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Wonders of American Samoa

Pola Island, American Samoa
Pola Island / Tavita Togia, Public domain, US National Park Service.

WorldBlue  Highlights

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of United States. This small island country offers breathtaking scenery and interesting natural and archaeological landmarks.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 17 wonders of American Samoa

Geological wonders

Pola Island (Cockscomb)

Eastern District

Small, narrow (max 130 m), elongated island with up to 100 m tall cliffs.

Laufuti Falls

Manu’a District

Spectacular, intermittent waterfall with four cascades, 13.7 to 131 m (third cascade) tall. Total height exceeds 200 m. After the fall the stream flows for a short distance through a spectacular canyon with more than 100 m tall vertical cliffs.

Natural arch in north-east of Aunu’u

Eastern District

Natural arch with a slanted form, shaped by the sea waves.

Ma’ama’a Cove

Eastern District

Interesting coastal formation that makes spectacular splashes of the ocean waves.

Pala Mud Lake

Eastern District

Dangerous red colored mud (mostly inundated). According to local legends people here are pulled to the underworld by lost souls. Lake is full with eels.

Faga’alu Waterfall

Eastern District

Beautiful veiled waterfall in natural jungle.

Biological wonders

Vailulu’u Eel City and Moat of Death

Manu’a District

A hydrothermal vent in the summit of an enormous submarine volcano rises 4,200 m from the ocean floor. The Nafanue volcanic cone in the center of the 400 m deep caldera contains a group of hydrothermal vents inhabited by numerous eels (Dysommina rugosa). This is unusual – in general vertebrates do not live near hydrothermal vents.

Dysommina rugosa eels in Nafanua Eel City, American Samoa
Dysommina rugosa eels in Nafanua Eel City / / public domain.
Tau coral colony

Manu’a District

One of the largest and oldest known hermatypic (reef-building) coral colonies. The most likely species of this coral is Porites lutea. Colony is 7 m tall, 41 m in circumference, and healthy. The colony may contain some 200 million polyps. The colony might be more than 800 years old.

Ana Pe’ape’a

Eastern District

A small cave, the only known natural deposit of prehistoric vertebrates in American Samoa. Here have been found remnants of reptiles and birds who lived on the island 900 BC or later – most of them live here also today. It seems that by this time human presence already formed the present faunal composition in Samoa.

Archaeological wonders

Tafuna star mounds

Western District

In total on Tutuila island are known more than 80 star mounds (tia ‘ave) – possible pigeon snaring facilities. Tafuna plain contains several such mounds, due to their proximity to inhabited centers they are the best known on the island. Their age is unknown.


Western District

Prehistoric basalt quarry. Stone tools from here are spread to the far Pacific islands. Large basalt grindstones – stones with deep hollows – are found near the quarry, towards the Vailotai. Fortified by earthworks and natural cliffs.

Saua footpath

Manu’a District

Ancient raised footpath along the sea, built of stone. Around Saua are found numerous archaeological monuments.

To’aga ancient settlement

Manu’a District

Remnants of an ancient settlement that was continuously inhabited for 3000 years. Here are found also remnants of Lapita ceramics that were created in 1700 – 1300 BC.

Papaloa petroglyphs (Leone)

Western District

A group of 67 prehistoric petroglyphs, mainly rings of small holes, but also a drawing of a turtle and octopus.

Fitiuta petroglyphs

Manu’a District

Two prehistoric petroglyphs – a king of fishhook with a ring of small holes and a group of small holes.

Architecture wonders

Zion Church in Leone

Western District

A magnificent church, built in 1900 on the site where a missionary John Williams landed in 1832. Church has a beautifully carved ceiling.

Atauloma Girls School

Western District

A historical building that was constructed in 1900. Locals avoid it out of fear of ghosts.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific

In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand’s rain forest and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.

Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story

Readers and critics alike adore J. Maarten Troost for his signature wry and witty take on the adventure memoir. Headhunters on My Doorstep chronicles Troost’s return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of Treasure Island, Troost follows Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, Kiribati, and Samoa, tumbling from one comic misadventure to another.

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