If you fancy jetting off on a tropical island adventure somewhere totally new, then why not consider the Northern Mariana Islands? They might not be the most well-known traveler destination in the world (yet), but that’s exactly why you need to see them. According to Groupon, they’re now one of the five fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world — so visit now before all the crowds descend.
Based in the Pacific Ocean and an official territory of the USA, this set of 14 stunning islands is most people’s idea of paradise — think soft white sands, searing blue seas and palms trees waving in a gentle breeze.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Northern Marianas are just about beaches. There are many more reasons to visit these islands, and here are our top three:
You can explore each island’s own distinct charms
You will have 14 islands to choose from, so why not pick the one that suits you best, or even hop around them all? The main island of Saipan is a commercialized, bustling tourist destination with plenty of amenities. But if you want to get away from the crowds, then the island has various mountains where you can head off on a hike. It is also a WWII history spot and, as the Northern Marianas is a U.S. territory, it even has its own Capitol Hill.
Or if you’re interested in more ancient history, then Tinian island is famed for the House of Taga, a set of Megalithic stone pillar ruins built by the Chamorro people. Or if you are a water baby, then head to Rota, for not only is it a great spot for scuba diving and snorkeling, it also boasts a coastal pool circled by reefs and rocks.
If you are someone who enjoys a bit of souvenir shopping then Garapan is your place, while if you appreciate lake scenery, then be sure to head to Susupe. And if you are fascinated by volcanoes, then you can learn all about them at Pagan, Anatahan, Agrihan, and Alamagan.
You can enjoy jaw-dropping scenery
All of the islands are volcanic in origin and, beyond the idyllic seafront areas, offer wild and rugged charms such as mountains, spectacular cliffs, shipwrecks, and even coral reefs. San Juan beach on Saipan is surrounded by lush jungle, while the island also boasts The Grotto, a cavern diving spot where you can spot turtles. As for Rota, it is home to the Tonga Cave, a fascinating space filled with stalactites, stalagmites and sea birds. In short, there are enough bays, volcanoes, grottos, pools, lakes, and harbors to keep even the most restless holidaymaker occupied. Not only this, but you can also expect incredible sunsets as well.
You can experience a totally unique culture
The Chamorros are the indigenous people of the islands. Originally of Indonesian origin, they arrived on the Northern Marianas in around 2000 BC. These days, Chamorro people have a mixture of Spanish and Filipino heritage as well. They speak their own distinct language and, although they are mainly Roman Catholic, some still retain their ancient beliefs and will ask permission from ancestor spirits before going into particular parts of the jungle. Traditional Chamorro dishes to try include kelaguen, which is meat cooked by citric acid instead of heat, and ka’du fanihi, which is flying fruit bat soup. Saipan’s Museum of History & Culture displays artifacts from the Chamorro culture, giving you a chance to learn much more about them.
The Northern Marianas are rich in sights, adventures, and experiences. Each island has its own unique character, with many hidden natural wonders to explore. So if the idea of a tropical paradise appeals to you, then why not explore these 14 fascinating Pacific islands on your next trip?
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