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Northern Mariana Islands

Northern Mariana Islands Travel Guide

Its full name is the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a small area of 185 square kilometres, in the North Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines. There are around 80,000 folk fitting themselves into the region, who are mainly of Filipino, Chamorro, Chinese and Micronesian descent and Roman Catholic religion. The inhabitants speak English, Korean, Japanese and Chamorro and make most of their profit from tourism, garments, handicrafts and construction, trading mainly with the USA and Japan.

Around the 1970’s, under the United States administration and as part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific, the Northern Mariana Islands decided to form closer links with the United States, instead of seeking independence. Actual negotiations for territorial status started in 1972 and by 1975, an agreement to ascertain a commonwealth in political coalition with the US was accepted, with a new government and statute being achieved in 1978.

When it comes to activity on the Northern Mariana Islands, there’s enough to keep anyone permeable for days! There's many snorkelling and diving regions throughout the islands, especially in Saipan, where visitors can go cave diving to the Grotto, a natural cavern, which is 15 metres deep underwater with many tunnels heading straight to the ocean. Another diving spot can be found at Tanapag Harbor, where WWII wrecks, caves and reefs can be explored. Snorkelling havens can be found at Managaha Island at Saipan, or Tachogna Beach at Tinian island or the Coral Gardens at Rota island. Visitors should stay here for the hiking too, with fantastic trails at Saipan, which lead walkers through the Marpi Commonwealth Forest and on Tinian Island along the Kammer and Taga Beaches with some stunning coastal views. Windsurfing and tennis are two other popular sports especially in Saipan, an island ever so popular with Japanese travellers, which has caused an ever-growing tourist development throughout the area, with hotels and golf courses all over the island.

To get around the island there are cars for hire and with the country having well maintained roads, the drive is safe but busy. The only kinds of buses available on the islands are shuttle buses, which travel between all the main towns, but taxis are also for hire and are found at the bigger resort hotels. Visitors wanting to see the other islands can easily get to them by plane, which set off from the capital of Saipan and fly to Tinian or Rota Island. When it comes to actually getting to the Northern Mariana Islands, people flying from Hong Kong, Taipei, Saipan and Tokyo will have direct access into the country with European visitors having to connect to one of the above 4 countries. The time to come to the islands is during the drier months of December to March, and during mid February, visitors can enjoy the annual Micronesian Open Boardsailing Regatta and Saipan Laguna Regatta, which are international windsurfing and Hobie Cat competitions, both of which are held at Micro Beach.

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