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Tutuila and the Manu’a: the islands of Tau, Ofu and Olosega

TUTUILA ISLAND

Tutuila (137 sq km) is the main island of American Samoa. This is an island of volcanic origin that is located in the center of the Pacific Ocean less than 100 km southeast of the eastern tip of the island of Upolu in Samoa.

Most of the island of Tutuila is made up of steep mountains, deeply eroded and rich in tropical vegetation. A small flat area is located in its southwestern part. At the center of the island is its highest mountain, Matafao Peak (653 meters). Another famous mountain is Mount Rainmaker (523 meters), which dominates the bay of Pago Pago.

At the end of a deep bay, considered as one of the best ports in the South Pacific, there is the main inhabited center of the island and of all American Samoa, the town of Pago Pago. The island produces copra, canned fish, and local handicrafts.

MANU’A ISLANDS: TAU, OFU AND OLOSEGA

The three islands that form the volcanic archipelago of the Manu’a islands: Ofu (7 sq km), Olosega (5 sq km) and Tau (46 sq km) offer the most beautiful scenery of the American Samoa islands. The Manu’a group of islands is located 100 km east of Tutuila.

The beach that stretches along the southern coast of the island of Ofu is, for its unspoiled mountain scenery, one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire South Pacific. The highest mountain on the island of Ofu is Mount Tumutumu (491 meters), while on the nearby island of Olosega there is the highest mountain Piumafua (629 meters). These two islands are connected by a bridge and are surrounded by the same coral reef.

The main island of the Manu’a archipelago is Tau which is 11 km south-east of Olosega. Mount Lata (995 meters) on Tau is the highest point in all American Samoa. The islands are part of the American Samoa National Park. There are small airports in the islands of Ofu and Tau connected with flights to Tutuila. The only place to stay in Ofu is the Va’oto Lodge.

OFU AND OLOSEGA ISLANDS

Located in American Samoa, Central Pacific Ocean, the islands of Ofu and Olosega belong to the archipelago of the Manu’a islands, the more traditional areas of American Samoa. The islands are two small volcanic islands connected by a small bridge, the largest is the island of Ofu (7.2 km ²) which is also the most populated (289 persons in 2000), the island of Olosega (5.1 km ²) has a population slightly smaller (216 people in 2000). The two islands are located about 100 km east of Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa, and in part are included in the National Park of American Samoa.

The islands are characterized by rugged and spectacular mountains, remnants of ancient volcanoes, the highest mountain is Mount Piumafua (639 meters), overlooking the island of Olosega, while the island of Ofu reaches heights lower, being the highest peak Mount Tumu (494 meters).

The island of Ofu in its southern part has a beautiful white sandy beach about 4 km long which has as its scenic backdrop the spectacular mountains of jagged Sunu’itao Peak (233 meters) and Mount Piumafua on Island Olosega. The whole beach and the reef in front of it are part of the National Park of American Samoa, the reef offers the best snorkeling on the island of American Samoa. This is one of the most beautiful landscapes that can be admired in the South Pacific.

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