Sadly, as the memories of last summer get older, they start to fade away. Nonetheless, it’s not quite time to say farewell to the wonderfully warm places that we have been to, where it seems like summer will never be over. Almost everyone has heard of the magnificent coral reefs of the Maldives, the perfect beaches in the Seychelles, the outstanding beauty of Mauritius as well as the cultural uniqueness of Bali, places that are mentioned in every other magazine… But these are not the only places where you can discover the magnificence of tropical flora and fauna. Last summer I decided to explore something new, not yet advertised and so I got myself a ticket to this beautiful, barely known island in the Pacific Ocean, called Saipan.
The very first thing that I felt, after disembarking from the plane, was the tropical climate that initially made it hard to breath. At first, one might start questioning how on earth some people can spend their entire lives living in such a climate, but the answer became clear just a few days later; they have plenty of other pleasant things to distract themselves from the humidity. If you were to ask any of those that live in Saipan what the weather is usually like you won’t get any long explanations, as the weather is pretty much the same all year round; 30+ degrees, navy sky, deep blue ocean and constant sun. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Another magnificent feature of Saipan is that it combines white-sand beaches with populated areas on the southern and western coasts, with tremendously mountainous northern and eastern parts. Due to the diversity of the nature, the island attracts individuals seeking solitude as well as those looking for adventure. For example the neighbouring island Monagaha, a 10 minute ride by boat from the main beach, is a heaven on earth; offering a crystal clear ocean all shades of azure, a white-sand beach perfect for long romantic walks, and a breath-taking diversity of underwater life with over 70 fish species. Those interested in something more extreme are accommodated by Grotto, a spectacular underwater cavern, excellent for scuba diving.
In spite of being a small American island, Saipan still has its own unique character and culture that hasn’t been influenced much by America yet. The vast majority of people you’ll meet there on a daily basis are either local Chamorro or Philippine, coming to Saipan for work because the salary, along with living standards, are much more satisfying than back in the Philippines. In Garapan, which is considered the centre of the island, you are likely to meet tourists from Asia, eastern Russia and a few Americans. Locals and the majority of the tourists are very friendly and eager to make friends as the pleasant atmosphere of this small island, along with the numerous bars are meant to bring people together. Thursdays in particular are a large community affair, when a big market is open right in the middle of Garapan, at which all people from the island to get together and have a relaxing evening.
In addition to all its natural magnificence, unlike many islands, Saipan is also a very safe place when it comes to travelling with kids, as the absence of any dangerous insects or reptiles makes the island is safe in terms of any tropical illnesses, a really important factor if you like to travel in big groups or are considering Saipan as a destination for your next family trip. So if you want a summer to remember and/or would simply like an alternative to the forthcoming freezing English winter holiday then the heart of the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan, is definitely worthy of consideration.