With its pristine beaches, rich culture, and stunning natural landscapes, the island of Guam is a hidden gem in the Western Pacific waiting to be explored. Only a 3 hour flight from major Asian hubs like Tokyo, Seoul, and Manila, Guam is the perfect destination for those seeking an idyllic island getaway.
From outdoor adventures to historical attractions, family fun to romantic escapes, Guam has something for every interest and budget. Here is an in-depth guide to the top activities and attractions that make Guam an unforgettable tropical vacation destination.
Enjoying Guam’s Beautiful Beaches
With over 125 miles of coastline and crystal clear waters, Guam’s beaches are undoubtedly one of its top attractions. Spending a day relaxing on the soft white sands and swimming in the azure waters is a must for any visit to Guam. Here are some of the best beaches to check out:
The most popular and developed beach area on Guam, Tumon Bay features wide sandy beaches lined with hotels, restaurants and shops. The calm, protected waters are perfect for swimming and various water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boating. Walk along the palm tree lined beachfront and take in gorgeous sunsets. Parts of Tumon Bay have been designated as marine preservation areas, making it great for snorkeling.
Named for its proximity to an old Spanish fort, this northern beach is more secluded than Tumon Bay. With few crowds, Gun Beach offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Rent a beach umbrella and chairs or relax under the natural shade of the surrounding ironwood trees. Watch locals fishing from the shore or explore the area’s underwater caves accessible while snorkeling.
For a more rugged and natural beach scene, head to Tanguisson on Guam’s eastern shore. This untamed beach has no resorts, just palm jungles stretching down to the reef-protected shoreline. Swim, snorkel or scuba dive to see sea turtles and schools of fish among the coral formations. The shallow waters make it ideal for families with small children. Unwind on the peaceful beach and picnic under the swaying palm trees.
Located near several major resorts in Tumon Bay, Ipan Beach is a wide stretch of white sand beach with gentle surf, making it excellent for relaxed swimming and wading. Spend a day beachcombing the sandy shoreline or hunting for seashells in the soft sand. Watch the local fishermen bringing in their daily catch while the sun sets over the water. Rent a beach umbrella and chairs to relax in comfort on the beach.
Hiking in Guam’s Natural Beauty
Beyond the beach, Guam boasts incredible natural beauty inland with rolling hills, rugged cliffs, and thick jungles. Exploring by foot is the best way to fully experience Guam’s diverse landscape. Here are some great hiking trails to check out:
This northern tip of Guam has a scenic 3-mile round trip hike along cliffsides overlooking the pristine coastline below. The trail winds through ironwood forests and grasslands, with rewarding panoramic views at the end. With a secluded beach, historic sites, and abundant birdlife, Ritidian Point is a hidden gem.
For an invigorating hike, climb to the peak of Mt. Lamlam, the highest point in Guam at 1,333 feet. Following steep mountain trails through the jungle, you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views at the top. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Malesso Fishing Pier
Starting at the Malesso Pier in Merizo village, this flat 2.5 mile trail follows the coast past ancient latte stones and cliffside WWII sites. A perfect sunset hike, keep an eye out for sea turtle nesting spots along the beaches.
Taga’chang Beach Hiking Trail
Located within the Talofofo River Valley along the eastern coast, this trail follows the Talofofo River inland through lush jungle with scenic cascades and swimming holes perfect for a refreshing dip. The 10 miles of trails in this area are home to endemic birds and fruit bats.
Pagat Cave and Mahlac Trail
Just north of Hagatna, this area features a network of hiking trails leading to seaside caves, limestone cliffs and old village sites with latte stones. Take the steep hike down to the Pagat Cave for incredible views of blue waters.
Learning about Chamorro Culture and History
With a unique culture and history as the oldest inhabitants of the Mariana Islands, the Chamorro people are integral to understanding Guam. Explore historical and cultural sites that provide insight into Chamorro traditions and colonial influences:
Built by Spanish colonists in the late 1700s, the ruins of Fort Soledad sit atop a scenic cliff overlooking Tumon Bay. Walk around the remaining stone walls and cannons as you visualize the strategic military fort that once stood guard over the bay.
Plaza de España
The Plaza de España was the central plaza built by the Spanish in the 1600s in Hagåtña, serving as the capital city center. Still an active park today, you can see the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica, Governor’s Palace ruins, and statues dedicated to Chief Quipuha.
Latte Stone Park
Massive latte stones were used as foundations for buildings in ancient Chamorro villages. The Latte Stone Park in Hagåtña displays a collection of these pillars with capstones called tåsa. Learn about the skilled masonry of the Chamorro people.
Every Wednesday, this vibrant village in Hagåtña comes alive to celebrate Chamorro culture. Try local cuisine, watch traditional song and dance performances, and shop for handmade arts, crafts and produce from local vendors.
War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Explore WWII history by visiting the battlefields, memorials, parks and beaches significant to the Pacific theater. Highlights include Asan Beach, Agat Beach, Mt. Alifan overlook, and Memorial Wall. Guam was occupied by Japan for 31 months, the only populated U.S. territory invaded in WWII.
Marine Sports and Water Activities
With warm waters, coral reefs and mangroves, Guam is perfect for enjoying marine sports and water activities. Rent equipment or book a tour to make the most of the aquatic adventures:
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
For an up close look at Guam’s stunning underwater marine ecosystems, spend a day snorkeling or scuba diving among colorful coral reefs and diverse tropical fish populations. Some top spots are Tumon Bay Marine Preserve, Piti Bomb Holes, the Double Reef at Hilaan Beach, and Blue Hole.
Soar high above the island for incredible aerial views of Guam’s beaches and landscape. Parasailing rides typically launch from Tumon Bay or Tamuning in a towed parachute by a motorboat. Tandem and solo flights are available for all skill levels to enjoy parasailing.
Zoom across the waters around Guam while jet skiing for an exhilarating ride and fun way to enjoy the ocean. Rent a jet ski by the hour from most major beach areas like Tumon and Tamuning. Jet ski tours are also available for guided adventures riding together in groups.
Paddle along Guam’s scenic coastline with a relaxing day of kayaking. Rent a kayak to explore on your own or join a guided mangrove eco-tour. For experienced kayakers, head to Merizo Pier for ocean kayaking with incredible views. The Agana Boat Basin mangrove trail is perfect for beginner and family friendly paddling.
Cast a line into Guam’s fishing hot spots with a full or half day sport fishing charter. Target catches like mahi-mahi, wahoo, giant trevally and more. Charters provide all gear, bait, refreshments and often catch cleaning services.
Golfing in Paradise
With year round tropical weather, Guam is a golfer’s paradise with several world-class courses. Here are top picks for teeing off on the island:
Onward Mangilao Golf Club
Designed by Perry Dye, son of golf legend Pete Dye, this 18-hole course in central Guam features challenging bunkers, undulating greens and panoramic ocean vistas along cliffsides and jungle terrain.
Tasi Golf Course
A Ted Robinson designed 18-hole championship course, Tasi is oceanside in a natural preserve area with stunning views. With a pro shop, driving range, club rentals and instruction, Tasi has everything for an excellent day of golf.
Starts Guam Golf Resort
Located beachside in Tumon, Starts Guam has a par 71 18-hole course with beautiful oceanfront holes on its back nine. As Guam’s only night golf course, Starts offers an illuminated 9 holes open 24 hours.
Leo Palace Golf Resort
On the northwest coast in Yigo, Leo Palace boasts an 18-hole course designed by Graham Marsh Golf. With elevation changes, undulating greens, and breathaking seaside cliff holes, Leo Palace is consistently ranked Top 10 in Micronesia.
Country Club of the Pacific
In the hills above Tumon, CC Pacific is an 18-hole course with a challenging layout renowned for its unique island style. Stunning mountain and ocean views await on this scenic course.
Adventures in Nature
Beyond the beaches, Guam has an untamed wilderness waiting to be explored. Discover waterfalls, landscapes, endemic wildlife and more with these natural adventures:
Ritidian Point Nature Tour
Take a guided open-air safari bus tour through the Ritidian Point Wildlife Refuge to see native flora and fauna. Learn about Guam’s rare species found only on island like the Guam rail and Micronesian kingfisher while exploring this northern nature area.
Guam Boonie Stompers Hikes
Join the volunteer Boonie Stompers on free Saturday morning hikes to Guam’s most beautiful and secret spots. With varying difficulty levels, these guided hikes allow you to discover waterfalls, caves, historic sites, and panoramic views you might otherwise miss.
Paseo De Susana Sunset Stroll
Take an evening stroll along Paseo de Susana’s palm tree lined boardwalk in Hagåtña. Watch the sunset over the Philippine Sea while enjoying light sea breezes. Have dinner at an oceanside restaurant before capping off the night with a romantic sunset walk.
Agana Swamp Boardwalk
Located behind Chamorro Village, this quarter mile boardwalk nature trail winds through a tranquil wetland mangrove forest. Spot endemic birds like the Mariana common moorhen along the route early morning or dusk when wildlife is most active.
Paddle along the Talofofo River through lush jungle in a transparent kayak or boat tour. Keep an eye out for fruit bats, egrets, kingfishers and more wildlife. Take a refreshing swim at a secluded jungle pool or waterfall. disappear for a swim.
With plenty of activities perfect for kids and families, Guam makes an excellent family vacation destination. Here are top family-friendly attractions:
This indoor aquarium in Tumon allows you to experience Guam’s marine life up close and personal. Get face to face with sharks walking through the glass shark tunnel. Touch tide pool creatures like starfish and urchins in the interactive touch pool. Feed fish and turtles in the tanks.
Valley of the Latte Adventure Park
The family-owned theme and water park has fun ziplines, obstacle courses, trampolines, slides, swings and more set in the jungle. Kids can also enjoy mini golf, arcade games, paddle boats and fish feeding.
Gun Beach Waterpark
Located at Gun Beach in Tumon, this park has waterslides, a splash zone, flowing river, and fun pools tailored for small children. Lounge beneath tiki umbrellas while the kids play safely in shallow waters.
In downtown Hagåtña, this open plaza has an interactive fountain area perfect for kids to play and cool off on hot days. Weekly cultural events like Chamorro dance performances also take place in the plaza.
Dave and Buster’s
For indoor family fun, Dave & Buster’s at Guam Premier Outlets has games, arcade, rides, sports bar and restaurant all under one roof. Play rounds of mini golf, race sports simulators, redeem tickets for prizes and more.
Shopping and Dining Around Guam
When you need a break from the beach and activities, Guam offers world-class shopping and dining opportunities in its modern malls and waterfront resort areas. Here are top spots to shop and eat:
Tumon Sands Plaza
This mall in Tumon centralizes some of the best shopping, dining and entertainment on island. Shop luxury brands or grab fast fashion finds. Choose from family restaurants to fine dining at waterfront spots.
Guam’s largest mall in Dededo has over 150 stores and eateries to satisfy every interest. Major US retail chains and local shops fill the mall alongside dining options from food court eats to sit down restaurants.
Guam Premier Outlets
Located in Tamuning, the outlet mall provides discounted name brand goods at stores like Levi’s, Kate Spade, Coach and more at bargain prices. Refuel with meals from chains like Dave & Buster’s.
Every Wednesday evening, local vendors set up at Chamorro Village in Hagåtña to showcase authentic island food, produce and handicrafts. It’s the perfect spot to try Chamorro cuisine and shop local artisans.
Tumon Street Food Stalls
For cheap, quick local eats, stop by food stalls like Jeff’s Pirates Cove by Tumon Sands Plaza. Locals flock here for barbecue, bahncitos, and other island comfort foods until early morning hours.
Nightlife, Shows and Entertainment
After dark, Guam lights up with entertainment options for lively evenings out. Here are top picks:
Tumon Bay Festivals
Regular festivals bring music, dance, arts and crafts, and food alive along Tumon Beach. Enjoy the energy of events like the Guam Micronesia Island Fair, Tamuning Stroll December Nights Festival, and more unique cultural celebrations.
Clubs and Lounges
Guam’s nightlife centers around Tumon’s beachside hotels, where most major resorts have clubs, bars and lounges. Hotspots like Globe Nightclub, Dusk to Dawn, and Marble offer DJs/dancing and signature cocktails.
Isla Pinoy Karaoke Club
Belt out your favorite songs at Isla Pinoy, a lively Filipino karaoke club in Tumon. Rent a private karaoke room for groups or put your name on the list to sing karaoke in front of the club. Enjoy drinking and appetizers while listening to others sing.
SandCastle Dinner Show
For family entertainment, check out the SandCastle Dinner Show at the Royal Orchid Hotel Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Enjoy a show with cultural song, dance and storytelling while dining on a fiesta buffet.
Guam Museum Theater Performances
From live plays to musical acts, the theater at the Guam Museum in Hagåtña hosts regular cultural performance arts. Check their calendar for Chamorro dance shows, stand up comedy, community theater and more.
Guam offers modern cinemas for catching new film releases. Head to the Guam Megaplex in Tamuning for IMAX and recliner seating. The Micronesia Mall theater features the newest blockbusters.
Spas, Salons and Self-Care
Amid your island adventures, be sure to schedule in time for pampering and relaxation at Guam’s world-class spas and salons. Here are top picks:
The Spa at Dusit Thani Guam
This lavish spa at the Dusit Thani resort in Tumon offers indulgent treatments based on Thai healing traditions. Choose from massages, facials, body scrubs and more. The tranquil spa has plunge pools, sauna, steam room and hair and nail salon.
The Nurture Spa
Tucked away in Tumon’s Leopalace Resort, Nurture Spa focuses on natural and organic treatments. Opt for coconut, coffee or volcanic clay body treatments and wraps using Guam’s natural ingredients. Massages, facials and salon services are also available.
ESPA at The Shangri-La Guam
ESPA’s menu includes customized facial and body treatments using natural products inspired by traditional eastern therapies to relax and rejuvenate. The atmosphere is serene with Zen touches throughout the spa at this Tumon resort.
Shiseido Spa at Lotte Hotel
Drawing on Japanese beauty traditions, the Shiseido Spa in Tumon provides luxurious facial and body treatments. Opt for their signature hot hydrotherapy bathing ritual for the ultimate relaxation. Salon services are also available.
Shana’ Natural Spa
This local, affordable day spa near Tumon and Agana provides massages, body treatments, facials, waxing and more using high quality natural products. Enjoy a tranquil escape without the resort prices.
Exploring the History and Culture of Guam
As the largest island in Micronesia, Guam has a unique culture shaped by ancient Chamorro traditions, Spanish colonization, and American influences. With over 4,000 years of history as a strategic stopover point in the Western Pacific, Guam’s culture is a captivating blend of indigenous and colonial roots.
Chamorro History and Culture
The indigenous people of the Mariana Islands are the Chamorro. Archaeologists date Chamorro presence on Guam back over 4,000 years based on latte stone ruins, pottery, and burial sites.
The ancient Chamorro society had a matrilineal structure with property and family ancestry passed down through women. Latte stones with capstones (called lusong or tåsa) were pillars used to support buildings in villages. Chamorro life revolved around fishing, farming, and complex crafts before contact with Western explorers.
After Ferdinand Magellan first landed on Guam in 1521, interactions with Spanish colonizers slowly transformed the indigenous culture. The Spanish conquered and colonized the Mariana Islands from the 1600s until 1898. Chamorro people were forcibly concentrated into selected villages and subjected to religious conversion and cultural suppression by Spanish priests and rulers.
Despite colonial pressures from Spain and later the U.S. Naval administration, Chamorro people maintained their customs, crafts, medicinal practices, cuisine traditions, and Carolinian architecture adapted in unique ways. Ancient Chamorro culture persisted subtly under decades of colonial rule.
Today, the Chamorro people proudly preserve and share their heritage. Traditional practices fused with diverse cultural influences make Guam’s modern Chamorro culture vibrantly diverse yet distinctly its own.
Highlights of Chamorro Culture in Guam
- Chamorro cuisine – indigenous staples like red rice, kelaguen, finadene, and titiyas remain popular dishes.
- Music and dance – ancient forms like Chamorro chants and Spanish style baile remain, now mixed with new influences.
- Arts and crafts – weaving, wood carving, and jewelry making carry on traditional skills and designs.
- Ancient sites – latte stone parks and Spanish colonial plazas provide glimpses of the past.
- Festivals – Chamorro customs come alive at cultural fairs and fiestas like Chamorro Month and Liberation Day.
- Language – Chamorro is still spoken and taught in Guam today alongside English. Place names also reflect indigenous words.
Spanish Colonial History and Influences
Magellan’s arrival in 1521 marked Spain’s claim of Guam and the Mariana Islands, but substantial colonization did not begin until the 1600s. Spanish interest centered on Guam’s strategic location for trade routes across the Pacific between the Philippines and Mexico.
The first Spanish Governor of Guam, Damian de Esplana, began establishing colonies in the 1600s. Spanish missionaries sought to convert the native Chamorro population to Catholicism while settlers established permanent communities. Hagåtña became the colonial capital in 1668.
Architecture from this era reflects Spanish design adapted to the tropical climate with thick stone edifices, caltrop roofs, and shaded verandas. Plaza de Espana and Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral remain as key Spanish plazas and buildings today.
As Chamorro people were relocated to centralized villages, traditional thatched huts were replaced by Spanish style stone and mortar houses called bohios. Fortifications like Fort Soledad and Fort Santa Águeda were also built around the island under Spanish rule.
Catholicism remains the dominant religion on Guam today as a result of Spanish colonization. Spanish surnames are common among modern Chamorro families, and Spanish loan words persist in the local language.
While Spain controlled Guam for over 200 years, imperial power declined toward the end of the 1800s. After defeat in the Spanish-American War in 1898, Spain ceded Guam to the United States, starting a new phase in the island’s history.
Highlights of Spanish Influences in Guam’s Culture
- Religion – Catholicism dominates with historic churches and rituals like novenas.
- Food – Spanish dishes like flan, pancit, and empanadas fused with local cuisine.
- Architecture – Plaza de Espana, Fort Soledad, bohio housing, and the Governor’s Palace reflect Spanish styles.
- Language – Spanish surnames and loanwords remain part of the local Chamorro language.
- Music and dance – Spanish folk dance and music traditions persist in local culture.
American Administration and Wartime Occupation
After defeat in the Spanish American War in 1898, Spain ceded Guam to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris. American Naval ships arrived to claim formal possession of the new territory.
Under the initial Naval administration, Chamorro customs and language were suppressed in efforts to “Americanize” the indigenous population. Naval governors enacted compulsory education, hygiene and sanitation reforms, infrastructure projects, and English language policies.
A civilian U.S. territorial government was eventually established in 1950 after Guam was liberated from Japanese control in WWII. The new government allowed greater self-rule for Guam locals. The island remains an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S. today.
The opening of American military bases on Guam in the 1900s increased outside influences on the local population and economy. The 1941 Japanese invasion during WWII resulted in 31 months of harsh occupation and imprisonment until U.S. forces recaptured the island in 1944.
Wartime destruction, loss of life, and displacement had profound impacts on Guam’s people and land. Today, the island remembers this painful history through memorials and preserves at historic battle sites and occupation sites.
While American administration diluted aspects of indigenous culture, it also added diversity and new dimensions to Guam society. American elements now fuse seamlessly with the island’s mix of Chamorro and Spanish influences.
Highlights of American Influences in Modern Guam Culture
- Politics and law – Guam has an elected Governor, democracy modeled on the U.S. system, and American laws.
- Language and education – English is widely spoken with American-style schools.
- Media and entertainment – American TV, films, music, franchises, and pop culture are prevalent.
- Food – American and international restaurants and modern supermarkets are common.
- Religion – Christian denominations like Baptist and Seventh Day Adventist expanded.
- Economy – American brands, tourism, and military presence increased prosperity.
Celebrations and Cultural Sites Around the Island
To fully immerse in Guam’s unique culture, experience the celebrations, villages, and historic sites where Chamorro heritage thrives:
Every Wednesday evening, local vendors gather in Hagåtña to sell traditional food, produce, art and crafts. Live music and dance create a festive atmosphere.
This lively annual July festival celebrates the liberation of Guam from Japanese occupation in 1944 with parades, street parties, and cultural events.
Latte Stone Park
Hagåtña’s scenic oceanfront park displays historic latte stones, the pillars traditionally used as foundations for Chamorro buildings.
War in the Pacific National Park
WWII battlefields, weapons, memorials, caves and more illustrate the harsh realities of wartime military occupation on the island.
Sunday Chamorro Mass
The Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagåtña holds weekly masses in the Chamorro language along with traditional Spanish-influenced Catholic rituals.
Every March, Guam celebrates Chamorro history and culture with special events highlighting indigenous dance, food, language, and traditions.
Ancient Chamorro Village
This living history park near Tumon Bay recreates a 500 year old coastal village with latte stone huts, cultural demonstrations, and native plants.
By understanding Guam’s three main cultural influences—Chamorro indigenous heritage, Spanish colonization, and American administration—you can appreciate the island’s distinctive blend of history and traditions. Immerse yourself in Guam’s celebrations, cuisine, sites and customs for personal insights into this captured in this remote Pacific crossroads.
Top Sites for History and Culture in Guam
With over 4,000 years of history, Guam is filled with fascinating sites offering insights into Chamorro culture and the island’s colonial past. Here are some can’t miss attractions for history and culture enthusiasts:
Latte Stone Sites
Latte stones are pillars carved from limestone that supported ancient Chamorro buildings. The stones consist of a base column (haligi) topped with a capstone (tåsa). Latte sites provide glimpses into indigenous engineering and ways of life before European contact.
Latte Stone Park
Located along the shore in Hagåtña, this scenic park has a walking path past several assembled latte stones that give an idea of their structural use. Interpretive signs explain the history and significance of these unique pillars.
Taga Latte Stone Quarry
Take a short hike inland to visit this ancient quarry where latte stones were carved from the natural limestone deposits. Half-cut stones in various stages of completion remain in situ, giving insight into the quarrying process.
House of Taga Latte Site
In Talofofo village along the eastern coast, an excavated late 1500s village site has the remains of haligi and tåsa that once supported structures. Informational placards provide context around the site.
Spanish Colonial Sites
Explore history from the 200+ years of Spanish colonial rule with fortifications, plazas, churches and architecture remaining today.
Plaza de España
This historic plaza in central Hagåtña was the center of Spanish capital life. The Governor’s Palace ruins, Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral, andChief Quipuha statue represent three pillars of Spanish power – political, religious, and military.
Fort Nuestra de la Soledad
Hike up to the ruins of this 19th century Spanish fort guarding Hagåtña harbor. Cannon displays and informational signs share history. The scenic overlook provides panoramic ocean vistas.
Fort Santa Águeda
Remnants of this Spanish battery built around 1800 remain on a high cliff in Umatac overlooking the Philippine Sea. Scramble over crumbling walls and imagine the strategic military outpost.
Several excavated ancient villages allow visitors to walk among Chamorro home sites and artifacts from 500+ years ago. Informational displays bring the settlements to life.
Mochom Pågat Archaeological Site
Located in Yigo, excavations revealed parts of a vibrant village from around 1500 AD with post holes, pottery shards, and shell midden. A small museum displays artifacts and explanation of excavations.
Tasi Village Site
This recently excavated site in Dededo offers a glimpse into late 1600s village life with structural remains and everyday artifacts. Guided tours provide a deeper understanding of discoveries.
Ypao Beach Preserve Archaeological Site
Walking trails wind through parts of a seaside village occupied between the 1400s-1700s AD. Signage helps identify remnants like pillars, stone tools, and food remains.
War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Important WWII sites honor history from the Japanese occupation and American liberation. Highlights include Memorial Wall, Asan Beach, Agat Beach, Piti Guns, and more.
This secluded lookout was one of the island’s last stands of Japanese soldiers during the American assault to recapture Guam in July-August 1944. Interpretive panels recount the battle.
Manengon Concentration Camp
One of the largest Japanese internment camps, Manengon held American prisoners in harsh conditions. A memorial walk passes remains of prisoner barracks, caves, and more.
From ancient homesteads to 20th century battlegrounds, Guam’s historic sites tell the story of its people and strategic importance in the Pacific. Immerse yourself in the island’s unique history and culture by exploring these preservation places.