Situated roughly 10 kilometers outside of Pago Pago, the stunning village of Alega (pronounced Alenga) offers breathtaking scenery, hair-raising snorkeling and the chilled out atmosphere of a desert island.

Owned by the villagers, permission to use the beach or swim must be sought from the village matai or chief, Candyman. He can be found in Tisa’s Barefoot Bar along with bar-owner and wife, Tisa. hugging the east end of the beach, Tisa’s is a bar run entirely from recycled or natural resources. The bar itself is built from a mish-mash of palms and ship wreckage. Whilst primarily a bar, there is also room for accommodation but at the moment only a fale or hut sleeping five.

The beach itself, is like many other’s in the South Pacific, shally azure waters protected by treacherous outer reef. There is a channel leading to the open sea and as such the currents 25 meters and through the central area of the bay are extremely dangerous. However, the best snorkelling to be had is at the edge of this current flow but there is a buoy and rope on which to hang. If you do, you’ll be treated to a five meter long, two meter wide and forty-five meter deep drop-off. If you brave these conditions, the marine life is spectacular. In clement weather, you have visibility reaching the bottom, and when this occurs you have a unique view and cross-section of reef life from the surface the ocean floor. If the tide is in, reef sharks may be spotted lurking at about twenty to twenty-five meters.

Alega also hosts and annual tattoo festival in which many artists from all over Polynesia gravitate towards this tiny corner of the Pacific. Along with this many other events are held throughout the year but, like most villages in the Samoas, please refrain from disturbing the village on Sundays as you will be most unwelcome.

It may be a bugger to get to but American Samoa is well worth it.