10 awesome things to do while on Guam
If you’re new to Guam, there’s a good chance you don’t know of many things to do. The island is known for its beaches, but there’s much more to the island. Here are 10 things you must do during your stay where America’s day begins.
Understand Guam’s role in the WWII Pacific Theatre
After the Japanese Occupation in 1941, Guam became a prized military possession of the United States. The island played an instrumental war in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. To commemorate local servicemen and ensure wartime stories are not forgotten, visit the War in the Pacific Museum! Walking up the steps to the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center, smiling volunteers greet you with a “Hafa Adai” before directing you to a compelling 10-minute movie, The Battle for Guam, presented in four languages. After short museum introductions, you should visit colorful exhibits and interactive artifacts. The museum operates on the latest technology, featuring recordings of gripping personal stories and music from pre- and post-WWII. (nps.gov/wapa/t-stell-newman-visitor-center.htm)
Visit an underground historical monument
Imagine living in an underground bamboo hut for more than a quarter of a century. In 1944, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi hid in the depths of Talofofo to escape capture by American soldiers. In accordance with Japanese nationalism ideals, Yokoi perceived the Americans as enemies and feared to be a prisoner of war. When Talofofo farmers discovered Yokoi in 1972, the sergeant begged to be killed on the spot, only to return to his hometown with a hero’s welcome. Seven feet underground lies Yokoi’s cave: A small underground room that’s three feet high and nine feet long, supported by large bamboo cranes. To see how a man could survive hiding in a cave — only leaving at night to hunt for fish or rats — visit the Talofofo Falls Resort Park.
Climb the world’s tallest mountain
Without oxygen masks or certified training, hikers can easily reach the world’s tallest mountain. Mt. Lam Lam, though only 1332 feet above sea level, measures an additional 36,070 from the bottom of the Marianas Trench. If Mt. Everest were measured from the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the world’s tallest mountain (above land) will still lie submerged 6000 ft. Across from Guam’s Cetti Bay Overlook, one can reach the summit in about 30 minutes. You can also reach Guam’s second highest peak — Mt. Jumullong Manglo — on the same trail.
Taste a local favorite: Kelaguen
When visiting a fiesta or a local Chamorro restaurant, one cannot miss out on the prized “kelaguen.” Featuring chopped chicken or shrimp combined with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, the acclaimed dish serves as either a main dish or, typically, an appetizer. Homemade Chamorro recipes are the tastiest, but the evolution of kelaguen has long since moved from a household favorite to a restaurant top seller. Today kelaguen is served on its own, with red rice, or with cooked corn tortillas.
Learn to cha-cha at Chamorro Village
In the heart of Guam’s capital, Hagatna, Chamorro Village bustles with energy. Every Wednesday, the “village” opens up shops and vendors to sell locally sourced jewelry, barbecue and crafts. Under breezy conditions in the main dining hall, Chamorro pluck their guitars and ukuleles while couples twirl and step to the beat of cha-cha music. The cordial greetings of waitresses and vendors will easily put a smile on your face, and if lucky, some of the Polynesian dancers may even select you to perform with them. Learn to cha-cha and see a laid back Guam at Chamorro Village.
Bike up to the popular Two Lovers Point
When two lovers were forcefully separated from their families, they chose to die together rather than risk capture. Few people on the island have never heard of the famous two lovers legend, and even fewer have not visited the iconic cliff line. Featuring tasty smoothies and a romantic canopy atop the cliff, Two Lovers invites families and couples to enjoy sunset dinners and relaxing afternoons. The long routes leading up to the attraction is well-suited for bikers, and the attraction itself is not a disappointment. For couples visiting Guam for a short period of time, make sure to purchase a heart-shaped chain and attach it to one of the rocks adorned with thousands of other love chains. (puntandosamantes.com/)
Watch an exquisite performance at the Sand Castle
Spend a night in plump, lavishly designed seats in Sand Castle. As performers move to the rhythms of soft classical music and intense hip-hop, viewers are taken to a nighttime show you might see in Las Vegas. Acrobats perform daring tricks — right above your heads — before magicians play with large, fearsome tigers. Sit in a $40 million theatre voted the best tourist attraction by the Guam Visitors Bureau and squeal in delight as you enjoy an elegant dinner! (en.guam-bgtours.com/activity/sandcastle-guam/)
Snap a selfie in the Latte Stone Park
In ancient times, Chamorros built their huts on latte stone pillars. The stable stone structures represent formed an integral construction in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. When eight, natural megalithic monuments were restored in the Latte Stone Park, the location became a must-see attraction for tourists and locals. Today students visit the park on Chamorro studies or as the third stop on the Hagatna Heritage Walking Trail. While you’re at the latte stone park, don’t forget to snap a selfie in the center of the eight latte stones!
Ride a boat to Cocos Island
Since you’ve already arrived on Guam, you might as well travel to a nearby island. Cocos Island features a day resort, meaning guests cannot stay overnight. Customers arrive at the resort via a scheduled boat ride and spend a day sunbathing or participating in beachside activities varying from parasailing to snorkeling. Tickets to Cocos include a basic meal (nothing fancy), and though the resort is not luxurious in any sense, the island’s water is fresh and clear. Cocos is also famous for its wide variety of bird species, and its beaches are very clean.
Learn to weave a coconut basket at Gef Pa’go
In elementary school, Gef Pa’go was a must-see field trip site. The culture village reflects Guam during the 1940s and 1950s. Elder Chamorros demonstrate Chamorro arts and crafts, and storytellers teach Chamorro legends. It’s not very common to see people speak standard Chamorro language, but at Gef Pa’go, Chamorro language is heard often. Elders also teach you how to make coconut candy, and since coconut trees adorn Guam’s beaches, making fresh candy and coconut juice is very easy. You also learn to make hand woven rope and bowls out of tree bark. Travel to the times of Guam in the mid-1900s in the village of Inarajan.