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.
Interaction with guests:
Lodge owners Ben and Deb live in a separate house on the east end of
the lodge property and respect your privacy. Employees Terry and
Colleen live in a house behind the kitchen/dining room common
area. 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 or in the buildings.
NOW, THE FAQs:
WHERE CAN I GET CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT THE LODGE AND THE ISLAND?
A: Visit our Facebook
page. This is where the most updated news and info is placed,
generally pinned to the top.
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. Cash is our preferred method of payment, PayPal is our
alternative. Payment is expected when you check out. There is
no ATM on Ofu. There are ATM located near Pago Pago airport. Stop by
an ATM before you leave for Ofu.
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 Ofu-bound passengers to 15-kg (33-lbs) checked baggage, 5-kg
(11-lbs) carry-on. Excess baggage charges start at $2 per
kg. 20-kg (40-lbs) checked bag/5-kg carry-on limit is valid
for flights departing Ofu.
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 merchandise. Bring your
snorkeling gear and load your phone with some good books! Also, be
sure to pack mosquito repellent, sunscreen, hiking footwear, and a
reusable water bottle.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
A: Shorts and T-shirts will do fine almost anywhere on the
island. Manu'a Islanders are culturally conservative and 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. Closed-toe 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
as far as passengers 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.
Visit their website HERE for fares
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 (Terry &
Colleen) or 684-655-0777 (Deb & Ben). Terry also maintains
a US Google Voice number: 563-484-0004. Due to Ofu's
remoteness, we may be having internet or telephone connectivity
Our social media guy Terry is a journeyman Ofu traveler [I made my
28th trip in May 2019, and now live and work at the lodge --Terry]
and is available to help answer your Ofu Island travel questions.
Have a lot of questions or need a quick answer? Avoid long,
confusing email chains and don't hesitate to give him a call at
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
usually leave in mid-morning and take about 25 minutes to reach Ofu
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, Pago Pago, and weekly
flights to Tonga.
Airways flies to Apia from Honolulu and connects to many other
Airlines also serves many Pacific rim destinations, but will
require a connection through Honolulu before traveling on to Pago
Samoa 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 travelers need to satisfy current entry requirements at TalofaPass.
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.
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: Samoa Airways operates two flights a week to Ofu on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. This schedules are subject to change,
please check with the airline for up-to-date information. Currently,
Samoa Airways has Manu'a flights scheduled through January 22, 2023.
Samoa Airways fares for these flights are about $200
roundtrip and varies based on availability. Please consult the
airline for specific and updated information.
Manu'a Island flight reservations can be booked by phoning Samoa
Airways office at (684) 699-9126 or 699-9127 or contacting them
online. Booking agent Afiona can be emailed at email@example.com.
CAN I FLY MANU'A AIRWAYS TO OFU?
A: Like you we've seen their website
but Manu'a Airways is not an airline, despite convincing evidence to
the contrary. 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. If
our truck is available, we can take you any place on the islands for
$5/trip one way.
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: Some of our rooms have air conditioning; others are
well-ventilated with louvered windows, ceiling fans, and oscillating
WILL I NEED AC POWER ADAPTERS FOR MY ELECTRONIC GEAR ?
A: American Samoa uses US-style 115-volt electrical power. All
of our rooms have power. If you're coming from the States, no adapter
DO YOU HAVE WiFi?
A: Yes, free WiFi is available in the common dining area of the
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 some areas of 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/chat options will
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, Vaoto beach, runway beach, and sunset 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 reusable water bottle
or flask and fill up before heading out for the day. Please
don't bring a bunch of single-use plastic water bottles to our island!
CAN I PRE-SHIP ITEMS TO MYSELF AT THE LODGE?
A: No. The US Post Office does not serve Ofu Island.
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 on Ofu after an
extended illness. Both are interred in the lodge's front garden.
Contact the lodge via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone at 684-655-1120 (Terry & Colleen) or 684-655-0777 (Deb
& Ben). Depending on your phone provider, this will likely
be an international call (read: not cheap)
Have more questions? Don't hesitate to ask Terry!
Terry can also be reached via telephone at 563-484-0004 for a good,
old-fashioned voice conversation -- please, no text message!
This website was last updated on November 18, 2022
Cash is our preferred method of payment. We will also accept
Classic Room per night
-- Single: $90
-- Double: $110
Air Conditioned Room per night
-- Single: $130
-- Each additional person: $20
Family Cabin per night
-- Single: $150
Due to a long-term booking, our family cabin is unavailable
-- Each additional
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 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.
First, please read our House Rules:
1 - No smoking in any lodge structure or vehicle.
2 - No smoking within 30-feet of any occupied guest room or common
3 - Please try to keep excess beach sand out of your room and common
areas. Rinse feet with hoses located near rooms 1 and 10.
4 - For the comfort of other guests, observe quiet hours between 9pm
5 - Lodge dining area closes and is locked up at 10pm unless a
special event is happening.
6 - Please help us conserve energy: Don't burn the light outside
your room after 10pm and turn off all lights, fans, and your air
conditioner when your room is unoccupied.
7 - Unless you've been given specific permission, the kitchen,
pantry, truck, garage, tool fale, and laundry are for employees
8 - To conserve resources, bed linens and towels are not changed
daily unless specifically requested. There will be a charge
for fresh linens. Linens may be changed free of charge after a
stay of 7 nights. Room access by staff will be required.
9 - We have dogs and cats on the property. Respect them and
they will (probably) respect you.
10 - Please help keep our island beautiful and don't leave trash
around the property, on the beach, or in the ocean.
11 - No open containers of food allowed in guest rooms unless stored
inside a room refrigerator.
12 - Please promptly return all glasses, coffee cups, dishes, and
silverware to the dining room if you take them from that area.
To acknowledge our House Rules, click HERE to submit a