The Samoan Islands are divided into 2 distinct countries, independent Samoa and American Samoa. The latter is smaller in both area and population, but more picturesque and substantially wealthier thanks to its American ties. Both countries were badly hit by the September 2009 earthquake and tsunami, killing over 170 people and completely wiping out entire villages. Unhealthy and violent dogs are another blemish, which become especially bad at night, having personally faced the need to fight some off with sticks and rocks.
The contrast between the countries is remarkable, with many Samoans frequently pandering for money, while American Samoans have embraced the American bigger is better attitude to the extreme and display a more genuine friendliness. Subsequently, Samoa is one place that I never want to go back to, whereas American Samoa is near the top of my list of places to revisit.
Savaii's volcanic landscape competes against the unrelenting South Pacific Ocean.
Thanks to its pleasant beach and bounty of fale (pronounced fal-eh) accommodation, Manase is the most popular destination on the Samoan island of Savaii.
- Lalomanu Sunset
Despite the area suffering the worst damage of anywhere from the tsunami, Lalomanu on the island of Upolu still can claim that it has the best beach in all of Samoa.
- Afu-A-Au Falls
One of the most idyllic waterfalls in Samoa and a popular swimming hole.
- Alofaaga Blowholes 1
The unique Alofaaga Blowholes are the most impressive natural feature in Samoa, where the volcanic coastline has countless blowholes shooting water upwards of 30 meters in the air.
- Alofaaga Blowholes 2
The blowholes are at their best during high tide, with the blowholes almost constantly spurting forth.
- Alega Beach
Sunrise from my balcony on American Samoa's Alega Beach.
- Tutuila Coastline 1
American Samoa's main road hugs the rugged coastline for most of its distance and offers no shortage of tropical scenery.
A small island off of American Samoa's main island of Tutuila, Aunu'u retains a very traditional lifestyle and sees almost no tourists.
- Tutuila Coastline 2
- Tutuila Coastline 3
Litter is problematic on many of American Samoa's beaches, but increased awareness and efforts following the tsunami have helped clean up the environment.
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