If you ask the average American what their dream vacation destination is, most likely they would say Hawaii. Everyone has seen pictures of this lush island paradise. But there is another, less known American paradise, the Island of Guam.
An American territory located in the islands of Micronesia, Guam is a beautiful place to visit. One of the first things you will notice as you land on the island is the friendliness of the people. The people of Guam are laid back and hospitable. Perhaps this is because the only industry on the island is tourism. No, you will not find factories or farms on Guam. The island makes its living on the Asian tourists that find it a relaxing resort location. No need to worry about currency exchange. Guam is part of America, so they use the dollar and speak English.
Guam is a very multi-cultural location. A favorite luxury resort destination for southern Asia, there are Japanese, Chinese, and Indian visitors year-round. The American military presence brings many mainland Americans to the island. The local people have their own culture and influence as well. Most islanders speak at least two if not three languages.
Guam is a lush island paradise. The temperature hovers year-round at approximately eighty degrees. Around every corner you will find waterfalls and tropical rainforests. The island is small-only thirty-two miles long and eight miles wide. You can drive around the edge of the island in a couple of hours. On this small of an island, are there enough attractions to make it worth the trip halfway across the world? Absolutely!
A visit to Guam should start with a taste of the local culture. The native people are the Chamorros. As the original residents of the island, they have a culture rich in history and tradition. The Chamorro have their own language, food, and art. Many small museums are located throughout the island with artifacts from the pre-European contact days. One of these mini-museums can be found in the Government House, the official residence for the governor. Start your exploration at Chamorro Village. This open-air market offers visitors the chance to sample Chamorro culture. Vendors sell handicrafts and food from small booths while local performers play music. You will hear the Chamorro language, which is a blend of Spanish, Asian, and western languages. Listen for greetings of “Hafa Adai,” the Chamorro phrase for “hello and welcome.” A study of the Chamorro people is not complete without a visit to Latte Park. Lattes were the traditional homes of the Chamorro people before westernization of the island. At Latte Park you can see eight lattes that have been transferred to the park from Guam’s southern interior
Guam’s playground is the beautiful Tumon Bay. White sand and crystal clear water are surrounded by lush green mountains. Along the Bay you will find five star resorts, such as the Guam Marriott Resort and Hilton Guam Resort and Spa. Each resort offers its clients every luxury money can buy, included water parks, spas, private beaches, boat and jet ski rentals, and elegant dining. At the edge of the Bay you can visit Two Lovers’ Point. This overlook provides a breathtaking view of the boardwalk and beaches of central Guam. Legend has it that two Chamorro lovers jumped to their death from this cliff when their parents refused to allow them to marry. This site is a spectacular location to view the Guam sunset! Guam is a duty-free island, and a shopper’s paradise. The resorts along the Tumon Bay boast both designer shops and local handicrafts for sale.
Guam played an instrumental part in the United States’ fighting during World War II. As a result, the island is full of World War II monuments, sites, and museums. One such location is Yokoi’s Cave. When the American military invaded Guam to recapture it from the Japanese in 1944, a Japanese soldier hid out in a cave deep in the jungle. He was discovered in 1972, and had been living in hiding for almost thirty years! Once he learned that the war is over, he was sent back to Japan as a hero. Today you can visit a reconstruction of his cave. The central part of the island has six historical parks. At Agat you can visit underwater relics. At Mount Alifan history buffs can view bomb and shell craters and visit thirty other war sites along beautiful winding trails. Piti is a hillside with Japanese World War II guns. Asan Beach has caves, encasements, pillboxes, and underwater relics. Asan itself has many relics, including a World War II bridge. The sixth park, Mount Chacho, has to be reached by hiking. Not only are hikers rewarded with war relics, but they are treated to a beautiful view as well.
During the war, the island was shelled on several occasions, which created underwater bomb craters. These craters have turned into beautiful underwater reefs, complete with sunken ships and fallen warplanes. Scuba diving or snorkeling gives visitors a chance to view the underwater world of Guam’s crystal clear oceans. In fact, because of the depth of the ocean here, Guam is one of the best diving locations in the world. Marine preserves have been established that are open to divers. Commercial dive operations offer diving classes and tours. The Guam Visitors Bureau offers a free dive Guam pamphlet that describes great Guam diving locations. Even if you are not a swimmer, you can still view the beauty of Guam’s oceans at the Fish Eye Marine Park. Located in the area of the Piti bomb holes, this underwater observatories offers visitors the opportunity enter one of the bomb holes and observe the ocean life without getting wet. The Marine Park offers boat and diving tours as well.
You cannot discuss visiting an island paradise without discussing water activities! The water temperature averages eighty-five degrees year-round. One thing that is surprising to Guam’s visitors is that there are no surfers in the water! The waves on Guam are not large enough for surfing, but perfect for swimming, boating, water skiing, deep-sea fishing, and jet skiing. All equipment necessary for these activities can be rented on the island. Water tours are a must for the Guam visitors! The waters around Guam are full of dolphins, and they will often come along side the tour boats to play in the boat’s wake. Watch carefully to see flying fish darting along the surface of the water. You can also take a dive on a submarine and watch the ocean life close-up.
Guam is truly an undiscovered paradise. Waterfalls, rainforests, and crystal clear oceans beckon to the American sense of adventure. Luxury resorts keep the visitor papered and rested. The people of this island are truly hospitable and welcoming. The friendliness of the people, the beauty of the island, and the luxury of the resorts make the island the perfect vacation destination!