Visiting Guam: Sights and Experiences
Once you land in Guam you’ll quickly see that the natural beauty of the island and the Pacific Ocean will demand your attention, along with its history.
Places of InterestOf particular interest to many visitors to Guam will be the World War II historical sites, many of which are preserved and maintained as the War in the Pacific National Historical Park. There are six sites of the park on Guam including U.S. gun encasements, Japanese coastal defense guns, caves, tunnels, bomb and shell craters, pillboxes and foxholes.
If you’re a hiker there are waterfalls and mountains and trails to traverse. You might want to start by climbing the world’s highest mountain. You won’t need winter gear, down parkas, crampons, ice axes or Sherpas to help carry your gear. Measured from its base at the bottom of the Mariana Trench there is no taller mountain. Measured from sea level it’s only about 1334 feet and you can hike to the summit in about 20 or 30 minutes. They tell my you’ll be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views, but I didn’t manage to fit this journey to the top of Mount Lam Lam into my hectic schedule – next time for sure.
I did visit the Talofofo Falls. Here you’ll find a cable car to get you to and from the falls. Don’t miss the museum and the funhouse and watch out for the wild pigs, geese and ducks. You may recall the story of a Japanese soldier by the name of Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi who hid in the jungle for 27 years following WWII. You can learn more about him and view a replica of his cave.
Other sites of interest are the Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, an early 19th century fort, the Meriza Bell Tower, the Talifak Bridge and Fort Santa Agueda.
Not only does Guam have an aquarium in the middle of the ocean and the world’s tallest mountain it also has the statue of liberty. Or at least a replica. It was erected in 1950 as a gift from the Boy Scouts of America in recognition of their 40th anniversary.
Maybe you’re planning to see what may be the grandest adventure available here. The aquarium was fun, but maybe that was just a sampler for you. Maybe, your plan is to spend much of your time underwater where the visibility at times seems almost unlimited and where the diving is exceptional. Wreck diving is readily available and the fish are abundant. You’ll marvel at the Fine-Lined Squirrelfish, the Saber Squirrelfish, the Humbug Damselfish, the Christmas Tree Worm, the Clownfish, Figtail Grouper, Blue-banded Surgeonfish, Threadfin Butterflyfish, the Picassofish, Moorish Idol, Octopus, Pin Cushion Star and many, many other colorful and intriguing characters of the sea. One of my favorites is the Lionfish. There are lots of options for scuba diving and snorkeling. The water is warm, the currents are mild and the seas are uncrowded.
If you’re tired of all the running around about the island and are ready for a latte you don’t need to hunt for a coffee shop. The lattes on Guam that you won’t want to miss are in a nice shady spot called Senator Angel Leon Guerrero Santos Latte Memorial Park.
According to the Guam Visitors Guide the Ancient Chamorros built their homes on stone pillars known as latte. (They surely didn’t know that Starbucks was coming.) These pillars have a supporting column of coral limestone and the capstone or top was made from natural, hemispherical coral heads collected from the reef. The houses, probably of bamboo and other natural wood products of the area, were built atop the lattes. So, skip the Caribbean and head a bit farther west. It’s a long haul trip, but tie it in with a visit to Palau or some of the islands and you’ll have a great adventure. Maybe add a 2 or 3 day visit to Tokyo. Mix the country flavor of Guam with the big city nightlife of Tokyo. Although Guam certainly has nightlife – plenty of good restaurants and entertainment.
Food, Drink, and FunWhen you get here be sure and let one of your first reservations be for the Cocktail Show at the Sandcastle – a particularly entertaining combination of acrobatics, magical illusions and contortionists. Afterwards stop in to the Café’ Havana Guam for some really good Latin music, big band style.
Before you head off to the airport, and especially if you missed the Micronesia Island Fair, be sure to visit the Chamorro Village public market. Here you’ll find handicrafts, local fruits and nuts and freshly cooked local foods. If you’re on the island on Wednesday check out the evening market for more local food, entertainment and people watching.
When You GoWhen you pack, be sure to bring along your camera. And, an extra memory card. The light and the blue sky and the even darker blue Pacific will keep you clicking. If you forgot any necessities or you want to pick up a box of Macadamia nut chocolates at a reasonable price, check out the world’s largest K-Mart, probably just a couple of blocks from your hotel. Speaking of hotels, the Pacific Island Club is an outstanding family vacation resort:
And, in case you didn’t know, Guam is now a territory of the United States and its citizens are full-fledged, proud U.S. citizens.
Learn about Guam’s contribution in WWII at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Read more about Guam:
A former college professor, Robert Painter is author of one of the highest ranked Southwestern Art and Travel books on Amazon.com. He has traveled extensively throughout Indian country attending virtually every major American Indian art show in the Western U.S. and visiting Native American communities throughout the country. Robert has recently completed cruises on the Crown Odyssey, the Silver Cloud, the Silver Shadow, the Norwegian Dream, Seven Seas Navigator and the Windjammer S/V Mandalay. He has traveled to Italy, Greece, Barbados, Russia, Denmark and more countries than we have room to list. Story and photos by Robert Painter: email@example.com.