Seven Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Guam

July 21, 2020

Guam is a beautiful island in the South Pacific. Blessed with pleasant tropical weather all-year-round, the island is indeed a great choice for your next vacation. Tourists on a visit to Guam can enjoy exploring the island’s rich natural resources, immerse themselves in local Chamorro culture, and shop to their heart’s content at the islands’ duty-free stores. Below, we have listed a few things you should keep in mind before visiting this beautiful U.S. territory in the Pacific:

There Is A Wide Variety Of Travel Accommodations On The Island

Do not let its small size full you. Guam has a variety of accommodation choices to suit different budgets and needs. A quick internet search will lead you to a variety of hotels in Guam. Choices range from popular high-end chains to value-for-money local motels. The area of Tumon in Hagåtña, the capital of Guam, is considered the main tourist area. Many hotels are located here, although visitors looking for something more isolated may also consider accommodations in the southern end of the island. Another advantage of booking a hotel instead of a vacation rental property is that many hotels offer airport pick up and drop off-service. This will provide convenience for the start and end of your trip. 

Public Transportation On Guam Is Limited

First-time visitors to Guam should know that cars are the main mode of transportation on the island. While public transportation does it exist, it is not as widely developed as in many other places in the U.S. Renting a car is recommended, so be sure to bring your driver’s license. Guam honors US and international driver’s licenses.  If you do not drive, consider renting a taxi or a hired car service with a driver instead. 

Guam’s History Is Rich And Diverse

If this is your first visit to Guam, take some time to delve a bit into the island’s history and culture. You can visit the South Pacific Memorial Peace Park and the Guam Pacific War Museum to learn more about the impact of World War II on Guam. 

Apart from its role in the Second World War, Guam’s history goes back further. Prior to becoming an American territory, Guam was colonized by the Spaniards and became a popular stop in the galleon trade between Philippines and Mexico. The island still retains influences of the Spanish period in its food, architecture, and customs. Many locals carry names that are Spanish in origin. Today, a majority of Guamanians are Catholic, and the villages celebrate fiestas honoring saints of the Catholic tradition. Many of the historical structures on the island that were built by the Spaniards were bombed during World War II, but a few remain such as the Plaza de España and the San Antonio Bridge. 

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, Guam was already inhabited by the Chamorros, a Pacific island people with their own rich history and culture. The Chamorro culture of the island is kept alive by present-day Chamorros and the people of Guam in general. Make sure to attend any one of the cultural shows that take place around the island, which showcase the Chamorro people’s culture through traditional dances, music, and other forms of art. 

You can also visit the Latte Stone Park in Hagåtña, the island’s capital. Latte stones were traditional pillars used by the Chamorros as the foundation for their houses. The Chamorros started this practice as early as 500 AD, and while they are no longer typically used in construction today, latte stone formations can still be found throughout the island and are largely left untouched out of respect for the ancestors. 

The Local Culinary Scene Is Bursting With Flavors

Guamanian cuisine reflects the island’s multi-cultural nature, carrying influences from Chamorro, Spanish, Asian, and American culinary traditions. Must-try dishes that are considered Guamanian classics include: kelaguen, a fresh ceviche-like dish made with vegetables and topped with chicken or shrimp; kadon pika, a spicy chicken stew with a coconut cream base; and hineksa aga’ga, a vivid red rice flavored with onion and garlic. 

The Beach Is The Best Place To Have Fun

Spending time at the beach is a popular pastime on Guam. Spend a day or two lying on the sand in a resort, soaking up the sun with a cool drink in hand. Coco Palm Beach Garden, for example, is a private escape where you can rent a cabana, play beach volleyball, go fishing, kayaking or snorkeling. Be sure to book a relaxing beachside massage for the ultimate experience in vacation relaxation. 

The Views Under The Sea Are As Beautiful As Those Inland 

Guam is also a scuba diving gem with crystal-clear waters and eye-catching underwater marine life. There are a variety of dive spots around the island where you can spot turtles, tuna, reef sharks, and shipwrecks. As such, if you are an avid scuba diver, make sure to pack your gear and license. If not, then your visit can be a great time to get certified and really see all that Guam has to offer. 

Guam Is A Shopper’s Paradise

When you need a break from your history tours and sunny beach days, head to one of Guam’s many air-conditioned malls for some duty-free shopping. Many shopping centers on the island run shuttle services that stop by major hotels, so you can easily head to the shops and return afterwards.

Make sure to visit the Guam Premier Outlets, known as “GPO” by locals, to get the best deals from brands like Levi, Nike, and Calvin Klein. If you are looking to really make the most of that tax break, T Galleria by DFS carries high-end luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. 

A visit to Guam is going to be packed with activities and excitement. There is so much to do on the island that one visit might not be enough. To make the most of your trip, strive for a balanced mix of nature, history, and shopping. We are sure you will have a wonderful stay!

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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