Guam is a small yet beautiful island. It’s known for its pristine beaches and striking spots that attract many foreigners. Aside from the beauty of Guam’s nature and landscapes, it’s also a home of diverse culture. Reflected in its people’s customs. Discovering the island does not stop with visiting its tourist attractions. A deeper understanding comes from experiencing its cultural aspects. As well as engaging in the activities enjoyed by the locals. Here are some facts about Guam that will help you understand the island, and the Guamanians’ way of living.
Guam has spectacular beaches, and many wonderful natural and man made attractions. Which is why around a million tourists visit the island every year. Making the value of the tourism industry on Guam significant. Spurring the construction of many luxury hotels, restaurants and attractions. Increasing the role tourism plays in Guam’s economy.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Guam is ethnically diverse. The largest percentage of Guam’s population belongs to the Chamorros, followed by the Filipinos, the Americans, and other Asian groups. Hence, the island is also diversified in terms of language. English is spoken throughout the land and is used mainly for education and commerce. However, locals continue to speak their native Chamorro language. Chamorro is originally an Austronesian language that was eventually mixed with Spanish. Japanese is also gradually used in Guam due to the increasing number of Japanese tourists and investors visiting the island.
Guam’s culture has also been honed by its history. The indigenous Chamorro descent, Spanish colonization, Japanese occupation, and American influence all contributed to the current customs and traditions of the Guamanians. One tradition brought by the Chamorro heritage and invasion of the Spaniards is the celebration of fiestas. As a predominantly Catholic community, Guamanians hold processions in honor of the patron saints of villages. Music and performances accompany the festivals and are also inherent parts of Guamanians’ daily lifestyle.
An annual Liberation Day Parade also takes place to commemorate the island’s freedom from the Japanese forces. Another tradition that grew common in Guam is its night markets that resemble the old Spanish market. National holidays of the United States are celebrated in Guam, as well as several significant dates like the Discovery Day when Magellan found the island.
WHEN TRAVELING TO GUAM
Guam, with its innate beauty and culture, attracts many foreigners. If you plan to visit this magnificent island, the following list shall help you in assessing what to do to make the most out of your escapade.
THINGS TO DO
1. BEAT THE WAVES
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind for a summer getaway in Guam is diving into its crystal waters and enjoying the beaches. Resorts and hotels in Tumon, Guam provide water activities like banana boating and kayaking. If you’re not the adventurous type, worry not for the soothing environment of the beaches will relax your body, perfect for a stress-reliever vacation. Guam’s beaches are known for its “just right” water temperature. This characteristic, together with the abundance of marine life, makes the island an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.
2. WALK DOWN THE MEMORY LANE
Touring around traditional villages and historical landmarks such as monuments, churches, forts, and archaeological sites will give you an overview of what it was like during the early days of Guam. Watching the reenactments of significant events will help you dig into the roots of the island. As a war site of World War II, Guam has pieces of evidence of the battles that played a heavy part in Guam’s history.
3. CELEBRATE WITH THE LOCALS
You would probably find fiestas almost every week from different villages in Guam. These village fiestas feature great food, lively music, and overall festive experience. With the energetic welcoming of the villagers, you will definitely have a great time partying while discovering the local customs of Guam.
4. INDULGE IN ITS FINEST CUISINES
A getaway is not complete without food trips. Restaurants in Guam serve a varying array of food from all around the world. However, the island is specifically known for its unique cuisine with combined Asian, American, and Spanish influences. This food fusion is the secret to attracting almost every foreigner’s palate.
Some of the traditional recipes you ought to try in Guam are the red rice and chicken kelaguen. The annatto seeds from the achiote plant that is added to the seasoned rice give the distinctive orange color of the so-called red rice. Chicken kelaguen, on the other hand, is a popular get-together dish that includes a different technique of marinating chicken.
5. EXPERIENCE GUAM’S NIGHT LIFE
Even at night, Guam’s energy is still alive and kicking. The night clubs, bars, and lounges are scattered in various areas of Guam, with Tumon being the best-known village for party spots. The villages seem to be cities that never sleep with the upbeat music provided by local DJs.
6. STOP AND SHOP
Looking for designer items and unique handicrafts while visiting the island? Worry not, for you’ll find many of them in boutiques and night markets situated in different parts of Guam. The products handcrafted by local artisans were made with skills molded by experience, giving you a rare and special item that you’ll not find anywhere else. What makes the shopping galore even better is that all retail purchases are actually tax-free!
7. SLEEP WITH A SIGHT
As a tourist with no relative in Guam, you certainly would need a place to stay. Book a reservation in any of Guam’s well-known hotels, better if you choose a beachfront one so you could relax with the sight of the calm sea. There are also bed and breakfasts and other types of lodges that you could stay in if you prefer cheaper places.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Now, after introducing the general idea of what to do in Guam, let’s focus on the specifics. Where should you go to enjoy these activities? Read on to discover seven of the many wonders of Guam.
1. CHAMORRO VILLAGE
Chamorro Village is popularly visited by both foreigners and locals. As a traditional village, it reflects Guam’s history and culture. It is also one of the favored places for shopping. The main event every tourist goes for happens every Wednesday night, when numerous outdoor stores and stalls pack the streets, together with several cultural events. You will find tons of inexpensive, interesting souvenirs, as well as local street food that will complete your night market experience.
2. TALOFOFO FALLS
The Talofofo Falls Resort Park is one of the many natural spots visited in Guam by most tourists. The 3o-feet waterfall is not the only site you can see in the park. It also houses the Guam Historical Museum and the Yokoi’s Cave. An observation tower is also located in the area. The waterfall can be accessed through hiking or riding a cable car. You should also not miss touring along the river under the waterfall via a gondola.
3. COCOS ISLAND
At the southern tip of Guam lies a splendid island that is surrounded by turquoise lagoons. Cocos Island is a must-visit; just the mere sight of it could relieve stress. There you can enjoy sports and activities along its clean waters. Face the thrill of windsurfing, jet-skiing, snorkeling, and many more, with proper safety precautions, of course.
4. PUNTAN DOS AMANTES (TWO LOVERS POINT)
This 378-feet rock face gives a breathtaking view of both east and west side of the island. It is believed that a couple once jumped off together from the cliff after knowing that their parents will not allow them to get married. This is where the place got its name. The impressive view, along with this tragic backstory, captures the interest of the tourists. Couples can also pledge their love at the Heart Lock Wall while falling in love with the sight’s splendor.
5. FISH EYE MARINE PARK
The Fish Eye Marine Park will literally let you experience a fish’s perspective under the sea. It is a small underwater observatory that allows you to see marine life. You will have to pass through a long boardwalk to reach the observatory. While doing so, you can take pictures with the vast sea as the background. This is even more Instagram-worthy if you happen to take the photo during a breathtaking sunset.
6. LATTE OF FREEDOM
Feel the cool sea breeze while immersing yourself into the brave history of Guam in The Latte of Freedom Monument. This monument displays facts about Chamorro culture and history, explaining the purpose of the monument’s construction.
7. GUAM PREMIER OUTLETS
Now, for the stop and shop, the GPO or Guam Premier Outlets is definitely a wise, luxury choice. Luxury because the mall is packed with outlet stores of branded items known all over the world, and wise because these items are original yet way cheaper. From dresses to shoes, jewelry, and beauty products, GPO has nearly all branded products you can think of.
When traveling to Guam or to any foreign country, remember to respect and appreciate the people and their customs. It is important to know the dos and don’ts of the place you’re going to visit to avoid any conflict. Budget your expenses while planning your itinerary. Have fun while staying safe. Explore while learning. Make the most out of your vacation, and don’t forget to take pictures, so you’ll remember every inch of your experience when you go home.