Where is Saipan?

Saipan is the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Saipan is 23 km (14 mi) long and 8 km (5 mi) wide. The best beaches and most populated areas are on the western and southern coasts, with the north and east being rugged and mountainous. Because only one branch of the US Military - the Coast Guard - has even a small permanent presence on Saipan, many Chamorros on Saipan consider their culture more intact than on Guam. Saipan is not a US territory in a strict legal sense.




What’s the weather like in Saipan?

Saipan has a tropical marine climate moderated by seasonal northeast trade winds. There is little seasonal temperature variation on Saipan. In fact, the temperature variation between day and night is more extreme that between seasons. Altitude also affects the temperature in Saipan, so it is much cooler in the mountainous regions than in the coastal areas.

°F (°C) JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
MAX 84
(28)
84
(28)
85
(29)
86
(30)
87
(30)
88
(31)
87
(30)
86
(30)
87
(30)
86
(30)
86
(30)
85
(29)
MIN 76
(24)
75
(23)
76
(24)
77
(25)
78
(25)
79
(26)
78
(25)
78
(25)
78
(25)
78
(25)
78
(25)
77
(25)

SIGHTS INFORMATION

Garapan

Garapan is the heart of Saipan, offering many things to do and enjoy. If you're planning a trip to Saipan, then Garapan is where you want to be, especially if you're not renting a car, as everything is right next door to you, food, entertainment, and shopping only a foot step away. The beaches consist of white sand and tropical blue turquoise waters.
Garapan is the largest village and is the center of the tourism industry here on the island. They have luxury shopping at DFS Galleria, nick knack shopping at I love Saipan and every other type of shopping and eating throughout Garapan, so whether you want to eat Chinese food or American food or the many types of other cultural foods in-between you will find it within walking distance from your shopping experience here in Garapan.

American Memorial Park

One of the best places to discover the history of Saipan, this memorial park offers a small but well-maintained exhibition building with good displays bearing English texts and a friendly staff. The displays trace the battles fought on the island during World War II. An informative movie plays every hour and the park grounds are ideal for a stroll. The museum is free of charge. For a general history of Saipan—and to see relics retrieved from a sunken Spanish galleon—visit the Museum of History and Culture near Sugar King Park in Garapan.

The Grotto

The Grotto is a famous and impressive underwater limestone cavern that reaches some 21 meters (70 feet) below the sea at its deepest point. Considered one of the best cavern-dive spots in the world, its wealth of underwater life—including turtles, parrotfish, many hard and soft corals and colorful nudibranchs—makes it hugely popular with snorkelers and swimmers, too. Note that navigating the steep 112 steps down to the cave requires a certain level of physical fitness.

Mount Tapochau

The highest point on the island of Saipan, Mount Tapochau (sometimes "Mount Takpochao") rises 474 meters (1,554 feet) above sea level and offers a stunning 360-degree view of the island—visitors can see as far as Rota, Tinian and the northern islands on a clear day. Used as a strategic outpost during World War II, the mountain has historic value as well as vistas: Informative plaques placed along the hiking trail describe the sites below and how they were involved in the war. The concrete statue of Jesus Christ on top is the destination for a Good Friday march of Christian pilgrims from town.

Garapan Street Market

The vibrant and popular Garapan Street Market is held every Thursday night at the Fishing Base in Garapan between 5PM to 9PM. Dozens of stalls sell a dizzying variety of food, from BBQ skewers and ribs, to Thai, Chinese and Korean dishes and more. Many local restaurants also take part, offering tasty samples from their menus at minimum prices, and there’s live traditional music and dancers, as well as a few clothes shops. Admission is free.

Managaha Island

Managaha Island is a small islet which lies off the west coast of Saipan within its lagoon in the Northern Mariana Islands. Although it has no permanent residents, Mañagaha is popular among Saipan's tourists as a day-trip destination due to its wide sandy beaches and a number of marine activities including snorkeling, parasailing and jet skiing.
Managaha Island hosts a colony of breeding Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. This seabird nests in burrows principally on the east side of the island.
The island is historically significant for several reasons. It is the burial ground of the famous Carolinian Chief Aghurubw, who is said to have established the first Carolinian settlement in Saipan in 1815. A statue of the chief commemorates his achievements in leading his people from Satawal after a devastating typhoon to Saipan. The island also has remnants of Japanese fortifications from World War II. The entire island is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

What to eat in Saipan

Kelaguen

Kelaguen is a Chamorro dish from the Northern Mariana Islands. Like in ceviche, a pickling marinade of lemon juice, fresh coconut, green onions, salt and spicy hot peppers or donne is used to marinate cooked chicken, raw shrimp, fish or beef meat/liver. With the exception of the cooked chicken, the acids in the marinade "cook" the raw shrimp, fish or beef instead of heat. It is served cold or at room temperature and eaten as is, over rice, or wrapped in a warm corn or flour tortilla (or the Chamorro version, titiyas).


Eskabeche

Eskabache is a Chamorro dish of poached or fried fish with vegetables in a vinegar sauce. The dish was adapted to Chamorro’s staple foods. Two distinct recipes can be found for this dish in the written record. One is for eskabeche “Chamorro style” the other “Filipino style.”
The difference between Chamorro-style and Filipino-style eskabeche is the use of different vegetables and the addition of a thickening agent such as flour or cornstarch used in the Filipino version.
Yellow ginger, or mango' in Chamorro, is used in older versions of the Chamorro-style eskabeche. Today tumeric is used.


Guyuria

Guyuria are traditional Chamorro cookies. They are also known as Chamorro jawbreaker cookies due to their historically rock-hard texture. Guyuria was originally made with flour, coconut milk, and a sugar glaze. The dough is first made as one solid mass. Small pieces of dough are pinched off. Each piece is rolled out on a wooden guyuria board or on the back of a fork. Once enough cookies are formed, a batch is fried, cooled, and finally coated with a sugar glaze. The glaze is then allowed to dry on the cookies.