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Things to see and do in Northern Mariana Islands

Attractions in Northern Mariana Islands

Admire the underwater world

Northern Mariana's limpid waters and bountiful marine life make it popular with divers and snorkelers. But if you'd rather explore the underwater world and remain dry, take a glass-bottomed boat to Isleta Maigo Fahang (Bird Island), a beautiful, unspoiled island whose waters abound with sea life.

Enjoy the spectacular views

There are some fantastic viewpoints across the region that will light up your Instagram feed. But beware because some beauty spots have dark histories: Puntan Sabaneta (also known as Banzai Cliff) and Laderan Banadero (also known as Suicide Cliff) are where hundreds of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths to avoid capture.

Explore the Banadero command post

Visit the last command post of the Japanese Imperial Army known as Banadero, with WWII cannons, tanks and artillery preserved in a limestone cave. Situated on Tinian, the area is marked by Japanese memorials to commemorate the bloody fighting and loss of life during the island's involvement in the war.

Get saucy at the Tinian Hot Pepper Festival

Usually held in February to mark the President's Day weekend. It's also to celebrate and honour the small but fiery, donni sali pepper that is indigenous to the island. Expect plenty of hot food and steamy revelry that spills out onto the beaches and normally quiet backstreets.

Go underground in Rota

Hop over to Rota, a small and friendly island with a variety of natural attractions. Outside the main villages of Sinapalo and Songsong, intrepid visitors can find sights such as Toga Cave, a huge limestone cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, so large it was used as a wartime hospital.

Join in the Fiesta

There are many chances to attend a village fiesta in honour of local patron saints. The main celebration is the San Isidro Fiesta, an annual jamboree held every March on Rota. The event features a coronation ceremony and a religious procession with many other activities.

Marvel at the House of Taga

Also on Tinian, visit the House of Taga, a temple or meetinghouse associated with the legendary chief Taga. It consists of magnificent stone pillars, carved in the traditional way and transported from nearby coastal areas. Also on the island, you can see the remnants of WWII with many structures such as the Atomic Bomb Pits.

Roll along to Rota Latte Stone Quarry

Rota's answer to Stonehenge, the ancient megaliths at this stone quarry formed part of an unfinished settlement of which little is known. Created by the indigenous Chamorros people, the quarry is located near Sinapolo and sits in pretty gardens. Well worth a visit.

See the sights near Wedding Cake Mountain

While on Rota, see the fascinating Wedding Cake Mountain, which resembles a layered cake. Located near to Songsong village, the official name for the mountain is Mount Tinubal. Curious artefacts can also be viewed at the Rota Cave Museum, located in a gigantic limestone cave.

Take a trip to Tinian

Take a trip to the southern island of Tinian, which has a rugged coastline with tiny coves. At Abbas on the northern shore, there are blowholes where incoming waves shoot 6m (20ft) into the air. Tourism is the main industry on the island, although it is far less developed than its neighbours.

Tourist offices

Marianas Visitors Authority

Address: PO Box 500861, Saipan,
Telephone: 664 3200/1.

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