We love our island home of Guam, and we also love welcoming new visitors! Whether you’re planning a vacation—or checking out Guam as a potential future home—we want to help make your visit to Guam a delight from start to finish.

Below, you’ll find our list of everything you need to know to plan your visit to Guam. We’ll take you on a tour of Guam’s rich history and culture, show you some of our favorite things to do, offer some safety tips, and help set your expectations so you can make the most out of your time on the island.

Let’s start with the basics that everyone needs to know when planning a trip.

#1: Guam Is a U.S. Territory: What That Means for Travelers

When you’re gearing up for a trip to Guam, the island’s status as a U.S. territory is important to understand for the following reasons:

Visitor Requirements

U.S. citizens and permanent residents don’t need any special paperwork to visit Guam. In fact, if they’re not traveling through a foreign country on the way to Guam, they don’t even technically need a passport. That said, it’s always a good idea to have a valid, unexpired passport on hand, and it can expedite your passage through the airport.

As is true for other U.S. destinations, residents of countries other than the U.S. need a visitor visa (B-2), unless they qualify for entry under the Visa Waiver program. For more information on applying for a visitor visa, see the U.S. Department of State website.

Currency Used

As a U.S. territory, Guam does business in United States dollars (USD).

You may wish to use one of Guam’s many ATMs to withdraw money in U.S. dollars. (Check with your bank regarding ATM access and fees before you travel!)

Or, if you want to exchange foreign currency for U.S. dollars, you can stop by one of Guam’s banks, including:

There’s also a currency exchange desk in the airport.

Additionally, credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, are widely accepted around the island.

Languages Spoken

Guam has two official languages:

  1. English
  2. Chamorro, the language of the Chamorro/CHamoru people, who were Guam’s first human inhabitants

Chamorro or CHamoru?

As you learn more about the Chamorro people, you’ll see a number of different spellings of the word “Chamorro,” including “Tsamoru,” “Chamorru,” and “Camuru.” Most recently, the Kumision I Fino’ CHamoru (Chamorro Language Commission) adopted the spelling “CHamoru.” For this article, we’ll use “Chamorro,” which remains the most common spelling of Chamorro (for now).

You’ll find English spoken all over the island. If English is a language you’re familiar with, you won’t have to worry about communicating practically anywhere on Guam.

You’ll hear a few Chamorro phrases while traveling around the island. The most common will be håfa adai—a greeting. It’s pronounced HAH-fa day, and it’s the way many people say “hello” in Chamorro.

In addition to English and Chamorro, you’ll also find many more languages spoken on Guam, including:

  • Philippine languages, including Tagalog, Bikol, Bisayan, Sebuano, Ilocano, Pampangan, and Pangasinan.
  • Languages of the Pacific Islands, including Carolinian, Chamorro, Chuukese, Hawaiian, Indonesian, Malay, Palau, Ponapean, Samoan, Tongan, other Micronesian languages, and other Polynesian languages.
  • Languages from Asia, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, languages of Southeast Asia such as Vietnamese and Thai, Dravidian languages of India, such as Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu, and the Turkic languages.

The diversity of these languages reflect the diversity of cultures you’ll find on Guam—one of many excellent reasons to visit the island.

Electrical Adapters

Guam has the same kind of electrical sockets you’ll see in the United States and Canada, compatible with Type A and B plugs.

Cell Service

If you have a U.S. cell phone plan, your time on Guam will likely be considered international roaming. Inquire with your carrier, and check out the international plans they offer to avoid unexpected charges.

#2: Health & Wellness Considerations for Visitors

The majority of travelers enjoy their stay on Guam in good health. However, it’s always good to understand your destination’s healthcare options before you get sick. Additionally, travelers with specific health considerations may want to review the below information in case they need to make additional preparations for their trip.

Guam does not require any specific vaccinations for entry. However, you may want to consider the following vaccines, per CDC guidelines:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid

Talk to your doctor to create the immunization plan that’s right for you.

Where additional health and wellness is concerned:

It’s safe to drink the tap water on Guam. As in the majority of the U.S., chlorination is used to treat the drinking water on Guam. Travelers who prefer bottled water will find it easily on Guam.

You’ll find plenty of milk, dairy, meats, fruits, and vegetables on Guam, which are generally safe to eat. Of course, as you would at home, follow proper refrigeration and handling procedures, including washing fruits and vegetables before you eat them.

If you do fall ill, there is one civilian hospital available for medical care on the island, Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning.

Guam also has a number of private clinics and pharmacies to assist with less acute care.

Finally, should you experience a medical emergency on Guam, you can dial 911, just as you would in the continental U.S.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look at what makes Guam such a special destination to visit.

#3: Understanding Guam’s Rich and Complex History Will Add to Your Experience

The story of Guam starts with Guam’s original inhabitants, the Chamorro. It’s believed that the Chamorro people sailed thousands of miles to Guam from Southeast Asia about 4,000 years ago.

Your time on Guam will be that much richer for understanding the culture of the Chamorro. We’ll introduce you to the history and culture of Guam’s indigenous people in the following blog posts:

In addition to the arrival of the Chamorro people, Guam’s history has been deeply influenced by other waves of immigration, as well as occupation by the Spanish, invasion by the Japanese, and territorial possession by the U.S.

To learn a little more about the island’s history—and to explore some ways to enjoy Guam’s rich culture during your visit, check out our article—10 Ways to Experience Guam’s Rich and Fascinating Culture.

Recognizing Guam’s Role in World War II

 

Guam came under U.S. jurisdiction in 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American war. Like Hawaii, Guam was suddenly thrust into the middle of World War II. In 1941, Guam was bombed right after Pearl Harbor and taken by the Japanese several days later. The island remained under occupation until 1944. During the Japanese occupation, the people of Guam suffered imprisonment, torture, and even death.

In recognition of the role Guam played in World War II—and to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those participating in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater of World War II—the War in the Pacific National Historical Park was established.

If you truly want to understand the history of Guam and its inhabitants, the park’s locations around the island are a great way to explore this chapter of Guam’s past—and honor those who served.

#4: Guam’s Visitors Are Predominantly from Asia

A Red Pin on Guam of the World Map

If you’re considering a visit to Guam, you may wonder who else will be exploring the island alongside you and your traveling companions.

Given Guam’s location in the Pacific, it’s probably not surprising that the majority of Guam’s visitors come from Asia.

Pre-pandemic, visitors from Japan and Korea made up the vast majority of monthly arrivals. In December 2019, visitors from the country accounted for 86% of visitors to Guam.

Origin Country for Guam Arrivals

December 2019

Japan flag

Japan

41%

Korea Flag

Korea

45%

COVID-related travel restrictions in Japan dampened the numbers of Japanese travelers for a few years. Since Japan lifted re-entry requirements, Japanese tourists have returned to Guam in increasing numbers.

Outside of Japan and Korea, the most common home countries for other Guam visitors include the United States/Hawaii, the Philippines, China, and Taiwan.

The above statistics will give you a sense of what to expect while you’re on Guam—and who you might meet.

#5: Get Ready for Guam’s Warm, Tropical Weather

Guam has a warm, tropical climate perfect for travelers who love a little heat. Temperatures in Guam hover around a mean of 81°F throughout the year, with an overall range of 76 to 88°F.

Note: If you’re sensitive to the heat, consider visiting Guam from January through March, which tend to be cooler.

81°F

Mean annual temperature

66%

Monthly humidity average

Dec. – June

Dry season

July – Nov.

Rainy season

In addition to having a warm climate, Guam also has a humid one. Monthly humidity averages near 66%, although it can often get above 84% at night.

While you might be used to four seasons where you live now, Guam’s weather breaks up into two “seasons:”

  • December–June: Guam’s dry (and sunny!) season
  • July–November: The wet, rainy season

When you visit, you might want to bring a light rain jacket, especially if you plan to go hiking. Guam’s showers often don’t last long, so they won’t disrupt your entire day. On most days, you can get a solid dose of sun for at least a few hours.

Stay Prepared During Typhoon Season

 

Technically, Guam’s typhoon season runs from late August through mid-November. However, as Typhoon Mawar demonstrated in May 2023, typhoons can hit Guam at any time.

Travel insurance is always a good idea when planning a trip to Guam. (Note that you’ll usually need to purchase coverage before a storm is named.) While you’re on Guam, if a storm approaches, it’s a good idea to understand Guam’s Typhoon Condition of Readiness system to keep yourself safe.

Ultimately, serious typhoons tend to be rare, but a little know-how (and a travel insurance policy) can go a long way.

#6: The Majority of Visitors Stay in Tumon

Most of the hotels on Guam are located in Tumon. If you like to be smack dab in the center of all the activity in a classic resort-style setting, Tumon will be the perfect spot for you. Several of the hotels in the area are located right on Tumon Bay, offering spectacular ocean views and easy access to the beach.

Other options include staying in accommodations nearer to Agana Bay in Tamuning, trying a B&B in Hagåtña, or opting for an Airbnb/Vrbo experience.

In other words, while staying in a hotel in Tumon is a popular choice, you’ll have other options to customize your Guam trip.

#7: If You Love Shopping, Guam Can Be Paradise

Tumon is also Guam’s shopping epicenter. You can browse a wide variety of high-end stores in the Tumon Sands Plaza, including Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., and more. You’ll also find the Galleria and the Plaza shopping malls in Tumon. Plus, the Guam Premiere Outlets, the Agana Shopping Center, and the Micronesia Mall are just a short drive away.

And here’s some more good news for shoppers: Guam doesn’t currently charge sales tax. If you need a reason to justify some retail therapy, look no further!

Sundays Are Quieter on Guam

 

Depending on where you’re from, Sundays on Guam may come as a surprise to you. They tend to be quiet, with many stores and restaurants either limiting their hours or closing entirely. Before you head out on a Sunday, make sure you double check that your intended destination is open.

#8: Explore Guam’s Underwater World

A Couple of Two Banded Anemone Fish in Rota Island

Guam’s beaches are one of the island’s major attractions. Imagine picture-perfect beaches with gorgeous white sand, twinkling turquoise water, and swaying palm trees, and you’ll get pretty close to reality. If you’re a beach person, you’ll love Guam.

However, if you stick to the sand, you’ll miss half the fun: the incredible world you’ll find under the surface of Guam’s inviting waters. You’ll see all kinds of marine creatures, including turtles, sharks, rays, giant clams, octopus, and a whole roster of colorful fish.

Make sure you save some time during your trip to snorkel. Gear is available for rent on the island, or you can also bring your own.

By the way, if you’ve always dreamed of getting certified to scuba dive, Guam is a great place to finish your certification. Do your book work and your pool work wherever you live. Then, when you’re on Guam, you can do your final dives and complete your certification. Of course, you can do the whole course on Guam (book and pool work included). But who wants to spend their vacation studying and practicing skills, when you can do them at home?

There’s More to Guam Than Beaches

Guam has plenty of land-based adventures to enjoy, too. Don’t miss our guide to the 10 best hikes on Guam. (Did we mention the waterfalls?!)

[Read More]

#9: Staying Safe on Guam

Guam is a perfectly safe place to visit, and a little common sense will take you a long way on the island.

Full disclosure, Guam does have its share of property crimes. The property crime rate is higher on Guam than on the U.S. mainland. However, it’s lower than you’ll see in Hawaii—just to give you a sense of what to expect.

If you do find yourself in an emergency situation on Guam, dial 911. You’ll be connected to Guam’s emergency system, which was recently upgraded to improve emergency response speed on the island.

#10: Don’t Miss Guam’s Traditional Food

picture of food from guam

Food plays a central role in Guam’s culture, so you’ll find plenty of it on the island. As a visitor, make sure to take advantage of all the different cuisines that arrivals brought to Guam—including food from the Philippines, neighboring Pacific Islands, and Asia.

But, most of all, don’t miss your chance to enjoy traditional Chamorro food. Delicious barbecue, flavorful fina’denne’, tasty tinala’ katni—there are so many excellent tastes to enjoy on Guam.

For some culinary inspiration, check out our list of the DeWitt Guam’s team favorite traditional plates, as well as their go-to spots for great food on Guam.

#11: Rent a Car to Make the Most of Your Time on Guam

If you’re staying at a resort on Tumon Bay, you might feel like you have everything you need—a fantastic beach, a well-appointed pool, and plenty of restaurants to try.

But if you really want to get a sense of what Guam is truly like, we recommend renting a car. With a vehicle at your disposal, you’ll more easily make your way to Guam’s top attractions, including its remote beaches and the other things that make Guam so unique.

Note: As in many parts of the U.S., using a hand-held cell phone and texting while driving are illegal in Guam. Plan ahead accordingly!

If you would rather not rent a car, you’ll still have options for getting around, including:

  • The Red Shuttle Bus (LAM LAM Tours) or the Lea Lea Bus (check out their kiosk at the Guam Premiere Outlets) which offer routes to popular areas.
  • Taxis are also an option.
  • Guam also has a rideshare service called Stroll, although availability can be spotty.

However you decide to get around, we hope you take some time to appreciate Guam’s natural beauty—one of our favorite aspects of living on the island.

Welcome to Guam!

We hope you enjoy the beauty, culture, food, and activities of our island home as much as we do. Guam is a unique place with a lot to offer, and these must-knows will help you make the most of your visit.

If you fall in love with Guam and decide to make a permanent move to the island, keep us in mind! We’ve helped thousands of individuals and families move their belongings to Guam, and we’d be happy to help you with a safe, easy, and affordable move. Just reach out to a team member to get started.

Tell us about your move!

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