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Three Perfect Days: Guam

With its pristine waters, diverse landscape, rich cultural heritage and burgeoning hospitality industry, this tiny tropical island is set to be the next big thing

Author Jessica Peterson Photography Jessica Peterson

Tanguisson Beach Rock Curve

Picture 1 of 12

GUAM BY THE NUMBERS

Population 161,000

Year of Ferdinand Magellan’s first landing on the island
1521

Year Guam was officially surrendered to the U.S. by the Spanish
1898

Years Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi lived in a jungle cave on the island after the end of World War II
28

Area of Guam in square miles, making it the largest island in Micronesia
212

Percentage of Guam’s land mass controlled by the U.S. military
29

Percentage of the population that is Chamorro
37

Percentage of Guam’s incoming tourists who are from Japan
75

Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

That Shrinking Feeling


Titanic director James Cameron makes a big movie in a very small submarine

In 2012, about 200 miles south-west of Guam, director James Cameron squeezed into a one-man submersible and dove into the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench and, at almost seven miles, the deepest known seabed on the planet. Cameron became the first solo diver to make the descent, which took about two and a half hours; in the process, he filmed a feature-length documentary, Deepsea Challenge 3D, which was released last August. The director came through the expedition to what he later described as “another planet” unscathed, but by the time his sub resurfaced, it was about 2.5 inches shorter than when it went down.

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

The inside scoop from those in the know

pic1Judy Flores, PhD
Folklorist, historian and artist
“Inarajan village and its Gothic-style San Jose Church are very picturesque. Ancient pictographs have been painted on the dark rock walls at nearby Gadao’s Cave; some of the figures have become icons of Chamorro culture.”

pic2Arlene Castro
Biology teacher and writer
“To get a sense of Guam’s rich history, visit Latte Stone Park in the capital city of Hagåtña. The stones are tall-standing ancient relics unique to the Marianas, which accounts for their continued use as a symbol of the Chamorro culture.”

pic3Ernest CoLlier
Captain, United Airlines
“I like to put in at Hagåtña boat basin and head north around Oka Point. You’ll always see green sea turtles in this area. At sunrise or sunset, you may see a few manta rays feeding on the surface. The clearest water I have ever seen, anywhere, is near Ritidian Beach.”

Headshots by Peter Field



3 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Guam”

  1. Don Weakley (Inarajan resident) Says:
    February 26th, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    A beautiful article, well written. reflects my experiences as a former New Yorker who has resided on Guam for over 55 yrs. Many folks who come here to visit end up staying. The local people are one of Guams largest attractions known for their friendlyness and hospitality.

  2. Lance Wolfson Says:
    March 1st, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Someone turned me on to the article in “Hemispheres” a few weeks ago. It has always been that paradise in my mind.
    I was born in Agana in 1952 at the US Naval hospital. It is definitely on my bucket list.
    Is there a way whereby Jessica Peterson (author and photographer) might be able to contact me through e-mail. I have so many questions I would love to ask and, in all my years, have never met anybody who has actually been to Guam.
    It would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance

  3. Janis Jackson Says:
    April 2nd, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I enjoyed seeing Guam featured in your magazine Hemispheres. Originally from Guam I can attest to it natural, raw beauty. I’ve been around the world and there’s nothing like it.
    Guamanians like myself, don’t usually share our Island with Tourists, except for the occasional Japanese tourist, mostly honeymooners since after the last work word. Kind of our offer at peace. It is their history too after all.
    Its taken many years for Chamorros to realize that for an island that export nothing and imports everything that we have to fund our beautiful island somehow and what Guam has to offer was a well kept secret! Not anymore thanks to articles like your highlighting its natural beauty. Another interesting fact for you is the friendliness of the indigenous people of Guam, it is genuine and part of their Chamorro tradition to visitors.

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