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Guam (and surrounding islands)

I'm interested in going to Guam
and I have a few questions.

1) anyone have first hand experience going there? Potentially can direct me to some websites that I can continue to do research
2) I'm also interested in visiting other islands in the general area. I know it's tough to get to this place so I thought I'd check out anything in the area (pretty big ask - I know). Anyone have knowledge of other places I can visit that won't break the bank.

Who am I: a single person that's alway's had an interest in seeing Guam (and the surrounding area).

Posted by
1514 posts

IMA - There are various activities you can do in Guam. From Guam , you can visit Rota which is called the friendliest island in the Micronesia, Palau which has a jellyfish lake is worth a visit, The Marshall Islands, and Saipan. Philippines not too far from Guam.

https://www.mymarianas.com/rota/

https://www.micronesiatour.com/

How many days are you spending in Guam?

Posted by
93 posts

how many day's ---- not sure yet, trying to figure that out.
It all depends on what ELSE is in the area. Like, can I get to x country to visit or should I stay in Guam....

Posted by
1514 posts

IMA - From Guam there are islands that are nearby that can be done on a day tour. Rota from Guam - 35 minutes, Saipan - 60 Minutes, Tinian - 45 minutes. Palau is the only island a bit far among the others because it's 2 hours fight from Guam. Visit those 3 islands I mentioned that are near to Guam then stay in Guam for the rest of your time.

Posted by
93 posts

Island hopper --- that's exactly what I was looking for. I read about it "many moons ago" and forgot the name.

I've already booked that part of the trip. Who needs a direct flight when you can jump between islands.

I do have another similar question ---
Is there a way to go from Guam to Rota, Tinian, Saipan on the cheap --- maybe a boat.

Thanks for all the help.

Posted by
5019 posts

Just wanted to correct you, where you say upthread "I know it's tough to get to this place...".

It is not tough to get to Guam at all, especially if you live in San Francisco or other large cities on the west coast (it's actually a lot easier to get to Guam than to reach many places in the USA). You can fly there with just one stop (via Tokyo, Seoul, and multiple other Asian cities) on large jets with familiar airlines. For you it would be just one stop on United or Delta, perhaps other major airlines.

I didn't spend any time in Guam, but did connect through there, coming from Palau and heading for Japan. My impression was that Guam's airport felt like a bit like an airport in Hawaii. Very much mainstream American, though with a slight "island vibe" and an Asian/Pacific flavor. Not really exotic, not edgy, not difficult, in any way. Admittedly, I never got beyond the airport, but did do some research on Guam (coming from Palau, I had to go through Guam to get to Tokyo, and was thinking about trying to extend my layover there, but ultimately decided not to). It has been an American possession and has had a huge US military presence since WWII, and that has had a profound influence on life there - you should find familiar chain stores and all the brands you know from home, it would feel a lot like going to Florida or the US Virgin Islands (especially so, since there's historic ties to Spain, the previous colonial power).

While many people might still picture the islands in this region of the Pacific as very exotic, alien places, untouched by civilization, that is, I think, an outdated notion and far from what you will find there. Connections to the US (and major Asian nations) are longstanding, deep-rooted and impossible to miss. The rise of Chinese tourism (especially in recent years) and longstanding tourism from Japan, have transformed these islands from the sleepy backwaters many people think they still are. They are not!

You can still find pretty beaches, clear water and abundant sunshine. But you will also find a lot of development (and all the environmental problems that brings) and plenty of foreign tourists. When I was in Palau a few years ago, I was amazed at the large numbers of Chinese tourists (and I understand Chinese tourism to these islands has continued to expand very very rapidly, although admittedly curtailed right now due to the corona virus). These places are heavily marketed in China, Japan and elsewhere in Asia, and tourists come in large numbers. And Guam is part of the USA - has been for a long time.

Anyway, if you are going to Guam or other islands in the region expecting to find an untouched paradise, I would urge you to calibrate your expectations carefully. If, for example, you want to be the lone person on a perfect beach, or you want to find someplace without a 7-11, without everyone with their heads face-down in their iPhones, without Micky D's and many other trappings of a generic, homogenized town in America, you are going to have to work harder and go much further than Guam or any of the islands with commercial air service. There are few such places left in the world, and getting to them takes a lot of time and effort. Doesn't mean you won't enjoy being in these islands, but you won't exactly feel like Robinson Crusoe (or Tom Hanks in Cast Away).

Posted by
93 posts

@David,

Excellent response. Thank you, I really appreciate the writeup - and setting/re-setting my expectations. Guam has been on my MUST SEE list for-ever. I can't wait to see the place.

Posted by
1289 posts

Guam is a relatively small island. I spend one night and a day there when traveling from Palau to Okinawa. The main town is a short distance from the airport. Lots of western hotels all heavily populated by Japanese and possibly Korean families or honeymooners. Easy to rent a car and go around the entire island. Lots of secluded coves and deserted beaches and some crowded ones too.

You can get to Saipan and lots of places in Japan easily with United - as well as Manila and Palau. The other islands in Micronesia that are served by the Island Hopper are probably a little further away.

Posted by
1 posts

We have been stationed here on Guam for 2.5 years and love it. Yes, you have the touristy spots here but there is also so much more to see and do here. There’s off-roading (to the Tank Farm), snorkeling, diving, tons of cool hikes to hidden gems, waterfalls, massacre memorial sites. A few museums to check out, old WWII sites, a jungle adventure cruise, talofofo falls adventure park, the Korean Air Liner Memorial Site and so much more. I have only been to Saipan for a weekend but there’s historical sites to visit there as well. Beautiful beaches. Only a 55 minute flight if I remember right. We are thankful for our time here on Guam and guarantee you’ll love it. I would recommend staying at least a couple of weeks.
I hear the islands of Rota, Tinian, Yap and Palau are must-sees too.

Posted by
3230 posts

The Island Hopper mentioned is run by United and stops on several islands between Honolulu and Guam. It caries mail and perishables to the islands along with a few residents. Exactly which islands depends on the day of the week.

The thing is though, most of the stops are US military airfields and you don't even exit the plane. The other stops you go no further than the airport terminal. You do NOT get to do any sight seeing. There are no hotels or even friendly residents to allow you to stay the night. I did it once just so I could mark off those islands on my travel map.