If you’re approaching retirement—or just dreaming about it—put Guam on your list of places to consider. With warm, sunny weather, a friendly, small-town feel, and an environment that’s both welcoming and simple for U.S. citizens, this Pacific island may be the perfect place for you to spend your golden years.
- If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of retiring in Hawaii, don’t overlook Guam! Although it’s a little farther from the U.S. mainland, real estate in Guam can be more affordable than in the Aloha State.
- Or, if you’re an eligible member or veteran of the U.S. armed forces, you can take advantage of the commissary and exchange system on Guam’s military bases. This can lower your living costs even more.
Want to know more about whether Guam is the right place for you to retire? Check out our comprehensive guide below. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about living on Guam, so you can get a sense of what it might be like to retire here.
First, let’s talk about why Guam can be such an appealing place for U.S. citizens to retire.
Guam: All the Benefits of Living in a U.S. Territory
Some retirees dream of spending their later years in a warm, tropical paradise, maybe one that comes with a hint of the exotic that they can’t quite get on the U.S. mainland. However, living abroad comes with its own set of complications, including language barriers, currency exchanges, visa paperwork, etc.
Since Guam is a U.S. territory, you won’t have to jump those hurdles. Instead, you’ll find that Guam is a relatively simple place to live for U.S. citizens:
Paperwork: You won’t need to apply for a visa or file any kind of special paperwork to live in Guam. As long as you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re good to live on the island indefinitely. (And if you’re not a U.S. citizen, the visa requirements for Guam are the same as for the rest of the U.S.)
Language: The island of Guam has two official languages: English and Chamorro, the language of Guam’s original inhabitants. You’ll also find a number of other languages spoken on Guam, but a majority of Guam’s inhabitants speak English. In other words, you won’t have to learn a new language (but you’ll probably get a lot out of learning about Chamorro culture once you arrive on Guam)!
Currency: No need to worry about changing currency or fluctuating exchange rates. The U.S. dollar is the official currency of Guam.
Medical Care: Finally, you’ll be able to use your Medicare benefits in Guam. Medicare doesn’t usually cover healthcare costs outside of the U.S., so this can be a huge benefit to choosing Guam over a foreign country.
Additionally, living on Guam comes a few additional upsides for retirees of all nationalities.
Retiring on Guam: Pluses for Seniors
A Warm, Sunny Climate
No more shoveling snow. No more shivering in your winter coat. In fact, no need to even own a winter coat! The temperatures in Guam hover around a mean of 81° F throughout the year.
And rather than measuring seasons by temperature, you’ll use precipitation as your yardstick. Guam essentially has two “seasons:”
- Guam’s dry (and sunny!) season lasts from about December–June.
- The wet and rainy season goes from about July–November.
When you retire in Guam, you can trade in your winter coat for a light jacket to keep you dry during the rainy season. All of your other winter-weather gear, you can leave behind!
A Convenient Jumping-Off Point for Travel
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Asia-Pacific region, Guam is the perfect home base. You’re just hours from several top travel destinations, making it easy for you to fulfill any travel dreams you might have put off.
Below, you’ll find the most common direct Asia-Pacific flights from Guam, with many more destinations available via connection:
- Guam > Tokyo: ~4 hours
- Guam > Manila: ~4 hours
- Guam > Seoul: ~5 hours
- Guam > Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia: ~ 2 hours
Cheaper Real Estate Than Hawaii
Many retirees find their dreams of settling in Hawaii dashed by high real estate prices. Currently, the typical home value in Hawaii is $828,002. If you have your heart set on a single-family home where your friends and loved ones can stay when they visit, you might find that Hawaii is out of your budget.
However, on Guam, you can find single-family homes for the prices of 1-bedroom condos in Waikiki. Of course, your mileage will vary, but it’s highly likely that your real estate dollar will go much further in Guam than Hawaii.
Benefits for Eligible Military Veterans
If you’re a veteran, you may already know that there’s a large military population on Guam. As a result, you’ll find many military discounts throughout the island, which often mean somewhere around 10% off with your military ID.
Additionally, if you have commissary and exchange privileges, you’ll be able to shop at the various base locations on the island. You’ll find much cheaper prices there than in local grocery stores. By the way, you’ll also have access to some of the cheapest gasoline on the island, so your savings will rack up quickly.
A Slower Pace and a Warm, Friendly Atmosphere
Like most islands, Guam moves at its own speed, one that’s slower than many parts of the U.S. mainland. As a retiree, you may enjoy the unhurried pace on Guam, whether you’re driving, shopping at the grocery store, or enjoying a laid-back meal at a restaurant. If you’re coming from a busy area on the mainland, you may need to exercise your dormant patience muscles. However, we suspect you’ll soon relax into this new lifestyle with ease!
Additionally, the Chamorro culture that underpins life on Guam is well-known for being friendly and welcoming. You’ll find that the kindness and friendliness you put out on the island will be returned to you in spades. As a result, Guam can be the kind of place that starts to feel like home quickly, even as a new arrival to the island.
Now that you know some of the more compelling reasons to retire on Guam, let’s talk about where to live on the island.
The Best Places to Live on Guam
The island of Guam is made up of 19 villages, each with its own mayor and its own particular character. Ideally, you’ll want to explore a few of them before making a final decision on where to live on Guam.
To jumpstart your research, we’ve shared a few of our favorites below, with both their Chamorro and English names:
Barigåda/Barrigada – This centrally-located village is a great fit for retirees looking for convenient, easy living. In Barrigada, you’re close to plenty of amenities, as well as several major roads, so you can get almost anywhere quickly.
Inalåhan/Inarajan – For those looking for something a little quieter, take a look at Inalahan. You’ll find this village on the southern side of the island, far from the busy hub of Tumon. There’s plenty of history to explore in this area, as well as a number of natural wonders like the Salaglula Pools.
Tamuneng-Tomhom/Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon – Some retirees dream of an active retirement, one that means living right in the middle of the hustle-bustle. If that’s your ideal scenario, take a look at Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon, the focal point of Guam’s tourist trade and commerce. You’ll also find plenty of beautiful beaches in the area.
Mangilao – If you plan to golf regularly during your retirement, Mangilao will put you close to one of the best golf courses on Guam, in the Onward Mangilao Golf Club. You’ll also find a fair amount of new construction in Mangilao, if you’re looking for a piece of real estate that move-in ready with plenty of updated features.
Finally, you might also find yourself wondering how you’ll spend your retired years on Guam. Let’s take a closer look on what kind of activities you’ll find on Guam.
What Is There to Do on Guam?
Even though Guam is only 212 square miles large, you’ll still find plenty to do on the island, especially if you’re game to slow down and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.
First, don’t miss our top 10 list of things to do, attractions, and activities on Guam to give you a sense of what awaits you on the island.
Additionally, we’ve added a few recommendations below for retirees:
- Hit the beach – Guam has between 40 and 50 beaches (depending on how you count!). If a sunset stroll or a sunrise dip in the ocean appeals, you’ll have plenty of gorgeous beaches on Guam to choose from.
- Explore local history – Guam has a long and interesting history that starts with the arrival of the Chamorro people, whose culture infuses the island today. Additionally, the island played a crucial role in World War II and continues to be a strategic location for the U.S. today. History fans, military buffs, and those curious about the cultures of the Pacific Islands will find a lot to explore in Guam.
- Look below the surface – Guam has some incredible coral reefs and some even more incredible marine life in its surrounding waters. Grab a snorkel for a relaxing exploration of Guam’s colorful undersea world—or your scuba gear, if you’re certified.
- Enjoy Guam’s natural beauty – Whether you do it by car or by foot (it’s called “boonie stomping” on Guam), the island has plenty of amazing natural landscapes to enjoy: coastal views, waterfalls, rivers, and more. Take the Pagat Cave trail, explore the Guam National Wildlife Refuge—and discover many more adventures once you arrive.
Want to Know More About Activities on Guam?
Check out our list of the best things to do and attractions on the island to get a better sense of how you might spend your retirement on Guam.
Guam: The Perfect Spot for Retirees?
Finding the right place to retire rests on your own personal vision for your golden years. Do you want to slow down and take it easy? Stay active in a place with lots to do? Hone your skills within your favorite hobby—or discover a new one to keep you entertained? Choosing a place that makes it easy to meet those goals is your ticket to a happy and fulfilling retirement.
While no place is truly perfect, we think Guam comes pretty close! If you decide to retire here, we’d be happy to help you with a safe, easy, and affordable move. Just reach out to one of our Guam-based experts for a free quote to get started.
Tell us about your move!