The official language of the US External Territories is English. There are some indigenous languages spoken in American Samoa and Guam, and Spanish is the dominant language in Puerto Rico. Fewer than 20 percent of Puerto Ricans speak fluent English, and here you will find most signage and public instruction in Spanish. However, all of the territories have experienced a booming tourist industry, and a strong English-speaking influence, including Puerto Rico. This means that you should have no trouble communicating with people in English when visiting the tourism hubs of the territories.
The official currency of US External Territories is the US dollar. With the exception of Puerto Rico, which is well developed, ATMs are sparse throughout the US External Territories, although they do exist. Credit cards are accepted for large purchases, such as hotel payments, but in any case you should always carry some cash.
Various time zones exist for the US External Territories. For the main islands, the following time zones apply:
American Samoa: GMT -11 Guam: GMT +10 Puerto Rico: GMT -4 US Virgin Islands: GMT -4
Electricity in the External Territories runs at 110V/60Hz, the same standard as in North America. You may need a transformer if your electrical appliance differs from this standard. Flat, two-pinned, North American style plugs are used. The majority of sockets do not accept a third, grounding pin, so it may be worth traveling with an adaptor.
The international dialing code for US External Territories differs depending on the island. The codes for the main islands are listed below:
American Samoa: +1-684 Guam: +1-671 Puerto Rico: +1-787 US Virgin Islands: +1-340
The cellular phone network is more developed in Puerto Rico than in other territories; you may not even need to set your US cell phone to international roaming if you use an American network provider that operates here. Internet service is developed in Puerto Rico, with many hotels offering free Wi-Fi. Elsewhere in the territories, you can expect much less developed internet services.
Visitors traveling to US destinations will not be able to purchase duty-free goods since the territories are regulated under the same trade laws and tax as mainland America. If you are flying to a destination outside the US, you can purchase duty-free goods at the international airports of the US External Territories. Be sure to check the customs regulations of your next destination before making a purchase.
American Samoa Tourism Authority: www.americansamoa.travel/ Guam Tourism Authority: http://www.visitguam.org/ Puerto Rico Tourism Authority: http://www.gotopuertorico.com US Virgin Islands Tourism Authority: http://www.visitusvi.com
Embassies and Consulates in US External Territories
There is no US diplomatic representation in the US External Territories therefore for diplomatic assistance, US nationals should contact their nearest embassy in the mainland US. Likewise, nationals of other nations will find the nearest embassy or consulate on the mainland.
Canadian Consulate, Washington DC: +1-202-682-1768 British Embassy, Washington DC: +11-202-588-6500 Australian Embassy, Washington DC: +1-202-797-3000 New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC: +1-202-328-4800
Emergency services: 911