a VirtualTourist member from Matthews
I hope to visit American Samoa during 2012. In doing my research, I am developing the opinion that it is next to impossible to get there. This being the case, I would like to visit other islands/nations relatively nearby. Western Samoa is obviously one such place. Any other destination suggestions which others are willing to share with me would be greatly appreciated.
Although it will take you a long time to reach American Samoa from N.C. isn't 'next to impossible'. The route runs through Honolulu. The AS airport is on the main island of Tutuila in the village of Pago Pago. If you want to go to Samoa (No longer called Western Samoa) and you're coming from the USA this would be your best solution. I think the name of the airlines that flies from AS to Samoa is Polynesian Airlines.
If you do make it to AS check to see if you can fly to Ofu, one of the neighboring islands, about 30 minutes from Tutuila. I know that a few years ago flights were stopped because of some issues with the Ofu runway. I think there might also be a boat from neighboring Tau, which was still reachable from Tutuila by air. But Ofu is a gem. There are a small handful of locals living there and at the time I visited there was only one place to stay, the Va'Oto Lodge, literally next door to the landing strip. Right in front of the lodge is a large and live coral reef. Just down the road is a national park area which is really just a further extension of the reef. What a beautiful place, and untouched by tourism. You've never seen so many stars at night! I hope you go there.
As already said by the previous poster, the only ways to get to American Samoa is via Honolulu and Samoa (Apia) - and some cruise ships also have it on their itinerary. (I think Princess Cruises)
From Honolulu you use Hawaiian Airlines, from Samoa Inter-Island Airways and Polynesian Airlines.
Once in American Samoa, the cheapest way to travel between the islands is by boat. The American Samoa Inter-Island Shipping Company which runs a cargo vessel once a week. According to Lonely Planet, you can buy tickets only on the day of departure. Another such vessel is the MV Sili - but only every second week...
Living in New Zealand I would surely use Air New Zealand to fly to Samoa because this is super cheap, and then take a flight from Apia to Pago Pago. Best you go to a travel agency to check out all options.
Best way is through Hawaii -Hawaiian Air Mondays and Thursdays. You can go through Apia, Samoa but time consuming. 20 minute flights several times a day by both Polynesian Airlines and Inter-Island Airways from American Samoa to (W) Samoa. You will need to go to their websites as difficult to find on most travel sites.
It now seems as if the only places that I am going to be able to visit on a trip to American Samoa without returning to Honolulu, Australia, or New Zealand will be the Samoan islands. Does that seem correct to you? I was hoping to at least add Tonga but it seems that there are no longer any flights from Apia to Tonga.
Thank you very much!!! Your input about surface travel renews my hopes of being able to broaden my horizons to include other countries.
Once you're on AS you can ask about the possibilities. Hopefully you'll find something!
Some months ago I checked inter-island flights in the South Pacific, and there were a few flight between Samoa and Tonga. However, they were extremely expensive. It was a lot cheaper to fly from Samoa to New Zealand and from there to Tonga.
It is a bit crazy but flight times are rather short, so it would not be a huge deal.
I just had another look and found flights from Apia to Nuku'alofa on Air Pacific - via Nadi. Other flights indeed via Auckland/New Zealand. So probably it is true that there are no more direct flights.
The fares were not cheap but lower than when I looked them up last time. Of course, the fare depends on when you want to travel.
If you look at Air Pacific's site you find various destinations in Fiji you can fly to from Apia.
Yes, I know that the OP wants to go to American Samoa.
But we have already established earlier (just check discussion further up in the thread) that he has to go to Samoa (not "Western" Samoa anymore) to get anywhere as there are so very few connections to and from American Samoa.
Thanks everyone! My primary objective and where i will spend the most time is American Samoa but, as I said at the outset, I want to visit other nearby, or conveniently located, island groups, so that would certainly include Samoa but, other than that, it looks as if Tonga is the only other place that I should plan to visit. Do any of you have any experience hitching rides on private boats?
No personal experience, but you can check in at the Pago Pago Yacht Club on Tutuila to see if there's anyone in port who might be leaving for another island group. I don't know what the fee is now, but when I was there you could join the Club for25, which gives you the right to use the facilities at any other yacht partnered with that one, and that includes some of the best clubs in the world. And you can go there for lunch whether or not you're a member.
Out of curiosity I just googled the Pago Pago Yacht Club and it looks like it may no longer exist. There was a website talking about it closing and nothing newer than 2009. I've sent off an email to try to find out and will post an update when I hear back.
I just received an email from the AS Chamber of Commerce. The Pago Pago Yacht Club is not longer there. They lost their lease.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be able to find someone who's taking shelter in the bay and stocking up on provisions before setting sail for another island group. Good Luck!