A popular travel hub in the South Pacific, Guam offers lush tropical jungles that bump up against sandy white beaches that are largely undiscovered by Western tourists. Although it is Micronesia's largest and most populous island, Guam is still small enough to explore in a day or two, and its resorts and attractions are ensuring that it becomes more and more popular as a Pacific holiday destination.
The island is an unincorporated US territory, and although American accents abound, traditional Guam culture is a unique blend of Spanish, Micronesian, Asian and western influences. The original inhabitants, the Chamorros, have inhabited the island for over 4,000 years, through occupation by Spain and the United States.
Many tourists in Guam base themselves in the city of Tumon Bay, which offers a number of resorts and a wealth of duty-free shopping. However, the real attractions of Guam lie in the less densely inhabited areas of the island. Southern Guam is home to many traditional Chamorros villages, and here you'll have a better chance of experiencing local culture than in the more cosmopolitan cities. The village of Talofofo is a worthwhile stop, as much for the spectacular two-tier waterfall as the village culture. Northern Guam is largely occupied by the US military's Andersen Base, but if you venture that way you'll discover the pristine beaches of Ritidian Point. Popular activities in Guam centre on the ocean, and include scuba diving, reef fishing, surfing and wind surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, boat trips and even submarine rides.
Central Guam is more developed, and contains the capital city of Hagatna (formerly called Agana), which has reminders of the island's colonial history in the pretty Spanish architecture alongside less cultural attractions like the world's largest K-mart. Both Hagatna and Tumon Bay offer an array of nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Nearby, the War in the Pacific National Historical Park is a must-visit for World War II history buffs.
The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency in Guam. It is
possible to exchange major currencies at airports and banks and
there are ATMs on the island which can be found at the airports, in
shopping malls and at some hotels. Major credit cards are widely
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Although no vaccinations are required for travel to Guam, some are recommended by travel authorities: hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended for all travellers; a typhoid vaccination is recommended for those who plan to eat and drink outside of major restaurants and hotels; a japanese encephalitis vaccination is recommended for those planning to spend time in rural areas or outdoors; an MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination is recommended if not previously given; revaccination for tetanus-diphtheria is recommended every 10 years. Do not drink tap water in Guam unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected, and don't have ice in your drinks. Avoid food from street vendors and raw or undercooked meat and fish. Make sure fruit is peeled. There are medical facilities available on the island but for life-threatening injuries or diseases you may well need to be transferred overseas to receive treatment; comprehensive travel insurance is recommended. It is best to bring along any medication you require, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing the medication you need and why.
As an unincorporated US territory, entry requirements for Guam tend to follow US guidelines. All visitors to Guam must hold return or onward tickets, documents required for their next destination, and sufficient funds to cover their stay. Passports must be valid for the intended period of stay. It is recommended to have six months' validity remaining on your passport whenever travelling. Immigration officials may apply different standards than the official policy.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Official portal for tourism in Guam: www.visitguam.org/
Foreign Embassies in Guam
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