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Is American Samoa Safe?

American Samoa is generally safe for tourists, with a low risk of violent crime and civil unrest. However, petty theft can occur, so travelers should exercise caution with valuables. The tropical climate poses some health risks, including mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever. Visitors should take precautions against insect bites and ensure they have appropriate vaccinations. Natural disasters like cyclones and tsunamis are also potential concerns, so monitoring weather advisories is crucial.

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Safety & Security

American Samoa is generally considered a safe travel destination, with a low risk of violent crime and civil unrest. However, petty crimes such as theft and pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded areas. Travelers should exercise caution and take necessary precautions to safeguard their belongings.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime is relatively rare, incidents of petty theft, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, have been reported, particularly in tourist areas and crowded marketplaces. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, or individuals offering unsolicited assistance or tours.

  • Disputes: Avoid confrontations or disputes with locals, as they may escalate quickly. If faced with a situation, remain calm and seek assistance from local authorities or your embassy if necessary.

  • Civil Unrest: American Samoa is generally politically stable, but occasional protests or demonstrations may occur. Monitor local news and avoid areas where large gatherings or protests are taking place.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism in American Samoa is considered low, but travelers should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the authorities.

While American Samoa is generally safe, it's essential to exercise common sense and take basic precautions to ensure a trouble-free trip.

Health & Medical

Travelers to American Samoa should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. The territory has a tropical climate, which can increase the risk of certain diseases.

  • Mosquito-borne Illnesses: Diseases like dengue fever, Zika virus, and chikungunya are present in American Samoa. Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Water-borne Diseases: Avoid consuming untreated water and raw or undercooked seafood to prevent illnesses like hepatitis A and typhoid fever.

  • Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in American Samoa are limited, especially outside of the main island of Tutuila. Travelers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance and access to emergency medical evacuation services if needed.

  • Vaccinations: Routine vaccinations like measles, mumps, rubella, and COVID-19 are recommended. Consult a healthcare provider for any additional vaccines based on your travel plans.

  • Sun Exposure: Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses and sunburn in American Samoa's tropical climate.

Natural Disasters

American Samoa, a U.S. territory located in the South Pacific, is prone to several natural disasters due to its tropical climate and geographic location. Travelers should be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions.

  • Tropical Cyclones: The region is susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly during the cyclone season from November to April. These storms can bring destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges, posing a significant threat to safety and infrastructure.

  • Earthquakes and Tsunamis: American Samoa lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area with high seismic activity. Earthquakes can occur, and some may trigger tsunamis, which can be particularly dangerous for coastal areas.

  • Volcanic Activity: While there are no active volcanoes in American Samoa, the territory is located near the Tonga-Kermadec Trench, an area with significant volcanic activity. Ash clouds from distant volcanic eruptions can disrupt air travel and pose health risks.

  • Flooding: Heavy rainfall, especially during tropical cyclones, can lead to flash floods and landslides, which can be hazardous for travelers and disrupt transportation.

It is crucial for visitors to monitor weather conditions, follow local advisories, and familiarize themselves with emergency procedures. Travelers should also consider purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers natural disasters and evacuation assistance.


Transportation in American Samoa is relatively safe, but travelers should exercise caution. The main modes of transportation are taxis, rental cars, and public buses.

  • Taxis are generally reliable and safe, but it's advisable to use reputable companies and agree on the fare beforehand to avoid overcharging.
  • Rental Cars offer more flexibility, but roads can be narrow and winding, especially in rural areas. Driving at night should be avoided due to poor lighting and the potential for stray animals on the roads.
  • Public Buses are an affordable option for getting around, but they can be crowded and may not adhere to strict schedules.

Road conditions can vary greatly, with some areas having well-maintained roads while others may be poorly lit or have potholes. Pedestrian safety should also be a consideration, as sidewalks are not always available, and drivers may not be accustomed to yielding to pedestrians.

Cultural Norms

American Samoa is a U.S. territory with a rich Polynesian culture. Respecting local customs and traditions is essential for a rewarding travel experience. Here are some tips for cultural sensitivity:

  • Dress Modestly: Cover up when visiting villages or churches. Avoid revealing clothing that may be seen as disrespectful.

  • Greetings: Shake hands gently and avoid prolonged eye contact, especially with elders. Remove hats and sunglasses when greeting someone.

  • Fa'a Samoa (The Samoan Way): Learn about the intricate social hierarchy and show respect to village chiefs and elders. Seek permission before entering villages or taking photographs.

  • Ceremonies and Events: Many cultural events and ceremonies, such as the Fa'asamoa (traditional customs), are sacred. Observe respectfully from a distance unless invited.

  • Language: While English is widely spoken, learning a few words in Samoan, such as "talofa" (hello) and "fa'afetai" (thank you), is appreciated.

  • Gifts: Small gifts are appreciated when visiting villages or attending ceremonies. Avoid giving money directly to individuals.

Immersing yourself in the rich Samoan culture while respecting local traditions will make your visit more meaningful and memorable.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in American Samoa are limited, especially for tourists. While basic medical facilities are available in the main towns, comprehensive emergency care may require evacuation to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. The U.S. Coast Guard provides search and rescue services in the region, but response times can be lengthy due to the remote location.

  • Limited Medical Facilities: American Samoa has a few hospitals and clinics, but they lack advanced medical equipment and specialized care. Serious injuries or illnesses often necessitate medical evacuation.

  • Remote Location: The islands' isolation from major medical centers poses challenges for emergency response. Medevac services are available but can be costly and time-consuming.

  • Natural Disaster Preparedness: American Samoa is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. Emergency shelters are available, but resources may be strained during major events.

  • Tourist Assistance: The American Samoa Visitors Bureau provides some assistance to tourists in emergencies, but their capabilities are limited. Travelers should have comprehensive travel insurance and emergency contacts.

Overall, while basic emergency services exist, travelers should exercise caution and be prepared for potential delays or limitations in emergency response, especially for serious medical situations or natural disasters.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is American Samoa safe for tourists?

American Samoa is generally safe for tourists. However, visitors should exercise caution, especially at night, and avoid isolated areas. Petty crimes like theft can occur. It's advisable to secure valuables and be aware of your surroundings.

Is American Samoa safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers can generally feel safe in American Samoa, but should take precautions like avoiding isolated areas, especially at night. Dressing modestly and respecting local customs is recommended. Exercise caution and trust your instincts.

Is American Samoa safe for families?

American Samoa is a family-friendly destination. Children are welcomed, and the local culture is family-oriented. However, parents should be mindful of safety precautions, such as supervising children closely and avoiding isolated areas.

Is American Samoa LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are legal in American Samoa, but the LGBTQ+ community may face societal discrimination. Public displays of affection should be avoided. Same-sex marriage is not recognized, and legal protections are limited.

Do you need a visa to go to American Samoa?

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit American Samoa. Citizens of most Western countries can visit for up to 90 days without a visa. However, a valid passport is required for all visitors.

Can you drink tap water in American Samoa?

Tap water is generally safe to drink in American Samoa. However, it's recommended to drink bottled water as a precaution, especially for visitors with sensitive stomachs. Avoid consuming tap water from untreated sources.

What is the currency in American Samoa?

The official currency in American Samoa is the United States Dollar (USD). Major credit cards are widely accepted, but it's advisable to carry cash for smaller purchases and in rural areas.

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