The most prominent island of the Northern Mariana Islands archipelago, Saipan rises from the Pacific Ocean with a tropical lifestyle centred around golden-sand beaches, water sports, deep-sea fishing and luxurious spa excursions. A thriving nightlife scene and side trips to nearby islands complete the Saipan experience.
Things to do in Saipan
Aquatic fun abounds on the north shore of Saipan, including guided kayaking and snorkelling trips departing from Mariana Sunset Beach. You can also snorkel in the Grotto of Saipan cave system to encounter vibrant fish and turtles swimming amongst coral formations. Try your hand at kiteboarding or windsurfing, then relax with a massage or flower-bath at Mondi Asian Spa overlooking Saipan Lagoon.
Dining in Saipan includes Asian-style options, such as Hiro Japanese Restaurant, known for its papaya and pork sukiyaki. Casa Urashima offers an elegant menu featuring Japanese and Italian specialties. During the day, you can enjoy espresso and light fare at Shenanigan’s.
Nightlife kicks off with high-energy dancing, hip-hop music and DJs at the GIG Nightclub in Garapan. You’ll know you’re in the right place by the enormous Egyptian-style pyramid facade. A more laid-back option is watching the live music at Godfather’s Bar.
Birdwatching enthusiasts flock to Bird Island to see endemic bird species, such as the Mariana fruit dove and Micronesian myzomela. You can hike to the beach for snorkelling or climb to the lookout for spectacular ocean views. On Forbidden Island, it’s possible to enter the small “Hidden Forbidden” cave for tide pooling.
Getting around Saipan
You can rent a car at Saipan International Airport, which sits about 11 kilometres from the city centre. Shuttle buses service major hotels and run to the shopping districts. Taxis and bicycle rentals offer alternative transport.