Interesting Facts about Guam Every Tourist Should Know
When I tell people I lived in Guam for 10 years, they always have the same reaction. They give me the predictably confused face and the question, “Guam? Where is Guam?” If you’re wondering the same thing, read on. I’ll give you the insider’s look on all the interesting facts about Guam that can make your vacation so much better.
To travel to Guam from the U.S., head west. Guam is in the Pacific Ocean. It’s located in the heart of the Mariana Islands. It’s above Australia and below Japan. Hawaii is the right of it, and China is to the left.
How big is the island of Guam?
It’s 212 square miles. It’s a bit on the tiny side compared to other popular islands like Hawaii.
But it makes for a fun day trip. We used to pack up some food and drinks, grab a towel, and pile in the car. We’d start after breakfast, drive around the entire island, and be home by dinner.
When the locals say they’re going to drive around the island, they really do. In an eight-hour time span, we can fully encircle the entire island.
Who does Guam belong to?
The United States owns Guam. It’s a U.S. territory. This is an interesting fact about Guam that most people don’t know about. It’s part of the U.S. and has been since WWII.
Originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan, a Spanish explorer, Spain claimed the island. Then the U.S. claimed it in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
During WWII, the Japanese invaded in 1941 shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They renamed it to Omiya Jima. The US invaded again and liberated the people from Japanese rule.
If you’d like more interesting facts about Guam, read this.
To travel to Guam from the U.S., no VISA is required because the island belongs to America.
What nationality are people from Guam?
Another interesting fact about Guam is that the people from Guam are officially Americans. They are called by two different names. Since they originate from Guam, they are known to Americans as Guamanian (pronounced gwahm ay nee ens). That’s how they know right away that you’re a tourist.
The locals refer to themselves as Chamorro (pronounced cham or oh). Chamorro can refer to both men and women.
A wonderful part of the culture is to watch the women don grass skirts and coconut bras (similar to Hawaiian’s) and dance as they did in the olden days. These women are called Chamorittas. The men wear their traditional garb as well, but the main attraction are these dark-skinned, hip swinging, beautiful Chamorittas.
What language does Guam speak?
This is an interesting fact about Guam that people always ask me about. What language is spoken in Guam?
English is the primary language on Guam. The local language is secondary. Going back to their nationality, the official language is referred to as Guamanian while the locals call their language Chamorro. They both have the same meaning, and are used interchangeably.
The local language has a strong similarity to Spanish, thanks to Magellan and his friends intermarrying with the Chamorros. A friend of mine, who spoke Spanish, was able to converse with my local friend quite well in Chamorro. I stood silently by since I don’t understand Spanish or Chamorro. Lucky for me they both spoke English.
What currency does Guam use?
Guam uses the good old-fashioned American dollar.
There are money exchange machines in the more heavily populated areas in case you need one.
Does Guam have a lot of tourists?
The majority of tourists are Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans. But you’ll see a large blend of other cultures like Filipinos, Palau, Hawaiian, and Americans.
A large air force base takes up a chunk of the northern tip of the island while a navy base occupies the southern tip. Because of these installations, when I lived here most of the American tourists were military. But tourism has expanded significantly and Americans visit all the time.
Is Guam expensive to visit?
Yes, and no.
Vacation packages may be the cheapest way to take a vacation in Guam. Purchasing air fare, hotel, and meals separately can be way too expensive.
Military discounts, student discounts, and AARP are honored. For the regular visitor, it can be a bit expensive to visit Guam. Since they export nothing, and import everything, prices tend to be higher. But the good thing is, you’ll find lots of things from a myriad of cultures that you can find on every shelf in almost every store.
My article 5 Things to Do in Guam That are Totally Awesome goes into more detail of beaches, shopping, and things to do on vacation in Guam.
How much does it cost to fly to Guam?
Round trip first class fares from L.A. can range from $1,000 to $2,500 roughly. Economy fares range from $800 to $1,000 per person. (Costs based on fares listed at United.com)
Is shopping in Guam Expensive?
True to any tourist attraction, prices are always more expensive than normal. Most places offer a military discount due to the high influx of military and retired veterans who travel to Guam. For the average traveler, there are some discounts available for hotels and dinner.
A huge portion of Guam’s income is tourism. The interesting fact about Guam in this regard is that Guam does not export anything. Tourism is it’s main income staple.
There are several malls you can visit, the main being the Micronesia Mall. Be prepared to drop a lot of money at the malls and the duty free shops. Guam Premium Outlets is a great mall, but less expensive than the Micronesia Mall. But it’s still pricier than U.S. malls.
Get away from the populated tourist traps and seek out the smaller stores. These convenience stores sell tons of stuff for much less. Snacks, Hello Kitty stationary, flip-flops, and more are usually sold in these smaller stores. They resemble something out of China Town in NYC. They have lots of stuff crammed into a small space but you can get some totally awesome souvenirs (and necessities) from these little places without spending a fortune.
How many miles is Guam from the U.S. ?
From Los Angeles, it’s approximately 6, 000 miles to Guam. The good news is that although it’s a super long flight, you can relax until you reach Honolulu for a layover while the plane refuels. Another few hours, and you’re there.
Airfare is probably the most expensive part if you travel to Guam from the U.S. There’s only one major airport, so you won’t find any special discounts by searching alternate airports in the area.
Flying from the U.S, you’ll have to stop in Los Angeles. All major flights to Guam leave from LA. Then it’s a 17 hour flight.
What kind of food can I find in Guam?
While American food is available at typical places like Denny’s, McDonald’s, and such, do something different. In Guam, food to go is everywhere. Get out of your comfort zone!
Try something new. My ultimate favorite of all these fun facts about Guam is that it offers a diverse mix of many cultures and that includes the food.
or some Filipino pancit (like stir fry noodles but better!)
My favorite place to get food is the Chamorro Village. We ate here consistently when I lived in Guam. Authentic Chamorro food cooked by native Chamorro’s is the best. Wednesday and Friday evenings come to life to showcase stores, shops, and vendor, but mainly food.
It’s cheap, it’s filling, and it’s just too darn good to pass up. I’ve learned to make a few of the recipes at home. Traditional Chamorro food is one of my favorite foods of all time. I use this cookbook to bring the taste of Guam back into my kitchen.
Hot. Hot. And hot. Being in the Pacific Ocean, Guam has two seasons – rainy and dry. The rainy season, between October and December, is when the typhoons come through. Avoid visiting during that time.
The dry season, between January and May, is when the sun cooks fair-skinned tourists to a crisp. For the rest of the year, it’s like springish/summerish time in Florida. The sun shines, rain comes, but dries in a matter of hours.
No winter. No autumn. Just year round summer time. Prepare to pack for evenings in the high 70 degree range, and days that range between 85 – 95 degrees. Summer dresses, comfy sandals, and sunscreen are all you need.
And those are some interesting facts about Guam.
Sun, sand, and food can all be found on the tiny boot-shaped isle of Guam. It’s a hodgepodge of cultures and diversity. English is spoken and American dollars are used everywhere. There are so many places to see in Guam, you’ll never be bored. These are just a few interesting facts about Guam I put together to whet your appetite. Grab a pair of sandals, a bathing suit, and a super cute beach towel. Hit the warm sandy beach, and enjoy yourself.
Have you been to Guam? What was your experience? Do you have any interesting facts about Guam to add? Post your thoughts in the comments below!