As a travel destination it is hard to rate Guam to incredibly high, especially coming in from the mainland US or Hawaii. Sure, it is warm and generally sunny, but so is most of the Caribbean or the beaches of Mexico and they’re a LOT easier to get to than Guam is. If you happen to be in Japan or Korea already I can somewhat see the appeal – only 4-5 hours away by air and a much different environment that caters to you as a tourist – but really a hard sell coming all the way from New York City. Still, I managed to find a few things to do while there and it wasn’t like the beaches were particularly bad as visiting goes.
The main drag of Tumon Bay Beach is where all the resorts are based and where most tourists end up. The area is just a couple miles from the airport and pretty much serves as the focus of the tourist industry on the island. And with good reason. Other than one section of particularly nice beach that I saw on one of the Navy bases, the beach at Tumon Bay is one of the nicer stretches of land available in Guam for enjoying the Pacific Ocean and it has most of the restaurants and shops, too.
The wide, shallow bay plays more like a lake than an ocean, with virtually no surf to speak of but that’s great for the folks staying at the resorts who are looking to snorkel, windsurf or sail in the area. And the white sand beach is wide enough that there is generally enough room, though it is not particularly deep which can make it a bit crowded at times.
One of the nicer features of the beach is that it is readily accessible both to the guests of the high-priced resorts that sit right on it and to the general public, thanks to Governor Joseph A Flores Park, a public access facility, at one end. With free public parking and access everyone can enjoy the sun and sand.
A bit further south along Marine Corps Drive the tourist population dwindles and the locals dominate the scene. The coast is lined with parks, providing parking and access to the waterfront, though generally much less in the way of actual beachfront. There is a grassy area adjacent to most of the parking lots but no sand to relax on. For some folks that’s probably an ideal sort of beach, but not me.
In addition to the large, calm stretches of coastline there are also some areas where the surf break line is close enough to shore for folks to take advantage of it. Just off of Paseo De Susana Park there were a number of surfers and body boarders doing just that.
The park also has a replica of the Statue of Liberty on display. I happen to like ours in NYC a bit better, but this one is certainly more convenient to visit if you’re in Guam.
Finally, there is a small park adjacent to the regional government building that provides some pretty cool views of the region. The plot of land that now houses the government was used as a fort in the days of Spanish rule and as an anti-aircraft emplacement during World War II; evidence of both eras remains in the park area.
Construction in the region was historically performed by elevating the buildings, both to protect against rising tides or floods as well as to keep critters out. The towers that the buildings were set on are known as lattes and they are rather significant to the history of the island. Traditionally they were built of two pieces, the long, tapered column and then a chunk of coral set atop that. The government recently built a look-out tower that mimics the design and style of a latte. It is actually a pretty neat tower and it provides great views of the coast line.
There is also a marker signifying the base reference point on Guam for all GPS location points on the island. Vaguely interesting for the geek in me.
Between these beaches, the view from Two Lovers’ Point and the diving available on the island I managed to fill my 49 hours on the island well enough. I’m quite certain that I don’t really need to go back as I got my fill and there are more interesting destinations still on my list.
- Looking down on Guam’s Tumon Bay from Two Lovers Point
- A day of SCUBA diving in Guam
- Just finished the 5 course meal, and we’re still in Texas
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