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Sports

Land Sports

Walking is one of the favorite past-times on the island. In 1998 a grass roots community effort resulted in the development of a beach pathway which extends for 3 miles along the western shore of the island. American Memorial Park is another favorite spot for evening walks.

Hiking and “boonie stomping” are also a popular activity. Although Saipan is not big enough for multi-day backpacking treks, there are a wide variety of day trails around the island. Most lead to beaches, caves, war relics, or just beautiful vistas. There are a few written guides, but usually, it’s easiest to go with someone who knows their way around. There is also an active “eco-adventure” group that trains regularly for jungle races. The “Hash House Harriers” are also active on the island.

Bicycling. With no sidewalks or bike lanes, and with “multicultural” driving, the roads are generally not safe enough to consider bicycling as a mode of transportation. However, there are several bicycling groups who get out early on the weekends before many cars are on the road, or alternatively, use mountain bikes for off-road cycling.

Triathlons. Saipan has a very active triathlon group. Individuals train together and often travel to regional races. The CNMI hosts one or two international races each year.

Golf. Saipan has five 18 hole world-class golf courses, which are all open to the public. They all have spectacular views, with four of them hugging the coastline and ocean cliffs. For local residents, a generous discount is given, and one can play for $25-35 per round. Many people take up golf here. If you are interested, pick up a set of inexpensive clubs before coming out.

Tennis. Public courts are available, as well as tennis courts at several of the hotels. There is an active group of regular players, as well as a local league that organizes several tournaments each year.

League sports. The local community has adult basketball, softball, baseball, bowling and darts leagues.

Health Clubs. The major hotels feature Health Clubs with complete facilities. They offer memberships to local residents, and they are nice places to get away to each day. Whether it is just to sit by the pool and read, or spend some time in the Jacuzzi, or to participate in aerobics, and weightlifting, the Hotel memberships are worth considering. Saipan also has two private health clubs, Gold’s Gym and Saipan Fitness Center.

Water Sports

Diving and Snorkeling. As you might expect, activities on, in and under the water are a major attraction to visitors and residents alike. SCUBA diving and snorkeling are very popular and a variety of shops and tour services give classes and certify students for SCUBA. Equipment may be rented. Buying equipment off-island may be less expensive than an on-island purchase. To fill scuba tanks you will need a valid diving certification card. For those who do not want to venture far beneath the water surface, snorkeling is great in many easily accessible areas. Snorkeling and dive gear will be less expensive in the mainland, so you may want to bring these with you. The water is warm, so a wetsuit is not needed. Some divers wear thin lycra suits just for protection against the coral.

Sailing/Windsurfing. There is a yacht club, primarily featuring Hobie Cats and lasers. The Saipan Lagoon is considered world class for windsurfing, so bring your own gear or rent from local hotels. The trade winds start in early to mid December and last through late March. An international windsurfing tournament is held here each year. Over the past year, kite surfing has also become popular.

Swimming. Of course the ocean is always available for a swim. On the western side of the island, the lagoon is a safe place for swimming, as it is generally protected from the currents that are strong outside the reef. The hotels have swimming pools available also, if you join their health clubs. There is a public 50 meter pool is available for recreational and competitive swimming. It is used most often by the local swim clubs and triathletes.

Submarine. Under-the-water sights are not just for divers. Saipan is home to one of the few non-military tourist submarines in the world. Tours are available daily.

Paddling. Outrigger canoeing is also becoming popular, with several active clubs. Like the sailing club, the paddlers take part in regional competitions on a regular basis.