Written by jenae567 on 23 Aug, 2008
Being stationed in Okinawa, Japan with the US Air Force, my husband and I had heard many people talking about vacationing in Guam - just a short flight southeast. It seemed to be a relatively popular vacation destination amont the military here, so we…Read More
Being stationed in Okinawa, Japan with the US Air Force, my husband and I had heard many people talking about vacationing in Guam - just a short flight southeast. It seemed to be a relatively popular vacation destination amont the military here, so we decided to check it out.Once we pushed our way through the hordes of Japanese tourists on holiday, we decided to venture out in town. Enter: STICKER SHOCK. Needless to say, nobody warned us exactly how expensive Guam was! A shopper's paradise, Tumon Bay is chock full of duty-free shops and malls. Many tourists enjoy the "Duty-free" aspect of shopping and save a lot of money this way. However, as a young couple on a budget (as many young couples are), we quickly realized this kind of shopping was not for us. Stores such as Gucci, Fendi, Luis Vuitton, and the likes lined the streets with billboards to be seen by all. These seemed to be the majority of stores along "The Main Strip", only to be outnumbered by the begrudgingly tourist-y "ABC Mart"; a franchise of shops (seemingly more numerous than Starbucks in Seattle!) that sell knick-knack souveniers, snacks, and toiletries that travellers may have forgotten. Completely put-off by the $2000 handbags presented to us at every other store, my husband and I decided to check out the other nooks and crannies of Tumon. We found a handful of indoor pistol ranges, which mostly cater to the fanatical amount of Japanese tourists - most of which have never seen a gun, let alone shoot one. Left with few other options, we decided to try one out. OUCH. $90 and 10 minutes later, we had shot a .45 revolver and a Baby Desert Eagle. My wallet weeped as my brain recalled the same amount of money lasting me about 3 hours (and a healthy supply of ammo) earlier in the year at a pistol range in my home state of Michigan. Not to be discouraged, we decided to get find some water activities. As an avid SCUBA diver, I found SCUBA-Co through a tour agency in town. I thought my poor wallet was going to crumble to dust after I forked over $100 for a 1-tank boat dive scheduled for the next day. (I regularly go on boat dives here in Okinawa for about $60 for a 2-tank boat dive).Potential tourists; beware! How I wish somebody had warned me beforehand! So here, my friends, is your warning. Guam is an "OK" place to visit if you absolutely need to get out of town. HOWEVER, be warned that the majority of the tourists there are Japanese, who are accustomed to paying higher prices and have an affinity for all things designer. Therefore, many of the prices you'll find are quite a bit higher than one would see in the states, because many activities/items/foods are "novelty" to the majority of the tourists. K-Mart is nearly unbearable as it is chock-full of more Japanese tourists (Large stores like K-Mart and Wal-Mart are almost non-existant in Japan), as well as many US Military personnel stationed on the island pushing through the masses, just trying to get a few things. Don't say you haven't been warned! If you are like my husband and I - looking for a nice vacation on a budget - you may want to think twice about Guam. Close
Written by Kikapa on 29 Oct, 2001
We landed in Guam, and rented a car from National ($44 US). I was pretty disappointed with this company. The car we got was a "typhoon" car. That means dents, scratches and pretty beaten up. I was not happy paying full price for this vehicle.…Read More
We landed in Guam, and rented a car from National ($44 US). I was pretty disappointed with this company. The car we got was a "typhoon" car. That means dents, scratches and pretty beaten up. I was not happy paying full price for this vehicle. There is a company called Cars Unlimited; they have the same "typhoon" cars for $25 US a day.
We decided to start diving as soon as we arrived in Guam, so we drove to a dive shop called MDA (Micronesian Divers Association). The place is very big. We rented our gear ($15 BCD, TANK, WT BELT and REGS) and booked a charter for the next day. We could not get a dive charter that day with MDA. By chance, someone mentioned to us a new dive shop called Pro Divers. This was about 11:00 am. We drove to the shop and asked if they had any afternoon charters. Turns out, they did! They were very friendly (down home friendly). We paid for two dives ea ($58 pp) and were out on the water in an hour.
Their boat was great! The perfect dive boat, state of the art, it held maybe 6-10 divers. The Captain and the Divemaster were knowledgeable. We told them what we wanted to see and they knew just where to find it! We went to Hap's Reef and Anae Island. Hap's Reef is a beautiful reef covered with anemones, coral and a variety of fish. If you rub your thumbs together, hundreds of fish will come up to you thinking they will be fed. Anae Island was a nice sight. This dive had so many shells, odd sea cucumbers, scorpionfish, shallow caves, hard coral and blue starfish. We ended our day very tired and satisfied. Mental Note: When flying eight hours and then insisting on doing a dive immediately, eat lots of bananas and drink plenty of water. Dehydration sets in quickly, causing bad leg cramps. Don't chance it!
We drove to Anderson Air Force Base to check into the lodge. ($17-$32, nice kitchenettes). The hotels on Guam are very expensive. However, if you check the paper, they may have specials. After we checked into the lodge, we drove around the base. As the sun went down, we saw two Stealth B-2 Bombers coming in for a landing. What a rare sight we were fortunate enough to see! We have never seen anything like these aircraft. They lit the whole sky and gave a majestic effect with the clouds shadowed behind them.
The next day we got up early and went to the boat dock for our boat dive. We checked in and waited for the other divers. I wanted to get acquainted with our divemaster before the dive. It turns out, MDA did not supply a divemaster. The price $40 was only for the charter. MDA, it seems only charter the boat to tour companies. These companies have their own divemasters. As 40 people loaded on the boat and 40 more people loaded on another boat, I did not have a good feeling, and we loaded our stuff OFF the boat and left. I did not feel comfortable with maybe eighty people in the water at the same dive site! I sure did not feel comfortable without a guide to show us the best parts of the dive. MDA understood the situation and cheerfully refunded our money.
MDA is a company that sells and rents equipment, gives instruction, handles travel service. (They handled our trip to Palau, and did a good job.) They get you started; you do the rest. Pro Divers does the same and more! They do all MDA does and they have kayaking as a plus. The location where they are at has beautiful beaches and reefs for kayaking. Good rates too! See Professional Sports Divers email@example.com We went back to Pro Divers and they happened to have a charter that day. They took us to Blue Hole and Barracuda Rock.
Blue hole is a vertical chimney that goes to a depth of 130 feet with hard and soft corals, sea whips, moray eels and fish. Barracuda Rock reminded me a lot of Hawaii's "Shark's Cove" -large rocks everywhere with fish darting in and out of the shadows. The current picked up and it turned into a drift dive. We drifted over another dive site, "The Crevice", which looked more impressive than "Blue Hole", bigger too. The Crevice was lined with corals, sponges, sea fans and big fish. When it was time for our ascent, we reached the surface and the boat Captain was waiting for us. I guess he knew where the current would drift us. I would recommend this dive company any day!
After our dive with Pro Sports Divers, we went snorkeling on the Navy base in the Harbor at a place called Gab-Gab. It was beautiful snorkeling. The water was very clear and the variety of coral looked untouched! Gab Gab Two is just beyond Gab Gab. Just look for the boats and Atlantis submarine and snorkel out. It would make a nice dive too. (2-90 ft)
The next day we booked with Pro divers to dive the Tokai Maru and the SMS Cormoran wrecks. I would highly recommend these wrecks. These are two ships from two different wars lying next to each other, at one time, touching. At first the dive was very disorientating, the wrecks were at an angle. After our brains got used to the idea. The wreck was rather enjoyable. It was like going back into time and history. It was almost eerie, yet exciting! Experience it for yourself.
Our final dive in Guam was the dive shop's little secret. The price was the most beautiful coral gardens I have ever seen in Guam. A small wreck was there too! Better than pictures. This was awesome diving!
After our dives we decided to head for the Naval Base and do some snorkeling. he snorkeling we did was maybe one hundred feet from The tour guide, Atlantis Submarine. This was the most beautiful and pristine snorkeling! Undamaged coral was everywhere, and we took care not to be the first to spoil it. It was an underwater wonderland.
We headed back to Anderson and took the long way around the island. When darkness fell upon us, we searched for the famous brown tree snake. We searched for hours and never came across one. Just as we gave up we drove on the back wood deserted road and the biggest most beautiful snake I had ever seen was right in the middle. This was the Brown Tree Snake. He stretched across the road and was as thick as my fist. What a specimen! I was so awed by this snake that stupid me forgot to get a picture. He raised about six inches off the ground to check us out. I guess he realized we were not a threat and headed into the woods. Too cool! After we realized we had not gotten a picture, we got out to try to pull the snake back out so we could take a picture, but quickly changed our minds when the snake turned on us. Ha! Ha!
Guam was a very nice place, it reminded me of a growing and developing Hawaii. For a tourist, the prices were very reasonable for everything except hotels. I would suggest going before May, after which, the heat is unbearable! We went in March and the climate was perfect. Hafa Adai!
Written by jorgejuan on 12 May, 2006
I reached Tokyo after a long train journey crossing Siberia and then by ship from Nahodka to Yokohama. I was almost broke and planned to work in Japan and then continue my around the world journey. But I found a cheap air pass which permitted…Read More
I reached Tokyo after a long train journey crossing Siberia and then by ship from Nahodka to Yokohama. I was almost broke and planned to work in Japan and then continue my around the world journey. But I found a cheap air pass which permitted me to fly during one year to the following islands: Guam; Saipan in the Northern Marianas; Koror in Palau; the Caroline Islands of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia; Majuro in the Marshall’s, plus Honolulu in Hawaii as final destination, where I hoped to find a job. At the beginning I had the intention to hop as soon as possible through these diminutive islands that I judged unexciting, to reach Hawaii. Fortunately, the friends that I made, their original customs, the singing of tropical birds, and the whisper of the wind during the starry nights, contributed to change my mind, and thus get acquainted with the rich history and traditions of charming people in that ignored part of the world. GUAM was very dear to me because of the call in it of the Magellan expedition around the world; there is even a monument in his honour in Umatac. I expected to arrive to a primitive island and was amazed: the highroads had nothing to envy to those of Italy, Germany or Spain! Everybody has a car in Guam, nobody walks. The Chamorros, or local inhabitants, are all fat, walking with difficulty because of the abundance of food and money in the island. Soon I made friends who invited me to their houses because the Chamorros speak a language containing 70 % of Spanish words and for them I was a remote relative. They told me that before the arrival of the Spaniards they had four castes, like in India. Thanks to their generosity I could taste the Tuba (local liquor made with coconut) and eat the breadfruit. Beaches are beautiful in Tumon Bay, and the Nature and waterfalls of the island are gorgeous. After one month I continued my journey to Saipan.SAIPAN. Japanese fly to this island to get married, which is much cheaper than in Japan, and to visit the tiny Island of the Birds, where in front of it there is a plaque devoted to the Japanese soldiers who preferred to commit suicide instead of surrendering to the USA troops during WWII. I visited the jail where, presumably, Kansas pilot Amelia Earhart was arrested before being killed by the Japanese in 1937 (the only thing that we know for sure is that she disappeared after leaving Lae, in Papua New Guinea, in direction to USA with her airplane). Between Saipan and TINIAN lays the Marianas Trench, the deepest in the world, with 11.000 metres. I travelled there by boat and walked to the place from where departed the airplane Enola Gay, the one that threw the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima. In Chalan Kanoa, Saipan, I stayed in the magnificent hotel Marianas Trench. The owner was so helpful that gave me a room for free when he saw me sleeping in a park. After Saipan I flew to Palau.PALAU. I landed in Koror, hence I took a boat to Angaur, the Island of the Monkeys, crossing the Seventy Islands, one of the three most scenic and beautiful archipelagos of tiny islands in the whole Ocean Pacific (there is another one between Honiara and Gizo, in the Solomon, and the third one is located around Vavau, in Tonga). During that boat journey I was exulted. Once in Angaur I asked for the chief, and after giving him a present (a Russian matrioshka), as is the practice, he showed me an Abai to sleep. Every traditional Island in the Micronesia has an Abai, or meeting house, where people join to talk internal affairs and lodge visitors. Every night all the young natives take a lantern and go to catch enormous eating coconuts crabs. When you walk in that pleasant island you have to be careful with your cap, glasses and pencils in you shirt pocket, because the monkeys are thieves and will rob you while you are walking. After two weeks I flew to Yap.YAP is the most traditional island in Micronesia. Women walk half naked in the streets and enter the supermarkets, and all men, scarcely dressed with loincloths, carry always with them a straw bag containing hundreds of betel nuts that they masticate and spit everywhere, every time. In Colonia, capital of Yap, I saw stone money in a bank in the street. With those stones of aragonite (calcium carbonate) snatched from the Rock Islands of Palau, locals can buy possessions or pay as dowry to get married. Today they have been devaluated owing to an Irish adventurer of the XIX century, David Dean O’Keefe, who extracted larges quantities of them and became rich; he even bought an island (named O’Keefe!) in front of Colonia and got married to a native girl. I tried to visit a small island called Rummung, but the chief did not allow me to enter, and even refused my matrioshka, for being a foreigner from another “island”. For them, everybody lives in an island. One week later I flew to Chuuk.CHUUK is a paradise for divers because of the many Japanese warships sunk during the WWII in its lagoon, the greatest of the world. Looking for a convenient bower where to spend the night I met some foreigners who invited me to share their dormitory. They were Peace Corps, or very nice Americans who teach English to the natives. But after two days I got bored in Chuuk. I heard that in the other side of the lagoon there was an island called Tol where the natives play the flute with the nose, but my economy situation had reached the top bottom level, and to eat I had to climb the trees to catch coconuts. Furthermore, I was in typhoon season, it rained every day and the mud made me walk with difficulty. Without realizing it, my mind started to machinate: “Rain rain, mud mud, hungry hungry, rain rain, mud mud, hungry hungry, food inside the airplane! food inside the airplane!” And then I walked to the airport to take the next plane to Pohnpei.POHNPEI is the oddest island in Micronesia. It has the enigmatic ruins of Nan Madol, erected with blocks of basalt weighing up to 50 tons. Nobody can explain yet how they were cut from the quarry, transported for kilometres and erected in a perfect way forming 92 islets. The nature in Pohnpei is fabulous; you do not feel in a small island but in the centre of a continent because of the high mountains and the powerful rivers. Indeed, if King Kong would exist in Pohnpei he would feel at home. There are five kingdoms in Pohnpei: Kiti, Sokehs, Net, U, and Madolenihmw, and their kings have power in politics. I hitchhiked to surround the island when the President of the country picked me up! He was going to the funeral of the Queen of Kiti and invited me. I willingly accepted. The King was sad, dejected. I gave him a matrioshka as my condolences and he, in correspondence, offered me a head of dog for lunch, but I gently declined and ate an omelette instead. Some weeks later I flew to Kosrae.KOSRAE. I landed one Friday in Kosrae and tried to visit the island when I was severely admonished. In Kosrae, Friday is a Green Day and everyone, even foreigners, have to do any ecological work such as planting, cleaning the beach, etc. I agreed and entered a garden with some natives. When they observed me climbing up the trees collecting tangerines with enthusiasm, they were satisfied and let me alone. Luckily they did not catch me eating the tangerines and hiding the best and juicier in my bag for the dinner. Afterwards I was invited by the community of Utwe to the rite of Sakau, also called Kava in Melanesia. It consists in a narcotic drink obtained from the root of the pepper and served in a coconut cup. When you are given the cup you have to drink only a little and pass it over to another member. Some days later I flew to Majuro.MAJURO. The plane landed in Kwajalein before proceeding to Majuro, a sinking atoll where its people are suffering the Evergreen Effect; soon they will have to find another place to live. Marshall’s is included in the Oceania “Biblical Belt”, Sundays are holy and the cars stop when the churches bells ring. Mormons are very active and recruit natives with the theory that they descend from the Lost Tribes of Israel. One week later I flew to Honolulu stopping in the atoll of Johnston, but the US Army did not allow me to get off the plane. Finally I landed in beautiful Oahu and my Micronesia journey ended. Close
Written by ademir on 31 Oct, 2000
Agana, Guam is and has been the seat of government for the island of Guam for most likely forever.
Its name, Agana or Hagatna, is also called Guahan (we have)in the language of the Chamoru people.
The people of the island,(taotao tano) were to have named parts…Read More
Agana, Guam is and has been the seat of government for the island of Guam for most likely forever.
Its name, Agana or Hagatna, is also called Guahan (we have)in the language of the Chamoru people.
The people of the island,(taotao tano) were to have named parts of the island to correspond to parts of the human body.
The Chamorro legends tell of Fu'una, who used the parts of her dying brothers body to create the world.
Her brothers eyes were the sun and the moon, his eyebrows were the rainbows, his chest the sky and his back the earth.
She then turned herself into a rock, from which all humans originated.
It is the life blood of a larger body called Guahan or Guam.
Hagatna is the life blood venue for government.
I felt to appreciate a fine culture one most appreciate its background.
So, relax your mind and dream of Guam!
Historical information obtained from Guam tourist information at Guam government website. Close