Five Things First Time Travellers To Guam Should Know
- Most places are closed on a Sunday. Before you plan a trip to a restaurant, check to see if its open. As most of the island is Catholic, some establishments work on limited hours or not at all.
- You don't need to tip servers. Most hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10% or 15% service charge to the bill. For taxi drivers, you'll need to add 10% onto the fare, and hotel porters expect USD 2 to USD 5.
- The tap water is safe to drink. It's some of the best water in the region, and it tastes great. Save money on buying bottled water and instead fill up a reusable water bottle.
- Keep an eye out for the Brown Tree snakes. While you are unlikely to see one during your trip, be on the safe side especially at night. The snakes are known to hide under toilet seats, so double check before you sit down.
- Avoid visiting Guam during a storm. If an expected one does hit while you're on the island, stock up on bottled water. Sometimes the local water supply gets contaminated and clean water becomes scarce.
Best Time To Visit Guam
The best time to visit Guam is during its dry season. From December to June, the humid temperatures drop to an average of 24°C. The cooler temperatures make outdoor activities more comfortable, and there's little chance of rain ruining excursions.
However, it's also the most popular time of year to visit the island. Expect prices for airfare and hotel rates to skyrocket. But if you want to avoid the crowds, plan your visit around late December, April, May, July and September. During these months, Japanese tourists flock to the island, and the top attractions will be overflowing with people.
The island's wet season is from July to November. Over these months, tourist numbers drop as the heavy rainfall, and the possibility of typhoons keep travellers away. It's also the hottest time of year with high levels of humidity.
But if you're on a budget and don't mind the heat, it's the cheapest time of year to visit. You'll find great deals on accommodation as well cheap flights.
Hagatna is the capital city of Guam. Founded in 1686 by the Spanish, it's thought to be the first European city in the Pacific.
As a result, Hagatna is teeming with history. Some of its top sites include the Senator Angel Leon Guerrero Santos Memorial Park, the Pacific War Museum and the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral.
Dedeo is the island's second-largest city. Located on the island's limestone plateau, it's home to the majority of the island's population.
The city is a great place to base yourself to explore Guam. It's only a short distance away from some of the island's top attractions like Two Lovers Point, UnderWater World Guam and the Guam National Wildlife Refuge.
Tamuning is a must-visit destination for history buffs. The city is nearby some archaeological ruins that prove the area was once a major population centre on the island.
Today, it's known for its beautiful white beaches that have propelled the city into a top tourist destination. Be sure to stop at the Ypao Beach Archeological Site and Tumon Beach.
Top Attractions in Guam
Guam National Wildlife Refuge
A visit to the Guam National Wildlife Refuge is a must for nature lovers. The 1,203-acre park is full of a unique blend of wildlife as well as archaeological ruins of the ancient Chamorro culture.
Head to the Scenic Overlook for beautiful panoramic views. On a clear day, it's even possible to see the island of Luta in the distance.
The refuge also boasts 2 miles of trails winding through its terrain. Visit the historic coconut grove, a burial site and the ancient Spanish church, Casa Real.
There are also tours available for those that want to learn more about the region's past. Hire a guide and explore an ancient latte village, untouched since the late 17th century.
Built in 1866, the Magellan Shrine is a memorial to the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The site of the shrine is believed to be the spot where he was killed in the 1521 Battle of Mactan.
Be sure to spend some time exploring the old fortress cannons and the nearby Catholic church that marked the beginning of the Spanish era in the region.
There's also an interesting annual festival that takes place around the monument. The Kadaugan sa Mactan (Victory at Mactan) celebrates the triumph of chieftain Lapu-Lapu over Magellan. During the festivities, there are colourful processions and decorated bancas that represent Magellan's three boats.
Fish Eye Marine Park
Fish Eye Marine Park deserves a spot on any Guam itinerary. It's Micronesia's only underwater observatory. While the surrounding area is beautiful enough, the star of the show is the park's marine displays.
Inside you'll find 24 windows that allow visitors to watch 200 different types of fish swim past the colourful coral reefs. Keep an eye out for the yellow butterfly fish, trumpetfish and silvery jacks.
The area is an important place on the island for fish to mate, and if you time your visit right, you'll see plenty of juveniles. It's also a popular cleaning station, and you'll see much larger fish enjoying a scrub down.
Two Lovers Point
Two Lovers Point is steeped in the island's own tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. It's believed that two young star-crossed lovers were kept apart by their parents. When the girl found out she was to marry a Spanish captain, she and her lover met at the peak and jumped off the 400-metre high cliff into the depths below.
Today, visitors can follow a path to the tip of the point for panoramic views of the island. There are also picnic areas and even telescopes if you want to take a closer look at the surrounding landscape.
Cocos Island is one of Guam's most popular destinations. Home to a luxury resort, the uninhabited island attracts luxury travellers as well as curious day trippers.
The beaches surrounding the island are in pristine condition, and there's more than enough to keep you entertained. Explore the nearby dive sites, go on a kayaking adventure or parasail over the picturesque landscape.
Back at the resort, visitors can lounge by the pool, enjoy a drink at the bar or play a game of volleyball. However, there are no overnight accommodations on the island, and you can only visit during the day.
Major International Airports in Guam
- Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport