Back in June of 2019, my sister moved to Guam for a travel nursing position and three months later I was able to join her for a two-week visit.
Although I was initially overwhelmed by how different Guam is from my home back in America, it took no time at all for me to fall in love with what I’ve started referring to as the Guam Charm.
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If you love beaches, hiking, and swimming, Guam is a verifiable playground. There are hidden gems all over the island, unique places to eat at, and a fun night scene to enjoy with friends.
Two weeks here flew by, and these are some of my favorite activities everyone should do if they come to Guam:
1. Get Scuba Certified
Unbeknownst to many, Guam has some of the best diving around! The island is surrounded by coral reefs, ship wrecks, and all sorts of aquatic life. During my two weeks on the island, I was able to knock out my Open Water, Enhanced Air Nitrox, and Advanced Open Water certificates with the help of local dive shop MDA (Micronesia Divers Association) of Guam. They have a very dedicated staff and all the equipment you need to get into the water, not to mention a top notch instructor who makes learning how to dive safe, approachable and fun!
2. Visit Chamorro Village
I had been hearing about the Chamorro Village way before I actually made it to Guam. I’ve heard it described as a farmers’ market, a flea market, and a mini food festival; and I can safely say that those are all accurate descriptions. The Chamorro Village sets up shop every Wednesday starting at 5:00 PM, and there were so many vendors and stalls set up with various goods for sale. Plus, once you’ve worked up an appetite from the walking around and dancing, you can stop for some traditional Chamorro barbecue. Top it off with an Asahi beer and you’ve got yourself a good night!
3. grab breakfast at the Mighty Purple
There’s no shortage of delicious food in Guam, but I can’t recommend the Mighty Purple Cafe enough for a quick breakfast or a light lunch. Guam, like many islands in the Pacific, is pretty humid; and if you’re like me, eating a heavy meal doesn’t sound appealing with conditions like that. The Mighty Purple has an assortment of smoothies, acai bowls, bagel sandwiches, melts and more. Plus, not only are they packed with nutrients, they’re delicious and a lighter meal option. I absolutely destroyed my Mighty Berry Bowl and my sister put away the Mighty Monkey Bowl in a matter of minutes. Check out their menu here!
4. Enjoy a Beer at Carabao Brewing
I’m a sucker for craft beer, and the last thing I expected was to find such a quaint brewery in the middle of Guam. Outfitted with lots of seating and tables for big groups, as well as an arsenal of cards and board games, Carabao Brewing is a great place to spend an afternoon. In addition to their line up of high quality beers (be sure to try the Bilimbeerness!), Carabao Brewing will also opened up their own kitchen in October 2019, which features homemade sausages, salads that are made with locally grown produce, and delicious appetizers to share with friends.
5. Soak Up Some Sun at Jimmy Dee’s
According to many, Jimmy Dee’s is THE beach bar to visit in Guam. You think it wouldn’t get much better with the great deals on drinks and food, but Jimmy Dee’s is also dog friendly. My fellow dog lovers get me when I say “I can’t stress it enough; you need to go day drinking at Jimmy Dee’s”. Not only is the bar a great place to hangout, swim, relax on the beach and play volley ball, it’s also a one-of-a-kind place to visit. The owners built Jimmy Dee’s from the ground up with recovered materials from Typhoon Chataan and Super Typhooon Pongsona that hit the island back in 2002. Although it’s since been rebuilt larger and stronger, it’s still got the same charm and great service that many people have come to love about the place.
6. Have Brunch at the Outrigger Hotel
Although the Brunch at the Palm Cafe in the Outrigger Hotel is top notch and delicious, I was hesitant to include it in this list of Guam hot spots. Not because the food or staff weren’t amazing, but because they are not stingy when it comes to their bottomless mimosa deal. Choose your flavor of choice (they had traditional, guava, pineapple and mango) and the wait staff will bring pitcher after pitcher of mimosas to your table. Questionable alcohol consumption aside, the variety of food is its own reason to have their brunch. They have everything from an omelet bar to traditional Japanese style meals (think yakisoba, sushi, sashimi, nigiri, etc.), as well as a pastry bar, and desert area that includes a chocolate fountain. It is the pinnacle of cheat meals in my humble opinion.
7. Get Ramen at Uncle Park’s
As a grown woman I am capable of admitting that ramen is a very big part of my life. I’ve never had a bad ramen dish, and my meal at Uncle Park’s was no exception (insider tip: Uncle Park’s used to be called Uncle Sim’s, and it’s likely that it will still show up on Google Maps as that). Not only did this quaint ramen bar have some of the highest quality sashimi I’ve ever had the joy to eat, their ramen dishes were super yummy and huge portions, so you’ll get your money’s worth. Add an Asahi to round out your experience and you will leave a happy camper.
8. Sip a Marg at Taco Sinaloa
We went to Taco Sinaloa for a friend’s birthday and man, was I impressed! I mean they had it all. Great drinks, delicious appetizers, and an extensive taco menu. I ordered the carnitas and el pastor tacos, both of which were top notch. Their margarita game was also very strong, so maybe plan on taking a Stroll (Guam’s equivalent of Uber). If you need a Mexican food fix during your stay in Guam, this place has got you covered.
9. Visit Gun Beach
If you need a relaxing day by the beach with warm sand and plenty of Coronas on hand, head on over to Gun Beach. With a paved road and parking lot, this is one of the easier beaches to gain access to on the island, especially if you don’t feel like hiking or taking the scenic route to it (which is a good option for a day trip because driving around the island is a beautiful experience). When you get to the beach, you can enjoy snorkeling, volleyball, and the small lagoon that’s formed by the cliffs at the northern end of the beach. Plus, if you get hungry or thirsty, you can always pull up a chair at the Beach Restaurant and Bar!
10. Grab a Massage at Tenjudo Spa
When it comes to trip planning, I tend to be on the more adventurous side. I love hiking, climbing and cliff jumping, but there are some days when you need to take a chill pill and wind down. Tenjudo Spa is the place to do just that. There are so many different types of treatments to choose from you may have to come back for a second visit. When we went, my sister signed up for the hour-long shiatsu massage (I’m pretty sure she fell asleep at one point) and I signed up for the hour-long combo massage with a 30 minute shiatsu massage and a 30 minute feet reflexology massage. If I hadn’t had so much coffee that day I probably would’ve fallen asleep, too. Either way, definitely go to Tenjudo Spa if you want to have a relaxing day for yourself.
11. Eat at Fuji ichiban
While my sister affectionally calls this place “drunk ramen,” I went to Fuji Ichiban Ramen sober. But during your stay in Guam, definitely make this at least one of your dinner stops, regardless of the state you find yourself in. With different types of ramen, soups, stir fries, appetizers and combo meals, there’s something for even the pickiest eater. Although I vote be bold and shoot for their Shisen Miso Ramen, a spicy but crowd-pleasing favorite!
12. Do Karaoke at Min’s
I’m not sure how many hours or how much money we spent at Min’s Karaoke Bar, but it was definitely worth it. This was actually my first time doing karaoke and I was genuinely overwhelmed by the amount of songs they had available for you to pick from. You even have options for your karaoke experience. If you want to get rowdy and enjoy the liveliest atmosphere possible, grab a table in the main bar area where everyone takes turns performing. Or you can book a private room for you and a group of friends. Grab a beer for some liquid courage and be prepared to bust out singing, dancing and laughing.
13. Spend a Day at Coco’s Island
Just off the southern tip of Guam lies Cocos Island, an uninhabited getaway that’s accessible only by ferry, and includes a day resort with pool, volleyball, restaurant, bar and sports equipment that you can rent. Plan for a whole day here so you can make the most out of the snorkeling, diving, kayaking, dolphin watching, jet skiing and biking! Don’t forget to stick around for the SandCastle dinner show and beachside BBQ!
14. Drop by the Farmers’ Market in Dededo
Fresh produce is hit or miss on the island. Either it’s nonexistent in grocery stores or it’s incredibly expensive, which is understandable when it has to be shipped to the island. So if you find yourself craving some fresh fruit or veggies, be sure to hit up the Saturday and Sunday morning Farmers’ Market in Dededo. You can stock up on your groceries for the week and visit all of the different retail and food vendors. I recommend a freshly made smoothie and a pork kebab!
15. Dance the Night Away at Drop
In their own words, “Life’s a party, and we love to party.” There comes a night when we have to put away the paddle boards and hit the town with friends, and a great place to do that is Drop. The club opened in 2012 and has grown into one of the most iconic scenes in Guam’s nightlife. Be sure to plan a night out at Drop during your stay on island.
16. Enjoy Dinner at Ban Thai
My sister moved to Guam back in June of 2019 and during the week she moved in, with the help of our mom, they visited Ban Thai at least three times. This restaurant, known as Home of Smiles, has a huge menu, a really fun atmosphere, and one of the best mojitos I’ve ever had in my life (these little guys are made with calamansis – a small, round and delicious citrus fruit). Come hungry because they are not stingy when it comes to their appetizers or entrees! Check out the menu here.
17. Grab a Beer at Horse & Cow
The Horse & Cow Pub & Grill is the go-to bar for the naval and diving communities. I’d heard a lot about this bar from my sister and her other diving friends, so it was only a matter of time before I found myself sitting at the bar, beer in hand and hair still wet from the ocean. H&C has specials every single day of the week, and is a great place to watch a football game or take a diving exam (questionable at best haha).
18. Eat Dinner at Poki-Fry
I hope you like raw fish, but if you don’t, Poki-Fry could be the place that changes your mind! Poke bowls are a combination of rice, raw sushi (like salmon or tuna) and toppings like soy sauce, green onions, seaweed or sesame seeds. These bowls are incredibly refreshing, but if raw fish isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. Not to mention they have an extensive drink option to help you wash everything down (go for the sangria!).
19. Go Salsa Dancing at Kento’s
Saturday night is for dancing, and there’s no better place for dancing than Kento’s, where their bar turns into a lively Latin club. Between the live band and DJ, you’ve got quite the night ahead of you! In my dance partner’s words, “dancing at Kento’s is an 11/10” (you would think that somebody would have explained to him by now that you can’t rank anything beyond a 10; but he’s an engineer so who am I to question the math?).
20. Treat Yourself to Breakfast at Pika Cafe
Whether you’re recovering from a rowdy weekend or fueling up for a day of adventure, Pika’s Cafe is the perfect spot to grab some breakfast. You’ve got awesome meals like the Lobser Benedict, the Loco Moco, the Local’s Scramble and the Chamericano (it’s a panini wrapped in a tortilla!). Plus if you need some hair of the dog from the night before, grab a mimosa or two!
Making the Most of Your Trip to Guam
Visiting Guam is like stepping back into the 1980s. Time moves slower on island and things will seem a bit out of touch with the rest of the modern world, especially when you compare it to the U.S.
Keep in mind that this is part of the Guam charm. Not everything shows up on Google Maps and there are all sorts of hidden gems when you get off the beaten path, which is what makes it so fun!
You’ll get the most out of your trip to Guam simply by driving around one day and seeing what you can find. Don’t be afraid to explore or investigate things you normally wouldn’t.
If you have any other hot spots or attractions in Guam, shoot me an email so I can add it to the list!
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