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American Express -- There is no American Express representative in American Samoa.

Area Codes -- American Samoa does not have domestic area codes. The international country code is 684.

Business Hours -- Shopping hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday from 9am to noon. Government offices are open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm.

Customs -- Customs allowances are 1 liter of liquor or wine and one carton of cigarettes. Illegal drugs and firearms are prohibited, and pets are quarantined. U.S. citizens get larger customs allowances for purchases made in American Samoa than they do elsewhere in the South Pacific, provided that they have been in the territory for at least 48 hours.

Electricity -- American Samoa uses 110-volt electric current and plugs identical to those in the United States and Canada.

Embassies & Consulates -- Independent Samoa and the Republic of Korea have consulates, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) maintains a liaison office in Pago Pago, primarily to assist the Korean and Taiwanese crews of the tuna boats unloading their catches at the tuna canneries.

Emergencies - The emergency telephone number for the police, fire department, and ambulance is tel. 911. In a medical emergency, you can call or go to Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center. The police station (tel. 633-1111) is in Fagatogo, across the malae (open field) from the Fono.

Etiquette & Customs -- Young American Samoans have adopted Western-style dress, including jeans and shorts of respectable length, although the traditional wraparound lava-lava is still worn by many older men and women. In keeping with Samoan custom regarding modesty, visitors should not wear bathing suits or other skimpy clothing away from the hotels. Women must confine their bikini tops to the beach.

Eyeglasses -- Pacific Vision Center, in Pago Plaza at the head of the harbor (tel. 633-1076).

Firearms -- Guns are tightly controlled, and permits are required.

Gambling -- There are no casinos or other organized forms of gambling in American Samoa. Money is wagered at very popular bingo games.

Healthcare -- The Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center (tel. 633-5555 for emergencies, or 633-1222) in Faga'alu west of Pago Pago (turn off the main road at Tom Ho Chung's store) handles the territory's medical and dental services. The outpatient clinic is open 24 hours daily. Frankly, you will get much better treatment in Apia.

Insects -- There are no dangerous insects in American Samoa, and the plentiful mosquitoes do not carry malaria.

Internet Access -- DDW Internet Cafe, in Pago Plaza at the head of the bay (tel. 633-5297), has one computer with Internet access for US$3 (£1.50) for 15 minutes.

Libraries -- The Feleti-Barstow Public Library (tel. 633-5816), in the government buildings in Utulei, is open Monday to Wednesday and Friday 9am to 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 7pm, and Saturday 10am to 2pm.

Liquor Laws -- The minimum drinking age is 21. Beer, wine, and spirits are available at the grocery stores.

Newspapers & Magazines -- The daily Samoa News (www.samoanews.com) is the dominant newspaper here.

Mail -- The U.S. Postal Service's main post office is in Fagatogo. Regular U.S. domestic postage rates apply, and first-class and priority letters and packages go by air between American Samoa and the United States. Unless you pay the first-class or priority mail rate, parcel post is sent by ship and will take several weeks to reach Hawaii or the U.S. mainland. The post office is open Monday to Friday 7:30am to 3:30pm and Saturday 9am to noon. The zip code for Pago Pago is 96799.

Radio & TV -- The transmitters atop Mount Alava are used during the day to send educational TV programs to the territory's public schools and to transmit CNN and live sporting events. At night they broadcast U.S. network entertainment programs. The broadcasts can be seen 129km (80 miles) away, on eastern Upolu in Samoa. Many homes in American Samoa also have cable television. The territory has three FM radio stations, which transmit American network news broadcasts on the hour.

Safety -- Street crime is not a serious problem in American Samoa except late at night around Pago Pago Harbor. Fa'a Samoa and its rules of communal ownership are still in effect, however, so it's wise not to leave cameras, watches, or other valuables unattended or in your rental car.

Taxes -- The airport departure tax is included in ticket prices. There is no sales tax.

Telephone & Fax -- The American Samoa Telecommunications Authority (SamoaTelCo; www.samoatelco.com) provides land-line phone service. The system is the same as in the United States.

To call American Samoa: Dial the international access code (011 from the U.S.; 00 from the U.K., Ireland, or New Zealand; or 0011 from Australia), American Samoa's country code 684, and the local number (there are no area codes within American Samoa).

To call the United States and Canada from within American Samoa: Dial 1 followed by the area code and local number.

To make international calls from within American Samoa: First dial 011, then the country code (U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64), then the area code and phone number. You can also place overseas calls at SamoaTelCo's office, diagonally across the Fagatogo malae from the Fono building. It is open 24 hours daily.

To make domestic calls within American Samoa: No prefix or area code is required for domestic long distance calls, so dial the local number.

For directory assistance: Dial tel. 411 for information.

For operator assistance: Dial tel. 0 for operator assistance in making international calls.

Toll-free numbers: Calling a 1-800 number in the U.S. or Canada from here is not toll-free. In fact, it costs the same as an overseas call.

Pay phones: Public pay phones are the same type used throughout the United States. The easiest way to call home from here is to buy a prepaid Blue Sky card, available at many shops. You can use these cards from any phone as you would a prepaid card at home.

Access numbers: Several international companies have access numbers here, including AT&T (tel. 633-2872), MCI (tel. 633-2624), Sprint (tel. 633-1000), GTE/Verizon (tel. 633-1706), and Hawaii Verizon (tel. 633-2482).

Cellphones: Blue Sky (tel. 699-2759; www.bluesky.as), which has offices in Fagatogo Plaza and in the Lafou shopping center on the main road in Nu'uli, rents cellphones for US$25 (£13) a week plus airtime. You can also buy a prepaid SIM card for your own unlocked GSM phone; these cost US$20 (£10) and include US$10 (£5) worth of airtime.

Time -- The local time in American Samoa is the same as in independent Samoa: 11 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. That's 3 hours behind Pacific Standard Time (4 hr. behind during daylight saving time, which American Samoa does not observe). In other words, if it's noon standard time in California and 3pm in New York, it's 9am in Pago Pago. If daylight saving time is in effect in the U.S., it's 8am in American Samoa. American Samoa is east of the international date line and shares the same date with North America, 1 day behind Tonga, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.

Tipping -- Although this is a U.S. territory, officially there is no tipping in American Samoa. A lot of American Samoans have lived in the United States, however, so the practice is not exactly uncommon.

Water -- -- The tap water is treated and is safe to drink except during periods of heavy rain.

Weights & Measures -- American Samoa is the only country or territory in the South Pacific whose official system of weights and measures is the same as the U.S. -- pounds and miles, not the metric system of kilograms and kilometers.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.