Overnight Trip to Rota

On my recent trip to Guam as part of the SPG Holiday Challenge, I did a quick overnight trip to Rota. Rota is probably the least known of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) also consisting of Saipan and Tinian; where the atomic age began. But I must say that after 28 hours on Rota, it’s my favorite of the Northern Marianas. Rota surprised me with how much beauty it has and the many things to do on Rota.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Luta
They call it Luta in the local Chamorro language but Rota is a great spot to check out if you’ve got some extra time on Guam. It’s only a 25-minute flight with United Express or Star Marianas. With Star you can actually do a day trip whereas with United, you will have to make it an overnight trip to Rota.

I stayed at the Rota Resort & Country Club; which is the best hotel on the island. It is actually pretty big and each unit contains four bedrooms. They are old but very comfortable. It is beyond me how the resort stays in business as nobody was there when I was there.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Rota Resort, country club
There is also a restaurant called Pacifica on the grounds of the resort, which is OK at best and way overpriced. The drinks, especially wines, are preposterously priced so either bring a bottle of your own from duty free or stick to beer or soft drinks.

I wanted to play a round of golf but the prices were so extortionate that I decided against it. They charge tourists 4 times what they charge Guam residents not including club rentals, cart, balls, etc. It would’ve ended up costing me $400 so I passed. Mind you, there were zero people playing. I have no clue how they maintain it cost wise.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, rental cars, Islander rental car
You need to rent a car on Rota. There are only two rental car companies at the airport; Budget and Islander. I rented from islander and got a roughed up white minivan for the bargain basement price of $100. It was the only car left at either shop so I had no choice. I recommend making a reservation in advance to avoid price gauging.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Minivan
Once you have the car, the beauty of the island really shines though. From the Rota Resort take a right and head down to the swimming hole. You’ll have to drive through some off road jungle but it’s beautiful once you arrive and you’ll likely be all alone; which is a common theme on Rota!
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Teteto Beach
Continue down the road to Guata Beach and Teteto Beach; which is the best beach on Rota. Teteto is great. It is the South Pacific idyllic beach you dream about with crystal clear azure water, swaying palm trees and perfect white sand. Expect to spend some time on Teteto Beach and bring your camera!
Rota, CNMI, wedding cake mountain, Northern Mariana Islands, Song Song, lookout
Continuing southwest you’ll come across the turnoff for the Song Song Look Out. This gives you a great view of the village of Song Song below and Wedding Cake Mountain ahead. The drive up is quite rough and off road so be prepared but if my crappy minivan made it, so can whatever you rent!
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Old Japanese Cannon, wedding cake mountain
The Village of Song Song is not that impressive on the ground so get in and get out and head down toward the South Coast where you’ll hit the Old Japanese Cannon. This was actually really cool and one of my favorite parts of Rota.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Old Japanese Cannon, Lee Abbamonte
Aside from being a World War II relic, you can actually stand on it and even move it around. From behind the cannon, you can take great shots aiming at Wedding Cake Mountain. If you do stand on it as I clearly did, be careful because it can move. Although admittedly it’s pretty solid and takes some serious UMPH to move it!
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, viewpoint
After the cannon, you’ll pass some gorgeous viewpoints but the real drive starts as well. Meaning, it’s all off road and can get really bumpy and nerve racking for those less adventurous!
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, road
The drive was seriously awesome and was the best thing on Rota in my opinion. You’ll pass some farms, memorials and graves. Don’t forget to say hi to the cows you pass before you get back to civilization so to speak and the Latte Stone Quarry. It’s not the most impressive thing but it’s cool enough and it’s the only place on Earth where you can see this type of thing.
Rota, CNMI, Northern Mariana Islands, Latte Stone Quarry
So that’s basically it: a great overnight trip to Rota from Guam or Saipan with a killer drive and beautiful beaches. The drive and the beaches make it pretty awesome and well worth your time. It’s much more interesting than Saipan and much prettier than Tinian. I highly recommend an overnight trip to Rota!

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  1. I’ve never heard of Rota but it looks spectacular Lee

  2. I’ve been to Guam and Saipan but missed out on Rota and Tinian. If I’m ever back in the Guam region then I’ll be sure to make the time to check them out. I also read your Tinian post-that sounds amazing, great stuff.

  3. Nice post, good info although I’ll never go to Rota. I love your site because you write about places I’ve never heard of and will likely never go to.

  4. I’ve been following your trip on Facebook/Instagram. It’s nice to get a deeper perspective than the one off photos you post on social media.

  5. Nice write up. I lived on Rota for 2 years and have to say if you ever get to go back, do. That little island houses some amazing secret spots that the all too friendly locals have to show you. The dives, the grotto, the waterfalls… you hit some good spots for and overnighter, but the prettiest stuff is hidden within and undernearh. 🙂

  6. thankyou for post.
    I will going to saipan&rota at November .

  7. Like Camas said… the best parts of the island is the spots where the locals have to show and share with you. You need to go back for a few days to explore the most beautiful untouched paradise on earth. Best way to the beauty is to make friends with the people there. The locals are extremely friendly and pretty easy to befriend. Thank you for your post on Rota.

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