It is the largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago. Guam is a territory of the United States of America. It is considered to occupy a militarily strategic location, south of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam is one of many islands that make up Micronesia, which politically consists of Belau (Palau), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati (anthropologically having affinities with Polynesia and Micronesia), the Marshall Islands, and several remote islands designated as the US-administered islands of the Central Pacific. All of Micronesia has close political ties to the US.
Northern Region- The northern part of the island is a relatively flat limestone plateau and is comprised of two villages (Dedeo and Yigo) and the United States' Andersen Air Force Base. Dededo is Guam's most populous village. Highlights for visitors include the Guam National Wildlife Refuge Ritidian Unit, the Micronesia Mall, Two Lovers Point, parks, beaches and hiking trails. Dededo hosts a busy weekend flea market that attracts large crowds - vendors sell all kinds of items, local produce and tasty food.
Central Region- Central Guam is quite metropolitan. The island's capitol of Hagåtña is the seat of government and features a historic walking path through the village. Tumon Bay is brimming with luxury hotels and high-end shopping. Destinations of interest here include: the Chamorro Village with its lively Wednesday Night Market; the historic Plaza de Espana and Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica; plentiful beaches with water sports like parasailing, kite boarding, boating and personal watercraft. Local companies offer dolphin watching, diving, and fishing tours regularly. The most bustling nightlife is located in this region of the island - there are many bars, karaoke joints, and dance clubs up and down the Tumon strip. Shopping spots include Guam Premier Outlets and Agana Shopping Center. A new Guam Museum is currently under construction.
Southern Region- Guam's southern end is mostly rural and picturesque - featuring a volcanic mountain range and rolling green hills. Chamorro customs are preserved at Inarajan's Gef Pa'go Cultural Village; it features thatched huts and offers a picture of pre-World War II Guam. Visitors can learn to make a variety of crafts including woven items, rope, sea salt, coconut candy and coconut oil. Off the coast of Merizo and across a lagoon sits Cocos Island. Talofofo Bay's black sand beaches are a beautiful contrast to the white sand found around the rest of the island. Hiking trails are plentiful, and lead to destinations like Upper and Lower Sigua Falls and an ancient Spanish bridge down in Cetti Bay. The War in the Pacific National Historic Park operates a visitor center near the main gate of US Naval Base Guam.
All villages elect a mayor and vice mayor. Central villages are more urban. According to the 2010 US Census, Guam's population is 85% Catholic. Each village celebrates the fiesta of a patron saint or saints. These fiestas are usually large events where everyone is welcome, regardless of religious beliefs. On December 8, the island celebrates its patron saint of Santa Maria Kamalen with a Mass at the cathedral-basilica and a procession around Hagåtña. This event dates back hundreds of years, to the Spanish Era.
Points of interest
Guam was ceded to the US by Spain in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. Captured by Japan and its army in 1941, it was retaken by the US three years later. The military installations on the island are some of the more strategically important U.S. bases in the Western Pacific.
The economy depends on US military spending, tourism, and the export of fish and handicrafts. Total US grants, wage payments, and procurement outlays amounted to $1 billion in 1998. Over the past 20 years, the tourist industry has grown rapidly, creating a construction boom for new hotels and the expansion of older ones. More than 1 million tourists visit Guam each year. The industry has recently suffered setbacks because of the continuing Japanese slowdown; the Japanese normally make up almost 90% of the tourists. However, Guam tourism is branching out to attract people from other Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and China. Most food and industrial goods are imported. The possibility of a large military buildup has generated a lot of interest in increasing the tourist facilities on the island.
Guam enjoys a tropical marine climate: generally warm and humid, moderated by northeast trade winds. The dry season runs from January to June, the rainy season from July to December, though with little seasonal temperature variation. During the rains, squalls are common, though destructive typhoons are rare.
A unique aspect of Guam for interested world travellers is its long standing relationship with the United States as an unincorporated territory. While the island's political status has remain unchanged for over a century many island stakeholder's are seeking solutions to address political status.
The entry requirements for Guam are largely the same as those for the US, and nationals of all countries not needing a visa to enter the U.S. do not need a visa to enter Guam, although they may require an ESTA travel authorization. These countries include:
Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program
Foreign citizens may enter Guam using one of three options:
If you are using the Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program, you do not need to apply for a travel authorization prior to going. The Guam/CNMI Visa Waiver Program includes seven U.S.-VWP countries (Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and the UK) plus Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan and Russia (from 15.01.2012). Foreign citizens using the US-Visa Waiver Program may stay 90 days, while citizens using the Guam/CNMI-VWP may stay for 45 days. Mainland Chinese (including Macau) citizens in possession of a machine-readable passport, completed Form I-736 (Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Information form) and Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) may enter the CNMI only visa-free for up to 45 days (travel to Guam still requires applying for a visa in advance). Citizens of non-VWP countries must apply for a U.S. visa at any U.S. embassy.
Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) is the only civilian gateway to/from the island and is located only a few kilometers inland of Tumon. The airport is quite pleasant and relatively large compared to population; it is also sleep-able if you have a few hours in transit. The Internet at the airport does work quite smoothly. (April 2019). A taxi from the airport to local hotels is a complete rip off -- several times more expensive than it would be on the mainland. There is no public bus option from the airport, so best is to team up with someone.
Since Guam is outside federal US Customs Jurisdictions Guam Quarantine and Inspection conducts all food produce, pets, plants and determine whether or not they will be permitted or seized. For US passengers from Honolulu to Guam you will pass Guam Customs and Quarantine Inspection stations. Certain food produce,all animals and certain plant products are prohibited in Guam due to unknown diseases and pest including flights from Hawaii. International flights will also pass through Guam Quarantine and Inspections. US CBP only does immigration. For departure flights to US stateside Hawaii you will undergo US CBP inspection upon arrival in Honolulu. The transportation security administration conducts all security checks for departing passengers.
There is no regular ferry service from Guam, but cruise ships do stop in Guam on various itineraries, generally as part of a Pacific crossing or world circumnavigation.
Vehicles on the island of Guam is mainly imported from the US mainland. There are several car rental companies on the islands. Guam has alot to explore and will have palm trees along the roadways. Guam roads arent up to US standards and most of the roads does not have crosswalks and when flooding occurs it can cause pot holes.
Buses are available, but the frequency at which they operate is very unpredictable, you may end up waiting 2+ hours for a bus. The Guam Public Transportation system is generally known to be unreliable and slow. As of December 2016, there has been an improvement -- bus drivers have cell phones and there are inspectors. It is a cheap way to travel around the island if you do not want to bother with car rental.
The Tourist Shopping Buses stops at most hotels in Tumon. The Shopping Bus costs $4 for a one-way ticket and $12 for a daily pass -- December 2016. There are buses going North and South -- make sure you pick the right one -- service is frequent and it works well.
is only safe in the central business districts of Hagåtña and Tumon. Walking anywhere else around the island is hazardous due to dangerous vehicular traffic and the lack of sidewalks.
English and Chamorro are the official languages of Guam, English being the dominant language. The Chamorro language contains a great deal of influence from Spanish. Persons employed in the tourist industry will typically have a working knowledge of Japanese and Korean. Filipino is spoken by the large immigrant community and some Spanish is understood too.
There are many retail outlets in Guam, including DFS (Duty Free Shoppers) which operates several stores in hotels, a large "Galleria," and a store in the Guam Airport. Further, visitors to Guam will note some of the same shopping opportunities that exist in "the States." Although there is no Wal-Mart, there is a large K-Mart that does a very high volume of business. Indeed, visitors who are used to the cavernous voids of K-Marts in the US may be surprised to find that they can barely squeeze through the aisles of the Guam K-Mart.
The Tumon Bay area possesses many duty-free shopping outlets and boutiques catering to Japanese tourists. Among these are boutiques selling Bvlgari, Chanel, Cartier, Dior, Fendi, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, and more.
For US citizens, Guam offers greatly increased customs exemptions coupled with duty and tax free importation of goods. However, take care with the basic prices offered in stores. Much merchandise has been shipped a very great distance at no small cost.
Locals pride themselves in Guam's take on barbecue and families and friends often get together and for barbecues. If you ask, there's a good chance you'll get invited. Chamorro cuisine is a mix of Spanish, Asian and American flavors. The typical eating plate features red rice, barbecued meat, flour or corn tortillas, keleguen (a cold meat appetizer made from beef, chicken, or seafood, coconut, onions, peppers and lemon juice), and various vegetable side dishes. A local fermented coconut drink called "tuba" can also be found at fiestas, flea markets or from roadside vendors.
Guam has a large range of restaurants, including many American mainland fast food and franchise chains. Japanese franchise eateries are also common. Major hotels and restaurants serve continental meals and ethnic dishes. Travellers who venture further will find Chamorro, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Mexican, and European restaurants, each with its own distinct ambiance.
Fresh seafood is bountiful. Fresh fish, octopus, and crab are either grilled or baked with vegetables or fruit, sashimi, and in other ways unique to the Pacific. Local produce includes corn, bananas, mangoes, calamansi, limes, tangerines, eggplant, watermelon, cucumber and more and is often sold at flea markets or roadside fruit stands.
The drinking age is 21.
The main tourist area is around Tumon Bay, which has a number of high-rise hotels and resorts similar to Waikiki Beach. Cheaper accommodations exist near the airport, especially around the village of Harmon. Be aware that Harmon hotels tend to be on the seedier side since Harmon is a mixed industrial/residential neighborhood. Many of the flights scheduled through Guam to other locations (especially in Asia) often require an overnight layover, so plan ahead. Some hotels offer airport pickup, as taxis can be quite expensive.
The University of Guam  is the only public university in the western pacific and is the educational hub for the region. UOG is in Mangilao, on the central eastern side of Guam. The university is primarily an undergraduate teaching university but does have Masters programs that focus on local research. Two of the Masters level programs include the (1) Environmental Science Program, with a focus on regional issues under three major sub-disciplines: biology-ecology, geosciences-engineering, and economics-management-law.; and (2) the Marine Laboratory (http://www.uog.edu/marinelab), which focuses on Marine Biology and other environmental issues.
As a US territory, Americans and American Samoan citizens can come here and work with no special visa or requirements, and they can stay and work indefinitely. Foreigners must go through the rigorous process of obtaining a US work permit. See the United States work section for more information.
The largest employers are the government of Guam and United Airlines, followed by a large duty-free retail firm (DFS Guam), the U.S. Federal Government, the hotel industry and services sectors. Guam has two large military bases and several smaller military installations that employ many people. The only U.S. Air Force base is Andersen Air Force Base on the northern tip of the island. The U.S. Navy has a large naval station -- Naval Station Guam --located on the west-central part of the island near the village Agat.
Micronesian Diver's Association has information on the many local dive sites as well as boat dives around the island. Highlights include: The Blue Hole, a more advanced dive with an incredible drop through a hole in the reef; and the Kitzagawa Maru and Tokei Maru, two Japanese warships sunk out in Apra Habor. 337 kilometers off the south east coast lies the worlds deepest point, the Mariana Trench, for anyone wishing to peer 11,000 meters down into the abyss you will need to charter a private boat for the experience.
Law enforcement in Guam
The territory of Guam is patrolled by the Guam Police Department. Guam have jurisdiction over most of the island. The areas where Guam Police does not have jurisdiction over is at
Elsewhere Guam have full jurisdiction. Guam Police marked cars are black and white. Police emergency lighting is blue. However Guam Police has authority over military dependents as they cannot be charged under military law.
The northern part of the island is a active military base. Only authorized military members and family members,civilian contractors can have access to the base with valid id and permission from U.S Government and base commander. Unauthorized entrance will result in arrest.
There are two airfields located on the island of Guam. One is a public use airfield(Antonio B Won Pat International Airport)is the primary airport for passenger and freight along with GA planes. The second airfield(Anderson Air Force Base)is owned by the U.S Air Force therefore no aircraft can land into this airfield unless its a military aircraft or has special permission. Landing onto this airfield without permission will result in arrest and detainment. All passengers that fly into Guam from Honolulu will be required to pass Guam Quarantine and Inspection.Passengers leaving Guam will go through TSA inspection. Passengers transiting through Guam to the Northern Marina Islands or to Honolulu will be screened at origin so they do not have to be re screened at Guam. Travelers who is flying to Honolulu will be treated as international flights and must go through Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.
Observe caution when engaged in water activities on Guam, as in any coastal area, as currents can be swift and unpredictable, depending on the season.
Driving in Guam
Guam drives on the right side of the roadway. Cars are mainly imported from the mainland. The roadways in guam can range from excellent to poor condition with potholes and cracks. Seatbelts are mandatory for all drivers and passengers.
Violent crime is fairly low, but property crime tends to be high, so safeguard valuables in vehicles. When traveling to rural or isolated areas, particularly near hiking trails, it is best to take valuables with you and leave your vehicle unlocked; they are often broken into and it will save you from paying for damages to the vehicle. Rental cars are marked by stickers and can be targeted by thieves. Sex crime is very serious problem in Guam. For the tourists, be careful when you are jogging in isolated area such as remote road to Two Lover's Point, where some sexual assault cases have been reported. Guam is in a major earthquake zone, and these occur every few years. That said, there have been few casualties to date.
Tropical Storms and Tsunami
Guam is an island located in the south pacific ocean. The island is vulnerable to typhoons(hurricanes) earthquakes and tsunamis. In a typhoon seek shelter in a sturdy place and stay away from windows and weak walls. Earthquakes while rare can and do occur. Several safety tips for earthquakes If indoors get to the floor and get under a sturdy object like a table. If unable to do get as low as possible If you are outdoors find a clear spot with no trees,power lines or high rise buildings If you are in a vehicle pull over and stop. Avoid overpasses,trees,power lines and traffic lights,steep cliffs and road cuts. Stay in the vehicle parked untill shaking stops and it is safe to drive. Tsunami Any signs of a tsunami warning or natural disaster will be broadcast on TV,emergency alert system and sirens. Tsunamis while uncommon has happened before and are a constant threat to the islands.
In the event of a Tsunami go inland and evacuate the shoreline and all low lying areas Tsunamis can travel as fast as a jet aircraft and be as high as a ten story building. As waves get closer to shore it increases in height. The first wave isnt always the highest or most dangerous wave. In one area it may be small but in a different area it would be big. Be aware of tsunami facts know your location. If you are located in a tsunami evacuation zone follow advice of local authorities. Most earthquakes can cause tsunamis. After you feel a earthquake get inland and be prepared for a tsunami message. Water receding exposing bare sand and marine life is a big nature warning that a tsunami is coming. Evacuate at once. An earthquake is usually a nature sign of a tsunami. Do not stay in low lying areas and near the ocean. A tsunami can be a series of waves. The first wave may not be the largest. A small tsunami on one shore can be a big tsunami somewhere else. Do not let that fool you and always evacuate no matter how small the tsunami is.
The mainland U.S. has had some influence on Guam when it comes to LGBT rights. Private non-commercial same-sex acts are legal. But there are no anti-discrimination nor harassment codes in place, outside of military bases. Same-sex marriages are performed and recognized as of June 2015 and it is also legal to adopt a child if you plan on living in Guam.
The civilian Guam Memorial Hospital is in Tamuning, in the Central Region. If you have access to military bases, there's a Naval Hospital.
The Chamorro people, also known as the Chamoro or Chamoru, are indigenous to Guam. They possess a culture that mixes Asian, Spanish, and American cultures, and in general the people are gregarious and welcoming to visitors. Observe common courtesies and tend to err on the modest side, especially with clothing. Other cultures found in Guam include those from the Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, and other countries.
The Chamorro population is predominantly but not exclusively Catholic, with Protestantism also popular. On Guam, rosaries take the place of large formal gatherings to remember those who have passed away, and such congregations can occur for up to 20 years after someone has passed.