Points of Interest
- Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center
Be sure to read the Special Notes further down this page for important requirements and restriction.
This tropical island has an unexpected landscape, ranging from beautiful coastlines, high plains, spectacular rainforests and ruptured volcanic mountain ranges to vibrant coral reefs. Encounter its startling beauty on a scenic island drive with many stops along the way to visit important sites and lovely beaches. A marine ocean center visit completes this half-day adventure.
Departing the pier, your driver/guide will take you on a scenic tour of Pago Pago, Tutuila's major seaport. Enjoy the sights as you pass by groves of coconut palms and tiny villages hugging the shoreline. Learn about the interesting history, traditions and culture of the Samoan people and make a stop at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center, the visitor center for the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. This state-of-the-art facility features educational exhibits and interactive learning tools to promote ocean awareness and encourage good marine stewardship and Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a wonder in itself. Within this room-sized, global display system you'll experience a giant animated globe revealing all sorts of planetary data. It was developed by researchers at NOAA to illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages.
The center also offers the opportunity to discover the value of coral reefs, why they are important, and what you can do to help protect them. After all, they are the 'medicine cabinets' of the 21st century providing important sources for medicines that treat a multitude of modern-day diseases - including cancer!
Continuing on your drive, you'll enjoy several photo stops featuring popular island attractions: Aunu'u Wharf, Amouli Beach and Camel Rock, an interesting rock formation resembling a camel and the view from Pago Pago Harbor, one of the most spectacular in the Pacific. Be sure to keep your camera close at hand. If you see something that catches your eye, just ask the driver to stop for a few moments. Keep a look out for two species of flying foxes (bats) which the local Samoans hold in esteem as the guardians of the forest and its people.
At the eastern most tip of the island you will begin to head back to Pago Pago. But first you'll stop at beautiful Avaio Beach, more often called 'Two Dollar Beach'. It's the perfect place to enjoy a frosty beer produced by Samoa Breweries - their Vailima Lager and the award-winning Vailima Pure are particularly popular. "Vailima" is literally translated from the Samoan as "water in hand" and has its origin in a Samoan folktale in which a woman revives her dying lover by carrying water to him in her hands.
The views of the sheltering mountains, rugged coastlines, and the vistas from the mouth of Pago Pago Harbor with your ship resting lightly in her berth, add to the wealth of indelible images and the expert commentary of your friendly guide adds layers of interest and intrigue. This is the cradle of Polynesia, after all, with 3,000 years of human occupation and one of the most intact traditional societies in the Pacific.
Special Notes:Local buses are used for tour transportation. Buses have bench seats, no microphones and no storage to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs. Tour guides are high school seniors. What they may lack in professional skills is made up by their local knowledge, friendliness and enthusiasm.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing suited to the day's conditions. Bring a hat and a light waterproof jacket - heavy showers are common. Bring a towel and swim suit in case you wish to swim at the beach.
Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.