The Northern Mariana Islands is one of the ideal travel destinations that you must visit for a great number of reasons. The Grotto diving point along the lovely waters of Saipan is a one of a kind adventure and a rare chance to see the submerged World War 2 shipwrecks where the scars of battle are still evidently seen even if the hull is already consumed by rust and coral formations. The plunges off Saipan & Tinian is a must see and where you can observe all kinds of fighter planes, war tanks, and everything else, just be careful as you stroll around because some areas still contain live ammunitions.
These are the popular and not to be missed places in the Northern Mariana Islands…
If you love diving, you will be absolutely delighted by what you will see and experience in The Grotto. Be sure to bring an underwater camera to enjoy your underwater photography excursion. Although the grotto has very steep stairs, it is suitable for diving exploration and there are lots of shops that offer full equipment for diving (snorkeling gear, fins, air tanks, etc.). Grotto is 100% the place every beginner diver explores when in the waters of the Northern Mariana Islands. The deep sea diving expedition begins with a descent on a steep staircase with 113 steps. The wall diving goes up and down but most divers find it fun and at the same time challenging. Be sure to go with trained diver guides as you make your way along the cliff and up to the dive site for a safe and unforgettable journey when exploring its depth. The dive also requires excursion right into the tunnel that is a bit dark but you can use the provided flashlight and be in awe of what you will see.
It is visually stunning with lots and lots of bubbly. You will see the depth of 30 meters and look above at the column of water above you. It feels like soaring underwater with the glimpse of the blue sky above you but underwater. Blue-sky-blue Sea, fish, and a challenging stairs are just few of the reason why Grotto is famous. Night diving can also be practiced and it is around this time when you can have the chance to see a giant turtle and a chance to swim on its amazing blue waters. On top there is a nice viewing platform on this cave that is blessed with a “pool” of seawater and three underwater passages.
One of the main attractions of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is highly recommended to join a mountain hike to assault its summit even though it is a bit difficult. For those who wish to engage in a mountain climbing activity, you can arrange or hire the services of a tour company in the downtown area or choose to avail of the quad ride up to the summit. The top offers wonderful views of the entire island. On Garapan you can see lots of shops and hotels and the ring of coral reefs encompassing the island. You can also find a hill where the statue of Jesus stands. If the good weather allows it, there are lots of spaces and chance for a perfect photograph.
There is also a huge influx of tourists from different nationalities that you can socialize and get acquainted with on the way to the top of this famous mountain in the Northern Mariana Islands. It can be easily reached if you rent a private car, be sure to visit this mountain and include it on your travel itinerary of the island. The best sunset views can be achieved on top of this mountain along with seeing the adjacent islands near the Northern Mariana. The road to the mountain is not very good so it is better not to travel during the rainy season and if you are driving, then be careful. Tapochau is 23 km long and 8 km wide blessed with blue sky, Azure Ocean, clean air, in short a total beauty!
You can get to the Managaha Island by boat from the ferry terminal that runs regularly and on schedule.
On the island there are many cafes, white sand, and a lot of places to photograph). The island is not really that large but it has lots of activities to especially around the coastline. It is a great place for complete relaxation. You can get around the island in unhurried pace for 30-40 minutes. It is wise to bring your own food and drinks for there are not enough places or stalls that provide food in this area. It has clear turquoise sea and a huge number of different tropical fishes that swim safely and swirl around you as you take a dip on its clear waters.
You can go to the island on board a fast boat that jets through the water with constant flashes of the waves which the boat periodically knocks on and evokes stirring (or shrieking) emotions of thrill and fun. Perhaps it is the greatest experience of the trip, the exhilarating boat ride to reach the majestic island of the Northern Mariana. You can go in a circle in 7 minutes. In one quarter of the island, the sea is allocated for swimming, but in other parts of the sea the swim is more problematic because of the large number of corals.
An impressive site from below and from the top. Up here, you can also enjoy an excellent view on the banzai cliff and hope that nothing more is to be repeated about war. This memorial site is located in the northern part of the island. Locals say that it was here where the mass suicide Japanese soldiers were committed during World War II. Across this famous cliff stands the Rock Bonsai that has a beautiful panorama of the Pacific Ocean and its terrifying rock bottom that resembles the sharp teeth of a dragon. It is a sad shocking story that gives goose bumps and arouses curiosity along with a view that captures and captivates. It is very popular among its inhabitants and local drivers will show and tell you how everything happened. The place is mandatory to visit while in Northern Mariana Island.
It is a very charismatic place and certainly worth a visit. Firstly because it is located in an incredibly stunning place and still tied to the tragedy that transmits the fullness of the events that occurred on that long-suffering island and secondly because you just do not know what else you will do on the island. You will like the nature, ocean and its wonderful weather. If there is paradise on earth it is exactly the Northern Mariana Islands. To get around for a tour, it is better to rent a car (the price usually go from $50 per night) and enjoy the scenery on the way where you will find many attractions (Banzai Clift, command post and etc.). Read the history of this place at the information desk that is directly in this site.
Visit the memorial dedicated to the events of the second world war-Puntan Sabaneta. The observation deck has an impressive view of the open sea and it is equipped with appliances for stereo observation where you can look at any point of the island. You can make lots of fond memories and beautiful pictures on this site, especially from the background of the memorial.
This is both an observation deck with an amazing memorial complex dedicated to the events of the American assault on the Mariana Islands during World War II. For those who want to know the significant role of this place, the management has installed information boards telling about the events that transpired during that time. This site is always rocked by huge waves and blessed by the fascinating color of the water. The color of the water is incredibly blue. It is a pity that this place is linked to tragic events regarding World War II.
American Memorial Park
Has a great extent and is very suitable for walking-finding trips around the island. It begins at the Hyatt Hotel where paved alleys will lead you to the museum fund dedicated to the history of the island and represented by well-trained visual material in the diorama. From this memorial you can get an interesting look into the historic past of the island. Like all the other places in Saipan, Northern Mariana, this place is very memorable and striking. It is equipped with a park that has a big walking area; there are commemorative watches which beat the bell every hour, beautiful lawns, huge trees, etc. Another noteworthy attraction is the memorial style museum about the Second Word War.
There is no admission fee and you can wander and appreciate all the terms of their culture and history. It is located on Garapane, a 5-minute walk away from the Hotel Hyatt or 10 minutes from the main store of the Gallery. The park is large, well groomed, and equipped with a museum and a small chapel.
There are no guns, tanks, etc. in this park but it has a conventional steel plate with the names of those who died for the freedom of Saipan. Entrance to the museum section and it shows a 20-minute film about the war in the Pacific complete with English subtitles. The museum has a very interesting exhibition, as well as the US military souvenir shop; small replica of airplanes, such and military clothing.
An extraordinarily beautiful wild beach with white coral sand and clear emerald water. People and sun loungers are not here, but it is a sea full of fish. The diving sites here are remarkable and snorkel and swim is a great pleasure. At sea, you can meet sea turtles and yellowfin snapper scurrying back and forth. Everywhere the eye sees much like a living carpet on the bottom along with the site of the coral reefs. All of this is a mesmerizing spectacle.
It is a great beach but the access is problematic (due to bad roads and distance from the center of the island – Garapan) but it’s worth it for the pure water, less crowds, and paradise like ambiance. The depth to the reef from the watershed is 1.8 meters; the water is warm, due to the fact that there is a huge pool effect. There are many beautiful fish and it is advisable to go there with equipment for snorkeling. It is a godsend place for those who love to swim and snorkel. The bottom of the ocean is filled with sharp corals, so do not go barefoot.
It is a nice small beach with white sand on the shore of the azure sea. The water here is very transparent and snorkeling is the most prominent thing to do. Its location is within the vicinity of the hotel “Hyatt Regency”. Near the Micro Beach, there are lots of places where you can eat. If you are tired of the sun and sand, you can visit the American Memorial Park which is very close. In the evening, crowds gather to watch a beautiful sunset. You can also see two ships that are regularly docked on its shore, one is private and the other one is owned by the military. It is a perfect beach for couples with children. Right from the beach across the water there are stone table and benches.
In the northern part of the beach near the Memorial Park, the sandy strip is narrowed and the sea becomes a little deeper and there are often trained windsurfers. The locals usually rest in the northern “park” area of the beach where a lot of places are equipped with a barbecue grill and picnic grove area. There are many mothers with kids and loving couples that stroll on this cozy promenade. If you walk along the beach to the end you will be taken to a local marina (harbor for pleasure boats).
The clam and tranquil Forbidden Island lies along the Pacific Ocean as a bright and memorable sight. This view opens from the observation deck and where you can freely take pictures plus the beautiful nature all around. A small land almost connects the island and the shore. Do not be afraid to get your feet wet to take a tour of the Forbidden Island. The top offers a great view of the ocean and the small island at the bottom. The location is quite deserted, and goes quietly without any fuss and you can spend 30 minutes to absorb everything. It is better to put on sports shoes (because of the steep descents and ascents), dress pants, food and water, mask and snorkel and your passion to explore all the things to do on this side of the island. You can swim with the wild tropical fish, admire the colorful coral and meet other tourists who also want to have an unforgettable travel experience there.
It is worth to visit this place if you are sufficiently well prepared physically, not afraid to get dirty and sweat and you know how to dive with a mask. Actually – the most interesting part is to go down the steep path to the sea, swim and dive there in the natural Jacuzzi (small holes in the rocks near the island, which are filled with waves of the Pacific Ocean). The ocean floor has a rich marine life and beauty. Children under the age of 6-7 years are not advised to be brought along because of the difficult trail and climb.
The Old Man By The Sea
The hike to the bay of “The Old Man by the Sea” is a great option for those who like to walk through the tropical jungle to immediately gain access to the sea. The trail is easy and if you go with friends you will bond on the trail that has a lot of positive emotions and pushes your adrenaline to go further and admire its beautiful scenery. It is better to wear comfortable shoes and clothing with long sleeves and pants or leggings that fully cover the lower limbs (to avoid mosquito bites). Out on the beach, you will literally forget about everything from the impressive nature and the wide ocean which is something that is reminiscent of the native seaside yet still wild and untouched. Walking through the jungle with access to the open ocean is a good way to relax and refresh one’s spirit.
It is a pretty bay with rocky formations resembling a man’s head from a distance. In the bay there is a natural and fairly shallow pool which is filled with water from the waves of the ocean. You can get there by car (from Isadora Drive you must turn to the East right next to the pointer Kingfisher’s Club). Just follow the road because there is a pointer to the path leading to the bay, very small with a wooden plaque on the right side. The trail is not as steep as the forbidden island, quite undeveloped and is marked with red markers but passes through a real jungle.
For beach and nature lovers, the Northern Mariana Islands is the perfect option if you need to explore the waters of the South Pacific. The best snorkeling reefs can also be discovered along its rich coastline. Great dive sites, fantastic atmosphere, interesting war history, and the endearing locals are just a few charms of the Northern Mariana Island that makes it one of the most enticing islands to discover in the Pacific coast.