South Pacific travel to Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and other South Pacific countries and territories
South Pacific Organizer
Tonga and Samoa with author David Stanley
Handbooks Destinations Map/FAQ Photos Resources Catalog


Until recently Tonga and Samoa were well off the beaten track of South Pacific travel involving an expensive side trip from Fiji or New Zealand. Now with regular flights linking the islands directly to Auckland, Honolulu, and each other, travelers can easily include them in a longer Pacific routing or make Western Polynesia a whole trip in itself.

Moon Handbooks Tonga-Samoa contains all the information the traveler-explorer will require, neatly packaged in one book. This guide is guaranteed to enhance time spent in this colorful region. You get:

  • Penetrating essays on the unique histories, cultures, and mores of the region
  • Practical tips on flights to Tonga-Samoa and interisland travel
  • Extensive accommodations listings, from the family-operated fale resorts of Samoa, the beach hideaways of Tonga, and the small guesthouses of Niue
  • Tips on where and what to eat: traditional Samoan palusami, the gargantuan Tongan feasts of Vava'u, and the pizzerias and mountainous ice-cream cones of Pago Pago
  • 32 two-color maps, seven charts, 321 pages

Heart of Polynesia

The lush, tropical Samoas, the ancient kingdom of Tonga, and lonely little Niue lie astride the international dateline in the heart of the South Pacific. Together they comprise Western or "old" Polynesia, as opposed to Eastern or "new" Polynesia (French Polynesia, Easter Island, Cook Islands). These terms refer to actual historical events. Austronesian migrants settled Western Polynesia over three thousand years ago while Eastern Polynesia wasn't reached until 300 AD.

Houma blowholes, Tonga

Western Polynesia has been far less impacted by colonialism and tourism than places like Tahiti, the Cook Islands, and Hawaii. This region is a bedrock of Polynesian tradition where the indigenous chiefs (called nobles in Tonga) still wield decisive political power. They are only semi-democracies: in Tonga the king and nobles remain firmly in control, in Samoa only customary chiefs or matai may be elected to the national parliament, and in American Samoa the elected government operates by the grace of federal officials in Washington.

The full spectrum of South Seas landforms is found here, from active volcanoes to oceanic atolls and uplifted limestone islands. Each entity is unique: Samoa is the South Pacific's ecotourism trail blazer, Tonga is a Pacific sailor's mecca, American Samoa has some of the region's best hiking, and Niue is a speleologist's delight. It's a fascinating area to visit, full of diversity and surprises.

"If the traveler takes but one of Stanley's helpful hints,
the book will be paid for many times over."
--Pacific Magazine   

Read a review of Moon Handbooks Tonga-Samoa

Moon Handbooks

American Samoa
and Niue

ISBN: 1566911745

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