Northern Mariana Islands

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Eco-friendly travel guide to Northern Mariana Islands advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Northern Mariana Islands, Oceania.

The island of Saipan

  • Air quality: 3 / 5
  • Bus connections: 3 / 5
  • Train connections: 2 / 5
  • Hitchhiking: 2 / 5
  • National parks: 3 / 5
  • Outdoor activities: 3 / 5
  • Locals' English level: 3 / 5
  • Safety: 3 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$10 - $40
  • Budget per day: US$30 - $90

Responsible Travel

The Northern Mariana Islands are globally one of the most beautiful region in the world. It consists of 15 islands from which the most popular ones are the Tinian, Saipan, and Rota Islands. Saipan is the largest island of Northern Mariana. It covers 115.4 square kilometers where you can easily reach by any transportation means in less than an hour. It also hosts various scenic beauties including beautiful bays, caves and mountains, and spectacular cliffs. Swimming and diving in deep clean waters of this place is among the popular activities of the Island and you can also go for exploring the numerous coral reefs and the jaw-dropping wrecks on the ocean floor. Some of the most crucial determiners which you should follow to travel safely are:

  • Use face-mask for protection against dust particles and particulate matter
  • Avoid feeding wild animals
  • Bring reusable bags to prevent pollution
  • Don’t Litter

Air Quality and Pollution

The air quality in the Northern Mariana Islands is safe. Travelers with asthma problems or with some other chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) should carry an inhaler, their necessary medicines, antibiotic and should consult their doctor before travelling to any foreign land. The air quality index of this island clearly states that the pollution levels is very low here and is perfect for travelers. You should still carry your face-mask and prescribed drugs which will help you get relief in emergency situations.

Respect the Culture

Chief Taga is one of the most recognizable figures in Marianas history and mythology. The festivals in Northern Mariana island is always organized in the main village called San Jose. The art and the culture of this island has been influenced by two indigenous groups, the Carolinians and the Chamorro which you can see throughout the Northern Mariana Islands, including food, music, artwork, and more. Over the past 500 years, this island's culture has also influenced Spanish, German, Japanese, and American forces. Their cultural norms are also lovely and attractive to follow. You should give it a chance and try to learn about the culture of the place you are visiting with full enthusiasm and passion for gaining some wonderful experience on your holidays.

Top 10 Places to Visit

  • Saipan: Saipan is an island within the southern part of the archipelago, and the island also contains a volcanic and a coral origin. The western half of the islands has a giant lake lined with reefs, and the other half is covered by rocks and mountains. The climate is tropical here. The foremost standard attraction of the island is deep sea diving. Saipan is full of historical sites. Evidence of Chamorro and Carolina's ancient culture can be seen in the symbols of the Calabria cave and the ruins of the village of Agingan. World War II remains can be seen everywhere, including Micro Beach, where there are many bunkers and facilities.
  • Tinian: On this island, there are several remains of the Second warfare, like runways and airfields. There are four beaches, a casino, and also several resorts and restaurants present over here. It is a very small island with lesser facilities than the main island but still you will love the scenic beauty and get attracted to the charm of this place. And you can easily cover the island in a very short span as it has a very small area.
  • Mañagaha: Mañagaha is a small island situated on Saipan's western coast, within the Northern archipelago lake. Managah is a fashionable tourist spot from Saipan, owing to its wide sandy beaches, deep sea diving, gliding, and athletics. Managaha Island offers the best snorkeling and diving experience in that area.
  • Micro Beach: Micro Beach is a calm, shallow, standard beach in Saipan, the archipelago. The nearby hotels are some of the largest hotels that you will find in Saipan. The very calm and peaceful atmosphere of the beach attracts thousands of tourists every year.
  • Taga Beach: Taga Beach is on the southern edge of Tinian Town, and you can enjoy a short walk from San Jose Village to the Tinian Dynasty Casino and reach here. There is a picnic spot, parking area, and scooter rental service available on this beach.
  • Mount Tapochau: It is the highest point on Saipan Island called Mount Tapochau (sometimes "Mount Takpochao"), which is about 474 meters (1554 feet) above the sea level and offers beautiful 360-degree views of the island. This mountain was used as a strategic site during World War II. It is one of the highest point in this island.
  • Rota: Rota is AN island within the ground of the archipelago near the Pacific Ocean. It belongs to the Northern archipelago and is an element of the municipality of Rota. The banks of this place are was rocky and steep. A reef encircles this island. This small and remote island in the Northern Mariana is known as the "Island of Nature" and is only 20 kilometers long and attracts a lot of visitors every year.
  • Alamagan: There are meadows on the slopes lined with ashes; on the upper slopes, there are thickets of a pteridophyte, and inside the ravines, there are tropical forests. Alamagan is an associate degree peak and is an oversized layer within the middle of the Mariana Islands. It's placed 350 m to the east. There are high chances of volcanic eruptions in this area according to the statistics.
  • Agrihan: It belongs to the Northern land and is a part of the municipality of the Northern Islands. It's placed within the western ocean, 560 kilometers north of the Northern Mariana island, and covers around 47 sq. kilometers. The last active volcano erupted in 1917 went up-to 965 meters. At the side of Alamagan, Pagan, and several other islands, Agrihan forms an area government which covers an entire space of 143 sq. kilometers to keep a check on this volcanic situation.
  • Anatahan: Anatahan is an associate degree island near the ocean. The climate is tropical here. This island is also vulnerable to volcanic eruptions and cyclones. On the upper slopes of the volcanos there are meadows and lakes, and inside the ravines there are tropical forests. It is an attractive place to visit when you are on a trip to this island.
Taga Beach


The Northern Mariana Island emerged as a community of islands within the ocean. The western part of this country, which is in political union with the USA, consists of 5 islands. Seasonal temperature changes are not seen very frequently. Considering its livelihoods; agricultural production needs of this place is dependent on the United States of America. Culture is incredibly significant in the Northern Mariana Islands. This place had a lot of influence of Germans and Japanese but still they have managed to preserve their own culture.

City Parks

  • Sugar King Park
  • Kilili Beach Park
  • Wave Jungle

National Parks

  • American burial ground
  • Wedding Cake Conservation Park


  • Obyan Beach
  • Laulau Beach
  • Ladder Beach
Obyan Beach


  • Suicide drop

Mount Tapochau

  • The Grotto
Mount Tapochau


  • NMI deposit of History and Culture
  • World War 2 Museum


There are several independently owned local restaurants who have excellent taste in their food and also include traditional dishes like chicken kelaguen. A scorching pepper called Donne salt is a common ingredient in many Chamorro dishes, while a roasted coconut dish called a pig which is wrapped in banana leaves is a typical desert for this place. Joeten is the most popular and attractive supermarket on this island. Garapan is a very famous chain of bakeries here which has a lot of variety of cupcakes and other sweets available in this island.


You will get a wide variety of drinks in this island. Soft drinks are also readily available here, and you can also go for hard liquor in the bars near your stay. You can choose drinks from a wide variety of international brands and also some of the best local brands especially endemic to this place.


As there is no proper water management system in the Northern Mariana Islands, you must avoid drinking water from the tap. It is said that most locals use private wells for drinking water. Although the owners have their water tested annually, still, you should purchase bottled water from hotels or tourist shop centers. You can also boil the water first to filter it and then store and fill it in steel water bottles. These islands do not have access to safe and adequate drinking water and sanitation services; therefore, you must check the water quality and knowledge about the place and locality before consuming it is very necessary.


The Northern Mariana Islands is a lot to explore and travel. These 14 islands are as mesmerizing as ever. You will fall in love with plenty of these in addition to several other activities you can do here to spend a splendid and never forgetting holiday. You can:

  • Enjoy the spectacular views as some fantastic viewpoints across the region will light up your memories
  • 'Admire the underwater world because Northern Mariana's limpid waters and bountiful marine life make it popular with snorkelers and divers and swimmers as well
  • Enjoy the Banadero command post of the Japanese Imperial Army with WWII cannons, artillery, and tanks preserved in a limestone cave. It is marked by Japanese memorials to commemorate the bloody fighting and loss of several lives during the island's involvement in the war.
  • Participate in getting saucy at the Tinian Hot Pepper Festival, probably held in February to mark the President's Day weekend and celebrate and honor the small 'Donni sali' pepper indigenous to the island. It is named so because there is plenty of hot food and steamy revelry that spills out onto the beaches and most quiet backstreets.
  • Go underground in Rota – a small and friendly island with a variety of natural attractions.
  • Join in the Fiesta in honor of local patron saints held every March. The main celebration is the San Isidro Fiesta, an annual jamboree (festival) featuring a coronation ceremony and a religious procession with many other activities.
  • Must try scuba diving and snorkeling as the water is clean and warm around several islands' coastline.
  • Marvel at the House of Taga – a temple or meetinghouse associated with the legendary chief Taga, consisting of many magnificent stone pillars carved traditionally and transported from nearby coastal areas.
  • Created by the indigenous Chamorros people, the Rota Latte Stone Quarry is worth visiting. It is an ancient megalith located near Sinapolo and sits in pretty gardens.
  • See exciting sights near Wedding Cake Mountain, which resembles a layered cake. It sits near Songsong village (Mount Tinubal); also, you can see curious artifacts at the Rota Cave Museum, which you can find in a gigantic limestone cave.
  • Take a trip to Tinian, where you will see a rugged coastline with tiny coves. Although it is underdeveloped, the place is worth visiting.


Accommodations provide tourists with a place to stay, which is the primary thing every visitor does. There are plenty of hotels, resorts, bungalows, and guest houses at prime locations in the Northern Mariana Islands. Before finalizing a hotel, motel, or renting villas or apartments or a guest house, you should check their sites as well as affordability. If you are booking online for such accommodations, don't forget to check the ratings and reviews on them. As a tourist, it is highly recommended to choose eco-friendly hotels that do not adversely impact the environment in any manner. Also, look for those accommodations that use renewable forms of energy; this way, you will help the region's environmental pollution check.

Green Hotels

As it is already a miracle of nature, there are plenty of green hotels in the Northern Mariana Islands. Most of them are beachfront hotels with a spectacular ocean view. Green hotels promote eco-friendly surroundings and are known for not polluting the environment around them in any manner. They use renewable energy sources around their regions and ensure that they are used correctly and accurately. Apart from these, there is no absolute wastage of public resources or energy, resulting in tremendously rewarding the natural environment. Here are some shortlisted eco-friendly hotels you might consider staying at:

  • Hyatt Regency Saipan
  • Serenti Hotel Saipan
  • Kensington Hotel Saipan
  • Century Hotel
  • TF Seaside Hotel

Hostels and Guest Houses

More than hostels, guest houses are highly recommended and famous in the Northern Mariana Islands. Since it boasts several islands, people prefer to live in places that are not heavily populated and allow only a handful of people to stay. Guesthouses, however, suit plenty of visitors or tourists as it is a great way to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of the place. Also, they can enjoy themselves peacefully and have private time with friends and families. Listed below are some famous hostels and guest houses in the Northern Mariana Islands:

  • Garapan Guest House
  • La Vista Guesthouse
  • Isla Bonita
  • Yolo House
  • G.T.Guest House
  • Residence Lodge
  • Avenue Guesthouse


If you want to stay longer and want your privacy, renting apartments is the best kind of accommodation you could ask for. It helps you bond with many other tourists to enjoy the Northern Mariana Islands' daily lives. You can book them online, or you can visit the apartments and the facilities and amenities yourself. It gives clarity to where to stay. Renting apartments lets you save a great deal of money to be spent on other worthwhile experiences. Here are some great places in perfect locations for your interests:

  • Ironwood Apartments
  • Kannatgardens Apartment
  • Vestcor Village
  • South Garapana Apartment
  • Gualo Rai House
  • Saipan Family Residence
  • Benavente Apartment


Couchsurfing allows you to share your home, cities, and lives in profound and meaningful ways, as traveling anywhere in the world is indeed a social experience. It helps visitors or tourists to get involved in the day-to-day lives with the residents and learn about their culture, accent, traditions, festivals, and whatnot. In the Northern Mariana Islands, there are hosts in large numbers. You can find accommodations in Couchsurfing very easily. You can visit Couchsurfing websites, or you can get information from travel agencies or local people of Northern Mariana's. However, you should be extra careful if you want to opt for this option, and extra precautions are necessary, especially for females, as you might not know how the family is. Before confirming your stay, make sure to ask for the details and references of the host.


Camping is the easiest way to come closer to nature and enjoy these beautiful islands' warmth and beauty. It can be a fun sport for most tourists or travelers. You will find safari tents, luxury tents set up in the middle ground between camping and hotels with every necessary facility. You can set your tent anywhere near the camping sites. There is no restriction or rule for camping anywhere of your choice. Camping life helps you to wake up amongst nature and watch beautiful sunrises and sunsets with all the possible comfort you could ask for. Some great places where you can set camps are:

  • Marianas Trekking Saipan
  • Saipan Glamping Village



Getting There and Moving Around

You can reach the Northern Mariana Islands by airways; there are frequent flights from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. There are regular flights available from most countries around the world. Visitors from the United States will have to connect in Guam or transit through the previous countries listed. Citizens of the United States can enter with proof of citizenship, and entry to all foreign nationals are allowed into the rest of the US: travelers with a valid US Visa or under the Visa Waiver Program. A complete emigration check is done for entry requirements when traveling to/from Guam because of different nationalities. Thus, reaching the Northern Mariana Islands might be a complicated task, but you need not worry as there are possible ways to get to these beautiful islands.


Saipan is the leading international gateway into the Northern Marianas, which provides you flights from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

  • There are some scheduled flights on Cape Air/United Express, which connects Saipan to Guam several times a day and Rota 4 times a week.
  • Daily flights from Guam to Rota are offered twice by Freedom Airlines and a more frequent Tinian service.
  • Three islands can serve chartered flights but are a lot expensive than the usual ones.

Air services are always recommended if you are looking for an effortless journey.


You will find privately owned shuttle buses traveling between DFS Galleria Saipan and several Saipan hotels in Northern Marians. They are the only major public transportation options on these islands, which lack any rail or public bus services. Most of the Saipan hotels operate their private bus tours to various island attractions and important landmarks.

A bus in Saipan


Rail transport on the Mariana Islands is mainly related to the transportation of sugar cane and military supplies through narrow gauge railways; therefore, there is no railway facility for local people or outsiders to travel within the Northern Mariana Islands.


Hitchhiking is a very pocket-friendly way to travel around the country. It can be tricky or risky, so you have to extra careful while hitchhiking on these islands. Although most people use public transport to move around in the region, you will find a few vehicles or roadways. Also, you might discover it difficult to ask for lifts; therefore, it is good if you avoid this option.


Apart from other public transportations, cruise ships, yachts, and military vessels are the only boats that regularly sail to the Northern Marians from other popular destinations. Several ferries are giving you inside tours of the island, a Tinian Dynasty Hotel, and a Casino ferry, making four round trips between Saipan and Tinian four times a day. Regular ferry services are available in the Marianas between the islands of Managaha and Saipan. Taxis is also an option to get around the Northern Marianas as some may offer you guided tours of these islands. They can be expensive so choose wisely which mode of transportation you want. Taxis are only permitted to travel between hotels, DFS Galleria Saipan, and Saipan International Airport.

Sustainable Shopping

People are trying to change their lifestyle; therefore, they adopt eco-friendly practices and support the local community in maintaining the natural environment. As a responsible tourist or traveler, you must buy antiques and souvenirs from the Northern Mariana Islands' local markets or antique shops. Sustainable shopping allows foreign visitors to connect with the vibe of the place they are visiting. Since the Northern Mariana Islands experiences a heavy rush from tourists worldwide, numerous shopping sites in this region make a tourist's overall experience exceptionally better. Not many, but there are few shopping centers and souvenir shops where you can get antiques and lots of ancient kinds of stuff that you would like to take home. Places where you get sustainable items are listed below:

  • La Fiesta Mall
  • T Galleria by DFS Saipan
  • Garapan Street Market
  • Tuesday Market
  • I Love Saipan
  • Joeten Shopping Center
  • Paseo de Marianas
  • Gallery Pacific


Recycling waste products and materials is essential in the Northern Mariana Islands as there are tons of plastic wastes in this region. This particular program named the NOAA Marine Debris Program, partnered with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance to reduce littering and illegal dumping by providing proper waste management infrastructure. It promotes raising awareness about littering and marine debris through education and outreach.


Recently, the government agency responsible for waste management lacks the budget to provide public trash bins or regular trash collection services. Illegal dumping and littering persist in these regions because out of many, and few locals cannot afford these services or fuel costs to haul their waste. After installing this program, mixed-waste and recycling bins have been set up at seven recent locations, bringing 20 locations around the island. The debris from these recycling bins is collected every week.

Work and Study Abroad

You must know in advance which of its universities are right for you if you want to study in the Northern Mariana Islands. Choosing where to look in the Northern Mariana Islands is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make, as few universities are in these islands. There are around 402 scholarships to study in the Northern Mariana Islands. Moreover, the job offers after finishing your degree in specific specializations are also desirable.

Exchange Student

Since there are few universities in these islands, you might find difficulty in exchange student programs. You can, however, apply for several scholarships and later get settled with a great job offer. Various programs are held each year to showcase their excellence towards academics, and the International Student Exchange program is one of them. For more information, all you have to do is contact your domestic university and inquire about collaborating with the university here. It is advisable to learn and have knowledge about the programs and degree you want to have specialization in and then finalize your decision.

Au Pair

Ever since these islands are running high in tourism, Au Pair has become a massive hit in Northern Marianas. You can apply for the job here for an au pair to reduce your expenses of travelling. The family you will stay with might ask you general question about your nationality, education, experience, specialization, and many more just to know you in a better way. You must be honest with the hosts as they will be the ones helping you financially while you stay there. If you hide your identity, they might take legal actions against you. However, a grand gesture of hospitality can also be very beneficial for foreigners as they will be treated great by the natives and local people around the country due to their friendly behavior.


There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in these islands of Northern Mariana for anyone willing to help the people in need. You can ask any local here about special programs that are conducted and also the authority who needs a volunteer for their programs. There are volunteers required for waste management as well. This place has few Non-Profit Organizations and other volunteering campaigns that support and maintain a balance in society. You can also join various associations that are linked with such programs and volunteering campaigns.

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