Guam lies between the Philippines and Hawaii in the western South Pacific. It is an island territory of the United States and is the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago. Guam is also a part of the region of Micronesia, which includes the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau. Guam is known by tourists as a more modern and developed tropical paradise, where you get to enjoy the sun and beach in the comfort of nice hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. The top cities and destinations in Guam include the capital Agana, Tumon Bay, Inarajan, Dededo, Cocos Island, Agat, Talofofo Bay and Falls, Gadao, Yigo, Mangilao, Umatac, Merizo, and Cetti Bay.
Guam’s history dates back to the Chamorro Indians who arrived on Guam from Southeast Asia around 1500 BC. Ferdinand Magellan discovered the island in 1521 and the Spanish later colonized it in 1565. Guam remained a Spanish colony until the Americans took control of it during the Spanish-American War of 1898. The island has remained an American territory ever since, serving as a U.S. military base of strategic importance.
Guam’s attractions run the gamut. There are beautiful tropical beaches, majestic waterfalls, and historic and cultural sites. In particular, you can find many Spanish ruins such as the Plaza De Espana and the Basilica and the stone bridges of Agana. There are several WWII memorials like the Pacific Historical Park in Asan as well as Chamorro remains like the Latte Stone park in Agana, built in the 9th century. These ancient Latte pillars used to support buildings and houses. There are also Petroglyphs or cave paintings as well as statues of legendary chiefs in the various villages like the famous Chief Gadoa in the village of Inarajan.
Visitors can also experience the traditions and lifestyles of the Chamorros by attending the many village fiestas held each year. These are village-wide celebrations involving indigenous festivities like traditional dancing and singing and games like the batu, chonka, bayogu, or estuleks.
And, of course, Guam like other islands in the South Pacific is full of coral reefs and underwater shipwrecks that make it the perfect setting for world-class scuba diving. Other water activities like snorkeling, fishing, windsurfing, sailing, and swimming are also popular, especially in marine parks like the Tumon Bay Marine Park. There are also golf courses and opportunities for hiking and skydiving.
Guam is perhaps best known for its great shopping, especially duty-free shopping. Because the island enjoys a duty-free status, many of the popular name-brand clothes, watches, leather goods, liquor, perfumes and other luxury items are cheaper in Guam than even in their country of origin. The best shopping centers are the Micronesia Mall in Dededo, the specialty shops along Pale San Vitores in Tumon Bay, the Agana Shopping Center, and the Guam Premiere Outlets in Tamuning. There are also flea markets, such as at the Dededo Flea Market or the cluster of shops at the Chamorro Village in central Hagåtña Bay, where you can pick up Micronesian handicrafts, clothes, and various souvenirs.