There are many islands dotted all around the world in various locations. However while some of them may be instantly familiar to you, others will probably have you frowning because you’ve never heard of them. We suspect the Northern Mariana Islands might well fall into this category. The good news is you’ll certainly know the currency the people on these islands use, since it is the United States dollar. We’ll find out more about both of them in this article.

What coins and notes are available for this currency?

The US dollar is broken into 100 cents and there are coins available for both cents and dollar amounts. The coins start from the one cent coin and go up through the five, 10, 25, 50 and one dollar coins. In the US the largest two coins in terms of value are not often used, but you might still see them in the Northern Mariana Islands.

There are a lot of banknotes in use too. These begin with the $1 note (which is partly why the coin isn’t used, as the banknote is easier and lighter to carry). Aside from this you also have the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. There are $2 notes available as well but they aren’t often seen in circulation.

From past to present – the history of the Northern Mariana Islands US dollar

The Northern Mariana Islands are closely associated with the United States. They are not strictly a territory of the US but they do have a political union with them. It is perhaps not surprising then that the islands use the US dollar in daily transactions. The union with the US has been in place since the late Seventies. The islands also receive financial assistance from the United States, although the level of this assistance has altered over the years.

The islands were first discovered in the early 1500s and since then they have passed through the hands of several nations.

How to get hold of the Northern Mariana Islands US dollar

Clearly this is going to be one of the easiest currencies to get hold of prior to your arrival in the Northern Mariana Islands. Sometimes you will go somewhere that only issues the currency when you actually get there. This won’t be the case here though. All you need to do is find a bureau de change that provides a good exchange rate for the US dollar and put in your order prior to going away. This will ensure you can have a good rate of exchange on your own currency.

You will be pleased to hear you can also use traveller’s cheques while on the islands. To make the exchange easy to do whenever required though, make sure your traveller’s cheques are already denominated in US dollars. It saves on paying more fees when you don’t need to.

When on the islands you’ll also be able to pay in US dollars by using either credit or debit cards. However not all businesses accept card payments. You should be okay with businesses that are focused on serving tourists, but in some other cases you might be out of luck. As such it is best to check what payment methods are taken prior to making a purchase.

Finally you can of course take out money from cash machines at banks across the islands. However the opening hours of the banks can vary from place to place, and they are not always open all day. For example one source stated that banks were usually open between 10am and 3pm four days a week. Fridays usually see the banks opening for longer, but this does not always apply in all areas.

How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Northern Mariana Islands US dollar

This is easy enough to do, thanks to the presence of plenty of currency converters online today. All you have to do is find one you like and type in your own currency followed by the US dollar. You can either convert one unit of your own currency or enter the amount you want to take in spending money with you. Either way you’ll get the current exchange rate relevant to your situation. This won’t take into account any fees you might have to pay as a result of exchanging your currency for the US currency in a bureau de change. However it does provide you with a good idea of how far your own currency will go when converted into the US dollar.

To find out more about the Northern Mariana Islands and their government, you can visit their official website at

Travelling safely with the Northern Mariana Islands US dollar

Generally speaking there are no real problems in this part of the world with regard to crime. In terms of natural hazards there are a couple of volcanoes on the islands that may pose a risk, while typhoons are also experienced in this area. Keep abreast of local information so you know whether either of these things pose a potential risk to you while you are in the area.

In terms of crime there is no real problem, although there have been reports of some tourists having some of their possessions stolen while staying there. In reality though, these problems are few and far between. In addition it is worth knowing you will be much safer if you practise sensible precautions. For example make sure you don’t leave any of your possessions unattended. You should never make it clear you are carrying lots of cash and if you can divide up your possessions or cash on your person, so much the better. Pickpocketing is uncommon – crime tends to involve people having their things stolen while they are not in their hotel room. If you can book a room that provides you with a safe, so much the better.

Where to spend your dollars in the Northern Mariana Islands – and what to spend them on

We have yet to find out where the Northern Mariana Islands actually are. To answer that question, you’ll find them in the Pacific Ocean. You may also hear them referred to simply as the Mariana Islands, but this strictly includes Guam as well. There are two main islands while the rest are much smaller and are laid out in a chain. This runs roughly in a north to south line.

The capital of the Northern Mariana Islands is Capitol Hill, which can be found on Saipan, one of the main islands. This is not a city though – it actually only has a little over 1,000 residents all told.

There are plenty of places you could visit while you are in this part of the world. For example one highlight surely has to be the American Memorial Park. This has the benefit of including lots of different areas you could visit, including beaches, forest areas and also picnic sites. If you are keen on walking you can enjoy wandering along some of the footpaths that are provided for your use in the park.

Another of the main islands is called Tinian. One of the main attractions for tourists visiting this area is the House of Taga. This archaeological site takes you back into the past and gives you an opportunity to see some latte stone pillars. Unfortunately while there was originally a series of them standing in the area, only one is left standing today. This is due to several earthquakes that toppled the rest.

If you’d like to see some spectacular beaches while you’re in the Northern Mariana Islands, you are indeed spoilt for choice. The islands here provide you with an opportunity to select a gorgeous beach that has plenty to offer. You can dip into warm clear waters or simply lie back and relax under the sun on the softest of sands.

The island of Saipan is much busier in general than nearby Tinian. The good news is they are not too far apart, so you could certainly have a holiday that allows you to see the best of both. There are plenty of hotels to choose from as a base for your stay too, and since many of them are right on the beach you can get the best of all worlds when you come and stay in the Northern Mariana Islands for the first time.


You may never have heard of these islands before you read this article. While they are not one of the main attractions in this part of the world they do have plenty to offer the eager traveller. Furthermore they tend to provide you with a chance to explore an area few others will have done before you.

While tourism is a major source of revenue here, it doesn’t mean there are constant floods of tourists coming in. This means you’ve got the chance to explore without feeling like you’re being crowded out. You can also enjoy the ability to go somewhere you’ve never considered before.

Northern Mariana Islands – USD

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