Samoa & Tonga: Swimming with Humpbacks
Before You Go
Though this expedition is not overly strenuous, you should be reasonably fit and capable of moderate exercise. On several occasions there will be nature hikes that will entail walking, unaided, along rugged trails with occasional inclines. A portion of this expedition focuses on the underwater wonders of the region and is only recommended for intermediate and advanced snorkelers and divers. You will need to be able to climb into and out of boats, unaided, while wearing your dive/snorkel equipment. Air and water temperatures are often the same, both averaging in the low 80s°F, though high humidity can make it feel warmer. Accommodations are the best available for some of our more remote locations, and while a bit more rustic, all are comfortable, clean, and feature modern amenities.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
Activity Level & Accommodations
Though this expedition is not overly strenuous, you should be reasonably fit and capable of moderate exercise. On several occasions there will be nature hikes that will entail walking, unaided, along rugged trails with occasional inclines in hot and humid weather. A portion of this expedition focuses on the underwater wonders of the region and is only recommended for intermediate and advanced snorkelers and divers. You will need to be able to climb into and out of boats, unaided, while wearing your dive/snorkel equipment. Air and water temperatures are often the same, both averaging in the low 80s°F, though high humidity can make it feel warmer. Accommodations are the best available for some of our more remote locations, and while a bit more rustic, all are comfortable, clean, and feature modern amenities.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your independent flight to Pago Pago, American Samoa at least three hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Make sure the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates only. If you are arriving prior to the group day and have booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, an airport transfer will be provided.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flight to Pago Pago, American Samoa and from Nuku’alofa, Tonga/Nadi Fiji, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm Expeditions.
Internal flight baggage restrictions are 50 lbs. per person for checked baggage.
PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries and prescription medications on board the plane, as well as a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.
Air and water temperatures are often the same, both averaging in the low 80s (°F), though high humidity can make it feel warmer.
The following are average high/low temperatures in August & September for selected locations on our itinerary:
|Pago Pago, American Samoa||84ºF||77ºF|
As of April 2018, the exchange rates are as follows:
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||2.04 Fijian dollars (FJD)|
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||2.20 Tongan pa’anga (TOP)|
|$1 U.S. dollar (USD)||2.55 Samoan tālā (WST)|
Please Note: The currency in American Samoa is USD.
ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, although access to ATMs will be limited due to the remote nature of this expedition. Please have some cash available as back-up; make sure bills are crisp, new, and without rips or holes. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs. Please note that some vendors require your credit card PIN number in lieu of a signature.
You will receive your pre-departure information—including a complete packing list and gear certificate—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.
The electrical currents are as follows:
- American Samoa: 120V/60Hz with electrical outlet types A, B, F & I
- Samoa: 230V/50Hz with electrical outlet type I
- Fiji: 240V/50Hz with electrical outlet type I
- Tonga: 240V/50Hz with electrical outlet type I
PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Pago Pago, American Samoa and Nuku’alofa, Tonga/Nadi, Fiji/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
At this time, no vaccinations are required for entry into American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji & Tonga.
However, it is recommended to be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here for the full list.
Protect yourself against the strong sun by drinking plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications as pharmacies may not be found in the remote areas of this expedition.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. If you would like to purchase additional insurance, you can do so at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm or through our office.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
Your final documentation will include contact information and internet/phone details for our group hotels.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 a.m. on the North American west coast:
|7:00 a.m.||Seattle, WA (PDT)|
|10:00 a.m.||New York, NY (EDT)|
|3:30 a.m.||Pago Pago, American Samoa (SST)|
|2:00 a.m.||Suva, Fiji (FJT) – THE NEXT DAY|
|3:00 a.m.||Savai’I, Samoa (WST) – THE NEXT DAY|
|3:00 a.m.||Nukualofa, Tonga (TOT) – THE NEXT DAY|
Enjoy local cuisine on this expedition featuring lots of fresh fruit and local fish.
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
Maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly.
Laundry service is available at some of our hotels and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.
Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, blouses, and T-shirts made of natural fibers and wick-a-way fabrics are recommended. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two during our excursions.
For protection against insect bites, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are useful as well. Also, bring along insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET. You may also consider permethrin spray, which can be applied directly on to your clothing before departure and lasts up to three washings, or clothing with insect-repellent already bonded to the fabric, such as Buzz Off clothing.
Excursions will involve a fair amount of walking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the terrain. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide the best support. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.
Snorkel & Dive Gear
Snorkel equipment: Masks, snorkels, fins, and snorkel bags will be provided. If you have your own, you are welcome to bring them for best fit and comfort.
Dive Equipment: Each diver is required to bring their own BCD, regulator, wetsuit, dive certification, dive log, whistle, and computer. Tanks, weights, and weight belts will be provided.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for six months after you return home, through March 8, 2019. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of four blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport and secure additional pages if necessary. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Visas are not required of U.S. nationals for entry into American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. There is $20 USD fee due upon arrival in American Samoa.
If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the expedition, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. A gift certificate to our Zegrahm Store will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear for your trip from our online store. The certificate will be emailed to you approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificate for more details.