Located south of Japan and east of the Philippines, Northern Mariana Islands is made up of 14 islands that include Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. These islands are home to cultural and historical attractions, tropical rainforests, and diverse underwater species of fish and coral reefs, making this part of Mariana Islands one of the top vacation destinations in the Pacific.
Being the site for the many American battles that occurred during the 1900s, there’s no wonder why the Northern Mariana Islands is rich in historical landmarks. These include the Banadero’s Cave, which is found at the northern tip of Saipan and is known as the last command post of the Japanese army. Inside this limestone cave lie relics of the past that include preserved World War II guns, cannons, artillery, and tanks.
Meanwhile, the Laderan Banadero, more commonly known as the Suicide Cliff, lies just behind the Banadero’s Cave. The cliff, as the name implies, is where Japanese mass suicides happened. Instead of surrendering during the Battle of Saipan, families lined up on the edges of the cliff, from youngest to eldest, pushing the one in front of them off the cliff. What’s truly amazing about this place is that aside from being a historical site, tourists will also get thrilled seeing breathtaking views of Northern Saipan’s magnificent oceans and lush hills.
Northern Mariana also boasts of magnificent beaches, as well as state-of-the-art hotels and resorts. One of the most popular beaches is the Micro Beach found in Saipan. Because of the steady wind and calm waves that this beach is known to have, windsurfers are aplenty in the area. Aside from its crystal clear sea waters and breathtaking views, the beach also speaks of rich culture and history. At the northern part lies the ancient Chamorro village. World War II Japanese bunkers also lined the beach.
Another top destination for swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers is the Managaha Island, which is just a short boat ride away from Saipan. Located in the Tanapag Lagoon, Managaha Island is famous for its soft white sand and crystal, clear waters. It is also known as the Pearl of Saipan, with relics of World War II lying all over its ocean floor.
The main attractions on the island of Tinian include the airstrips that were used by the United States military during the World War II. On this island also stand the Enola Gay Monument where the famous B-29 bomber Enola Gay that carries the first atomic bomb took off; and the Shinto Shrine, which is the last remaining artifact of the Japanese colonization days. Meanwhile, the island of Rota may not be that rich in cultural and historical attractions, but it still houses good tourist spots like the Playa del Rompidillo and Castillo de la Luna.
Aside from these exciting destinations, visiting the Northern Mariana Islands also gives tourists the opportunity to have a taste of a wide range of ethnic food and have a glimpse of the many festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the year.
There are three different ways to reach Northern Mariana Islands: through Saipan International Airport, Rota International Airport, and Tinian West Field Airport. Hotels and accommodations are aplenty in the area so tourists won’t have a hard time finding a place to stay in throughout their vacation. Two of the most popular and top-rated ones are the Rota Resort and Country Club and Hyatt Regency Saipan.