The Grotto: Saipan’s sunken pool
Any trip or stay on Saipan would never be complete without visiting the Grotto, a sunken pool of amazingly azure waters that is connected to the ocean by passages underwater. For divers, the Grotto is one of Saipan’s best spots but non-divers too can enjoy the spectacular views the place has to offer.
Come with me as we visit yet another one of the unique spots this island has to offer.
The first time I visited the Grotto, I was not able to resist the urge to go down the 100 steep steps. A slight rain had made the stairs slippery and I was wearing sandals with heels but I was not about to let the opportunity pass.
Going down takes real effort as you have to hold on to the cement handrails and watch your footing if you have no wish to crash in a heap at the sharp rocks below.
Once you reach the bottom of the staircase, you will be facing yawning caverns that promise worlds of wonder under the water’s surface. Non-divers can enjoy listening to the thunderous crashing of the waves on the rocks, or watch snorkelers having a grand time in the pool.
If it requires effort on your way down, going up requires double effort. I had to rest every five or so steps and listen to my deafening heartbeat while trying to catch my breath.
Above the pool, a view deck provides a perfect setting where you can gaze for hours at the endless blue of the ocean stretched out before you. The view deck has tables and benches where guests can sit, relax and breathe in the salty tang of the ocean breeze.
The Grotto, located north of Saipan is easily accessible. Just drive past the “last command post” and “Banzai Cliff” memorial parks, and watch out for the sign on the road.
The Grotto is one place you must not miss. All you need is a healthy pair of legs (for non-divers), guts and a pair of itchy feet, and some exercise if you don’t mind.
I will leave the divers to describe the underwater wonders of the Grotto, or wait until I will have the chance to dive someday. Maybe that would be when I learn how to swim. Ahhhh, maybe in the next 50 years…