Northern Mariana Islands
Snorkeler takes in the underwater scenery
Lush landscape earns the 'Garden Isle' name
Secluded beaches cover the coastline
Pristine landscape at an island park
Vantage point for views across the bay
Rocky reefs jutting up through the crystal-clear waters
Country road leading toward the mountains
Through the palms, an endless sea of blue
A Pacific island paradise where the sea reigns supreme
Into the Blue
Numerous tour providers can arrange a snorkeling or scuba diving trip to any of the undersea walls, shipwrecks or vivid coral reefs surrounding the island. Popular sites include the World War II wreck of the Shoun Maru, Blue Hole and the Grotto, a collapsed limestone cavern with underwater passageways. Divers can see stingrays, clown fish, eels, nudibranchs, surgeonfish, parrot fish and white-tip sharks. If diving’s not your thing, try windsurfing, parasailing and banana boating. On the west end of the island lies Swimming Hole, a small hidden pool that visitors seek out for a refreshing dip and photo opportunities.
Where Nature Meets Culture
On the opposite end of Rota is picturesque Tweksberry Park, which grows thick with coconut palms. In between are sites like the Rota Zoo, the Old Japanese Cannon and the Rota Latte Stone Quarry, where you can learn how pillars were carved by the ancient Chamorro people. At Songsong Village Lookout, pause for a great view of Mount Tapingot, also known as Wedding Cake Mountain. Nearby you’ll find the Marianas Trench Cave Museum, which is housed inside a cave. Learn about Rota’s birdlife at Sagua’gaga Seabird Sanctuary and discover the plant life at Taisacana’s Botanical & Nature Trail.
When You Go
Most eateries are casual snack bars or cafés that either serve basic American fare or fresh local delicacies like ayuyu (coconut crab) and kadun pika (hot spicy beef). A smattering of restaurants offer international cuisine. When you’re ready to book accommodations, bear in mind that there are no five-star hotel chains or resorts but rather low-key independent hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. One upscale option, Rota Resort & Country Club, has a golf course that you can use even if you’re not a guest.