The Marianas Visitors Authority will offer ferry service between Tinian and Saipan for the 18th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival on Feb. 18-20, 2022.
The festival, more popularly knowns as “Pika Fest” among locals (“pika” means spicy), pays homage to Tinian’s small but famous “donne sali” hot pepper and includes a full weekend of activities, including food sales, live entertainment, competitions, arts and crafts sales, and more.
The ferry schedule is: Feb. 18, departing Saipan at 5pm (reserved for 50K Pika Bike Race participants with proof of registration) and departing Tinian at 9pm; Feb. 19, departing Saipan at 8am and 4pm and departing Tinian at 12pm (reserved for Pika Bike Race participants) and 8pm; Feb. 20, departing Saipan at 8am and departing Tinian at 6pm; and Feb. 21, departing Saipan at 8am and departing Tinian at 5pm.
The Super Emerald ferry will depart from the Commonwealth Ports Authority dock in Lower Base, passengers and must check in one hour before departure. Thirty-five passengers are allowed per ferry, and household pets are also allowed.
Ferry round trip cost is $15 for ages 3-11, $30 for ages 12 and older, and free for children ages 0-2. For one way, the cost is $10 for ages 3-11, $18 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 on Tinian or Saipan. Cash payments only will be accepted.
“To attract more visitors in support of the Tinian community and economy, we are bringing back ferry service again this year to make it possible for bikers to attend and to provide everyone another opportunity to get there, in additional to the commuter flights,” said MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “We are looking forward to another great festival and encourage everyone not to miss the soft opening on Friday night this year.”
The festival will have a soft opening at 6pm on Feb. 18 at the Fiesta Grounds in San Jose, Tinian, adjacent to Jones Beach. On Feb. 19 and 20, live entertainment and competitions will begin at 5pm.
The 50K Pika Bike Race will begin at 6am on Feb. 19 at the Fiesta Grounds. Registration is $40. Registration forms and payment may be submitted at The Bike Shop in Courtney’s Plaza on Beach Road in Chalan Kanoa, Saipan.
Hotel accommodations are available at Tinian Ocean View, Tinian Diamond Hotel, Lorilynn’s Hotel, Tinian Street Motel, Fleming Hotel, Green Lion House Hotel, and the Marpo Valley Inn, and Western Lodge. Free camping is available at Kammer Beach, Taga Beach (toilets, barbecue pits, and outdoor showers available) and at the adjacent Tachogna Beach (barbecue pits, indoor showers, and toilets are available).
For more information, contact Tinian field operations supervisor Vida Borja at 1 (670) 433-9365 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or MVA community projects specialist Jack Aranda at 1 (670) 664-3200 or email email@example.com. (MVA)