Vaoto Lodge is a family-owned hotel located on beautiful Ofu Island
in American Samoa.
Ofu Island, 60 miles east of Pago Pago, has been called the jewel of
the South Pacific. The island boasts one of the healthiest and most
diverse coral reefs in the world. The Ofu portion of the National
Park Of American Samoa, the United States' most remote National
Park, has a pristine beach fringing a crystal clear lagoon.
Located on its own sandy beach at the foot of Mount Tumutumu, Vaoto
Lodge, owned and operated by the Malae family, is the premier
lodging and dining choice on this quiet island of less than 200
Park of American Samoa is a ten minute stroll from the
Lodge. Its warm, calm lagoon is a coral garden with every color
imaginable. Starfish, sea turtles, and thousands of fish of
every shape and size will join you as you snorkel its shallows.
After a long day hiking and swimming, a dazzling sunset leads to a
sky filled with stars. Thousands of miles from light pollution,
Ofu's heavens will dazzle. The Southern Cross is visible, as are
falling stars, framed by the shimmering veil of the Milky Way.
Ofu and neighboring Olosega and Ta'u islands are striking in their
beauty. Your memories of the islands will be enhanced by the
photographic opportunities the islands present every day.
Renown photographer Michael Anderson
has visited Ofu many times and his photos speak volumes about the
Ofu's south shore is the icing on the cake. Here, more than a mile
of untouched, undeveloped, palm-fringed sand is part of America's
newest (and least visited) National Park. You can walk its length
every day and chances are the only footprints you'll see will be
First, the anti-FAQ
Please don't contact us with questions that have been addressed
here. This FAQ exists to help you, please read it and use it to your
Also, don't email and ask us to predict the weather or airline
schedules during the time you are thinking of visiting Ofu. We're
not blessed with this sort of precognition.
you'll find a flowchart to help you plan your trip to our island
Interaction with Guests:
We live in a separate house on the lodge property and respect your
privacy. We will be there to meet you when you arrive and one of us
will usually be nearby in case of emergency. If we are free, we will
be more than happy to chat, or if you prefer alone time, you've got
it. We have other responsibilities and can't always socialize as
much as we would like, but we are available to answer any questions,
provide recommendations and advice, and help in any way possible.
Also, we have dogs and cats, you may see them in the yard, but they
won't be in your space.
NOW, THE FAQs:
WHERE CAN I GET CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT THE LODGE AND THE ISLAND?
A: Visit our Facebook page.
OK . . . SO HOW DO I PRONOUNCE THE NAMES OF THESE PLACES?
A: Ofu = OH-FOO. Pago Pago = PAHN-GO PAHN-GO (almost
like “bongo-bongo”). Olosega = OH-LOW SEHN-GAH. TA’U =
TAH-OO. Tutuila = TOO-TOO EE-LAH. Samoa = SAH MOH-UH.
Vaoto = VAH-OH-TOE
DO YOU ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS?
A: No. Please plan to bring cash. And, no, there is no ATM on
Ofu. There are ATM locations near Pago Pago airport at KS Mart and
Bank Of Hawai'i. Stop by an ATM just before you leave for Ofu and
grab some money.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PACK?
A: Pack light, pack smart. Due to the small aircraft that fly
between the islands and the length of the runway, Samoa Airways
limits passengers to 20-kg (44-lbs) of baggage on flights bound to
Ta'u. Ofu-bound flights limit passengers to only 5-kg
(11-lbs). Excess baggage charges start at $2 per kg. The
20-kg limit is valid for flights departing Ofu. This means,
it's better to fly into fly to Ta'u and take an alia boat to Ofu and
fly out of Ofu if you are not traveling very light.
Hawaiian Airlines limits Pago Pago passengers to 50-lbs checked
bags. There are no clothing stores on the island and the local bush
stores have a very limited selection of non-food supplies. Bring
your snorkeling gear and load your tablet with some good books!
Be sure to pack mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
A: Shorts and T-shirts will do fine almost anywhere on the
island. Manu'a Islanders are culturally conservative, therefore
modest swim wear is expected when you're on the beach. Men and women
alike are welcome to wear lavalavas at any time. Bring good walking
shoes or sandals. Keens are a nice all-around solution. You're
also gonna need a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
It would be wise to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on as
well as your important documents and snorkeling gear in the event
your checked bag is bumped off your flight due to weight
restrictions. This doesn't happen often, but it's better to be
prepared than not.
I'M A GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT, IS THERE A BOAT THAT I CAN TAKE TO
A: Yes, however its sailing days are difficult to predict. The
boat is primarily for freight and not the most accommodating vessel
on the high seas as far as human beings are concerned. Choose this
route only if you are very sure of your sea-worthiness! The eastern
voyage to to the Manu'a Islands is against the ocean's current and
prevailing winds and therefore is rough. The night at sea will be
chilly, and it's likely you'll get wet. If you don't get seasick,
someone near you will. The crossing takes several hours depending on
weather and seas. If you're very lucky they will call on Ofu before
leaving out for Ta'u, otherwise you'll wait it out at Ta'u island
while the vessel is unloaded. If they can't make it into harbor they
will unload outside the harbor onto small boats and ferry cargo and
passengers to shore. Bear in mind that this will take no small
amount of time to accomplish. If the boat can't enter Ofu's harbor,
a similar protracted ferrying operation will ensue.
Contact MV Manu’atele at 684-633-4701 which makes the Manu'a run in
6-8 hours depending on weather and seas. $35/person one way + $1.50
for each cubic foot of cargo. It's supposed to depart for
Manu'a every Wednesday evening. but it's best to verify the schedule
WHY HAVEN'T YOU ANSWERED MY EMAIL OR CONFIRMED MY RESERVATION
A: If more than a week has passed since your message to us and
you are concerned, please telephone us at 684-655-1120. Due to
Ofu's remoteness, we may be having internet or telephone
Our social media guy Terry (based in the mainland U.S.) is a
journeyman Ofu traveler [I made my 28th trip in May 2019 --Terry]
and is available to help with answers to your Ofu Island travel
questions and can try to contact the lodge on your behalf. Have a
lot of questions or need a quick answer? Don't hesitate to give him
a call! Terry can be reached via telephone during evening hours
(Central Time) at 563-484-0004.
HOW DO I GET FROM THE MAINLAND U.S. TO OFU?
A: Catch Hawaiian Airlines to Pago Pago. You'll connect
through Honolulu. We recommend flying to the west coast from your
home city and spending the night there on the way down and coming
home. Hawaiian Airlines serves many west coast cities as well as
Phoenix, New York (JFK), and Las Vegas. It's a long flight to the
islands of American Samoa and you'll appreciate the rest.
Alternately, spend a day or two relaxing in Honolulu on your way
down and back instead of a west coast city. Hawai'i is almost as
nice as Ofu!
Flight time from Hawai'i to Pago is five hours. Hawaiian
Airlines Pago-bound flights from Honolulu are on Mondays and
Plan on spending at least one night in Pago Pago. Flights to
the Manu'a Islands usually leave in the morning or early afternoon
and take about 25 minutes to reach Ofu Island, 30 minutes to Ta'u.
HOW DO I GET FROM [MY HOME COUNTRY] TO AMERICAN SAMOA?
A: If your travel plans do not (or cannot) include passing
through the U.S., in most cases you will have to get to Apia, Samoa
and then onward to Pago
Please see Samoa Airways for their routes between Apia,
Samoa, and Pago Pago
Airways has daily flights between Apia and Pago Pago and two
flights per week between Pago and Tongatapu, Tonga. They also fly to
Airways flies to Apia from Honolulu and connects to many other
Airlines also serves Australia, Tahiti, South Korea, Japan,
Taiwan, and China, but will require a connection through Honolulu
before traveling on to Pago Pago.
Airways connects Apia with Auckland and Sydney.
Keep in mind that if you are coming/going via Apia you will be
crossing the International Date Line. In other words, even
though it's a thirty minute flight, if you leave Apia on a Monday
you will arrive in Pago on Sunday. If you leave Pago on a
Monday you will arrive in Apia on Tuesday.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION DO I NEED IN ORDER TO ENTER AMERICAN SAMOA?
A: US citizens and nationals must have a valid (non-expired),
machine-readable US passport. If your passport is expired or
lost, you may apply for an "OK BOARD" to enter the Territory.
Read more HERE.
All foreigners are required to obtain Entry Permits in order to
lawfully enter American Samoa. There are circumstances where Entry
Permits are not applicable. Those circumstances require travel
authorizations referred to as "OK Boards" in order to enter.
Certain foreign nationals must apply for an "OK BOARD" via the Entry
Permit Waiver Program. Details HERE.
More information is HERE.
So . .. yeah. The American Samoa Government, in their
never-ending efforts to kill tourism in the Territory, has made this
process as confusing as possible. Basically, if you are coming
to us from anywhere other than the United States, please exercise
your due diligence and fully read and understand the information
HOW MUCH IS AIRFARE?
A: Airfare from Honolulu to Pago is around $1000. Airfare from
the west coast is around $1400. As is usual with airfares these
prices are subject to change. The HNL-PPG fare does not vary too
much and fare sales for this route are practically non-existent, you
will save money by booking on the cheap for the Honolulu leg of your
In most cases, booking at least 30 days in advance will result in
the best fare. Hawaiian Airline's website typically has the lowest
fares and saves you booking fees charged by some travel websites.
HOW DO I GET TO OFU FROM PAGO PAGO?
A: As of March, 2019, Samoa Airways operates two flights a
week to Ofu and four flights a week to Fitiuta Airport on nearby
Ta'u Island. The Ofu flights are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Ta'u
flights are on Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you fly
on the Ta'u flights, we can help to arrange boat transport to get
you to and from Ofu. Currently, Samoa Airways has flights
scheduled through July 31, 2021.
Samoa Airways fares for these flights are about $200 each way.
Manu'a Island flight reservations can be booked by phoning Samoa
Airways office at (684) 699-9126 or 699-9127 or contacting them
online. Ask the agent that books your flights to send you the
credit card form in order to pay for your reservation. Booking
agent Stanley Nansen can be emailed at email@example.com.
Make certain that your reservation has been paid for within 24-hours
of departure or Samoa Airways automatically cancels it.
If you wind up flying to Ta'u Island, we can help to arrange boat
transfer from there to Ofu. Contact us shortly before you
travel from Pago to Manu'a. Ta'u-Ofu boat transfer runs about
$200 per trip for one to three passengers, but the price is subject
to change based on gas prices and sea conditions. You should
expect to tip the driver who takes you from Ta'u airport to the
harbor -- about $20. Upon arrival at Ofu harbor we'll pick you
up and transport you to the lodge free of charge.
Alternately, if you'd prefer to fly out of Ta'u, we can help arrange
a boat to transfer you you from Ofu to Ta'u.
It bears mentioning that there are no boats making the crossing on
CAN I FLY MANU'A AIRWAYS TO OFU?
A: Manu'a Airways is not an airline. Yes, we've seen their website. It looks very convincing that it is
an airline. Trust us, it isn't.
CAN I RENT A CAR ON OFU?
A: There are no rental cars on Ofu. Hitching a ride is an
accepted and safe way to get around Ofu and Olosega. You can walk
from one end of Ofu to the other in an hour or so, and the National
Park Beach is a fifteen minute walk down the road from your door.
DO I NEED A PASSPORT?
A: Yes. Even U.S. citizens should travel with a passport when
coming to American Samoa. Info on getting your passport is here.
CAN I FLY TO PAGO PAGO NON-STOP FROM THE U.S. MAINLAND OR OUR HOME
A: There is no non-stop flight to Pago Pago. You must connect
through Honolulu or Apia, so unless you live in Hawai'i or Samoa
you'll be stopping along the way.
WHAT TIME OF YEAR IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT OFU ISLAND? WHAT'S THE
A: That depends on what you mean by good! The cool/dry season
is May through October. Keep in mind that Vaoto Lodge is on a
tropical island 14-degrees south of the equator, so you can expect
our "cool and dry" season to be somewhat warm and wet! You can't
have a rain forest without rain and it typically will rain a little
every day no matter what time of year it may be. That being said,
temperatures and humidity tend to moderate slightly during the dry
These charts help illustrate common Samoan weather patterns:
Typical Samoan Weather Patterns --
More specifically and locally, between May and September the sun
swings northerly and keeps our side of the island cooler, somewhat out
of the direct sunlight and during much of the day the lodge area is in
the shadow of the mountain. On the other hand, the wet season is
steamier making for a warmer lagoon and a more verdant jungle.
If the trade winds are blowing, humidity is much less of a factor.
WILL MY ROOM HAVE AIR CONDITIONING?
A: No. There is wonderful air conditioning in Los Angeles hotel
rooms and Sydney hotel rooms and Honolulu hotel rooms. The air in our
cabins is uniquely conditioned by the South Pacific Ocean, trade
winds, and the rainforest and requires no tampering on our part. Fall
asleep to the sounds of the sea and the jungle or rain on a tin roof
instead of a droning machine. We think you'll find it quite
pleasant! All of our rooms have a ceiling fan, an oscillating
floor fan, and louvered windows (with screens) that can stay open in
all but the worst weather.
WILL I NEED AC POWER ADAPTERS FOR MY ELECTRONIC GEAR ?
A: American Samoa uses US-style 115-volt electrical power and
our island is powered by a solar grid. All of our rooms have power. If
you're coming from the States, no adapter is needed.
DO YOU HAVE WiFi?
WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK ON OFU?
A: Consult with your phone provider, but probably not.
It's unlikely that your mainland phone will work. See this as your
opportunity to get away from it all. Alternatively, you may be
able to purchase a SIM card from ASTCA or BlueSky in Pago Pago that
will work on Ofu. If the island's internet is working, a Google
Voice number over a wifi connection will allow you to connect to
phones back home. Other VOIP options should also work.
WHAT'S THE SURFING LIKE?
A: Unlike some areas of Samoa, Ofu's surfing is not great. Our
broad fringing reef rises abruptly from the open ocean and becomes so
shallow that many portions of it are exposed during low tides. Large
coral heads dominate our lagoon, most within inches of the surface at
high tide. The wave action is typically in the 4-8 foot range but
breaks fast and erratically into the calm of the lagoon.
It may be difficult (impossible?) getting a surfboard on the small
aircraft which serve the Manu'a Islands.
CAN I HIKE ON OFU AND OLOSEGA?
A: Yes, however, hiking up Olosega's Piumafua mountain is not
recommended. You will have to secure permission from Olosega
village officials if you want to make this hike and we are not in a
position to help you make contact. Similar permission may have
to be found to hike to Maga on Olosega. If the National Park
ranger is on island, he or she may be able to help out.
Bring proper shoes and pants for any hike you intend to tackle.
We have no reliable contacts or information about hiking possibilities
or accommodations on Ta'u Island.
Any hikes or swims that involve passing through Ofu or Olosega
villages are forbidden on Sundays. These hikes include (but are
not limited to) Maga Point, Tumu Mountain, and Piumafua Mountain.
Sunday is a day for rest and villagers would prefer privacy. The
National Park beach is open on Sundays, as is our area around the
lodge and airport beach.
CAN I SCUBA DIVE AT OFU ISLAND?
A: At this time there are no SCUBA facilities on the island.
Unless you'll be pre-shipping a compressor, tanks, and gear for
yourself you'll have to be content with our unparalleled snorkeling.
SCUBA divers should be aware that the nearest functional decompression
chamber may be as far away as Fiji or New Zealand -- DAN insurance would be a wise
IS THE WATER SAFE TO DRINK?
A: Yes, Ofu's water is safe. Bring a water bottle or flask
and fill up before heading out for the day.
CAN I PRE-SHIP ITEMS TO MYSELF AT THE LODGE?
A: No. The US Post Office does serve Ofu Island, however it is
extremely unreliable and your parcel will likely become lost.
I WANT TO VISIT TA'U ISLAND. WHERE DO I STAY?
A: At this time Ta'u Island has no hotel-like accommodations
suitable for tourists that we are aware of. If you're intent on
spending any substantial time on Ta'u we recommend using the NPS homestay program.
WHERE ARE MARGE AND TITO?
A: Malae family patriarch and Vaoto Lodge founder Tito Malae
passed away on August 25, 2008. He will be greatly missed by not only
his family, but his friends and all who've visited Vaoto Lodge since
he first opened the doors in the '80s. Many guests will always
remember sitting with Tito at sunset and listening to him talk story
about growing up in Manu'a in the old days. The official newspaper
announcements from the family has been archived here and here.
On May 10, 2015, Marge Malae passed away at her home at Vaoto Lodge
after an extended illness. Both are interred on the grounds of
Contact the lodge via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone at 684-655-1120. Depending on your phone provider, this
will likely be an international call (read: not cheap). Terry
uses pay-as-you-go mobile provider Ting which includes American Samoa
as a free-to-call country. Check them out and get a $25 credit
after you sign up and activate service using this link.
Have more questions? Don't hesitate to ask Terry!
Terry can also be reached via telephone during evening hours (Central
US Time) at 563-484-0004. He despises text messaging with the
intensity of a thousand suns, therefore if you send him a text him he
will ignore it and cultivate a dislike for you. ;-)
This website was last updated on March 14, 2021
We only accept cash.
Standard Rooms per night
-- Single: $70.00
-- Double: $80.00
Family Cabin per night
-- Single: $120.00
-- Each additional person: $10.00
The Family Cabin is designed for two adults and two children under
12. If your family is five (with small children) we will
endeavor to accommodate you. More guests than this will be required
to book separate standard rooms.
Due to the current tenuous and costly nature of shipping supplies to
Ofu, meal arrangements will be determined when guests arrive.
Food will be available, we simply cannot state in advance exactly
what the situation will be. We're hopeful that the cargo
vessel issues will be sorted out soon..
Click HERE to submit a reservation.