Tinian is the Perfect Vacation Destination for a Quiet Tropical Getaway
Tinian is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Together with uninhabited neighboring Aguijan, it forms Tinian Municipality, one of the four constituent municipalities of the Northern Marianas. Tinian’s largest village is San Jose.
Tinian is about 5 nautical miles (9.3 km) southwest of Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. It has a land area of 39 square miles (100 km2), with its highest elevation at Mount Lasso at 171 meters (561 ft).
The island has a variety of flora and fauna, and limestone cliffs and caves. The Tinian Monarch is the island’s only endemic bird species and it is threatened by habitat loss. There is a variety of marine life and coral reefs surrounding the island. Its clear, warm waters are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and sport fishing.
The population of Tinian was 3,136 (as of 2010), which corresponds to less than 5 percent of all residents of the Northern Mariana Islands and a population density of 35 people per km2. Most of the inhabitants are Chamorros (about 75%) and members of various other groups of islands in the Caroline Islands . There is also a minority of East Asians and European-descended people.
Traces of human settlements on Tinian have been found by archaeologists ranging over 4,000 years, including ancient Latte Stones, and other artifacts pointing to cultural affinities with Melanesia and with similar stone monuments in Micronesia and Palau. Around 3000 years ago, Tinian was ruled by the Chamorro King Taga, who built a stone palace with monolithic statues and latte stones. A beach on Tinian (Taga Beach) and the local charter airline (Taga Air) were named after him.
After the end of World War II, Tinian became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, controlled by the United States. The island continued to be dominated by the United States military, and until 1962 was administered as a sub-district of Saipan. Since 1978, the island has been a municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. During the 1980s, one of the runways on North Field was kept active to allow U.S. Air Force C-130s to take off and land in support of U.S. Marine Corps training exercises in the north end of the island. The military presence began to be replaced by tourism in the 1990s, but still plays an important role in the local economy.
Much of the local economy of Tinian is dependent on tourism. Agriculture is primarily on the subsistence level. The largest employers on the island are the government and the casino, which was legalized in 1989. As of March 2006, the island has plans to put in four new casinos. The 2010 census showed a population of 3,136 for the island.
However, tourist infrastructure is relatively poorly developed on Tinian. The village of San Jose has several smaller hotels and restaurants and bars. The airport is small and serviced by Star Marianas Air, which operates daily scheduled flights.
The House of Taga is a latte stone site, one of the largest such structures in the Marianas. The stones are quarried limestone, each approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) in length. Of the twelve large Latte structures, only one is still standing. The site is one of seven locations on Tinian on the National Register of Historic Places listings in the Northern Mariana Islands. Also popular is the annual Hot chili pepper Festival which attracts thousands of tourist every year.
Blessed with year round sunny weather, surrounded by the Crystal Clear Blue Pacific waters and endless white sand beaches, Tinian is just the perfect destination for a quiet tropical getaway.