Guam is a tropical oasis that attracts more than 1 million guests a year. It is the largest island of Micronesia and the southernmost island of the Mariana Chain. Despite its petite size (212-square miles in total), Guam does warrant an international airport because of all its visitors. Serving as the entrance for nearly all of Guam's travelers, it is simple to orient yourself from the airport's location atop a limestone plateau. Just a five- to 10-minute drive downhill to the west and toward the water is one of its most popular tourist zones, the Tumon Bay beach district.
Tumon Bay Edged on the west by the Philippine Sea, Tumon Bay offers the ideal beach vacation to its visitors. Favorite activities in this district include enjoying the gently sloping, white sand beach. For water equipment rentals try the Ocean Jet Club or utilize the beach clubs included in many of the hotels. This district offers the Hyatt Regency and the Westin Resort with top-end amenities and a location perfect for the beach enthusiast. From five-star to economy class, this district offers ample choices for accommodations. Dining alternatives in this area include the much-loved Niji's Japanese and Prego Italian Restaurant as well as innumerable other fine dining and franchise restaurants.
Tamuning Slightly south and east of Tumon Bay, and including the Agana Bay, is the city of Tamuning. This city is the bustling business hub of Guam and, in addition to high rise office buildings, it offers a multitude of shopping opportunities such as the quirky Harmon Flea Market and the duty-free Guam Premium Outlets . Refuel with some authentic local cuisine at Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen . Bordering the beautiful Agana Bay are top-end hotels like the Palace Hotel Guam and the Onward Beach Resort. Numerous nightclubs, restaurants and beach activities are within walking distance.
City of Agana South of Tamuning, Agana, or Hagatna as the locals call it, houses fewer than 4,000 of Guam's residents and serves as the capital of this island. As such, it is filled with government offices including that of the island's Governor and Congressman. Of primary interest to its many visitors, it also offers several of the island's most popular attractions: the Chamorro Village (I Sengsong), the Latte Stone Park and the historic site, Dulce Nobre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. It is also home to Le Tasi Bistro that offers the unexpected flavors of French cuisine.
Outside the City For those interested in venturing further afield, natural beauty awaits. To the south, there are volcanic mountain peaks like Mount Lamlam at 1,334 feet and lush, jungle-filled valleys dense enough to hide a Japanese soldier for more than 26 years (the man did not realize that World War II had ended). The island is a land of contrasts. Tour companies such as Guam Safari Tours offer trips that range from a circular island tour to customized trips. For the adventurous, rent a car and travel at your own pace. More than 200 historic parks and attractions dot the island related to WWII alone and include the site of the Japanese soldier's hiding place and the South Pacific Memorial Park .
For a nice beach excursion, go on a Cocos Island & Southern Sightseeing Tour or, simply drive along the coastline until you find an appealing beach. Many hiking trails cross the southern and central region and lead to waterfalls, viewpoints or latte stone parks; ask for a parks and recreation map at your hotel's front desk for illustrated trails and listing of historic sites. Note: the northern tip of Guam is an Air Force Base, and is off limits to non-military individuals.
Each of these districts offers different opportunities to learn about and enjoy the wonders of Guam. Its variety of experiences is wide ranging and its beauty exquisite. Just remember: from the airport, water is west, earth is east and the length of the island stretches roughly north and south.
Sitting as it does at an intersection of American, Asian, South Pacific Island, European and native Chamorran cultural currents, the small island of Guam offers an astounding variety of dining opportunities in a relatively confined and therefore convenient area. And because Guam is a luxury tourist destination, attracting free-spending Asian travelers in particular, the restaurants tend also to serve meals of extraordinary quality with lavish service and decor ranging from subdued to extravagant.
Japanese soldiers occupied Guam during World War II (the date of liberation being the island's biggest holiday), and the Japanese influence remains strong. A large annual influx of Japanese tourists keeps the focus on the food of their home country and a number of top Japanese chefs have made Guam their home. For world-class sushi, try Super Kaiten Sushi Tairyo, which boasts some of the freshest cuts of fish around. Kiyo Sato showcases the talents and originality of master chef Kiyonori Oyama who serves sushi delicacies available nowhere else on the island. But Japanese cuisine is more than just raw fish. Experience the delicious showmanship of teppanyaki-style tableside cooking at Yamazato inside the Guam Hotel Okura . And if you just want a lot of everything, you can't beat Niji's Japanese at the Hyatt Regency , which puts out a buffet of quite amazing quality and variety. Ramen noodles, another Japanese favorite, are freshly made noodles in savory broth served with beef or other meats. Ramen shops dot the island, but the oldest and perhaps most revered is Aji Ichi Sapporo Ramen .
While Japanese may be the most popular cuisine on Guam, the most traditional must be Chamorran food, Chamorros being the island's native inhabitants. Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen serves staple dishes like Chicken Estufao and Kelaguen, the tangy fish or shrimp dish steeped in lemon juice and onion. To sample the widest variety of local dishes and experience other cultural highlights, visit the restaurants and food stalls of Chamorro Village.
Guam also has more than its share of fine dining establishments. French Chef Bertrand Haurillon's Le Tasi Bistro serves Provencal specialties with a stunning view of the ocean. The similarly named but distinctive Le Bistro at Pacific Islands Club offers three luxurious meals a day. Old Hagatna Grill changes its contemporary menu monthly and features an exquisite monthly Wine Dinner. And for Canadian AAA Alberta grain-fed beef, try the venerable Hy's Steak House .
Numerous other world cuisines get excellent representation on Guam, from Mexican at Marty's Mexican Merienda & Cantina to Italian at Prego to Chinese at VIP House Chinese Restaurant . And if you need a break from the super-rich food all around, try a salad at Corridos 848 , or get something healthful and vegetarian from Simply Food .
Those looking for a more informal eatery can still get tasty treats, at Cafe Rock & Roll, open 24 hours and also located at the Pacific Islands Club , and at Tree Bar , serving fancy tropical cocktails by the pool at the Guam Hilton and featuring a daily happy hour. For food on the run or a libation to wash it all down, visit Stanlee's Liquor Store & Deli , something of a Guam institution and known for having the island's best selection of beer, wine and spirits. And finally, speaking of institutions, no Guam dining tour would be complete without a visit at midnight (or any other time) to either King's Restaurant location, for Fried Rice Ala and other island favorites. This is where locals go for informal going-away parties and for coming-home parties to jumpstart that island feeling.
In short, if you can't find something worth eating on the island, you must not be hungry. For its variety and its spectacle, dining here may by itself warrant a visit to Guam.