Helpful Hints: An introduction to Guam and its way of life.

As one of the five unincorporated territories of the U.S. with an established civilian government, Guam allows a fairly gentle transition for those moving from the U.S. to the island. With a temperate climate averaging between 75 and 85 year-round and a bustling level of tourism, Guam creates a foreigner-friendly environment. Despite the westernization of the island, Guam’s natives share a deep-rooted and enthralling cultural history with those new to its shores.

One great benefit of making the move to Guam is that you can maintain all the comforts of home you are used to with an added cultural flair that permeates the island. Just about anything popular on the mainland has made its way over to Guam and is at your disposal.  In addition, you’ll enjoy the island’s diverse catalog of activities and a hospitable nature that welcomes neighbors and newcomers with open arms.

Activities

Guam caters to those who enjoy getting back to nature. The warm climate yields a variety of ocean-bound adventures such as swimming and snorkeling, and it even presents some challenging waves for seasoned surfers. Located near the deepest part of the ocean in the world, spying on pods of dolphins and fishing in the deep are common adventures for visitors and residents alike. Guam also hosts beach clubsand water parks that offer windsurfing, paddleboats, and kayaking to their patrons. Guam is also home to some of the most desirable scuba diving spots worldwide.

Golfers can get in on some tee time with a large number of public golf coursesthat supply unmatched views from atop ocean cliffs or near lush jungle life.  Hiking through the outback jungles of Guam, or “boonie stomping” as they call it, is also a favorite activity.

Guam has a fairly active nightlife, and dancing and drinks can be found at local and beach bars throughout the island. Karaoke is another popular activity taken up by residents, and can be sought out in several establishments for those who want to belt out a tune.

Economy

Whether you are arriving in Guam on a military assignment or exploring new opportunities, Guam is alive with the bustling business of vacationers. Tourism/hospitality is one of the main industries in Guam, and because of this and the military influence there is no shortage of American-recognized businesses. Guam hosts multiple malls and duty-free outlets, and even houses the world’s largest Kmart.

Prices are fairly comparable across the board, and housing tends to be smaller and more compact on the North side of Guam, rolling out to larger plots of land down south as development and economic influence champions the northern area of the island.

Food

Keep in mind that tap water is Guam is not necessarily in your best interest and filtration is advised. The traditional food of Guam incorporates locally grown fruits and vegetables, often seasoned with hot peppers. Coconuts are often included in native Chamorro cuisine and seafood such as octopus and shrimp are commonly found in these dishes.

If a taste of home is desired, there are the common U.S. franchises to choose from as well. Don’t worry that you’ll miss your fallback restaurants such as the Outback Steakhouse or McDonald’s.

Culture

A proud people, the Chamorro make up about 40% of the total island population, but much of the lifestyle and customs are shared among all the residents of Guam. The Westernization has melded it with the U.S. customs, and although you will find different languages spoken throughout the population English can be found in all areas.

Transportation and Technology

As a part of the U.S., Guam is included in the North American Numbering Plan, and calls to and from Guam to the mainland no longer carry wallet-busting charges. Guam is also part of the U.S. Postal System, making shipping domestic for parcels transported through USPS less costly than mailing internationally.

Although there is a public bus system, taxis, and commercial companies that operate tour buses, most residents own personal vehicles. The government-run Guam Mass Transit Authority (GMTA) operates on nine routes connecting the island, but buses on the island are known to be less than reliable.

Holidays

On Guam, all U.S. holidays are celebrated, plus a few native ones as well. Carve up your usual Thanksgiving turkey, and also celebrate Liberation Day on July 21st, All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, and Santa Marian Kamalen Day on December 8th.

Guam has all the comforts of the mainland along with the Chamorro cultural touch; bringing the best of both worlds to a beautiful island setting. Making this island your home will bring you close to natural jungles, deep ocean wildlife, and a friendly culture full of abundant foods and cheerful gatherings.