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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.
Carol Ragan studied coffee and the coffee business before establishing herself as Guam's coffee maven in this shop at Agana Shopping Center. She'll give the history of coffee, her shop and her ...