(Guam Visitors Bureau)

hether you’re fresh of the plane or have been here for a while, you might be surprised to learn how much Guam and Uncle Sam have set aside in the way of parks and pristine places for your enjoyment. Since 1948, 88 acres have been designated for parks and recreation, according to the National Parks Service.

Guam boasts four National Natural Landmarks, 124 sites on the National Register of Historic Places and its signature park, War in The Pacific National Historical Park, drew 266,267 visitors in 2013 alone, according to the Park Service.

With all that park – and all it has to offer – make sure you get your fill while on island. Here are the basics to get you started.

National Parks

Pago Bay This is the largest bay on the central windward side of the island, and one of Guam’s most beautiful. A Spanish settlement near the mouth of the Pago River was wiped out by a small-pox epidemic in 1856. At the far end of the bay is the University of Guam’s Marine Biology Laboratory, known internationally for its research.

Libugon Overlook Situated above the village of Maina, this site offers an excellent view of central and northern Guam. A penal and leper colony was located here in Spanish times.

Apra Harbor Overlook A drive up Nimitz Hill offers a view of Guam’s natural harbor, considered one of the best in the Pacific.

Asan Overlook Asan Overlook has been chosen as the site of the new War in the Pacific National Historical Park visitor center and museum, which will be located there in the next few years. This new site is dedicated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Guam’s liberation.

War in the Pacific National Park

The National Park Service overseas all Guam’s War in the Pacific National Parks and operates from out of the T. Stell Newman Visitors Center in Piti, just outside the main gate to Naval Station. Inside the Visitor Center is a museum with interactive displays and a gift shop run by the Arizona Memorial Foundation.

The six historical parks are:

  • Asan Beach - with gun encasements, caves and pill boxes, plus 445 water acres of reefs and relics.

  • Asan - heavy vegetation all around the village conceals caves, pillboxes, a bridge, foxholes and a 75mm mountain gun.

  • Piti - covered in lush growth, the hillside has three Japanese coastal defense guns in good condition.

  • Mount Chacho/Mount Tenjo-a pre-World War II American gun encasement is one of several important relics found in this remote, hilly area. Hikers in this area also are rewarded with beautiful views.

  • Mount Alifan - 13 caves and tunnels, bomb and shell craters are among the more than 30 sites along the winding trails.

  • Agat - this area is predominately under water with sunken relics and unspoiled reefs.

Sigua Falls

Hikers will need a guide to lead them through the thick jun- gle atop Nimitz Hill. A steep climb down a ledge ends with an impressive 100-foot drop into a rocky pool. This sanctu- ary is a sample of Guam’s beauty in the wild.

Tarzan Falls

This is a favorite destination for “boonie stompers,” Guam’s special name for hikers who venture off the beaten track. The falls are a series of drops from eight to 50 feet in height. At the base of the falls is a deep pool perfect for swimming. One of the other attractions of Tarzan Falls is the fresh- water shrimp that can be found in pools along this branch of the Ylig River.

War Dog Cemetery

Located at Naval Station. Those interested in visiting the Cemetery must call Naval Station Pass & ID Office at 339-6217, 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Instructions will be given to address a letter to the Commanding Officer stating purpose of your entry on base.

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