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12 Things to Know About the Marianas Islands Before You Visit

The Marianas Islands are absolutely fascinating, but why? Find out in this article in which I teach you the top 12 things you should know about this magnificent archipelago.

The Marianas Islands- Things To Know

The Marianas Islands are a beautiful sanctuary, hidden deep in the ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines, with a rich culture, breathtaking sites, etc. With so much to explore around the islands, tourists might find themselves a little lost when it comes to planning their trip.

You might have questions like what activities you can enjoy on the islands and what are the people and cuisine like. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 12 things to know about the Marianas Islands. So without further ado, let’s get started.

12 Things to Know About the Marianas Islands Before You Visit

1. Marianas Islands have 14 Smaller Islands

What most people don’t know about the Marianas Islands is that they consist of 14 smaller islands. These islands are part of the United States and are located in the Pacific Ocean, with Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea in the neighbouring regions.

Furthermore, the Marianas Islands are situated on the Mariana Archipelago, which spans 290 kilometres in length. Additionally, these islands are divided into two groups: the Northern Group and the Southern group.

The Northern group consists of volcanic structure islands, including Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, and Asuncion, while the Southern group consists of Guam, Saipan, Farallon de Medinilla, and Tinian. In addition, these islands are limestone in origin and are lined by tropical forests, except for Farallon de Medinilla, which is barren.

The picturesque and diverse landscapes, lush tropical forests, and crystal clear water around the islands offer stunning scenic views and are a dream come true for all nature lovers.

2. No Direct Flight Between the States and the Marianas Islands

If you’re in the States and are planning to book a flight to the Northern Marianas Islands, you’ll find that there are none. Instead, tourists who want to visit the islands will have to book connecting flights from other regions to make their way to the destination.

Countries offering flights to the Islands include China, Guam, Japan, and South Korea. There are no direct flights from Europe either, so tourists from this region have to take the same route. If you have an ESTA visa, you can book a flight on United Airlines from the island to Guam to the Northern Marianas Islands.

Visitors can also catch a flight from Busan, Seoul, and Icheon, South Korea; Jeju Air oversees these routes. But if you’re still looking for more options, you can check out Skymark Airlines, which flies out from Tokyo, Japan.

3. The Most Equitable Climate in the World

12 Things to Know About the Marianas Islands Before You Visit

On top of the rich scenery, the Islands have a tropical environment, so tourists never have to worry about the climate. Moreover, back in 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records declared that Saipan, one of the smaller islands, has the most equitable climate in the world.

The Marianas Islands receive heavy rainfall between August and December. So, if you’re visiting in the rainy months, make sure you pack some rain gear with you.

Furthermore, if you are traveling to the islands during these months, make sure to keep an eye out for typhoons too. February and March are typically typhoon-free months, so it’s best to plan your trip to the Marianas Islands around this time.

4. The Forbidden Island of Saipan

Saipan is the biggest of the 14 islands and is also home to the capital, Capitol Hill, along with other tourist attractions. Among them, The Forbidden Island, located 12.4 km from Saipan, is especially popular among outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. Just a warning, though, that the road to the destination is not easy but worth taking for the beautiful scenery that awaits you.

You can also go snorkeling in the water once you reach your destination. In addition, tourists can take the help of local guides who’ll help them through the difficult journey. You’ll also come across a cave with a small swimming pool along your way which is a great swimming spot.

However, tourists shouldn’t think that it’s safe to swim to the island. The strong ocean currents between the Forbidden island and Saipan make it dangerous for visitors to swim to their destination. Numerous people have lost their lives just because they didn’t pay heed to the warnings.

5. Unique Culture of Marianas Islands

Trader Ferdinand Magellan, who first discovered the island back in 1521, called it the Island of Thieves since the local people tried to steal his goods. Before his discovery, the island was inhabited by people from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, otherwise called the Chamorro people.

After Ferdinand’s discovery, Spanish colonists invaded the land, then came the Germans, the Japanese, and finally, the Americans. During pre-colonial times, inhabitants from the Micronesian Islands migrated to the Marianas Islands.

Therefore, the island today has two unique cultures: Carolinian and Chamorro. Since the Chamorro people were influenced by the Spanish, you’ll notice a lot of Spanish-influenced architecture when you visit the islands.

6. Marianas Islands are a Treat for Watersports and Wildlife Lovers 

12 Things to Know About the Marianas Islands Before You Visit

Saipan is the main tourist hub for people visiting the Marianas Islands since it has a lot to offer in terms of luxurious resorts and first-class hotels. You’ll also find a lot of tourist attractions in the area. For example, Bird Island, right off the coast of Saipan, is home to many unique bird and aquatic species.

All of the islands are nesting sites for many endangered species, like the Mariana fruit doves and the Mariana crows. Additionally, if you’re looking to try out parasailing or snorkelling, then Managaha Island is the place to go. Furthermore, water sports are also pretty popular around the islands, so tourists can find loads of opportunities to participate.

Saipan alone has 18 dive sites that visitors can explore for diving experiences. But if you don’t want to tire yourself out, you can head over to Obyan Beach, which has striking corals and white sandy shores, and just take in the views.

7. Tinian Island is a Hidden Gem of the Marianas Islands

Tinian, located 2 kilometers south of Saipan, is a hidden gem of the Marianas Islands. For starters, there’s Taga beach, one of the most pristine beaches and a popular snorkeling destination. Furthermore, Chulu Beach and Tachogna Beach are also stunning places to visit.

However, the island is most known for the Taga House, which is a collection of 4.5 meters tall stone pillars. Over the years, earthquakes have caused most of the pillars to fall down. Today only one of the original twelve stands vertically. Moreover, history enthusiasts can also admire the San Jose Church that was built during World War 1.

However, if you want something more fun to do, then you can go to the Blow Hole on the island, which is also called one of the five wonders of the world. It consists of a series of irregular caves formed by volcanic lava.

8. The Deepest Point on Earth is in Marianas Islands

The Marianas Islands are mostly known for the Mariana Trench. Once you’ve visited the trench, you can proudly say that you’ve been to the end of the world. It is the deepest oceanic point on Earth and is about 10,984 meters deep. At this depth, the trench exerts a pressure of 1086 bar, which is equivalent to 100 elephants sitting on your head.

With such conditions, there is almost no life at the bottom of the ocean. However, scientists have found single-sized organisms called xenophyophores and Diatoms, a type of algae at the bottom of the trench.

Unfortunately, you can’t visit the bottom of the trench; only three people have had that honor so far. However, for the price of 750,000 dollars, a submarine will take you on a trip to explore the Mariana Trench.

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9. The Mouth-Watering Chamorro Cuisine

Inhabitants of the islands enjoy the Chamorro cuisine, named after its people. The cuisine is inspired by different cultures, including American and Asian, with Spanish being the main influence. The most popular dish on the island is red rice, which is prepared for celebratory occasions.

Some of the other unique cuisines include the Kelaguen, a marinade-enriched dish; the Escabeche, a fried fish topped with a vinegar-based sauce and Etouffee, a stew dish.

You can try these delicacies at the local restaurants and treat your taste buds with a fusion of different cultures. Additionally, the island also hosts festivals like a hot pepper festival, a fishing derby, and a sweet potato festival to honor the local cuisine and rich cultural heritage.

10. Marianas Islands have 60 Underwater Volcanoes

As mentioned before, Marianas Islands are a volcanic region. There are over 9 volcanic areas on land, and over 60 underwater, out of which 20 are hydrothermally active. These volcanoes vary in height, ranging from 50 meters to even 1800 meters.

These islands erupt because of the magma formed as one tectonic plate slides over the other. The Pagan has erupted quite several times in history, and the government evacuated it in 1981 due to an eruption, and no one lives there anymore. Even today, the volcano is monitored for any activity by the United States Geological Survey.

Farallon de Pajaros and Asuncion are also active volcanoes. The highest of the active volcanoes, the Agrihan volcano, measures up to 3166 feet in height. Underwater volcanoes have also been active from time to time, with repeated reports of discolored water over the years.

11. The Beautiful Rota Island

12 Things to Know About the Marianas Islands Before You Visit

Rota Island is a popular destination for adventurers. Visitors turn to the island for Mount Taipingot, which is the highest point in the region, standing 150 meters tall. You’ll also find the Grotto, Blue Hole, and the World War II wreck of Shoun Maru, Japanese temples, and some of the popular underwater sites in the area.

Moreover, the island is rich with caves featuring petroglyphs and historical sites, making it an interesting place to visit. But Rota island is most known for numerous snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.

Additionally, visitors can also go banana boating, parasailing, and windsurfing if diving doesn’t suit them. Tourists can also delve deeper into the island’s history at Nieves Latte Stone Quarry, which are ancient stones carved by the earliest Chamorro people. Furthermore, you can appreciate the island’s fauna at the Chenchon Seabird Sanctuary if a lesson in history sounds too boring.

12. Marianas Islands have Atomic Bomb Loading Pits

Because of the involvement in the first world war, the islands are littered with remnants from this part of world history; an example of this would be Tinian Island. While it’s known today for its sandy beaches and snorkelling points, back in the day, it was the launch site for the planes carrying atomic bombs for Nagasaki and Hiroshima, making this a dark tourism destination.

When visiting the island, you can also visit the famous North Field Airport, the largest of its time, where the bomb loading points have been turned into a monument. Additionally, you can also explore the landing beaches where the U.S Troops first touched down; it’s been turned into a museum with Japanese armaments on display.

Furthermore, tourists also flock to Marpi Point (a monument), which is the cliff where Japanese soldiers jumped off to end their lives.

Summing Up

All in all, Marianas Islands are a paradise in the middle of the ocean that you should definitely visit. There’s a lot to learn and see around the islands, given its rich history, breathtaking scenery, and unique culture.

Hopefully, by reading this article, you have all the information to plan an exciting trip. If you love reading fascinating facts about islands all around the globe, check out these articles: