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Vatia is a village on Tutuila Island in American Samoa. It is a north shore village located on Vatia Bay. The road to Vatia, American Samoa Highway 006, is the only road going through National Park of American Samoa.[1] Vatia is a scenic community at the foot of Pola Ridge and surrounded by the national park.[2] It is only reached by Route 6 which traverses the national park before reaching Vatia. There was once a hiking trail over Maugaloa Ridge from Leloaloa, but since the completion of Route 6, this trail is now overgrown.[3] It is home to a beach, and panoramic views of jungle-covered peaks surround the village on all sides. Vatia is the center of the Tutuila-section of National Park of American Samoa.[4]

Vatia is home to several concrete bunkers from World War II located on and around the beach. The scenic road between Vatia and Afono is lined with gardens of ornamental plants and flowers. At the end of the road in Vatia is the school, and beyond the school begins a trail leading into the national park. It ends at a rocky cliff which points across Vaiava Strait to Pola Island. Many local residents work at the canneries in Pago Pago, and there are good public transportation to and from Pago Pago. Aiga buses from Fagatogo head to Vatia several times per day on weekdays. The village of Vatia can also be visited by hiking Mount ‘Alava.[5]

Apollo 11 returned to Earth in 1969 in the waters nearby Vatia.[6] A copy of the American Samoa-flag, which was brought to the moon by Apollo 11, is on display at the Jean P. Haydon Museum in Pago Pago.[7]

National Park

View of Pola Island from the Tuafanua Trail.

Tuafanua Trail is a 2.2-mile trail which is located in National Park of American Samoa. The trail follows switchbacks through the rainforest from Vatia and up to the top of a nearby mountain ridge. From the top of the ridge, there are great views of Vai'ava Strait National Natural Landmark and nearby Pola Island. The trail continues down to a rocky beach. Tuafanua Trailhead is situated just before Mount ‘Alava Elementary School in Vatia.[8]

Lower Sauma Ridge Trail is another hiking trail through National Park land. This interpretive trail begins at a scenic overlook point on the road to Vatia. The trail leads to an archeological site of an ancient star mound. Along the trail are exhibits and views of the Vai’ava Strait National Natural Landmark and Pola Island, which is a nesting area for seabirds. Lower Sauma Ridge Trail is a 0.4-mile roundtrip hike.[9]

Mount 'Alava

Mount ‘Alava Adventure Trail is a challenging 5.6-mile roundtrip hiking trail, which is situated across the road from the trailhead for Lower Sauma Ridge Trail. This loop goes along the ridges of Mount ‘Alava to the mountain summit. It has a total of 56 ladders and 783 steps. The trail goes down another in another section and ends in Vatia Village, before it loops back along the road to its trailhead.[10]

Population

Vatia has an estimated population of 640 as of late 2010.

Religion

Christian Congregational Church of American Samoa is the main religion in Vatia, although there are members of Assemblies of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint and Methodism.

See also

References

  1. ^ Goodwin, Bill (2006). Frommer’s South Pacific. Wiley. Page 401. ISBN 9780471769804.
  2. ^ https://www.nps.gov/npsa/learn/historyculture/homestay-details.htm
  3. ^ United States National Park Service (1997). National Park of American Samoa, General Management Plan (GP), Islands of Tutulla, Ta'u, and Ofu: Environmental Impact Statement. U.S. National Park Service. Page 21.
  4. ^ Stanley, David (2004). Moon Handbooks South Pacific. David Stanley. Page 479. ISBN 9781566914116.
  5. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western & American Samoa: a Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications. Page 177. ISBN 9780864422255.
  6. ^ https://www.afar.com/places/vatia-pago-pago
  7. ^ http://www.fodors.com/world/australia-and-the-pacific/american-samoa/things-to-do/sights/reviews/jean-p-haydon-museum-584573
  8. ^ https://www.nps.gov/npsa/planyourvisit/upload/Day_Hikes_SB.pdf
  9. ^ https://www.nps.gov/npsa/planyourvisit/upload/Day-Hikes-SB_NPSA_high-res.pdf
  10. ^ https://www.nps.gov/npsa/planyourvisit/upload/Day_Hikes_SB.pdf