With few hotels, few public beaches, American Samoa remains less spoiled by commercial tourism than most South Pacific Islands. It has it's own charm, a wonderful people, culture and language that has been kept mostly intact despite so many years of outside influence.
Local laws protecting outside ownership of land and bi-cultural education have helped preserve many traditions.
Nicholas Von Hoffman wrote a book, "Tales from the Margaret Mead Taproom." and Doonesbury comic strip of the same time had a lot of satire about Samoa and it's appointed governor from the United States. Now the governor is elected locally.
This picture was taken on the far east near Tula. Boys watch the sea and sky as the sun sets in misty warm winds.
Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, is only about 30 miles wide and with one major highway near the ocean. The interior is high volcanic mountains but there are some roads and villages inland as well.
Definitely make arrangements ahead, don't expect to just head out from the airport and make your way. You can't be a beach bum when most the beaches belong to the village and they definitely will check out foreign trespassers.
Many people have asked me about the paradise of Samoa and about living or retiring there. It is related to the United States as a territory, but U.S. citizens or other countries cannot own land there. You can visit on a tourist visa, but you cannot live there. There are some government jobs that give you a work visa and often a 2-year contract.
Most foreigners who dream of the romantic paradise of Gaugin in the South Seas find that lving in a warm sunny place with not much to do gets old after a few weeks. Familiar friends, culture and lifestyle beckon most back to their former homes.
American Samoa has many elements of paradise and is a fascinating place unto itself, but it is not full of resorts and typical tourist activities.