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Places in Saipan: The Grotto

Basic Information

  • Name: The Grotto
  • Location: Saipan, USA
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: TripAdvisor.com

Picture from the Grotto

Narrative

Another major tourist stop in northern Saipan is a popular snorkel and dive location known as “The Grotto”.  The Grotto is located just a short drive passed the turn off to Suicide Cliff on Route 30 also known as Middle Road:

You can read more about Suicide Cliff at the below link:

The Grotto has a large parking lot with a number of picnic tables that were flanked by some of the rolling hills that make up northeastern Saipan:

Picture from the Grotto

There was very few cars in the parking lot which surprised me considering what a popular dive and snorkel location this is supposed to be.  I walked over to the entrance for the walk down to the Grotto and spotted this memorial to a popular local man known as Captain Vicente M. Concepcion who was a well known dive operator on Saipan:

Picture from the Grotto

Captain Concepcion also known as Ben was the person responsible for locating many of Saipan’s popular World War II dive sites.  After I finished reading about Captain Concepcion I then proceeded to take the long staircase down to the Grotto:

Picture from the Grotto

At the bottom of the staircase was a large cave filled with sea water.  On a rock in the middle of the cave were a couple of local guys who worked for a dive outfit:

Picture from the Grotto

The water in the Grotto at first looked calm, but then occasionally these large waves would come swooping in and crashing against the rocks.  I had brought my snorkel gear with me, but the two local guys told me not to get in the water because of the large waves.  After seeing that first large wave crash against the rock all I could picture was my body being crushed against it as well.  The large waves that day would explain why there were few cars in the parking lot if no one was snorkeling and few were diving.  In fact from what I have read the Grotto is one of the most dangerous dive sites in Saipan.

The Grotto though was pretty impressive just because of its size.  I had to use my iPhone’s panorama function just to get the whole cave to fit into one shot:

IMG_0041

Conclusion

Though I was not able to go snorkeling at the Grotto it was still cool to see this large cave.  It was also net to just sit back for a while and watch the calm water just suddenly change into a large crashing wave that would hit the rocks.  I spent about 15 minutes down in the Grotto before heading back up the staircase.  For people visiting Saipan who have mobility problems the long staircase down and back up may be an issue, but for everyone else it is worth taking a few minutes like I did to see this impressive cave even if you don’t plan to dive or snorkel in it.

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