While visitors to Rome may be tempted to follow the old adage and “do as the Romans,” those on Guam have another challenge: To enjoy all the sights and activities that only this island, its people and culture can offer.
Here are 10 of some of the most popular Guamonly experiences to choose from. How many have you tried? Better yet, how many more can you discover?
1. Relive the ancient past at Lina’la’ Chamorro Cultural Park
Lina'la' Chamorro Cultural Park is a 25-acre eco-adventure park in Tumon, Guam, designed to attract visitors and immerse them in the island's native Chamorro culture and foster local pride. The park offers a one-of-a-kind experience by way of a recreated ancient Chamorro village staffed by locals dressed in traditional garb. Highlights include cultural artifacts, nature walks and a cultural play that retells the ancient Chamorro creation story.
2. Dive the world’s deepest ocean
James Cameron made international news in March when his one-man submersible journeyed to the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the ocean, some 6.8 miles down. The Challenger Deep is located in the Marianas Trench, just 250 miles southwest of Guam. Guam is home to a handful of dive shops and is a diver’s dream complete with wrecks, vibrant reef systems, and temperate tropical weather.
3. Picnic on Alupang Island
Alupang Island is situated about a mile off the coast of Dungca’s Beach on East Agana Beach. Located inside the reef protected from the waves of the Philippine Sea, this uninhabited island is accessible from Hotel Santa Fe and Onward Beach Resort. Adventurous types can rent jet skis and kayaks and journey to the small beach cove.
4. Climb the tallest mountain on Earth
Mount Lamlam (meaning lightning in Chamorro), located in the southwestern village of Agat, is the highest peak on Guam. Though only 1,332 feet high, the distance from the peak to the bottom of the nearby Mariana Trench is perhaps the greatest change in elevation on Earth over such a short distance. The Marianas Trench reaches a maximum known depth of 6.78 miles.
If Mount Everest, Earth’s “highest” at 29,040 feet, was set in the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, there would be 6,760 feet of water left above it. Thus Mount Lamlam could be considered the world’s “tallest” mountain. Hikers can reach the mountain trailhead across from Cetti Bay Overlook and summit in about 30 minutes.
5. Experience true island culture at the Guam Island Fiesta Tour
The Guam Island Fiesta Tour (GIFT) introduces visitors into the homes of local families for village fiesta celebrations. They are greeted with shell leis, invited to participate in cultural activities like coconut husking, talaya throwing and tuba drinking, and are treated to tables laden with authentic Chamorro cuisine. Contact the Guam Visitors Bureau for a current schedule.
6. Stand atop the world’s largest latte
Standing atop a prominent stone point overlooking both Asan and Agana bays, the Latte of Freedom monument invites guest to look and learn about culture in the local area and across the island.
7. Pet a coconut crab at Chamorro Village
You may be hesitant to pet the largest land-living arthropod in the world, but go ahead, the coconut crab doesn’t bite. Coconut crabs can weigh up to 9 lbs. with a leg span of more than 3 feet. Locals are adept at handling the crabs and sometimes keep them as pets. Stop by the Chamorro Village Night Market on Wednesday and Friday for a photo op with you or someone brave petting the crab.
8. Touch shipwrecks from two world wars
The SMS Cormoran rests 110 feet below the water of Apra harbor on her port side. The German ship was scuttled at the outbreak of the U.S. entry into WWI. A Japanese cargo ship, the Tokai Maru, which was sunk during WWII leans up against her screw. The site marks the only place in the world where wrecks from two different countries and two different wars are nearly touching.
9. Ride a carabao
These docile mammoths are the water buffalo of Guam. Weighing up to 2,000 pounds, this national symbol of Guam has been used for centuries in farming. Visitors can ride the carabao, albeit very slowly, at a few locations around the island, such as Chamorro Village and Fort Señora Nuestra de la Soledad in southern Guam – a site offering its own Guam-only experience.
10. Go boonie stomping
Locals call it “boonie stomping,” you may know it as hiking. One thing’s for sure: there’s plenty to explore on Guam. From hidden waterfalls to swim holes to arid hills and thick jungles, Guam’s boonie stomps range from easy to difficult, but they’re never boring. Guam Boonie Stompers lead hikes on Saturday mornings for just $2. Check Stripes Guam every week for upcoming stomps