American Samoa Flag

American Samoa Travel Guide

Around Leone

The Leone bus will drop you at Leala Sliding Rock, between Vailoatai and Taputimu, where the local kids take a running slide down the large, flat rocks covered by slimy algae. It's dangerous to imitate unless you know exactly how. From here you can hike east along the lovely coast toward Fagatele Point, but only in dry weather at low tide, because the rocks become extremely slippery and dangerous when it rains. There are several clear tidal pools here where you can swim at low tide, and even a blowhole. Fagatele Bay, a drowned volcanic crater now a designated National Marine Sanctuary, cannot be reached from this side due to high cliffs.

From Sliding Rock, it's a pleasant two km walk (or another bus) northwest to Leone village. Just before you reach the intersection with the main south coast road, ask someone to direct you to the former Fagalele Boys School, on the coast down a lane opposite a small store. Built in the mid-19th century, this is the oldest European-style building on the island, unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Val in 1992.

Leone was the ancient capital of Tutuila, and when Samoa's first missionary, John Williams, visited Tutuila on 18 October 1832, it was here that he landed.A monument to Williams is in front of Zion Church (1900) at Leone, and the church itself is worth entering for its finely carved wooden ceiling.

Until steamships were invented, Leone was the preferred anchorage of sailing ships unwilling to risk entering Pago Pago Harbor, and much of the early contact between Samoans and Europeans took place here. Two km up the road beginning beside the nearby Catholic church is Leone Falls (closed Sunday), where there's freshwater swimming.

Both Fagalele and Zion were built by the London Missionary Society, and a couple of kilometers west of Leone is the former Atauloma Girls School (1900), a third relic of LMS activity. Today the school building is unoccupied and rapidly deteriorating despite its status as a national historic site. Samoans refuse to live there out of fear that it's haunted. When the sea is calm you can snorkel on the reef in front of Atauloma Girls School, and since there isn't a church in this village, it's usually okay to swim there even on Sunday. There's also surfing off the beaches at Atauloma and nearby Fagamutu.

Zion Church
The monument to John Williams in front of Zion Church, Leone.

Continue to   Cape Taputapu   »