Saipan's five best areas to explore

Although Saipan is just 14 miles long and five miles across, it is chock full of interesting places that can keep visitors exploring for days on end. Located in the Mariana Islands off the east coast of Asia, this Pacific location contains a magnificent landscape featuring mountainous terrain and sparkling beaches. There is much more to this area than just beautiful sightseeing, however. History buffs may also be fascinated by the fact that this was once a military base where the U.S. branches of the armed forces docked their B29 bombers.

One great place to see right off the bat is the American Memorial Park, an area that is home to numerous landmarks celebrating the American contribution to WWII. Among the veterans who gave their lives defending the country were men and women from the Navy, Marine Corps and Army who were stationed on the island. Visitors can traverse the 133 acre memorial to see the actual beaches where marines from the 2nd and 4th divisions came ashore during the Saipan invasion.

Another area containing past military battles is located on Saipan's Banzai Clliffs, where a number of old tanks still sit rusting in the mire. It was here that Japanese soldiers leaped to their death rather than face capture.

The island is not solely a place to experience times past, it is also a natural paradise. Close to the Banzai Cliffs is the Bird Island Sanctuary, a Marine Protected Area where the harvesting of natural resources is virtually non existent. Travelers can see this place by guided boat tour and view the spectacular reefs that exist outside the shores at the same time. The Bird Island Sanctuary is not only a great place to see exotic fliers, but also rare crustaceans like the coconut crab and wild hermit crabs.

Back on the mainland, adventure seekers can engage in a short hike from the Banzai Ciffs to a rocky beach known as Cowtown. Along the way are many great scenes including ancient artifacts and monuments that face out upon the ocean. For a more challenging excursion that leads to higher peaks, travelers can take trails leading up Navy Hill, where limestone caves are available for exploration.

While staying on Saipan, one of the best places to see will be the beaches that ring the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Many hotels and small seaside bars sprinkled along these areas can dish out some nice snacks and exotic cocktails to those who appreciate a day or two of lounging in the sun. A trip here merits sitting in the sand and basking in the beauty that is Saipan.

An old canon found in the Mariana Island
An old canon found in the Mariana Island