Guam – The Undiscovered Gem of Micronesia
Perhaps every mainland American’s dream vacation is to visit the Islands of Hawaii. Who wouldn’t want to see the beautiful sights of this American paradise? But there is another American island that few people know of. That is the Island of Guam.
Located in the islands of Micronesia, Guam is tucked between Asia and Hawaii in the Western Pacific Ocean. It is a tiny island-only 32 miles long and 8 miles wide. You could drive the whole perimeter of the island in about two hours. Just like Hawaii, Guam is surrounded by coral reefs and gorgeous white beaches. Lush rainforests boast colorful flowers and dense vegetation. Beautiful waterfalls are around every corner. The water in the ocean surrounding the island is crystal clear and you can easily spot colorful fish darting among the coral. The climate on Guam is typical of paradise-the temperature hovers around 80 degrees year-round.
Guam is an American territory, so there is no need to worry about currency exchange or language barriers. One thing you won’t find on Guam, however, is a myriad of American tourists. It is a popular resort location of Southern Asia, but somewhat unknown to Americans. When you arrive on Guam you feel as if you have entered another country, without the hassles of changing your money or dealing with language translation. It really looks like Hawaii, but with an Asian flair. Everywhere you look you will see Asian touches, specifically catered to the Japanese who frequent the beachside resorts. You quickly forget that you are still on American soil!
The native people of Guam are the Chamorro people, who have their own culture and language. One fun thing to do in Guam is to explore the culture of the Chamorran people. Other nationalities include Filipino, Pacific Islanders, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and many other Asian nationalities. It is a truly racially and culturally diverse island.
One of the most striking attributes of the people of Guam is their friendliness. Nowhere will you find a more hospitable people. The reason for that is obvious as you tour the island. The only industry on Guam is tourism. They do not have factories or agriculture. They base their entire economy on making tourists comfortable. Hafa Adai is the local greeting and you will hear it wherever you go.
Hotel accommodations are second-to-non on Guam, but be prepared to pay for them. There are not cheap hotels on this island. Along the Western beach is a strip of gorgeous luxury resorts filled with every amenity you can imagine. Most of these resorts have beachfront property with their own private beaches for guests. Or, if you prefer, you can skip the salt water and take advantage of the pool or water park that the hotel owns.
Don’t be surprised if you are witness to a wedding or two during your stay on Guam. Guam is like the Las Vegas of Micronesia when it comes to weddings. Many Asian couples come to Guam to be married in a beachfront chapel. In fact, most of the resorts have a chapel to be used for this purpose.
What is there to do on Guam? Well, one day of your visit should be spent simply driving the perimeter of the island. This serves two purposes. First, it will allow you to get your bearings on the island and second it will give you an appreciation for the vast cultural variety on the island. Be sure you stop at a few waterfalls on this tour. Plan at least two days to spend on water activities. Snorkeling, scuba diving, submarine tours, boat rental and swimming are just some of the activities you can do on the water. One thing you should not bring to Guam, however, is your surfboard. The waves on the island are not large enough for surfing. One interesting cultural attraction on Guam is the Chamorro village. Located along the beachfront, this area provides a place for local Chamorro artists and chefs to pedal their wares. This is a great place to sample the local cuisine. Also, if you enjoy history, plan to spend a day touring the World War II monuments and memorials. Make sure you catch a sunset on the beach during your stay!
The best time of year to visit Guam is during the dry season, which runs from January until May. The island is composed of tropical rainforests and averages around 80 inches of rain a year, so keep that in mind if you plan a trip in the rainy season.
Guam is truly an undiscovered paradise to the American tourist. The island will provide you with a taste of Asia with a touch of home. When planning your next dream vacation, keep this tiny gem in mind!