things to do in guam

Things to Do in Guam: Get Dirty!

Over a year ago, Peter came home and said he found a dirt bike that he really wanted. Since it was his birthday and a really good deal for Guam, he bought this bright green used bike. At the time we had a scooter and maybe a car (I can’t remember). Since then, we now only have the dirt bike and it is our ONLY mode of transportation.

We’ve taken it out on a few expeditions like riding around this abandoned golf course in Barrigada. There are lots of cool, paved trails that are good for riding.

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We also explored the red dirt roads near Leo Palace.

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But the most memorable adventure was on Peter’s birthday (a couple of days after buying the bike). We packed up some snacks and drinks and headed out to Channel 10 to do some riding. It was during the rainy season, but hadn’t rained in a week or so. We thought everything would be dry and, for the most part, it was.

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The main road we were riding down was pretty dry; although, some of the side roads looked flooded. Suddenly our dry road turned into THIS! A huge puddle.

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We passed through it easily, but it wasn’t until we were headed back that we ran into trouble. We rode along the outside of the puddle and ended up getting stuck in mud on the left side. I jumped off the bike so that my weight wouldn’t pull the bike deeper in, but it was too late we were really stuck. Peter called me over to help unload everything and I stepped in ankle deep mud. Ugh! We worked for about 45 minutes trying to pull the bike out, I found an old plastic bumper and tried to wedge it under the tire, but the mud was sucking everything in. We decided to take a break, drink some gatorade and rest in the bushes. Peter called his friend in Oregon for some advice on how to get our bike out. He basically said you need to man handle that beast, and that’s just what we did. After over an hour of being stuck, we were free!!!! I was muddy from head to toe, but thankful that we were unstuck. I’m pretty sure Peter will never forget THAT birthday!

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Despite the horrible time we had with the mud, the view was gorgeous!

 

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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!

 

Guide to Guam in Two Weeks

Hello there! I’m back from my break with a post about my busy month of February. The reason I took a break was because my mom and stepdad came to Guam all the way from Oregon! I’d invited my mom to visit, when I first moved here, but didn’t think she’d want to make that 18 + hour long journey. Surprisingly, one day she emailed me a copy of her itinerary and said she and my stepdad were coming to Guam for two weeks! I was so excited and they were probably even more excited to take a vacation. I immediately began planning activities for us to do, things I wanted them to see while they were here, and places we could eat. We pretty much did everything on my list!! I thought I’d share our plans in case some of you out there wanted to know what to do in Guam. We did more activities in between the ones I listed below and they did some things on their own, but I just listed the things that I had planned out for them.

Day 1 * We started with a morning walk along the beach in Tumon and Chamorro Village Wednesday night in Agana.

Day 2 * Peter and I taught my mom how to snorkel in Tumon, later we visited Gun beach and walked to Fai Fai beach but it was too hot so we headed back to Gun beach and had drinks at The Beach Bar. We also visited the Lina’La Beach & Culture Park at Gun beach. Later we had dinner at Fuji Ichiban.

Day 3 * This day we drove to different viewpoints around Nimitz hill like the Asan Beach Overlook, we also walked toward the Japanese field hospital to see bamboo, later that evening my parent’s celebrated Valentine’s Day by going on the Big Sunset BBQ Boat Cruise.

Day 4 * We woke up VERY early and headed to the  Dededo Farmer’s Market, in the evening we partied it up at the Tree Bar at the Hilton for drinks and dancing.

Day 5 * I’d researched if there would be any events happening on island in February and Inarajan was having a cultural festival! We participated in Tuba drinking competition, coconut husking and net throwing. It was so much fun! We also visited the museum and ended the day with dinner at Jeff’s Pirate Cove.

Day 6 * My mom and I shopped in Tumon then hopped on the red trolley to the Micronesia mall! Peter and my stepdad hiked to the Talofofo caves and the Tarzan swim hole.

Day 7 * We drove down south to Merizo and stopped at the belltower, Kombento, Santa Marian Kamalen park, and Priest’s Pools.  We also visited Umatac‘s Fort Soledad. Along the way we stopped at Cetti and Sella Bay viewpoints. This night we were able to go to House of Brutus for dinner and Jazz music.

Day 8 * In the morning the weather was a bit gloomy and rainy so we decided to go to the Underwater World aquarium (which was pretty good and better than the Oregon Aquarium!!). Later, when the weather improved, we had a beach BBQ at Ypao beach park. We watched the sun set at Ohana clubhouse while having dinner then we walked to the Outrigger Bambu Cafe for drinks and music.

Day 9 * We drove south to the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center, then went fishing at Masso Watershed/Resevoir.

Day 10 * We spent the day at Ritidian snorkeling, swimming and hiking. In the evening we had something to celebrate so we stopped for drinks at Gecko bar in the Reef hotel, had dinner at Meskla, and music at Bambu Cafe in Outrigger.

Day 11 * Peter and my stepdad hiked to Waterfall Valley while my mom and  I shopped at GPO.

Day 12 * We stopped at Piti Guns, Yogurtland after a hot day, Agana Cathedral, Plaza de España, Latte Park, Fort Santa Agueda in Agana, Two Lover’s PointTanguisson/Hilaan Beach, and dinner at Max’s Tropical Cafe (Thai food).

Day 13 * Marbo cave.

Day 14 *  Talofofo falls park (we skipped Loveland this time haha), Agana cathedral and gift shop, one last dinner with music by Jesse & Ruby at the Bambu cafe.

It was so much fun planning activities for my guests and seeing their excitement over things that I have taken for granted. I felt so refreshed and fell in love with Guam all over again, thanks to them. I feel really happy that they were able to experience my life and I’m sure they now understand why I love Guam! I was also really happy to spend some quality time with my mom and she even cooked for me ❤ They were wonderful guests!

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Photos at Latte Stone Park

A few months ago Peter and I decided to check out this small, dark park in Agana that we often see. It’s shaded by tons of huge trees and very well maintained. There are latte stone and a cave from WWII. It would be a nice, quiet place for a picnic or to relax during your lunch hour. Definitely stop by if you are in the area!

Don’t Be Ashamed!

In May, Peter’s coworker invited us to his family’s house to celebrate the Inarajan fiesta. We headed down to the beautiful village, following the directions he gave Peter, the party was located across from the church. It happened to be a beautiful, but HOT day in Inarajan. The village is gorgeous and I want to spend more time exploring the historical buildings and beach. Just as most of Guam is influenced heavily by Spanish culture, Inarajan felt like I was back in Spain in the village that my father is from.

We walked onto the Duenas family property, where TONS of other people were enjoying themselves. This was the first Chamorro fiesta that I’d ever been to. I don’t know if all the people at the fiesta were related to one another, but it was a huge party. There were canopies set up, a band playing, a bar, and so much food!!!!  We cooled off under one of the canopies before we braved the buffet style food tables. I spotted a few tables where fruit was piled high. One thing I love about Guam is the way people celebrate. Like I’ve said before, if there’s cause for celebration, no matter what the reason, they will go all out. Everyone loves to share food and feed anybody that’s in the area. It has taken me some time to get used to, I always feel uncomfortable eating people’s food.  My dad raised me to never eat unless invited and to only get what I could eat, but in Guam it’s different. Peter and I walked to the intimidating table of Chamorro food. I was so excited to eat! I grabbed a plate and began picking out my favorites. When I sat down I watched as other people piled food on their plates. When I say pile I mean PILE. Mounds of food on these styrofoam plates that looked like they were going to break. Then I saw a lady grab a bushel of bananas from the fruit table and another grab a whole, uncut pineapple. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Is fruit that expensive on Guam that you have to take them from family parties? I went back for dessert but made the mistake of grabbing a small plate. As I was eating my cake and cookies Peter’s coworker came up to me and said, “Why did you get that plate?!” Then he said it, what I’ve heard so many Guamanians say to me whenever food was concerned, “Don’t be ashamed, take what you want!” I felt a little embarrassed the next day when all of Peter’s coworkers were talking about how I took the small plate and no one EVER uses the small plate.

If I knew then what I know now, I’d have taken a pineapple home and gone for seconds! So if you’re ever in Guam: always take more food than you can eat, if you’re at a fiesta it’s okay to take the fruit home with you and if someone ever says, “Don’t be ashamed!” that means you’re not eating enough and you better eat more!

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Flying a Kite on Mt. Lamlam

It’s not often that Guam has a very windy day. Peter bought a kite and was eager to fly it, but every time we went to the park there was absolutely no wind. We decided to hike up Mt. Lamlam, once again, and give kite flying a try! Knowing what to expect this time, I went prepared. That doesn’t mean that the burning hot sun and thick air didn’t make me feel like I was going to melt away; I just brought extra water, better hiking pants and more snacks! This time it was different, many of the crosses that led up to the top were broken and cut in half. I hope that this was due to natural weather conditions and not some disrespectful fool. Anyway, it was another perfect Guam day. We could see from one side of the island to the other. Perfect views of Coco’s Island, Sella Bay, Cetti Bay and a large freshwater lake that I hadn’t noticed before.  At the top of Mt. Lamlam we sat down in the grass and took a moment to enjoy the scenery. I love looking up into the sky and watching the clouds float by. After some time, Peter decided to set his kite up and give it a go. He looked so cute running through the tall grass while throwing his kite up into the air. Finally, he caught some wind and up it went! There may be times on Guam when it seems like there’s nothing left to do, that’s when I like to go on a hike and appreciate the beauty that I get to enjoy anytime I want. So take some time and fly a kite, it will bring the kid out of you!!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

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Priest’s Pools

Just before that week long storm hit Guam, we scooted down to Merizo in search of Priest’s Pools. A few months ago we tried to find the pools, but were deceived by the high walls that hid them from view. I could hear the water, but looking out over the top of the hill, I couldn’t see them!

Even though the skies looked unfriendly and we had to make a detour because we were caught in a huge rain storm, we were so happy to finally make it to the pools. As usual, there is no trailhead or trail. The road to the pools is through a residential street that is a dead end road. This isn’t really a hike, more like a very easy and short walk. We walked down the hill and immediately could hear the calming sounds of the water falling. Finally, we reached a valley where coconut trees lined the water and there they were. Beautiful and naturally made, these pools were once used by Spanish priests to bathe. They are VERY deep, at least 8 feet, and different sized pools that pour into the next one, go all the way down the hill toward the shore. I found myself a nice palm tree to sit under to keep out of the rain and listened to the soothing sounds of the water. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I have never seen anything like this, such natural beauty!

I wonder how the pools were formed. I guess hundreds of years of water pouring down the black rocks formed into bigger and bigger water holes. This is an unbelievably gorgeous must see on Guam!

August Adventures in Guam

Howdy!

I can’t believe how quickly August has come and gone. Summer in The States is coming to an end and the rainy season in Guam is in full effect. Again, I put together a short video of some of my August activities. It’s funny looking back at the end of the month to see what I did. August was a peaceful month for me. I discovered a new beach that I hadn’t been to before. I also tried to bodyboard for the first time, which is actually quite difficult in Guam because inside the reef there aren’t any waves! At least I had fun trying and pretending I was awesome!

We also did some fishing, with no luck! I don’t know what we’re doing wrong. We had dinner at Jeff’s Pirate’s Cove where I had a chicken gyro and listened to the one man band.

I did a lot of staring up into the sky, laying on the beach and relaxing at the park! Sounds like a good month to me!

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Things to do in Guam: Zoo & Botanical Garden!

Why it’s taken me nearly two years to visit the zoo,  I have no idea! Nonetheless, over the holiday weekend, I finally made the visit. I actually used to live just around the corner from the zoo and during my walks to the beach, I’d hear the strange animal noises coming from the fenced area. I first visited the Guam Zoo website to see what kind of animal noises I’d been hearing. The website is very informational, easy to use and nicely done. I learned that the zoo is privately owned by the Cushing family and they have a surprising list of animals that call their zoo home.

Monday came and we headed down to the zoo in Tumon, which borders the Holiday Resort & Spa. We rang the bell for assistance and paid the entrance fee (if you ask for the local/military rate it is $10/person rather than $15 and bring cash). The first animal we spotted was the carabao/water buffalo. It was slowly drinking water from its pool. Next to him there was a white bird that sounded like it was saying, “Hello” every time we turned to walk away. In front of the carabao’s fence was a machine that dispensed animal food for $0.25. I was like, “woohooo!!” and bought a ton of food to feed the animals. Immediately, the carabao came over, recognizing the sound of the food dispenser. We fed him and proceeded on to the next animal’s area, the donkey! The donkey was one of my favorite animals. Peter fed him and I poured food down the pipe that led to his feeding bowl. He was so cute and his little legs were funny. “A donkey?” You’re probably thinking. Yes, remember that this might be the only donkey Guamanian children will ever see.  Those of us from The States seeing a flock of geese fly by during their migration might be a normal thing, but in Guam normal animals that you see day-to-day in The States don’t exist here. This being the ONLY zoo on Guam, I’m glad they provided both endemic and nonendemic animals. After the donkey I saw the deer that roam throughout Guam’s hills. I’ve yet to see deer in the wild; although, I have seen their tracks in the red dirt. My most favorite animals were the sea turtles! They’re so majestic! I also saw a wild boar that didn’t do much other than lay in the dirt. I saw regular pigs, snapping turtles, emu, ostrich (which Peter yelled, “Hey I ate one of you in the Philippines!”), macaque, birds, sharks, goats, monitor lizards, back leopard, snakes and so many more. The moray eel was my least favorite, it creeped me out. And to think that they are in Guam’s beautiful waters! Yikes.

I was very impressed with zoo, especially as it is privately owned! It was nicely maintained and the zoo keeper was very friendly. Guam Zoo is unlike any zoo I’ve ever been to, it’s quite small and houses less animals. The pens, pools and cages are well taken care of, the animals seem happy and more domesticated than at other zoos. It’s nice to be in a zoo where it’s really all about the animals and not all about making money. There are no gift shops or restaurants and you’re pretty much free to walk around and be on your own, the zoo keeper is available for questions though. I like that I was able to feed some of the animals and I was pleasantly surprised that they had a variety of animals and not just animals found on Guam.  The beautiful trees that provided shade to the entire park and the ponds (don’t forget your mosquito repellant), made me forget that just outside the fence was the hustle and bustle of Tumon’s most popular tourist area. I was so happy with my experience at the zoo and I’m thankful that the Cushing family gave this to Guam! Two thumbs up!

Fonte Plateau

Guam is full of history, probably more than you know. Guam is also full of mysteries! Latte stone in the middle of the jungle near Lost Pond, hiking trails that you know lead to something amazing but just can’t find, signs that tell you there is some cool WWII remnant just ahead, but no trail or direction. When I read in the newspaper that the War in the Pacific Historical Park was going to have a park ranger at Fonte Plateau in Nimitz Hill to explain what those locked caves were, I was THERE! Peter and I had stopped a few times to look in, but they were locked and we couldn’t figure out what they were for. We arrived in the parking lot with a group of other people to learn a little bit about Guam’s history during WWII. He explained that those caves were actually Japanese communication bunkers that Japanese soldiers used to communicate with one another. It was very well hidden in a hill surrounded by trees and grass blending in with the surroundings, which I’m sure was the objective. We were all interested in the history and story, but let’s face it, we were really there so we could get a chance to go inside.

As we walked up the hill to the first locked cave door, I saw nothing but darkness and was very excited to see more! We walked in, one-by-one, where the bunker opened from the narrow hallway into a huge and empty space. It was pitch black, with only the sunlight shining in through the barred gates.  Someone had a light and shone it in the darkness where there was graffiti on the walls and communication wires hanging from the ceiling of the bunker. To think that Japanese soldiers might have lived in there for many weeks or months is unbelievable. I would feel claustrophobic and stir crazy after a few days!

After exploring the bunker for awhile, the park ranger led us out and around the back where we walked on top of the bunker and to a cave behind. Usually it’s just Peter and me, but it was very nice learning and exploring with the other people. The park ranger was very knowledgeable about WWII and Guam and I enjoyed it a lot. I look forward to attending more of these and would suggest visiting the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center, which is near the Navy base.

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Throughout middle and high school, WWII history just didn’t interest me one bit. Now that I live in a country where I can walk down to the beach and see huge cement blocks that stabilized Japanese WWII guns, I find it intriguing and  want to learn more!

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