagasa.

What to see in Pago Pago, Samoa

Landmarks include:​
  • National Park of American Samoa, immediately north of town
  • Government House is a colonial mansion atop Mauga o Ali'i (the chief’s hill), which was erected in 1903
  • The Fono is the territorial legislature
  • The Courthouse is a two-story colonial-style house listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
  • The Aerial Tramway at Mount Alava is one of the world’s longest single-span cablecar routes. It begins atop Solo Hill at the end of the Togotogo Ridge above ‘Utulei. It ascends 1.1 miles (1.8 km) across Pago Pago Harbor and lands at the 1,598 feet (487 m.) Mount ‘Alava. It was constructed in 1965 as access to the TV transmission equipment on the mountain.
  • Jean P. Haydon Museum was constructed in 1917 and houses historical artifacts such as canoes. It is named for its founder, the wife of Governor John Morse Haydon
  • Blunts Point Battery, erected as a part of the fortification following the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Rainmaker Mountain (Pioa Mountain), designated National Natural Landmark
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medicine Center
  • Utulei Beach, beach in 'Utulei

What to do in Pago Pago, Samoa

  • To'aga Beach on the south side of Ofu. Bring your snorkel to explore the pristine coral reef that fringes its shore.
  • Tisa's Barefoot Bar & Grill on the northern end of the island. Beach access but no shower.
  • Hike in the rain forest in the mountains. The best view is obtained from the top of Mt. Alava, which is reached in two hours following the hiking trail on your right-hand-side when driving from Pago Pago uphill. The trail continues at the other side of the mountain to the village of Vatia, ending with a very steep descent. Be aware that only a few buses leave Vatia, so returning to Pago Pago can be challenging, though many locals are willing to take up a hitchhiker. If you are up for a challenge, follow instead the ladder on the opposite side of the road at the mountain pass above Pago Pago, which in less than two hours take you on a hike/climb to the highest spot of American Samoa.

What to eat and drink in Pago Pago, Samoa

Tutuila has a wide variety of places to eat--from familiar fast food stops to fine restaurants. The outer islands have far less variety. Restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, including American, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Polynesian. Do not miss to taste the traditional Oka which is fish marinated in coconut milk.

Evelani's in Pago Pago offers standard Mexican food for reasonable prices. Late night it transfers into a night club.

Goat Island Cafe is located at Sadie's by the Sea in Fagatogo. You can enjoy fish, steak or other menus with a beautiful view over the harbor.

McDonald's - located in Tafuna close to the airport, and in Fagatogo. Features wi-fi, though it is sometimes out of work.

Shopping in Pago Pago, Samoa

American Samoa features a lot of locally run shops and kiosks with products ranging from handmade clothing to traditional wooden weapons.

At Fagatogo, locally grown fruit and Polynesian style dresses are for sale, and in the evening each month at the third Friday local restaurants offers a wide variety of food.

Safety in Pago Pago, Samoa

American Samoa has low crime rates, though it's best to stay where the crowds are while on the beach. While swimming, don't go too far out, as rip tides are common.

American Samoa has few health risks of concern for normally healthy persons visiting the islands. There are, however, a significant number of cases of dengue fever each year, and (since 2014) chikungunya, both spread by mosquitoes, so don't forget your insect repellent (containing DEET).

Another common danger, in or near residential areas, are packs of stray dogs. Most dogs, while they may nominally belong to someone, are left to fend and forage for themselves. They are territorial, and will often bite. The most common response by locals is to pretend to bend down and pick up a rock. This will often scare the dogs away because they are used to being abused and hit with thrown rocks.

Bring necessary medications with you, for supplies may not be available. Medical care is limited and there is none available on the Manu’a Islands. The LBJ Tropical Medical Center is on Tutuila island in the village of Faga'alu. It was once a highly regarded regional health center; however, it has fallen on hard times. It has staffing problems and only provides marginal (though inexpensive) service. A serious illness or injury will generally be evacuated to a hospital in Hawaii, Fiji, or New Zealand. When traveling in the region, carry some basic medications such as aspirin or paracetamol (acetaminophen/Tylenol), cold capsules, band-aids, sunscreen, vitamins, anti-diarrhea pills, and a good insect repellant.

In many areas of Tutuila, the tap water is not safe for drinking or washing dishes due to E. coli contamination. Check with the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency for details or drink bottled water.

Language spoken in Pago Pago, Samoa

The native language is Samoan, a Polynesian language related to Hawaiian and other Pacific island languages. English is widely spoken, and most people can at least understand it. Most people are bilingual to some degree.

Some common words/phrases:
  • Hello - Talofa (tah-low-fah)
  • Please - Fa'amolemole (fah-ah-moh-lay-moh-lay)
  • Thank you - Fa'afetai (fah-ah-feh-tie)


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National Park of American Samoa, Pago Pago
Average: 10 (10 votes)

The National Park of American Samoa is a national park in the American Territory of American Samoa, distributed across three separate islands: Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta‘ū. The park preserves and protects coral reefs, tropical rainforests, fruit bats, and the Samoan culture. It is popular for hiking and snorkeling. Of the park's 13,500 acres (5,500...
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Rainmaker Mountain (also known as North Pioa Mountain) is the name of a mountain located near Pago Pago, American Samoa on Tutuila Island. The mountain is a volcanic feature known as a trachyte plug. This means that it is a volcanic intrusion made of extrusive igneous rocks having alkali feldspar and minor mafic minerals as the main components and...
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United States Naval Station Tutuila was a naval station in Pago Pago Harbor on the island of Tutuila, part of American Samoa, built in 1899 and in operation until 1951. During the United States Navy rule of American Samoa, from 1900 to 1951, it was customary for the commandant of the station to also serve as Military Governor of the territory....
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Average: 9.7 (10 votes)

The Jean P. Haydon Museum is a museum dedicated to the culture and history of the United States territory of American Samoa. The museum is located on the north side of Route 1 in Fagatogo, American Samoa, roughly opposite the main post office. The building in which it is located, formerly Navy Building 43 of Naval Station Tutuila, is itself...
Vai'ava Strait, Pago Pago, Samoa
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Vai'ava Strait is the name of a little-known strait located in American Samoa. Although little known, the strait is a National Natural Landmark. It is a great example of cliffs formed by waves (via erosion) on volcanic rock. The strait consists of communal lands. It was designated as a NNL in 1972.  
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Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

Pago Pago Harbor is a large natural inlet in the central south coast of the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. The capital, Pago Pago is located on the inner reaches of the harbor, close to its northwesternmost point. A significant amount of debris and oil were dumped into Pago Pago Harbor during the 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami, which...
Government House, Pago Pago, Samoa
Average: 9.1 (10 votes)

Government House, also known as Building No.1, Naval Station, Tutuila or Government House, U.S. Naval Station Tutuila, is a historic government building on the grounds of the former Naval Station Tutuila in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Built in 1903, it has served as a center of government on the island for much of the time since then. Government...
Rainmaker Hotel, Pago Pago, Samoa
Average: 9.4 (11 votes)

Rainmaker Hotel was a 250-room luxury hotel in Utule'i, Pago Pago, American Samoa.It was the only proper hotel in American Samoa and was operated by the government. The hotel was at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, when it was known as the Pacific's Intercontinental Hotel.The hotel was once refurbished by Drabbles at a cost of about $2.5 million...
Atauloma Girls School, Pago Pago, Samoa
Average: 9 (10 votes)

The Atauloma Girls School is a historic parochial school building in Afao village on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. The London Missionary Society opened it in 1900 as the second secondary school on Tutuila (after the Fagalele Boys School), and the first to admit girls. For most of its history it prepared girls primarily to be pastors'...

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