Why go to Saipan?
This city is quickly becoming a popular tourist spot, with its beaches, golf courses and duty-free shops
Be cautious when buying local handicrafts, as they might actually be mass-produced, and are often expensive
Saipan has an interesting war history, but there are also plenty of other more lighthearted diversions to explore
Good to Know?
So-called "local" handicrafts include carvings and woven wall hangings, but buyer beware. While they may have a"“Made in Saipan" sticker on them, they are actually manufactured in the Philippines. On top of that, they're pricey.
A few metered taxis call on the port, and cruise ships often run complimentary shuttles into Garapan, the island's primary commercial area. It's about a 30-minute walk to the main shopping district and gorgeous Micro Beach. It's easy to drive the island's U.S.-quality roads, and you can pretty much make a loop of the entire island in a half-hour. There are plenty of car rental agencies, including Hertz, Dollar, Avis and Budget. Editor's tip: If you do rent a car, be sure to take along a map that highlights the sites of the Battle for Saipan. There are also signs at the sites themselves.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The local currency is the U.S. dollar. If you're running short, there are numerous banks, such as Bank of Hawaii and Bank of Guam. ATM machines are also plentiful.
Officially, it's English, along with the language of the two indigenous peoples -- the Chamorro and the Carolinian. Not surprisingly, given the population, a number of Asian languages are spoken as well.