With its fantastic food culture and untouched beaches, the small island of Guam is one to add to the bucket list
Writer: Dani Redd / Project Manager: Joe Palliser
Chances are, you haven’t considered a trip to Guam. This US-owned island in the West Pacific is better known for its American army bases than as a holiday destination. However, travel to this small island and you’ll discover a wealth of geographical and cultural attractions. A former Spanish colony, Guam still bears traces of its colonial past. Take a road trip across the southern parts of the island and you’ll discover tiny hilltop towns, such as Umatac, populated with Spanish-built churches and forts. And then, of course, there’s the beaches, where powdery white sand is lapped by the translucent waters of the Pacific. The most popular tourist area is around Tumon Bay, where you’ll find a host of resorts clustered around a wide sweep of sand.
US travellers will discover a lot that’s familiar to them – malls, fast food outlets and even US post boxes. But the island’s population is comprised of around 40 percent indigenous Chamorro people, Filipinos, Pacific Islanders, Asians and whites. This multiculturalism has affected many areas of life, especially the island’s food culture. Try a local dish of red rice or Guam-style barbecue, where the meat is marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and onions.
In Focus: Dededo
With a population of around 45,000, Dededo is Guam’s most populous town – the capital, Hagåtña, has 1,100 inhabitants. Dededo is in the northern part of the island, within easy distance of the coast. Once a sleepy farming community, it’s now an important commercial and residential centre with plenty of attractions close to hand.
If you like to shop, head to Micronesia Mall – the largest on the island. For a taste of local flavour, hit up the Guam Farmers Market, where you’ll find stalls selling fresh produce, handicrafts and delicious barbecue. You’ll find plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and hotels for a comfortable stay here.
A string of beaches runs along the outskirts of the town. One of them is Mushroom Rock Hilaan Beach, named after the mushroom-shaped limestone formations in the bay. It’s a quiet, picturesque beach that’s great for swimming. Another nearby beach is located at Ritidian Point, a national wildlife refuge.
TWO LOVERS POINT
This lookout point, atop a 125-metre high limestone cliff, commands the best views on the island. It gets its name after the two star-crossed Chamorro warriors who allegedly jumped to their death.
GUAM PACIFIC WAR MUSEUM
If you’re interested in World War II History, this museum is a must-visit. You’ll find informative displays about Guam’s role in the war, memorabilia and even a selection of World War II vehicles.
Guam’s tallest mountain offers stunning views of the island and the ocean beyond. It rises 37,820 feet above the floor of the Marianas Trench, meaning it’s technically the tallest mountain in the world – although most of it is underwater.
Getting There and Around
Guam International Airport is the largest airport in the country, serviced by several airlines, including United Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air. It flies to 35 international destinations, including 11 in Japan – there are no direct flights from Europe. Most hotels in Guam offer free airport pickup.
The island is small, with a good road network – the best way around it is to rent a car. There are plenty of car rental providers near the airport, and in the tourist hotspot of Tumon. Taxis are also available, and the Guam Regional Transport Authority operates buses along nine scheduled routes.
For local flavours…
For delicious barbecue…
For Japanese Cuisine…
For luxurious beach getaways…
For Thai grandeur…
For total relaxation…
For hassle-free holiday communication…
is Guam’s total telecommunications and internet provider. It’s responsible for setting up free Wi-Fi hotspots across the island, and for introducing an advanced 4G LTE service in 2012. It offers a great ‘visitor sim + wifi’ plan, which includes unlimited local calls and SMS, allowing you stress-free communication.
For fire dancing show and unlimited BBQ…
For jungle river cruises…
For observing dolphins…
For scuba diving adventures…