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What say about Mariana Islands?

I have an old friend that moved there from the US, then moved back to the US. He loved it there while he was there. Have any of you world travelers vacationed there? :)

Posted by
156 posts

I am only replying so you wouldn't feel ignored. I lived and worked on Saipan in the Northern Marianas for 2 years. But that was 40 years ago. It was still a UN Trust territory and beautiful and not developed. I think that is not still the case and I understand some of the development has not been benign. Tourism in the Northern Marianas is split mainly between Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese tourists. And it is a long and expensive flight (from LA).

Posted by
20 posts

I have been to Saipan on business several times. The way I would describe it, is that for East Asians, it fills kind of the same niche as Grand Bahama Island for North Americans -- a place about 3 hours flight time away for a cheap tropical island package tour beach getaway, with familiar food, a casino and duty-free shopping (mostly for European luxury goods). Snorkeling and diving are good if that's your thing. Sightseeing pretty minimal except for a few WW II sites. People are very friendly, that's probably the best thing about a visit there. Scenery not too bad (hilly and jungly) but built-up areas are not attractive; lots of crumbling depressed strip malls and cement block housing. Beaches are fine, but Hawaii's are better IMO. Even from the U.S. west coast it takes a minimum of about 18 hours travel time to get there (either via Honolulu and Guam, or via Tokyo), and it's an expensive ticket. At the present time there are few flights and strict COVID restrictions on entry. Bottom line, kind of an unusual mix of U.S., Asian and Pacific culture, not a bad place to visit at all, but I'd think carefully before spending the time and money to go all that way from the U.S. mainland.