Tutuila Travel Guide

Looking for the ultimate travel guide to Tutuila? This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to plan your trip, from activities and attractions to where to stay and eat.

Introduction to Tutuila

Tutuila, located in American Samoa, is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty, cultural richness, and outdoor adventures. This volcanic island is home to lush rainforests, rocky peaks, miles of coastline, and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can hike through the rainforest to stunning waterfalls, snorkel in the pristine reefs, and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the island’s indigenous people. In this guide, we’ll explore the best places to visit, things to do, where to eat and stay, and everything else you need to know to plan your ultimate trip to Tutuila.

List of Places to Visit in Tutuila

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

1. Jean P. Haydon Museum

This museum is located in Pago Pago and houses a collection of artifacts, photographs, and displays that depict the history and cultural heritage of American Samoa. The museum also has an exhibit dedicated to renowned author Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived on the island for a period of time.

2. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Located off the coast of Tutuila, this sanctuary is home to an abundance of marine life, including sea turtles, sharks, and colorful tropical fish. Visitors can snorkel and dive to explore the underwater world and learn about the important conservation efforts being made to protect the marine environment.

3. Aunu’u Island

Aunu’u Island is a small, remote island located off the eastern coast of Tutuila. The island is known for its pristine beaches, coral reefs, and traditional Samoan villages. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and spend a day exploring the local culture and natural beauty.

Natural Attractions of Tutuila: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

1. National Park of American Samoa

Located on Tutuila, this national park covers over 7,000 acres and is home to a variety of ecosystems, including rainforests, beaches, and coral reefs. Visitors can hike through the lush rainforests, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and visit the park’s cultural center to learn about the indigenous cultures of the island.

2. Mount Alava

This stunning peak towers over Pago Pago and offers incredible panoramic views of the island. Visitors can hike to the summit for stunning views and a glimpse into the island’s volcanic past.

3. Tisa’s Barefoot Bar

This beachfront bar and restaurant, located on the eastern coast of Tutuila, offers stunning views of the Pacific ocean and serves up delicious traditional Samoan dishes. Visitors can enjoy live music, watch the sunset, and even snorkel in the coral reefs just off the shore.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Tutuila

Tutuila is a hiker’s paradise with trails that wind through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and offer stunning views of the island’s volcanic peaks. Some of the most popular hiking and biking trails include:

  • Mount Alava Trail: This trail winds through lush rainforests, past stunning waterfalls, and up to the summit of Mt. Alava. The trail is moderately difficult and offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape.

  • Blunt’s Point Trail: This easy, family-friendly hike offers stunning views of Pago Pago harbor and the surrounding coastline.

  • National Park of American Samoa Trail: This extensive trail system winds through rainforests, over volcanic ridges, and along beaches. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of trails depending on their hiking level and time constraints.

Best Things to Do in Tutuila: Activities and Tours

There are plenty of activities and tours to keep visitors busy in Tutuila, including:

  • Snorkeling and Diving: The island is home to several excellent snorkeling and diving locations, including the National Park of American Samoa and nearby Manu’a Islands. Visitors can explore the colorful coral reefs and swim with an abundance of marine life.

  • Cultural Tours: Visitors can learn about the indigenous Samoan culture by exploring the traditional villages and attending cultural events such as the annual Flag Day celebration.

  • Water Sports: Visitors can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Tutuila.

Week-Long Itinerary for Tutuila

Here is a sample week-long itinerary for Tutuila:

  • Day 1: Explore Pago Pago harbor, including the Jean P. Haydon Museum and Pago Pago Fish Market.

  • Day 2: Hike to the summit of Mt. Alava for spectacular views of the island.

  • Day 3: Snorkel at the National Park of American Samoa and visit the cultural center to learn more about the indigenous Samoan culture.

  • Day 4: Take a ferry to Aunu’u Island for a day of relaxation and exploration.

  • Day 5: Take a cultural tour of traditional Samoan villages and attend the Flag Day celebration.

  • Day 6: Enjoy water sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island.

  • Day 7: Visit Tisa’s Barefoot Bar and enjoy a traditional Samoan meal while watching the sunset.

Food and Drink Scene of Tutuila

Must-Try Dishes

  • Palusami: A dish made from taro leaves, coconut cream, onions, and sometimes chicken or pork, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over hot stones.

  • Oka: A raw fish salad made with fresh tuna, cucumber, onions, and coconut cream.

  • Luau: A traditional Samoan dish made from taro leaves and coconut cream, served with fish or pork.

Local Beverages

  • Ava (Kava): A traditional beverage made from the root of the kava plant. It is known for its calming effects and is often enjoyed in social settings.

  • Coconut Water: Fresh coconut water is widely available on the island and is a refreshing and healthy option for staying hydrated.

Where to Stay in Tutuila: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are several options for accommodations in Tutuila, from luxury resorts to more budget-friendly guesthouses. Some popular options include:

  • Sadie’s by the Sea: A beachfront resort located in Pago Pago with stunning views of the harbor.

  • Tradewinds Hotel: A boutique hotel with a restaurant, pool, and stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

  • Vaoto Lodge: A budget-friendly guesthouse located in a traditional Samoan village.

What to Buy in Tutuila: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Some popular souvenirs and local products to buy in Tutuila include:

  • Tapa Cloth: A traditional Samoan cloth made from the bark of the mulberry tree and decorated with geometric patterns and designs.

  • Shell Necklaces: Samoan shell necklaces are a popular souvenir and are made from shells found on the island’s beaches.

  • Local Artwork: Tutuila is home to many talented artists, and visitors can find beautiful paintings, carvings, and other handmade items in local shops.

Local Culture and Customs of Tutuila

Tutuila is home to a rich cultural heritage, including traditional Samoan dance, music, art, and food. Visitors should be respectful of local customs, dress modestly when visiting traditional villages or attending cultural events, and be aware of Samoan values such as family, respect, and community.

Best Time to Visit Tutuila

The best time to visit Tutuila is during the dry season from May to October when temperatures are cooler and rainfall is minimal. The wet season from November to April can bring heavy rain, storms, and even cyclones to the island, making outdoor activities more difficult.

Do’s and Don’ts of Tutuila


  • Respect local culture and customs.

  • Dress modestly when visiting traditional villages or attending cultural events.

  • Try traditional Samoan dishes and drinks.


  • Wear shoes inside a traditional Samoan home.

  • Touch or disturb sea turtles or other marine life while snorkeling or diving.

  • Bring non-biodegradable materials to the island.

Safety and Health

Safety in Tutuila

Overall, Tutuila is a safe place for tourists to visit, but visitors should take common sense precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and not carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.

Health in Tutuila

Visitors should drink only bottled or boiled water and take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, as mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus can occur on the island.

Getting to Tutuila: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Tutuila

The only airport on Tutuila is Pago Pago International Airport (PPG), which is serviced daily by Hawaiian Airlines and Samoa Airways.

Bus Stations Near Tutuila

Tutuila does not have a formal public transportation system, but visitors can hire taxis or rental cars to get around the island.

Other Options

Visitors can also reach Tutuila by ferry from neighboring American Samoa islands.

How to Get Around in Tutuila

The best way to get around Tutuila is by rental car or taxi, as there is no formal public transportation system on the island.

Where to Go Next from Tutuila: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Some popular nearby destinations and excursions from Tutuila include:

  • Manu’a Islands: A group of islands located a short ferry ride from Tutuila that are known for their stunning natural beauty and pristine beaches.

  • Samoa: Visitors can take a short flight or ferry ride from American Samoa to Samoa, another island paradise known for its rich cultural heritage and outdoor adventures.


Tutuila is a stunning and culturally rich destination that offers visitors a wide variety of experiences, from hiking through lush rainforests to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re interested in cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing on the beach, Tutuila is an ideal destination to add to your travel bucket list.