World Travel Guides

Northern Mariana Islands - Off the beaten track


Rota, about halfway between Saipan and Guam, is just beginning to get an overflow of tourists from those larger islands, but it's still a slow-moving place. The main village, Songsong, still gets by without traffic lights or shopping centres. Located on the southwestern coast, Songsong stretches along a narrow peninsula that rises at its tip to the 143m (470ft) Mt Taipingot. Songsong is littered with latte stones and the San Francisco de Borja Church boasts a turn-of-the-century bell. You can hike or 4WD to a good view of the village from a lookout just to the northeast, or make your way along the white-coral sands of Tweksberry Beach and up the trail to the top of Mt Paipingot - watch out for the bees - for excellent views of the village, surrounding harbors and Sasanhaya Bay. Rota's airport is on the northeastern half of the island, about 14km (9mi) from Songsong Village.

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