Tinian is a small island just 5 miles south-west of Saipan across the Saipan Channel and belongs to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Tinian Island has only one luxury hotel on it and that is located in San Jose, its only town. The island has one casino which is located in the one hotel in the one town. The beds are not soft! You can gamble if you like, and many do, but if you don’t want to bother gambling, there is plenty to see on this island.
First, rent-a-car. Good to arrange in advance so that one is there for you when you arrive.
Take the car and drive around the island. It might feel strange driving down one side of a divided highway but not unusual on this island which was once a major US airforce base. Most tourists will head for the abandoned air force base best known for its role in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The runways in the B-29 bomb loading area are abandoned and overgrown with jungle vegetation but the area is open to the public and you can drive around the abandoned base and right up to the bomb loading pits where a simple shrine marks the location and provides tourist information about past events. Remains of older Japanese fortifications can also be found in the area.
There are a number of shinto shrines, one in the middle of the island and a suicide cliff on the south end.
Lots of Bunkers and abandon pill boxes around. The island is almost deserted so there are many relics from WWII just lying around. Very nice!
— Getting There —
You can take the ferry from Saipan (going down is fun, coming back will make you very queezy – take gravol and pay the extra $5 for the top section, may still need gravol).
If you have the money I’d suggest you grab the plane back. (Maybe from all that gambling you did at the hotel?)
— Snorkeling —
None really on this island, its more of a day trip with a car to see the many sites and feel like you’re alone on the island. (It was us, in a small car, and someone who rented a yellow hummer for most of the day driving around various places and passing each-other a lot).
— Safety Note —
Other than two other tourists visiting the island we saw no one around, so you can do what you want and go where you want but use caution. May be while before the next person comes along.
There is a lot of old military stuff lying around that is cool to see and touch but you’re on your own and should obey any signs (like danger signs) and there are a few places where there may still be munitions so when you see a sign or fence, don’t cross it. There is plenty of island left to explore!
— Suicide Cliff —
Like many islands involved in WWII and under Japanese rule this island also has a Suicide Cliff where Soldiers would throw their families off and jump into the sea rather than surrendering and being captured by American lead forces. The picture below is of the monument erected to mark the location.
— Additional Pictures —
There is evidence of a number of Shinto shrines on the island and one of the Shinto shrines is the only intact Shinto Shrine on the Mariana Islands.