Exploring Guam: Sandy shores offer super snorkeling, sunsets
Exploring Guam: Sandy shores offer super snorkeling, sunsets
Guam is home to a range of great beaches offering stunning sunsets, surreal snorkeling, watersport adventures and more. Some are well known and easy to access, others are some of the island’s best kept secrets.
Set between jungle topped cliffs, Tagachang Beach is one of Guam’s many beautiful beaches, but unlike some, this one is remote and un-groomed.
Located on the southeast side of the island, it is off the usual tourist routes; there are no buses to this beach, so a car or taxi is required. Unlike Tumon Bay beaches, Tagachang is quiet, but best enjoyed during daylight hours for safety.
Like many of the eastern beaches, an outer reef breaks the surf and makes the beach calm and safe for swimming.
Because of its uncrowned location and shallow waters, it makes an ideal beach for children, those who do not swim well or just for relaxing. While the outer reef makes the beach calm and safe, beyond or on the reef can be treacherous for even the most advanced swimmers so always stay near the beach.
This hidden jewel is found on the North end of Yona village off Route 4. Coming from the South end of the island it is passed the Yona Mobile gas station, on the right all the way down a jungle-lined road.
Coming from the North end of the island take Route 4 into Yona, pass the Pago Bay Resort construction area, as you pass the Pago Bay lookout, prepare to turn at the first road on the left and follow it all the way down to the beach.
Asan Beach Park
Asan Beach was one of the two primary beaches which U.S. soldiers stormed when trying to recapture Guam from Japanese occupation during World War II.
There are a number of World War II memorials, relics and informational signs scattered around the park for visitors to enjoy.
The beach area of Asan Beach Park is lined with coconut trees to provide shade from the tropical sun. In addition to the beach, there is a huge triangular park which can be used by the public for just about any activity.
For the rowing enthusiast and photographer alike, this is a location of opportunity. On days safe for boating the local rowing teams cast off in the late afternoon and evening. Outrigger canoes, a transportation of the past, are plastered with modern local auto dealership logos, creating an odd juxtaposition.
Ancient rowing chants can be heard across the flat waters of Tumon Bay as the sun dips into the cloud-lined horizon.
Sunset photos on partly cloudy evenings are spectacular. An occasional rainbow stretched from cloud to ground adds emphasis to the already perfect scene.
Parking is limited and amenities are few because of the relatively small size of this public park nestled between high-rise hotels on the main strip in Tumon.
Amenities include BBQ pits and covered seating with a public restroom servicing this stretch of beach. A lifeguard and patrols are stationed here in a lookout tower at the center of the beach. Local water conditions are posted for visitor safety.
One of the largest stretches of accessible beach on Guam is in Agana. From the south end of resort row to the heart of downtown Haganta a shallow reef lagoon sprawls out to the horizon. Un-groomed and thin in some places, the beach is lined with a war memorial, coffee shops and restaurants overlooking the water and a public park complete with BBQ pits and covered seating.
Local fisherman can be observed casting nets and hunting for octopus in the shallow blue-green waters. Water sports equipment, including wave runners and sailboats, can be rented for use at this location.
Gab Gab Beach
Located on Naval Base Guam, Gab Gab is a beginner snorkeler’s paradise. Combine the easy entrance/exit with an impressive variety of fish, plenty of colorful corals, and strong chance of spotting a sea turtle, and you’ve got a guaranteed seaside adventure.
Cabras Island is a great site for snorkeling. Park at Family Beach (also a decent site for snorkeling) and hike over the breakwater to explore the shallow seas north of Cabras Island. This is the northern boundary of Apra Harbor.
A less popular site due to its more difficult accessibility, this area is home to some of Guam’s largest and most impressive coral heads, some of which reach the size of a car. Make note of where you entered the water, as there is usually a steady current pulling west, and climbing back up the rocks can be tricky.
The World War II-era gun for which Gun Beach is named is located in the far right end of the small lagoon created in part by a massive cliff on the north end. But this is not the only one of this local destination’s attractions.
On the left of the old gun is an entrance to another secluded cove called Fai Fai Beach. Gun Beach also features snorkeling and a beach bar for visitors to enjoy after working up a thirst under the surf.
The snorkeling is good at Gun Beach when safe conditions prevail; there is a dive site with steep reef sides and a cable trench leading into deep water. Protective beach shoes are a must for Gun Beach.
The entrance to Gun Beach has recently been improved with a gravel-paved road. Upon entry, the beach is to the immediate right and the water is soon in sight.
Parking for beach activities is exclusive to the right side of the larger parking lot. The Beach bar, located to the left, has a large separate lot for their patrons.
Snorkeling Tips for Guam
• Only snorkel within your comfort zone. If the surf is too big or currents are too strong, come back another day.
• It’s always recommended to try out a new site accompanied by someone who has already been there, done that, and knows the way back to the car.
• Protect Guam’s reef life. The beautiful underwater gardens surrounding the island take hundreds of years to grow. Don’t destroy their beauty by standing on them or taking things from the reef.
Note: This story was originally posted on Stripes Guam Website, March 11, 2013
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