Your Cure for Island Fever: Cocos Island!

After months of trying to go to Cocos Island, we finally did it! No, this is not another country. It’s still Guam…just a small island a few miles south of Guam that forms a beautiful lagoon. We hopped on the scooter and headed down to Merizo where the Cocos Island Resort boat picked us up and took us to the island.

(sorry for the poor quality, camera broke!)

Cocos Island Resort is a day resort that offers quiet beaches, water activities and lounging. The price for locals and military is $25 and includes the boat ride and buffet. All other people are expected to pay $45 for JUST the boat ride. I think that’s ridiculous! So, if you know someone with a military or local ID, bring them with you! We caught the 11:15 am boat and off we went!

As we approached Cocos Island all I could hear were TONS of birds. Due to the abundant Brown Tree Snake population, we don’t have too many birds on Guam. Seems as though they all fled to Cocos Island. If you’ve ever watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, it reminded me a lot of that. We continued walking down the long bridge to the entrance.

Here, there’s a building where you can purchase tickets for the buffet, snack bar and usage of beach toys. You can’t pay for things with money, you must purchase tickets.

Since the buffet came with our ticket and it closed at 2:00pm, we made a beeline straight for it. The buffet was basic. Water or tea, salad, curry, rice, fried lumpia, fruits…not bad!

After lunch we took a walk to look at the birds and pool. We didn’t use the swimming pool, we snorkeled and swam in the beach instead. As I said before, there were many birds which caused the entire place to smell really bad! The humid air and bird smell combination was horrid! We had to be very careful because of the bird poop that was falling out of the sky. There were some really pretty white birds amongst all the black birds and quite a few Coco birds. In addition to the free flying birds, there were some tropical caged birds including a VERY loud peacock!

While snorkeling, we saw a few Balati (sea cucumbers), possibly the biggest one I’ve ever seen, and a large needlefish (which I call a sword fish in the video). I was so scared when I saw the needlefish because it was the largest one I’ve ever seen and it was swimming very close to us. They usually swim near the surface of the water and in the past I’ve only seen small ones that would swim away quickly when I moved. But THIS needlefish just gave us the side eye and did not swim away. I think this is a really good place for snorkeling and probably diving. I also read that there’s an old sunken Spanish ship just off the island!

The downside to Cocos Island Resort is that it looks a bit run down and if the ridiculously priced ticket isn’t enough, visitors are expected to pay for using the umbrellas, CHAIRS and pretty much every single thing. I think some of the basic things like beach chairs and umbrellas should have been free. So we found a dirty table and used that instead. Thank goodness we brought our own snorkel gear or we’d have to pay $20 per person!

As we were putting our stuff away and getting ready for our walk, I noticed something small and fluffy sitting on a broken tree stump. It was this cute little baby bird! I have no idea where it came from or what it was doing there, but Peter fell in love with it and so did I! We made sure not to touch it and just left it where it was.

After our swim, we took a walk down a trail to the other side of the island where the waves crashed close to us because there wasn’t a reef to break the waves. We continued on the trail and got stuck in a sudden downpour of rain. It was so beautiful and I loved how the rain and birds sounded together. We hid under a large tree until we decided to just run for it and headed back to the resort! While we were drying off we played a couple games of dominoes and decided to call it a day.

But before we left…

We just had to see the little bird who was drenched after the rain!


  1. How sad to see what they did with my family’s old island.

    My name is Lee Gottwald, my family owned this island for almost thirty years. My father, Leslie Gottwald, and I developed the original tourist facility. We charged from .50 cents, for the original landing fee, in the 1960’s and we peaked at $2.50 in the 1980’s.

    During the 20 years we ran Cocos Island as a tourist facility we won the Guam Visitors Bureau “Best Destination Award” so many times running that they finally took us off the list so someone else could win.

    Our family kept the island as natural as possible, which was the reason so many tourists came to begin with. Now I see they have decimated the tree and palm population, built roads and basically “Paved Paradise and Put Up A Parking Lot.”

    I used to live on that island, just myself and five dogs in an A-Frame my father and I built in the late sixties. It was truly a paradise. The Japanese Tourists would arrive around 9 am and leave around 1 pm. The remainder of the day I had to myself for fishing and diving. I would trade the fish for supplies in Merizo.

    We did not charge the locals to come on the island and the people of Merizo were very dear to our family. I pretty much grew up on Cocos Island as my Father bought the island in 1957 for $2,000 dollars and a couple of coconuts from the Famous Rothschild Family of France who had owned it and raised Copra there.

    Everyone on Guam said my father was crazy to buy a tiny little island off Guam, another small island, that no one had ever heard of (remember this was 1957). But when we finally sold the Island to the Billionaire, Larry Hilbloom, my father “cried all the way to the bank.” LOL.

    Because I actually lived on the island Larry H. asked me for suggestions as to how to develop it.

    My answer was : “DON’T!……..” And never cut the trees, they protect the island from Typhoon winds.”

    Well, of course, Statesiders rarely listen to Guamanians and Old Guam Families. So they cut the trees and destroyed the Natural ambiance of the island and now you have this abortion. It is so sad for me to see this.

    The irony of this was that within a year of all the new construction most of the structures wound up in the Cocos Lagoon following that years annual Typhoon.

    They should have listened to the old Taotaomono who inhabits Cocos Island but instead they rebuilt larger and stronger, cut more trees and put in this ridiculous swimming pool. I imagine their debts, logistics and overhead are so high that even with this outrageous charge of $45.00 per person, they are losing money.

    They have certainly ruined one of the finest attractions on Guam. It makes me want to come back and fix the island up and return it to it’s natural beauty……… but they say “you can not go home again.”

    Today I have developments in the rainforests of Brazil, Venezuela and Costa Rica and I keep it as natural as possible and the tourists love it.

    When will the corporate tourist developers realize that when you pave paradise you destroy the very thing that attracted the clients there in the first place?

    Anyway, best greetings to the wonderful people of Merizo and Guam from the entire Gottwald family.

    Melago umano tate Cocos,

    Capt. Lee L. Gottwald (ret.)

    1. Thank you Capt. Gottwald for this history of your island Cocos Island. I visited Cocos in 1983 while stationed at Anderson. It was quiet, beautiful, no bird problem. Truly a paradise. I remember we stayed overnight in a one room hut. I have 3 pictures of me with palm trees, beach and coconuts- best pics ever. Now I realize I was lucky to have this experience of Cocos while your family was still cherishing it. Thank you for the memories.

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