Hafa adai! You’ll hear this Chamoru greeting often if you decide to join the 167,000+ people who currently make their home on the island of Guam. It’s pronounced HOF-A-DAY, and you might want to try it out a few times before you make the move so you’re ready to greet your fellow islanders with enthusiasm.
If you’re serious about relocating to Guam, you’ll probably have a number of questions about living here, including things like:
Where are the best places to live on Guam?
What kind of rents might I expect to see?
Where will I shop?
What can I do on my days off?
To help you answer these questions—and more!—we’ve put together this insider’s guide to living on Guam. We’ll show you exactly what you need to know to make an easy and simple relocation to the island. And if you have more questions that aren’t answered here, you can always reach out to a member of our Tamuning-based team. They’ll be happy to get you the answers you need!
Let’s start with the first major decision you’ll need to make: where to live.
What’s the Best Place to Live on Guam?
As you research the island, the first thing you need to know is that Guam is made up of 19 villages. Each village has its own unique features, as well as its own mayor and Catholic Church. As you do your research, make sure you look at a number of different villages so you can figure out the right fit for you—and any other family members you’ll be bringing with you.
Below, we’ll highlight a few to kick off your research:
- Barrigada: This village’s central location, easy access to shopping amenities, four schools, and proximity to routes 8, 10 and, 16 make this residential area a popular one.
- Tamuning: If you love being right in the center of activity, Tamuning could be the place for you. You’re practically minutes from restaurants, bars, shopping malls—even the airport. However, if you crave something a little more quiet, consider…
- Talofofo: This village’s nickname, “God’s country,” will give you a good idea what to expect in this village: quiet days and nights, gorgeous scenery, and friendly neighbors. It might take you 30 minutes or more to get to work or run errands in Tamuning, but if you’re looking for a laid-back island lifestyle, Talofofo could be the right spot for you.
- Sinajana: If you’re moving with your family, Sinajana is worth a look. Because you’re located right near Hagatna, the island’s capital, you’re just minutes away from stores, restaurants, and other amenities. However, because you’re slightly removed from the hustle and bustle, you’ll still enjoy some peace and quiet, as well as two schools and the sports facilities at Sinajana Community Center.
Depending on where your rental is located—and what kind of amenities it includes— prices on Guam can vary dramatically. To give you a sense of what you might be looking at, take a look at these ranges:
- 1 BR – Vary from $800 to $1,200 to $1,500
- 2 BR – Can range from $900 all the way to $1,200 to $2,000
Where to Shop
To its visitors, Guam is well known as a shopping destination, so you’ll find plenty of high-end options at the Plaza in Tamuning, including Coach, Gucci, and Rolex. And if luxury splurges aren’t in your budget, there’s always the Guam Premier Outlets with more than 30 stores.
However, as a future resident of Guam, you’re probably less concerned with shopping as a sport and more interested in shopping for necessities. You’ll find what’s been touted as the busiest K-Mart in the worldii in Tamuning, and it’s a great one-stop for a lot of your needs. You’ll also find plenty of grocery stores, from the large—Pay-Less, IGA, and Cost-U-Less—all the way to smaller, locally-owned stores. The island also has a Home Depot, so you’re covered for most of your household needs.
We also encourage you to shop local and support the Guam-based businesses you’ll find on the island. A few of our favorites include:
- Twinkles: Located in the Guam Premier Outlets, Twinkles sells toys and educational items to help your kids learn and grow.
- Barefoot Bay: If you’re a quilter or someone who likes to make their own fabric creations, this is the shop for you. Barefoot Bay also features a locally-designed line of 100% cotton Guam-themed fabrics.
- Pop’s Bake Shop: If you haven’t tried their cream cheese rolls yet, you’re missing out. Make sure you show up early, though! Rolls are made daily, and, when they’re gone, they’re gone.
- Chamorro Village: Although this market is open every day, it’s best known for its Wednesday Night Markets. Within the village, you’ll find fresh produce, plenty of food, and a number of artisans selling their own creations. Two we love: Coconut Villa‘s unique jewelry, made from coconuts, and the Guam Gallery of Art, which is filled to the gills with works by local artists.
One more note: If you can’t find what you’re looking for locally on Guam, make sure to check out our E-Ship program. We’ll help you get your online purchase to Guam, even if the store you’re ordering from doesn’t ship to Guam.
Where to Work
If you’re not already moving to Guam with a job in hand, you might be curious what kind of work opportunities you’ll find on the island.
Because tourism is so vital to Guam’s economy (the island welcomed 1.6 million visitors in 2019iii—about 10 times the population of the island!), you might not be surprised that retail, accommodation and food & beverage top the list of largest industries in Guam. Rounding out the top five are construction, finance and insurance, and healthcare/social assistance. iv
And here’s some good news: Because Guam is a U.S. territory, if you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you won’t need a visa or any kind of special work papers to take a job on Guam.
Finally, we’ve got a job-searching tip for you: When you’re looking for a job on Guam, who you know can help you get a leg up. If you have friends or family on the island, ask if they know anyone who’s hiring. A recommendation from a friend or family member can give you an advantage in the application process.
How to Spend Your Days Off
You’ll find plenty of ways to spend your leisure time in Guam, especially if you love being outdoors. Our Top 10 list of activities, attractions, and things to do on Guam will get you started. Within that list, you’ll find ideas for enjoying Guam’s gorgeous beaches, discovering the island’s cultural history, exploring its unique natural landscape, and more.
We also invite you to spend some of your time on Guam learning about Guam’s original inhabitants, the CHamoru. Scientists believe that the CHamoru have occupied the island for more than 4,000 years, and their traditions and practices have played a significant role in shaping Guam’s culture today. If you’re interested in diving deeper on CHamoru traditions, arts, and trades, stop by Sagan Kotturan Chamoru. There, you’ll discover more about the CHamoru people’s rich history, as well as the ways that traditional CHamoru ways of farming, cooking, and healing continue today.
Making the Move to Guam
Now that you’ve gotten some of the basics of your research out of the way, we’d love to continue to assist you in making a smooth transition to Guam. We asked our team for their best advice for anyone who’s considering making a move to Guam, and we compiled them in our article on the top nine things to know before moving to Guam.
Still have more questions? Want to talk with someone about making the move? Just reach out to our Tamuning-based team. We’d be happy to get you a complimentary quote or answer your queries about moving to Guam.
Tell us about your move!