Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean lays the remote island of Guam. As the largest island of the Mariana island chains and the westernmost point of the United States, Guam should certainly be on your bucket list. Guam is a hidden paradise, with its crystal clear turquoise waters, secret white sand beaches and tropical jungle adventures. On its territory of 212 square miles / 342 sq. km. , you will be able to find ancient history, mouth-watering cuisine and colourful traditions. As a true adventure lover and seeker of off-the-beaten-path gems, Guam is one of the most fascinating places I have ever been to. Keep reading for my top 15 spots when visiting Guam!
Tanguisson Beach / Hilaan Beach
The uncultivated Tanguisson Beach is a must-see when visiting Guam! While the main beach is popular among the local fishermen, take a quick hike through the trees on the right side of the beach to discover the wonderful Hilaan Beach. The beaches feature crystal clear water and the white sand beach combined with tall palm trees and beautiful green nature. Massive rock formations rising high above the water make this place even more interesting and exciting to visit. Click below for more photos of Tanugisson and Sharks Cove Beach.
For an even more remote and off-the-beaten-path experience you should visit Sharks Cove. Tanguisson/ Hilaan Beach and Sharks Cove are connected through a small 0.5 mile / 0.8 km hiking path. Sharks Cove Beach is extremely secluded and chances are you might get to enjoy the entire beach for yourself. It is an excellent spot for snorkeling with beautiful corals and blue starfish. The white sand beach is nestled beneath palm trees and greenery. Sharks Cove Beach made me feel like I am on a completely abandoned tropical paradise (especially with the lack of cell phone service) – certainly worth the visit!
Located at the northernmost tip of Guam lies one of the most pristine beaches on the island – Ritidian Point. Perfect white sand and stunning coast combined with a national wildlife refuge will guarantee you an enjoyable visit. A good idea is to visit the beach during a weekday, as there will be barely any people and you will be able to enjoy the beach without the tourist crowds.
Situated at the heart of Tamuning, Ypao Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Guam. Picnic and recreation areas are also available, often used by the locals as a favourite spot on late afternoons. Due to the beach’s proximity to the major tourist district – Tumon, Ypao Beach is a great choice if you have only limited time and would like to stay close to your hotel. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset at Ypao Beach one of the nights.
A side note: Please remember that if you enjoy the beaches, keep them clean for future generations and visitors to enjoy. If you take it in, take it out (particularly trash). Love you all, keep reading and get inspired for your next travel destination.
More Seaside Spots
The natural Inarajan Pools are a must when visiting Guam. These beautiful coral formations allow visitors to swim into the shallow pools regardless of ocean rip currents or stronger waves. Recreation areas with barbecue grills and seating are also available in the public park surrounding Inarajan Pools. Check out the small observation platform or go over the formations to get closer to the ocean and enjoy the views. You will quickly notice the difference between the calm, sleeping water of the natural pools compared to the roaring sound of the ocean waves crashing into the reef. We did not get to snorkel at Inarajan Pools, but the calm crystal clear water is said to be one of the best spots for snorkel beginners.
Spanish Steps is one of the best hiking trails in Guam. It is fairly short with a distance of just 1 mile / 1.6 km with a bit of rope climbing. Remains of the Spanish colonization dating back to the 1600s can still be found on the way down. You will notice the ancient crumbling steps, once used to supply fresh water. At the end of the trail you will reach the beautiful lagoon nestled in between the steep cliffs and protected from large waves. The crystal clear water and the relatively shallow reef area, make the small lagoon a fantastic spot for some snorkeling. An important thing to remember is that the Spanish Steps are located on the Naval Base and as such can only be accessed if you are either in the military or with someone who is.
Jeff’s Pirates Cove
Situated right on the beach, Jeff’s Pirates Cove is a great spot to grab a burger and enjoy the ocean views. The restaurant has a small museum as well with the full story of Japanese straggler Sgt. Soichi Yokoi, who spent 28 years hiding in the island’s jungles after World War II. Before heading back to your car and continuing your journey around the island, make sure you explore the green area around Jeff’s Pirates Cove. We visited for late lunch on a week day and we had almost the entire place for ourselves. I really enjoyed the time we managed to spend in this little secluded spot far away from the crowded tourist areas. We got to sit on the patio admiring the ocean views as the breeze was carrying the fresh seaside scent.
Two Lovers Point is one of the most popular tourist spots a must-do when visiting Guam. Sitting atop a cliff and overlooking turquoise water, the observation deck is one of the best spots for stunning sunsets and romantic moments. With its breathtaking view and proximity to the major cities, Two Lovers Point should certainly be part of your travel itinerary for visiting Guam!
Sella Bay and Cetti Bay Overlooks
Situated along the beautiful Southern Drive, Sella Bay and Cetti Bay Overlooks offer awe-inspiring views of Guam. The road slowly meanders through the Southern Mountain Range. Green hills separated by narrow ravines are surrounded by the endless blue ocean. Make sure that you take a pit stop and admire the tropical nature of the island.
Gun Beach + Beach Bar
The Gun Beach and Beach Bar are a great place to grab some delicious food, sip on tropical cocktails, and enjoy the beautiful colours of a sunset. Gun Beach is nestled behind a small lagoon with a massive cliff at the north end of the beach. Take a hike up north toward the cliffs and you will find the namesake WWII gun and another beach to explore!
Ritidian Point Hikes
Ritidian Point is not only a place where you can enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches of Guam. As a national wildlife refuge, Ritidian Point also offers a number of hiking paths. There are three easily accessible and open to the public trails: Nature (1.25 miles / 2 km), Latte Loop (0.75 miles / 1.2 km) and Ritidian Caves (0.5 miles / 0.8 km). The narrow path winding through the tall palm trees will make you feel like you are going on an adventure of your own in the jungle. I suggest booking a guided tour to learn more about the history of the location. We went on our own and had a blast as we embarked on a full jungle adventure.
Enjoy an off the beaten path hike after your southern island drive to trek to Inarajan National Pools by visiting Priest’s Pool. The easy 10 minute trail will take you to the cool calming water of the Yledigao river cascading down the hill and forming seven small freshwater pools. An unmarked path will take you through the tall green grass to the largest main pool. Listen for the roaring river sound to guide you. The upper pool is approximately 8 ft / 2.4 meters deep and you can even jump into it or take a dip in the cold water. Be careful as the pool is surrounded by sharp rocks on each side. You can climb down and explore the other pools connected by beautiful small waterfalls, however, it can get a bit slippery. Alternatively, you can just enjoy the beautiful scenic views from the top.
Culture and History
Latte Stone Park
The latte stones are part of Chamorro history and culture. Once used as pillars to support buildings, the latte stones are now one of Guam’s symbols. The typical pillars reach up to three meters tall and are made of limestone or sandstone. The capstones were generally made of coral head with the flat side facing up. The latte stones were constructed from as early as 500 AD up to 18thCentury. The biggest collection of latte stones was found in the southern part of Guam with 12 preserved megaliths. The lattes have been moved to Hagatna, which is now a home to the Latte Stone Park displaying 8 of the ancient megaliths.
You should certainly visit Fort Soledad for a step back in time and a bit of history. Located atop of a cliff and overlooking Umatac Bay, the fortification was built during the Spanish Era in 1810 and was once used for the island’s defense. At more than 220 feet / 67 meters above the bay, Fort Soledad is now known for the picturesque views of the ocean to the west and green mountain range to the south. Even though Fort Soledad has been damaged throughout the years, the historic landmark has been preserved and is now a public park with replica canons and ruined bunkers.
Visiting Chamorro Village is a must when in Guam. It is a local market offering traditional cuisine, arts and crafts. The Chamorro Village is open daily, however, the best time to visit is during the Wednesday Night Market. Bursting in colours with delicious barbecue smell, the market is a fantastic way to taste and experience the island’s traditions and culture. Make sure to stop by the stage on the north side of the market where local groups hold traditional dance performances.
The Chamorro Market will guarantee you lots of fun combined with mouth-watering food and local crafts.
Two of the places that we visited and we did not enjoy were Talofofo Beach and Talofofo Falls. Talofofo Beach is fairly popular as it is regarded as the only black sand beach on the island. The sand looked just like mud to us and there was nothing impressive about it. I believe it is quite popular as it is just off the side of the road and you can just stop by as you are driving around the island. Talofofo Waterfalls is a small and extremely outdated park. There is a car that takes you over the series of cascading waterfalls. I do not know if it is it the time when we visited but the water was extremely brown and dirty. Certainly not a beautiful view. The parks entrance fee is $15 and the falls are not worth that money.
What to Visit Instead
We wish we had visited Tarzan Waterfalls instead of Talofofo Falls. There is a 1.6 mile / 2.5 km hiking trail that is known to be quite easy. It seems to be a fantastic spot to enjoy nature and a bit of swimming. Unfortunately, we did not have time to hike Mount Lamlan on this trip.The trail is approximately 2.6 miles /4.3 km with stunning panoramic views of Guam and will take you to the highest peak on the island. Rising at only 1,332 ft / 406 meters above sea level, Mount Lamlam can be considered the world’s tallest mountain. The top is located 36,070 feet / 10,994 meters above the bottom of the nearby Mariana Trench. So our recommendation, if you have the the time better visit Tarzan Waterfalls or hike up Mount Lamlan instead of the Talofofo tourist traps.
Have you been to Guam? Did you enjoy this remote tropical paradise? How much time did you spend in Guam and which were your favourite spots around the island? Feel free to share in the comments below!