Ferry available for Tinian Hot Pepper Festival

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(MVA) — The Marianas Visitors Authority will offer ferry service between Tinian and Saipan for the 16th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 15-16, 2020.

Natasha Tomokane, center, and 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, right, and other judges sample entries in the Katdon Pika Cooking Contest at the 15th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival.   The Marianas Visitors Authority and co-sponsor Tinian Mayor’s Office will hold the 16th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 15-16, 2020, at the Fiesta Grounds in San Jose on Tinian, adjacent to Kammer Beach.  MVA photo

The ferry schedule is: Feb. 14, departing Saipan at 5 p.m. (reserved for Pika Bike Race participants with proof of registration) and departing Tinian at 8:30 p.m.; Feb. 15, departing Saipan at 9 a.m. and departing Tinian at 4:30 p.m. (reserved for Pika Bike Race participants); Feb. 16, departing Saipan at 9 a.m. and departing Tinian at 4:30 p.m.; and Feb. 17, departing Saipan at 8 a.m. and departing Tinian at 12 p.m. The Super Emerald ferry will depart from the Commonwealth Ports Authority dock in Lower Base, passengers and must check in one hour before departure.

Ferry round trip cost is $25 for ages 3-11, $35 for ages 12 and older, and free for children ages 0-2. For one way, the cost is $14 for ages 3-11, $19 for ages 12 and older, and free for children ages 0-2. Advance ticket purchase is required and will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. Ticket purchases may be made at the MVA office in Tinian or Saipan. Cash payments only will be accepted.

“We’re pleased to announce the confirmation of ferry services between Saipan and Tinian for the festival, there have been a number of inquiries already,” said MVA Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “We encourage everyone to purchase their tickets early, as several routes were sold out last year.”

The Tinian Hot Pepper Festival will be held at the Fiesta Grounds in San Jose, Tinian, adjacent to Kammer Beach. The festival, affectionately knowns as “Pika Fest” among locals (“pika” means spicy), pays homage to Tinian’s small but famous “donne sali” hot pepper. Activities will include dances, bands, and other live entertainment; cooking competitions, indigenous craft sales; and more. Festivalgoers will have the chance to purchase a variety of local dishes, join the umang (hermit crab) races, participate in sports activities, and join the hot pepper eating competition, itself.

In addition, the 65K Pika Bike Race on Feb. 15 will begin at 6 a.m. To register or for more information, contact Dawn Sarmiento at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Alex Gozon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Air service between Saipan and Tinian is provided by Star Marianas and takes 15 minutes. Extended flight service will also be available on festival days. Airport shuttle will be offered by MVA to and from the festival site.

Accommodations are available at Tinian Ocean View, Lorilynn’s Hotel, Tinian Street Motel, Fleming Hotel, Green Lion House Hotel, and the Marpo Valley Inn. Free camping is available at Kammer Beach, Taga Beach (toilets, barbecue pits, and outdoor showers available) and at the adjacent Tachogna Beach (toilets, barbecue pits, and indoor showers available).

For more information, contact Tinian field operations supervisor Vida Borja at 433-9365 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or MVA community project specialist Ray Villagomez at 664-3210 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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