guam fish

Things to Do in Guam: Underwater World Aquarium

There’s something about aquariums that make me feel calm and peaceful. It’s probably the low lighting, the reflection of the water, and the sea creatures swimming by. When I lived in Oregon, my sister and I loved visiting the Oregon Aquarium. I always thought it was the best aquarium I’d ever been to and it was once home to Keiko the whale! That’s why I was a bit uninterested in visiting the Underwater World in Guam. I didn’t think that any other aquarium would be better than the one in Oregon, so why bother. During my parent’s trip to Guam, we decided to check out the Underwater World Aquarium one rainy morning. We were able to get 50% off of our entrance fee with our local ID, so it turned out to be about $11.50 per person (slightly cheaper than the Oregon Aquarium but that aquarium also has a zoo which is included in the fee, Guam does not). Maybe I’m a cheapskate but every attraction on Guam seems to be double the price of what I think it should be. If it weren’t for the local discount, I probably wouldn’t do anything!!

I think I was expecting Guam’s aquarium to be the same as the few aquariums that I’ve been to, Oregon and London. At those aquariums, I saw similar or the same type of sea animals in both. Guam’s Underwater World is about double the length of the Oregon aquarium, is home to many different types of fish found in tropical waters, and for an extra fee you can dive in and swim with the sharks. I was surprised, in a good way, by the variety of tropical animals it housed and the length of the aquarium. If you’re new to Guam, this is a great place to go! Some people will never get to see most of these animals in the wild, so the aquarium is the perfect place to go. There are sharks, sea turtles, manta ray, and other tropical fish throughout the aquarium. They were all very active and easy to see. Once we finished walking through the aquarium, we entered another section that had separate displays of sea creatures including sea horses, eels, water snakes, and TONS of other fish that can be found in Guam’s waters. It took us about an hour to get through the entire aquarium. Definitely a great experience. In the evenings, it opens up as a bar so you can have drinks inside the aquarium and watch the animals swim by! I enjoyed this and had a great time. It was actually better than the two other aquariums I’ve been to!

 

Boonie Stomp to Ague Cove

I’m very excited about this post because it has been the best outdoor excursion I’ve done since I’ve been in Guam. Peter and I decided to take a scooter trip around the island looking for this place called Ague Cove. We found the entrance, which is near the Naval Base in Dededo. Unfortunately, the property belongs to a family in Guam and they decided to close it off to the public! A few days later I was reading the newspaper and saw that the Guam Boonie Stomp group would be holding a boonie stomp to AGUE COVE in two weeks!!! What luck! The Guam Boonie Stompers are a group of people who gather on Saturday mornings around 9:oo to go on all sorts of hikes throughout Guam. The cost is $2 and you can find out more information about future hikes on their Facebook page.┬áIf you’re interested in going on a Boonie Stomp, I highly suggest it. This one was a clean up stomp so before we left we scoured the area for trash.

I’d cut out the advertisement in the newspaper about this hike. It said what we needed to bring (snorkel gear, swmsuits, lunch, hiking shoes…). Saturday morning came and we were off! There were about 55 hikers total who met at Chamorro Village in Hagatna. We paid our dues, got driving directions and met at the trail. Thankfully, the property owner gave permission to the Boonie Stompers and opened the road so we could hike that day.

The hike is about a 200ft. descent to the cove. There were red ribbons to guide the way through the thick jungle. The shade from the trees protected us from the heat and the humidity, on this day, was manageable. The hike down wasn’t bad at all, it might have taken about 20 minutes, the hike up was a different story! It is a very steep climb down so if you go on a day when it has been raining, you might have some issues with mud and sliding. When we reached the bottom it was like an oasis or a beautiful scene from a movie. Another unreal moment for me. The color of the water was beautiful, massive coral formations jutted out from the side of the hill we’d climbed down from and formed a perfect cliff to dive from. On the other side of the cove was a rope for swinging into the water. We wasted no time and began exploring the serene area.

When we were ready to swim the water was surprisingly cool and took some time for us to get used to. There are freshwater springs that mix with the ocean water; thus, the cool temperature. There were so many small, bright blue fish everywhere. Peter and I took turns jumping from the rope into the water. It was hard to see anything when we were snorkeling because it was a bit cloudy, probably due to all the people splashing around. We ventured out near the reef line where the waves crashed against some rocks and I spotted some really bright fish. Peter put the snorkel gear on, leaned his body across the rocks and stuck his head in the water. He looked really funny. When he popped back up he said, “That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” He couldn’t stop talking about the huge bright fish in that deep pool of water. We splashed around some more near the waves and headed back.

The Boonie Stomp leader showed us the way to a small cave where there were old Chamorro drawings along the walls. We took photos and Peter tried to see if he could fit into a hole (of course!) then headed back down. There is a lot of sharp coral that we had to climb through. It’s very dangerous and painful if it cuts. After that, we packed up and climbed up the hill, which was a struggle for me! I want to go back again! I hope someday Ague Cove is reopened to the public; although, it was very clean and beautiful I think it might be better that it’s closed so that its beauty can be maintained.