Pagan Island

This island is striking in its contrasts. A long island with two volcanoes -- one active, having erupted in 1981, and one dormant, Pagan has perhaps the most varied and unusual features of all the islands in Marianas chain.

You may land by helicopter on the grassy area between twin bays or use the old Japanese airstrip which is partially covered by lava flow, a 30-foot wall that rises unexpectedly. A skilled pilot with a small plane can land on this strip.

The first thing you'll see is a wide black sand beach and an old concrete monument from the Japanese era, a memorial to those who fought in the Marianas during World War II. There is also an old bomb shelter and a WWII Japanese Zero for history buffs to enjoy.

The black sand beaches are pristine, except for fishing floats and an occasional glass ball. Spend some time snorkeling in Banadero Bay and you'll see tropical fish and octopus. Cows and pigs grow as big as they can on Pagan before they die. They have no natural enemies here.

The active volcano stands majestically. Flying over the mouth of the volcano is like looking into Hell, and is one of the most exciting experiences you can imagine. The bottom is perhaps a thousand feet deep.

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