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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

Tourists at the pools in Inarajan

Picture 12 of 12

Long known as a playground for Japanese tourists, the tropical island of Guam isn’t short on Americans, either. A U.S. territory since 1898, it’s home to a few far-flung military bases. That said, Guam is enchantingly quiet, encouragingly unspoiled. It’s also very small—at about 30 miles long and 12 miles wide at its broadest, this peanut-shaped island has a resident population of around 161,000.

Guam’s geography is impressively diverse, given the island’s size. In the south, you’ll find stands of bamboo and rolling hills; in the north, the beaches are often overshadowed by dramatic limestone cliffs. The southernmost of the Mariana island chain, Guam boasts pristine waters riddled with coral reefs, all of which teem with tropical fish. Culturally, the island has maintained its indigenous Chamorro traditions.

In recent years, Guam has involved itself in a process of renewal—its Spanish forts have been joined by fashion outlets, its ancient settlements by high-end hotels. While it has refused to be pigeonholed as Hawaii Jr., Guam is becoming an increasingly popular venue for scuba divers and bargain hunters, history buffs and even foodies. You could say, in fact, that this tiny island is on its way to becoming the next big thing in tropical getaways.

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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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