Guam Vacation Review – Explore a Tropical Culture

If you are looking for the ultimate vacation, look no further. Nothing completes a vacation picture like Guam, either relaxing in a hammock next to endless clear turquoise ocean waters, watching the locals perform the Polynesian dances or scuba diving with tropical fish. There’s plenty of history to discover, if this is your hobby from ruins to ancient monuments. Don’t forget wining and dining because this place has many flavorful mouth-watering restaurants. We had such a delightful time; we all are planning on returning.

There are a lot of positives for US citizens visiting Guam, but there is also a bit of a drawback as well. Guam is within the US Territory with your simple US currency, language and driving. Although the currency might be the same as the US, the prices are a bit inflated in comparison. It was nice to be able to talk to the locals in English and not have to worry about translations. Driving will not be an added pain. Since Guam is hot and humid be prepared with basic light clothing for venturing out to the various cities. I hope this clears things up on how to prepare for a dream vacation.

The Hotel & Natural Beauty of Guam

Thursday, October 16th

We flew out of Los Angeles on Continental Airlines, listed as the number one airline by Crain's and one of the ten green businesses by Fortune. Seeing as I was sleepless with excitement the night before, I crashed on the plane, while my fellow journalist comrades LisaGeoffShelia and Robert looked through magazines or partook on the treats on board. I awoke as we were greeted by the Guam Visitors Bureau and we were escorted to the Pacific Islands Club, our hotel for the trip. Our rooms’ decor fitted the culture with a grass weaved back panel and Micronesian wooden floors. I noticed the bathroom was a little on the small side for a couple’s retreat. On our way to dinner, we noticed the hotel’s pools.

Guam Monuments

We wandered around the hotel in search of dinner and found their pools along the way. The pools were definitely kid friendly. One pool was solely for kids with slides, dunking bucket and sprayers along with outdoor playground nearby. In the larger pool kids were playing with the blown up snakes, alligators, volcanic slides and a basketball for the older kidos. For the adults and kids alike, there is an aquarium pool for snorkeling. We finally found our destination and grabbed a quick buffet style dinner at a Japanese Restaurant called Hanagi as we were exhausted from the travels across the ocean.

Restaurant Hanagi

Friday, October 17th

As I separated the curtains, the sunlight flew into our room. Looking out over Guam, an exotic paradise we noticed the rich blues of the skies and sea with the tropical lush terrain. We quickly headed down for our itinerary meetings to start off our Guam trip right.

During the various meeting presenting the hotel, Pacific Islands Club and Hyatt Regency we partook in lunch.

After lunch, we proceeded to our fitting for scuba gear and then we were off to spa treatment at Angsana Spa at the Marriott. Talk about relaxation this spa fit the bill with an apple oatmeal scrub Balinese style. As we were in an unwinding mood we took a few hours to organize ourselves prior to the Micronesian dances of the night.

21st Guam Micronesia Island Fair Opening Ceremonies

The 21st Guam Micronesia Island Fair Opening Ceremonies were fun for all. This ceremony called “Celebrating Our Seafaring Traditions” was located in the Ypao Beach Park where the villagers completed their craft such as weaving hats, carved boats and stone sculptures prior to the ceremony. The villagers line up and the women and men performed separate dances completely synchronized. Both the women and men wore naturally dried grass skirts. At first you’re mesmerized on how the dancers can move their hips in such fashion, then you wonder if you could shake it too. These ceremonies have visitors off their seats learning the dance by the night’s end. With all this dancing, dinner was definitely on the schedule.

We ended up bringing our food from the TUNU booth over to the dance, not to miss anything that was occurring on stage. TUNU’s barbeque had steak and ribs.

Saturday, October 18th

We woke with the sun for breakfast at the hotel. After filling our stomachs, we gathered our things at the Piti dock for some scuba diving fun.

The Guam Tropical Dive Station, GTDS was awaiting us with a boat to set off to sea. They were very helpful and even the owner’s brother leant me his dive computer to insure my dive safety. Lisa and I drifted out to the desired location for diving as we hoisted on our equipment and jumped in the water. As we swam to the depths we noticed schools of tropical yellow fish and intricate coral. Diving has always been an adventure that I never pass up. Following our schedule, we took a lunch break with Guam Tropical Dive Station and then entire group joined in for the more diving and snorkeling with dolphins. We all had a fabulous time as we played like kids. Next up we were in route for a sugar rush.

While we were diving, the other journalists went with Ben Hayes, the Park Ranger to tour the WWIImemorials. Later they described their adventure. Robert mentioned the first location; Asan was where Bendiscussed the War of the Pacific Park as we walked through history with canyons and the San AntonioBridge known as the Stone Bridge on our trail. He was surprised to see a replica of the United States Statue of Liberty on the journey as a pledge from the Boy Scouts of America for “everlasting fidelity and loyalty”. Later that evening, we all met up at the Pastries in Paradise.

Here is some background information to keep you up-to-date.

In partnership with the Lend-A-Hand Foundation and the Pacific Daily NewsGHRA assists in coordinating the Pastries In Paradise, a specially designed foundation fundraiser that is attended by Guam residents and visitors with a fondness for sweets, spirits and fun.

Pastries in Paradise at the Hyatt Regency

Pastries In Paradise is a fun, festive dessert extravaganza normally held annually in October. Hotels, restaurants, bakeries, and other confectioneries can showcase to the community their culinary talents for creating scrumptious, delectable and mouthwatering desserts. In addition to delectable desserts, there will be gourmet coffees, music, The People’s Choice competitions, The Judges Cup Culinary Competition,Baileys Dessert Challenge, plus the new Torani Beverage Competition. This year, we featured a Costume Contest to celebrate this festive Halloween season.

Pastries in Paridise

Net proceeds of this fundraiser will benefit the Lend-A-Hand Foundation, non-profit organization devoted to providing emergency financial assistance to Guam residents who are in dire need and the Micronesian Chef’s Association.

Pastries in Paradise at the Hyatt Regency served the most colorful appetizing pastries ever with Halloween as the obvious theme. Each and every wicked tray had been prepared precisely from RIP cookies, chocolate covered jack-o-lanterns, fudge witches’ hats and dark chocolate Count Draculas. There were plenty of participants for the costume contest. We refrained from eating all the trays of rich pastries, as we tried not to spoil our dinner.

We walked over to the Café Havana Guam at the hotel created the finest entrees with prawns that reminded me of shrimp and duck along with bisque and black bean soup. Luckily after all this food, we danced to burn off some calories prior to the cocktails.

SandCastle Cocktail Show presented cocktails with entertainment that includes acrobatics, animals, gymnastic wonders, and beautiful magic. The cocktails were delightfully sweet with the freshness of local fruits.

Sunday, October 19th

If you are an early riser the Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race might be just your speed. The race was named afterGuam’s flightless rail and official bird. This race includes an individual marathon and a 20k four person relay for participants in their teens to their seventies. After the race be sure to pick up the free food and drinks along with massages.

When the race was finished Lisa and I dove with GTDS for a couple of hours. It was nice to have ample time for diving with the fish, during my stay at Guam. This diving trip gave me a sense of calmness being one with the ocean.

During our dive the other journalists explored Two Lover's Point, which provides infatuating views and a wall inscribed with the many marriages that took place in their love epicenter. Legend has it that Two Lover’s Point signified a couple that were trapped by family ties with the female being Spanish, while her partner being Chamorro. Since the girl’s father the captain disapproved of their marriage he hunted them down with his soldiers at this point on the cliff. When they realized they would be separated if they followed suit, they tied their black hair together and kissed one last time as the leaped into the water’s edge.

After drying off we all met for lunch at Sam Choy’s, a seafood restaurant. This restaurant was loaded with a variety of meals from kids grilled cheese with fries, steak with crab legs to a bread with cheesy dip appetizer. The restaurant even had massive whale statues in the center as they would swim in the sea.

Underwater World

The Underwater World, a large aquarium with 3,000 sea creatures gave me an unexpected surprise. After talking with the Underwater World staff member about my diving expertise, she granted me assess to dive into their aquarium. I was so excited to be the first tourist to dive into their aquarium to date. Even more enthused to see the aquarium guests waving at me from inside the exhibit in the 3,000 foot long tunnel, which makes The Underwater World the longest tunnel aquarium in the entire world! This aquarium displayed sharks, stingrays and tortoises all of which were within in a few inches of me.

During dinner at the Sea Turtle Sunset Dinner Cruise, we watched as the ocean changed from oranges to dark blues. The local waitress served us grilled tuna steak and barbequed chicken with mildly spicy rice. As the evening drew on the live rhythmic music of Guam started and the locals shook their yellow and red grass skirts. Lisa was encouraged to join in with the regulars on stage and she had a marvelous time dancing the steps she learned the night prior.

Sea Turtle Sunset Dinner Cruise

Monday, October 20th

We started off the morning with the Southern Island Tour by our tour guide, Cindy Hanson, we glanced into history until present day touring through ruins and villages of today. As we walked through Talofofo FallsPark we came upon waterfall, being informed that this was the largest waterfall on the island. We left Cindyfor a brief time to explore with another tour guide, Judy Flores.

Pictures from the Southern Island Tour

She took us to Gef Pa’go Park and the Historic Inalahan District. The Historic Inalahan Districtshowed us what the Chamorro culture was like as they made sea salt and scraped coconut candy before our eyes.

When we met back up with Cindy she showed us the Gadao’s Cave. This cave was interesting to reach as we were gripping the sides of the cliff for fear not to fall to the water below. These caves were where the Guam’s ancestors wrote ancient depictions of their lives on the cave walls. Just imagine back then a cave man of Guam recording his family records never knowing they would last for centuries to come. When we left the cave the locals invited us to ride their Water Buffalo called Carabao and I was pleased to see they were as gentle as a lamb.

Okay I thought this hiking tour would be easy, but if you aren’t the fittest individual I wouldn’t recommend it.

This was the first time throughout the trip that I was excited to eat as Cindy lead into Kusinan Gadao a local southern island restaurant. We continued on our journey to discover more of the island.

The next stops were Malesso VillageFort SoledadMagellan’s MonumentCetti Bay Lamlam overlook, Taleyfak Bridge and Piti Bomb Holes. Rounding the corner the Malesso Village brought us to the island’s culture with locals in colorful attire. The Magellan’s Monument symbolized the historic Spanish colonial period. As we overlooked the Cetti Bay on Cetti Mountain we saw how this area is truly out of this world. TheirTaleyfak Bridge built during the Spanish-era for transportation purposes for the war. The Chocolate Househad some real history with two coat-of-arms depicted on the walls relocated from the Governor’s Palace. This house was where the Spanish governor would meet and serve his guests hot chocolate, which was later replaced by American tea. We left off walking around the Piti Bomb Holes to really depict WWII to its fullest.

Guam Monuments

Tuesday, October 21st

Leaving the hotel at the wee hours of the morning, we were escorted Guam’s local airport as I reminisced of the trip and left Guam behind. Pacific Islands Club treated us like Kings and Queens with exceptional service. The tour guides of the Guam Visitors Bureau assisted us in exploring every inch of the island from the history to scuba diving in the ocean. We couldn’t have been more pleased with our visit as it is our goal to visit the Guam and other nearby islands in the near future.

If you would like more information on a vacation to Guam, visit the Guam Visitor's Bureau here.

 

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