‘Flaming’ islands

   flame2 IMG_5052_peIT’S that time of the year once again in the Northern Mariana Islands when all you see while driving around the island are bare flame trees with nothing but twigs on them. Those leafless trees are just the onset of something wonderful. In a few weeks, red flaming flowers will blossom and replace the bleak view and make it look like the whole island is on fire.

Chances are you just take the same island scenes for granted day in and day out, but one day you wake up and realize that the flame tree flowers have burst into full bloom adding gorgeous colors in contrast to the blue skies, blue ocean and lush green forests.

Flying above the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota during these months gives one a breathtaking view of vast green jungles sprinkled with a lot of red flaming trees.

Driving around the island is much more enjoyable. It’s like seeing the islands from a whole new perspective. In honor of these flaming flowers, the CNMI named one of the biggest annual festivals in Micronesia after it—the Flame Tree Arts Festival.

The best places to drive around where you will see the best transformation is the Airport Road lined up by flame trees.

Even walking along the roadsides during these months is much more pleasant. Imagine walking on pathways strewn with red flaming blooms like flower girls had been there before you.

Flame trees bloom at the same time each year, but you will never get exactly the same magic. It’s different every year.

For anyone planning a trip to Saipan, Tinian or Rota, the best times of the year is from March to July — when the flaming flowers are out on a spectacular display.

The flame trees are just one of the added bonuses that make life more colorful in these paradise islands.

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