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Diving in the Northern Mariana Islands

Diving in the Northern Mariana Islands

Quick facts

  • Saipan is one of the fastest growing tourist resorts in Micronesia with a huge amount of development in the past few years so if you want a more peaceful holiday, and see a more traditional side of the Mariana Islands, the smaller and less commercial islands of Tinian or Rota might be more suitable. All the islands have exceptional diving.
  • According to The Guinness Book of Records, Saipan has the world's most equable temperature, averaging 27°C (81°F) year-round. Humidity is always high but the even temperature and fresh sea breezes means conditions are never too stuffy. The rainy season is from July to October, when rainfall averages about 300mm (12in) a month and typhoons wreak havoc; from December to May the monthly rainfall average is only around 100mm (4in).
  • Bring new batteries for your torch, digital camera, dive computer etc as these kinds of batteries are difficult to find.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

English, Chamarro, Carolinian
US $
GMT +10
Natural hazards:
Typhoons, August to September
Diving season:
Year round
Water temperature:
Air temperature:
22C - 29C


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


Scubadviser - diving in the Grotto Mariana IslandsThe Northern Mariana Islands are an archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean.

Geographically, the Marianas are the northernmost islands of a larger island group called Micronesia. It consists of two groups, a northern group of ten volcanic main islands and a southern group. Only three of the islands, Saipan, Tinian and Rota, have a permanent population. Some of the islands that are unpopulated were evacuated as recently as 1990 due to the threat posed by volcanic activity.

The scuba diving around Saipan is excellent with the coral reefs and lagoon being home to a vast array of tropical fish. One of the best places for snorkelling is around Mañagaha, an old coral reef.

Getting there

  • Saipan - the Grotto, a huge limestone cavern and voted the number 2 cavern diving site in the world by Skin Diver Magazine.connected by underwater passages to the ocean.
  • Saipan - Eagle Ray City is one of the most unique dives in Saipan. Rising out of the sand at a depth of 30 ft. is a rocky formation that on a good day will have up to 40 Eagle Rays swimming around it. The divers go down to the rocks and hold on as the Eagle Rays pass overhead. Many times the rays come within a few inches of the divers, making an opportune time for photographs.
  • Tinian - Fleming - The best wall dive in the CNMI.
  • Tinian - Twin Coral - a photographer’s dream... the name of the site comes from the two coral formations sitting next to each other. The site is also known as Turtle Point for obvious reasons. The fish life is fantastic with varieties of Parrot Fish, Grouper, Damsel Fish, and more. Great visibility.
  • Tinian - Dump Cove - a wreck dive with many artifacts from WWII such as planes, tanks, ammunition, and jeeps. It is also a turtle feeding ground so the chances of running into a turtle are very high.
  • Tinian Grotto - the most popular cavern in Tinian.
  • Rota - Senhanom Cave (Rota Hole) -This is the dive site of many award winning underwater photographs; a grotto with schools of redfish, bronze sweepers and sometimes a lobster or two. The suns rays shining down through the roof opening can be most hypnotic.
  • Rota - Sub Chaser, the scattered remains of a WWII Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser. One of three in the area. This site is within the boundaries of the marine sanctuary.

Scubadviser - diving the Grotto Mariana Islands


Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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