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Saipan

Travel Guide Oceania Micronesia Northern Mariana Islands Saipan

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Introduction

RC Church in Garapan, Saipan

RC Church in Garapan, Saipan

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Saipan is the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands and has a population of about 70,000 people. The name Saipan refers to both the island and the main settlement on the island. It is a popular tourist destination in the Pacific and the western side of the island is lined with sandy beaches and an offshore coral reef which creating a large lagoon. This island is an extremely popular tourist destination for Japanese, Korean and Chinese tour groups. All the tourist facilities are to be found on Saipan Island and if you like beaches, snorkelling and diving you came to the right place.

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Sights and Activities

Diving

  • The Grotto - an amazing underwater cave voted the 2nd best in the world by Skin Dive Magazine.
  • Wing Beach - This dive site includes some nice black coral, several downed World War II planes and lots of octopi.
  • Eagle Ray City - a rock formation that on a good day will have up to 40 eagle rays swimming around.
  • Ice Cream - Located on the west side of Saipan this seamount, like Dimple, is home to eels, anemones, eagle rays and fish.
  • Lau Lau Beach - the entry to the largest reef on the island and has hundreds of animals to see. This is an ideal site for beginners.
  • Dimple - a seamount on the western side of Saipan. There are several different animals there but the highlight is the abundance of butterfly fish.
  • Naftan - Located on the soutehrn tip of the island this is one of the best dive sites on the whole island. With stunning visibility and fish life this a great place to dive.
  • Chinsen - a large Japanese freighter the sunk over 50 years ago. This is a good spot to see red snappers and big eye emperor fish. There is even a resident white tip shark that lives under the wreck.
  • Banzai Cliff - This beautiful wall is located on the north side of the island. This site is famous for large pelagic fish like sharks, also rays and dolphins are often seen here. This site is only open during certain times of the years due to its depth and currents making it an advance site.
  • Spot Light - This site is located near Banzai, and similar to Banzai is closed most of the year. This is a very advance cavern dive site and is home to many large animals like sharks and turtles.
  • Obyan Beach - Located near Naftan Point this site has some of the best visibilty on the island, which is up to 150 feet (50 metres). This is a great sight for photography because of large number of barracudas, sharks and eels.

Golf

  • Coral Ocean Point - the most challenging golf course on the isalnd with a Par of 72 and 18 holes. Phone:670 234 7000, Email: reservation@copspn.com
  • Lao Lao Golf Resort - Saipan's two newest championship golf courses. The West Course is interiorly inland with great views of Mt. Topatchao, while the East Course is a great tourist course with parts located on the coastline, especially the 6th hole that has dramatic cliffs dropping off the sides of it. Phone: 670-256-8888, Email: rsvn@laolaobay.com

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Weather

The climate on Saipan is characterised by tropical conditions with little variation regarding temperatures, and a distinct wet season. Average daytime temperatures hoover around 29 °C and the highest recorded temperatures are just a few degrees at most islands. At night, temperatures drop to a balmy 23 °C with a record low of 19 °C!
The wet season last from July to October, with August and September seeing the most rain. During December to May, conditions are much drier but occasional downpours during the late afternoon are still normal. During the wet season, tropical storms and even cyclones are a real possibility.

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Getting There

By Plane

Saipan International Airport (SPN) receives a number of international flights. There are direct connections with several Asian countries. From South Korea, there are flights from Seoul and Busan with Asiana while from Japan, there are direct flights with Northwest Airlines from Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.

Continental Airlines, via its subsidiary Continental Micronesia, has flights from the Philippines and Guam. People travelling from North America have to connect in the latter one.

On top of the regular flights, there are many seasonal charters from China (Air China from Beijing, China Eastern and Spring Air from Shanghai and China Southern from Guangzhou) and Taiwan (EVA Air from Taipei).

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Contributors

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This is version 11. Last edited at 20:21 on Aug 13, 10 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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