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Be sure to check with the U.S. State Department before you plan a trip.

 

 

Guam is a 212-square-mile (8 miles wide and 32 miles long) island and the largest of the Micronesian Islands.  The island is a United States territory. Residents born in Guam are United States citizens. 

 

Guam is located 900 miles north of the equator in the Western Pacific Ocean.  For a perspective, it is 6,000 miles from San Francisco, 3,800 miles west of Honolulu (a 7-hour flight), 1,500 miles south of Japan, 1,596 miles from the Philippines, 2,026 miles east of Hong Kong, and 1,922 miles east of Shanghai.  

 

The population is approximately 173,000 including military personnel (United Nations estimate).  Caucasians represent only 6% of the population, Chamorro 37%, and Filpino 26%. 

 

Guam was never thought of as an island paradise and heretofore was looked upon primarily as a strategic military base.  However, it has blossomed of late into a popular destination for Asian vacationers, particularly Koreans.  Over 1.4 million tourists visited Guam in 2015.  In fact, Guam set a record in the month of February 2016 of 142,332 vacationers.  Vacationers have begun to look at Guam as a great diving locale.  With increased construction of beach resorts, people also have begun choosing it as a beach holiday.  The average air travel time from most major Asian nations is only 3.5 - 4.5 hours. 

 

DOCUMENTATION: Valid U.S. passport, visitors from other nations must provide a passport plus U.S. visa.  Several nations have been granted exception for requirement of a visa (Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Narru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom) for others, check with your respective native country. 

 

LANGUAGE: English and Chamorro

 

CURRENCY: dollar U.S.  Major credit cards are accepted.

 

ELECTRICITY: same as U.S: 120 volts/60 cycles

 

CUISINE ON GUAM:

Guam cuisine consists of chicken and corn chowder soups, spicy coconut eggplant, red rice, hot and spicy chicken, barbecue marinated reef fish, chicken and beef, shrimp patties, and chicken keleguen (chicken, lemon juice, coconut, and hot peppers). 

 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS IN GUAM: 

July 4: Independence Day

 

THE BEST TIME TO VACATION ON GUAM:  

The tropical weather is hot and humid, averaging 85 degrees year-round.  December through June is the “dry season.”  July though November is the “rainy season.”

 

 

 

 

 

AVOID:  September and October

 

 

Coral and blue ocean on Guam

 

 HAGATNA (formerly Agana): Hagatna is the island’s capital city. 

 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS ON GUAM:

Guam is considered as one of the world’s better diving destinations.  Several World War I and World War II sunken ships have added to the coral reefs maturity.  The rich coral life is diverse: over 300 different types of coral and 950 species of colorful coral reef fish.

 

There are two types of dives: within Apra Harbor (mainly shipwrecks) and those outside the outer reef (deep drop-offs to coral head and sandy flats of garden eels). 

Hagatna (Agana), Guam.  Apra Harbor.  The city of Hagatna has always been the major city on

Guam and the Apra Harbor played a large part in World War II. 

Copyright - iStock.com

tamaw

 

Major dive sites include the Tokai Maru, the Kitsugawa Maru, the SMS Comoran, the Blue Hole (a 300-foot limestone shaft off Orote Point - for experienced divers), Gab Gab II (main dive site of the Atlantis Submarine), the Crevice (just south of the Blue Hole - ideal from April through December), Coral Gardens and Haps Reef (off Agat Bay - ideal for beginner divers).  11 Mile Reef is elusive, so named as it is eleven miles off the southernmost tip of Guam.  Strong currents make it strictly for expert divers.  Reef hooks are advised.  There is excellent visibility of more than 150 feet.  There are several excellent local dive shops.  Boat dives are the safest form of local diving. 

 

Water sports abound: swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, kite boarding, parasailing, deep-sea sport fishing - you name it and it’s here. 

 

Guam even has its share of water parks - the largest being at the Pacific Islands Club and the Onward Beach Resort. 

 

For those of you that either does not wish to get wet or are non-swimmers: the 65-foot, 48-passenger Atlantis mini-submarine tours also are a choice for underwater exploring.  It sails from Aqua Marine World in Piti.  This 1 ¼-hour adventure doesn’t come cheaply.  Be prepared to shell out around $85.00 per passenger. 

 

Underwater World is next to Sam Choy’s in Tumon.  It houses three floors of huge aquariums and water tunnels with a huge variety of sea-life.  

Tumon Bay, Guam

 

Another underwater view is available at Fish Eye Park Marine Observatory - descend into a World War II bomb hole (air-conditioned) and view the underwater sea-life.  The cost is $28.00 per person.  It is located in Piti. 

 

Other boat tours include dolphin watching and riverboat tours on the Talofolo River in the southern part of the island and the jungles otherwise inaccessible. 

 

Golfers have a choice of seven top notch public courses. 

 

Guam Safari Tours offer eco hiking explorations of the island’s jungles.  However, before you go hiking, consider the current plague in Guam.  The venomous brown tree snakes (Boiga irregularis) have almost devastated the ecosystem of Guam.  The beautiful 13 native bird species of Guam are no more.  It is reported that only starlings and swiftlets remain.  Two of the island's bat species have been wiped out as well.  The brown tree snakes apparently are causing new tree growth to disappear as well.  The only way that trees can spread their seeds to start new trees is by the now nearly extinct fruit bat.  It is estimated there are 2 million snakes or 13,000 per square mile.   

The wretched Brown Tree Snake

 

For some, the highlight of a Guam visit is touring the World War sites, of which there are more than a dozen.  Access to some requires considerable hiking. 

·        The war in the Pacific National Historic Park is the only facility in the National Park service dedicated to the Pacific Theater of World War II.  It is located on the west side of the island near Piti, Asan, and Agat.  The park is adjacent to the U.S. Naval Base Guam.  A museum provides a historical perspective of Guam’s role in the war.  Open hours are daily: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years Days. 

·         South Pacific Memorial Park: A 50-foot tower shaped like praying hands commemorates the 50,000 Japanese lives sacrificed during the war.  It is located just off Marine Corps Drive at the foot of Mount Matagi. 

·         Plaza de Espana (in Hagatna) is the most visited site in Guam (with the exception of the strip clubs).  This is the site of the Governor’s Palace - alas, destroyed during the war. 

·         Visiting either Andersen Air Force Base or the Naval Station Historic Sites requires valid military identification, a sponsor, or written permission secured a minimum of three weeks in advance. 

 

Guam is a wedding destination with numerous “Las Vegas-style” chapels. 

 

Two Lovers Point (Puntan Dos Amantes) is a visitor favorite for a romantic and breathtaking view.  According to ancient folklore, two lovers who had been forbidden to marry, tied their hair together and jumped to their deaths from the 378-foot-high cliff.  It is open daily. 

 

IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHT’S REST ON GUAM:

Most of the major hotel chains now have a property on Guam: the Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt, Outrigger, and Westin.

 

Tumon is the resort district with several luxury resorts. 

 

TASTY DINING ON GUAM:

You cannot go wrong with Chinese/Asian cuisine on Guam.  Sam Choy’s in Tumon is a longtime local and visitor favorite for Chinese cuisine. 

 

Check out the Chamorro Village Night Market on Wednesday nights and the Ocean Night Markets on Friday nights for a sampling of local cuisine.  This takes place in Hagatna. 

 

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN ON GUAM:

The Sandcastle located in the Tulom district offers splashy dinner Las Vegas style revues.  Other Tulom resorts offer island cultural shows. 

 

Jeff’s Pirate Cove on Highway 4 in Talafolo on the east side of the island is a famous beach bar that includes an interesting museum - and is said to offer Guam’s best burgers.

 

There’s even a Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood, the Globe dance club at the Sandcastle, the Trades Jazz Club in the Bayview Plaza Building in Tumon, and Club Pash. 

 

Another island form of dives: the nightlife can get a little steamy and raunchy with numerous girlie strip club shows with Asian and American imports.  For the right amount of moolah, almost anything seems to be tolerated. 

 

WINDOW SHOPPING ON GUAM:

The top high end shopping locales are the DFS Galleria, Tumon Sands Plaza, and the Plaza at the Outrigger.

 

What’s this?  There’s even a Macy’s on Guam - their only outpost outside the continental United States and Hawaii, except for Puerto Rico. 

 

Latte Stone on Guam

You might not have ever heard of Latte Stones before.  Basically it's a pillar topped by a circular stone or stones, but flat on top.  Apparently Latte Stones were used by Chamorro people as supports for dwellings or community buildings.  They are found throughout the Mariana Islands. 

Latte stones on Guam.  Latte stones have become symbols of the ancient cultures on Guam.