The National Park of American Samoa gets top grades for the one-of-a-kind factor. The only park south of the equator. The farthest park from our Missouri home. The most rainforest-y park. The only park where you can see fruit bats. The only park where the land is leased for 50 years from the villages who communally own the land. The only park that does not allow camping of any sort. And most importantly the most friendly and hospitable park we’ve experienced so far.
Our experience at the park was defined by the really cool and one-of-kind homestay program. The park has organized a group of hosts in different villages around the island. Visitors can call the hosts’ numbers on the park’s website to coordinate their own stay with the family while they visit the park.
After calling my carrier to add the capability to call American Samoa, I got in touch with the Seiuli family who lived in the remote village of Vatia — in the very center of the National Park of American Samoa. I didn’t know at the time how great a decision it would be.
During our full week at American Samoa (the longest yet at any park), we had great waterfall hikes, amazing coastal views, gorgeous tidal pool swims, exhausting mountain climbs, twilight fruit bat watching and close-ups with countless new rainforest plants we couldn’t name. But the most rewarding and impactful part of our stay was the time we spent with our Samoan host family. They opened their home and shared their traditions and it was an experience we will never forget.
Plus, a huge bonus of this park visit was we got to meet a pair of online friends and fellow all 59 National Park travelers in person! We had an awesome time with Darius and Trevor from 59in59!
Also, we are submitting this video to a contest for National Park videos, so that’s why it’s a bit swankier. Wish us luck!