Watch this week’s episode of Global Girl Travels TV to see the top sites in one of America’s most beautiful and remote islands, Saipan!
Off the Beaten Path
I wasn’t prepared to like Saipan so much. Coming from the neighboring island of Guam, which is larger and more developed, perhaps I had a prejudice. Saipan surprised me with its raw beauty, refreshing trade winds, and precipitous cliffs. Read more about The Most Beautiful Island in America You’ve Never Heard Of.
2014 was such an awesome year of travel, it will be hard to top. These destinations have been on my bucket list for months, from cosmopolitan cities like Seoul to cultural hotspots like the remote island of Yap.
Saipan could be another island in the Philippines — except it’s nowhere near the P.I. — it’s in the Northern Mariana Islands, the largest of 15 largely uninhabited U.S. commonwealth states. Saipan’s brilliant red-orange flame trees, picture-perfect tropical waters, and dramatic limestone cliffs make the island an attractive getaway despite being 1,465 miles from Tokyo, the nearest major Asian city.
In the heart of the South Pacific, a bit west of Hawaii, is a small atoll that houses one of the U.S. Military’s most strategic outposts. The island’s name is Kwajalein (K-wa-dj-u-lan) or Kwaj for short. All of the people who live on Kwaj are U.S. military. If it wasn’t for the mind-numbing heat index and 100% humidity, you would think you were on the Mainland, in any other small town U.S.A. The lawns are perfectly manicured, the streets are clean, houses are maintained just as in any other suburban oasis.
Located just 1.6 km/1 mi. off the southern tip of Guam, Cocos Island is an uninhabited getaway for residents and visitors alike.
I wouldn’t say I’m an adrenaline junky, but I am increasingly addicted to adventure travel. I especially like to conquer things. Things like volcanoes. I traveled to the Philippines for medical care, not to climb a volcano, however, this tendency towards adventure made hiking to the world’s largest island within a lake on an island…
Landing on a glacier is nothing less than a bucket list adventure, but what made this even more special is the fact that this part of New Zealand is home to two of the world’s only three glaciers that meet sub-tropical rain forest. (The other is in the Andes Mountains.) Our heli ride swept us across jagged mountains with distant views of the Tasman Sea. Climbing to 6,000 feet, we were deposited on the névé of Franz Josef Glacier atop Mt. Tasman.
Priest’s Pools is one of my favorite sights in southern Guam. The Pigua River cascades along terraces of basalt lava as it heads toward the ocean. The water is cool and somewhat clear. Back when the Spanish first arrived on the island in the 1500s, the priests would bathe in the cool fresh water. The river meanders in the typical volcanic hills and tall sword grass found throughout the south.
We awoke to a stunning view of rolling green hills and the sounds of sheep and goats greeting us as we peered out the large bay window. Incredible. We took our coffee, tea, toast, and local jam in the majestic dining room along with a couple from Australia. Our hosts introduced themselves, the farm, and even let us feed the animals. Can you believe this house was transplanted from Auckland?