There is still a sweetness to this once-sleepy island, which the local people call Luta. Whether you drive or walk along the road, almost everyone driving in the opposite direction will wave hello as they pass. The only town, Songsong Village (pop. 3,283), has a very picturesque setting, with views of two harbors below and green hills above. The eastern coast has rugged cliffs plunging into a pounding surf, and the west has reefs protecting secluded beaches. Attractions include Tonga Cave, which has excellent stalagmites and stalactites, and the remains of a World War II Japanese hospital. Rota has good scuba diving and snorkeling and a golf course. The island caters mostly to Westerners (Saipan is geared more toward Japanese visitors). We suggest staying for two nights—or three, if you are a golfer or a diver. 65 mi/100 km south of Saipan.

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