Sign Up for Our Monthly Asia Newsletter
Guam — an island so close to the deepest spot in the Earth’s oceans that it has come to be known as a diver’s Elysium — is a paradise for beach bums, surf nuts, epicures, history hounds and the like. But because it’s a world away from anything (except maybe the Philippines), this Micronesian island may be easy to miss.
Here are five reasons why it should be on a client’s must-visit list this year.
A Deep DiveIt’s impossible to talk about Guam without mentioning diving. It’s no surprise; Guam is, after all, the landmass closest to the Challenger Deep, the southernmost point of the Marianas Trench and the deepest point on Earth.
Though there are currently no Marianas Trench or Challenger Deep expeditions available for tourists — the whole affair is delicate, dangerous and expensive — there are many other ambitious dives available. A few of the most famous include visiting the wrecks of the SMS Cormoran from World War I and Tokai Maru from World War II, the Blue Hole and the 11-Mile Reef.
Diving tours may be arranged through local operators, including Let’s Dive Guam, which services 50 diving sites in and around Guam.
Culture and CuisineGuam is a lot like Hawaii, except with a stronger Southeast Asian flair. This has much to do with its long, varied history — from its Chamorro roots to a Japanese occupation in WWII — and its interesting mix of denizens from different parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands and the U.S.
The end result is a melting pot of people, cultures and cuisines, which are captivating, colorful and worth investigating. Suggest a visit to Lina’la Cultural Park on Gun Beach, where clients can immerse in the life of the Chamorro people. Or, explore remnants of the island’s Spanish colonization, including at Fort Senora Nuestra de la Soledad and the Merizo Bell Tower.
And when it comes to Guam’s exquisite cuisine, dishes to try include hotnon babui (roasted pork), kelaguen (meat, chicken or seafood with lemon), bunelos aga (banana donuts) and latiya (a custard dessert).
Family AppealWith a culture deeply rooted in family values and tradition, Guam is the perfect exotic destination to take the kids for an unforgettable family vacation. Go on a dolphin-watching tour or a river cruise with local operators such as Turtle Tours Guam. Take the kids on a fun and educational trip to UnderWater World, or bring the gang on an exciting excursion to Guam Plaza Resort’s waterpark.
Families looking to spend some serious dough can find a few retail therapy spots on the island, as well. The Plaza Shopping Center on Tumon Bay boasts high-end shops along with a chance to have “Dinner Under the Sea.” Meanwhile, Micronesia Mall in Dededo offers duty-free shopping opportunities, and Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning is home to many popular brands touting goods at discounted prices.
www.micronesiamall.comwww.theplazaguam.com www.turtletoursguam.com www.uwwguam.com
Natural Wonders“Boonie stomp” (what the locals call hiking) your way through Guam’s great outdoors, where more extraordinary experiences await. Although the area’s aquatic endeavors may be better-known, its land-based activities also deserve attention. Mount LamLam, the island’s tallest peak, certainly warrants a good hike, as does the epic Tarzan Falls, Waterfall Valley and Marbo Cave — which boasts a swimming hole.
For stunning views, stop by Cetti Bay Overlook and Two Lovers Point for spectacular panoramas of the land and seascapes.
Sand and SurfWhether a client is the sort to catch waves first thing in the morning or prefers to simply relax on a towel in the warm sand, Guam won’t steer travelers wrong. The destination is home to captivating beaches as well as some of the world’s best surf breaks.
Clients can venture off the beaten path to Tanguisson Beach, which is famous for its rock outcroppings and neighboring Sharks Cove Beach. Or, they can make a beeline for the legendary remote outpost Rididian Point, where lapping waves kiss a pristine stretch of sand. For a quick water excursion, kayaking to Alupang Island is just the ticket; for snorkeling, the shallows of Gun Beach are some of the best. For a more relaxing dip, Inarajan Pools Beach at sunset is the perfect setting.
And, if a client is a serious surfer and interested in heading into shallower surf, recommend they splash in Talofofo Bay’s breaks. Rick’s Reef, named after Guam surfer Rick Value, and pebbled Umatac Bay are also strong contenders.
Here’s why Tumon Bay is a must for every Guam itinerary.