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Situated in the South Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Philippines, Guam belongs to the Mariana Islands archipelago. This Micronesian island is split into three regions and visitors to the northern region, owned by the US military, can explore the isolated and picturesque Ritidian Beach. The central region is a bustling area with shops and restaurants and the island's most visited area. For those seeking space and cultural connections, the southern region is home to a large proportion of the island's indigenous Chamorro people. You can also visit the popular black-sand beaches and Cocos Island.
Guam may only be 30 miles (48km) long, but many of its main cultural attractions and beaches are spread out across the island, so driving is an effective and convenient way to get around. Roads are typically well built and considered as safe as roads in the UK or USA.
Driving licences: all foreign visitors from anywhere outside of the USA must hold a valid International Driving Permit, which can be obtained from most post offices in the UK.
Which side does Guam drive on: the right.
Rural areas: 35 mph
Built-up areas: 15mph
Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, which is the same as the UK limit. Those found to be above the legal limit risk being fined, or sentenced to prison.
Driving age: 16 years old. You must be over 18 years old to hire a car.
Seatbelts: a seatbelt is mandatory for front and rear passengers. Children must be strapped in and those under 12 years old should have child restraints. You can be fined $60 for not following this rule.
Mobile phones: using a mobile phone is prohibited while driving.
Car hire and fuel payment: there are several petrol stations in the central region and most accept credit cards and cash. When travelling to the remoter northern and southern regions it is best to carry some cash.
Insurance: excess insurance is recommended.
Traffic and parking: watch out for no-parking and restricted-parking zones. Where applicable, parking tickets should be displayed.
You can book taxis from your hotel and they are also available at the airport. Only authorised airport taxis can pick you up at the airport, so there can be a wait if you arrive during a busy time. Taxis on Guam can be expensive and prices are typically around £2.50 for the first kilometre and £1.20 for each kilometre thereafter.
There are nine bus routes on the island and the standard daily fare is approximately £1.20, but services are infrequent with many only running once or twice per day. Services are provided by Guam Regional Transport Authority.
There is one commercial airport on the island. Guam Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) has several car-rental desks, a range of modern shops and a foreign-exchange counter.
Guam is a friendly and welcoming island with lots to do and its diversity is reflected in the range of cuisines available in its many restaurants. Choose from Jamaican, Vietnamese, Greek and even traditional Chamorro dishes.
For those seeking to explore the history of the island there are 155 historical sites registered on Guam. Many of these sites relate to the culture of the native Chamorro people and the ruins of their traditional villages can be seen at Latte Stone Park. Plaza de Espana marks the Spanish-occupation era with several structures including the Chocolate House and three-arch gate still remaining.
Outdoor enthusiasts won't be bored in Guam as there are seven golf courses, coral-reef diving and water parks. Tumon Bay offers the opportunity to kayak and jet-ski or spend a leisurely afternoon having a picnic and enjoying the panoramic ocean view. Visitors can also take a boat to Cocos Island, which lies two miles south of Guam and is surrounded by pristine beaches and turquoise waters. The site is home to a Spanish ship wreck, which is said to contain unrecovered treasures.
- Martin Luther King's Day (January 17th)
- Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival (February)
- Presidents' Day/Washington's Birthday (February 14th)
- Guam Discovery Day (March 7th)
- Memorial Day (May 30th)
- Liberation Day (July 21st)
- Independence Day (July 4th)
- Fishermen's Festival (August)
- Labour Day (September 5th)
- Pastries in Paradise (October)
- Veterans' Day (November 11th)
- Our Lady of Camarin Day (December 8th)
- Christmas Day (December 25th)
Guam enjoys warm weather all year round and temperatures range from 24°C (76°F) to 27°C (80°F). December, January and February are the coolest months due to the presence of westerly trade winds and the climate is spilt into two seasons. The rainy season occurs between July and November and the dry season between December and June.
Visitors to Guam can expect a warm welcome from this very modern island that has been heavily influenced by its close ties with the USA. Guam is generally very safe and visitors will encounter few problems as long as they take some time to familiarise themselves with the basic laws of the island before they visit.
Guam Contact Numbers
International dialling/country code: 671
Emergency services: 911
British Embassy (Manila): There's no British consular representation in Guam. British citizens can contact the Embassy in Manila on (+63) (2) 858 2313
Guam uses the US dollar. Currency can be changed at the airport and major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of ATMs.
Health & Safety
You don't need vaccination certificates to travel to Guam, but tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B and typhoid are present on the island. Although healthcare is of a good standard, the cost is high so it's advisable to obtain comprehensive health insurance before visiting. Tap water is considered safe and dairy products are pasteurised in the same way they are in the UK.
The islands indigenous population, the Chamorro, have a unique culture that's been formed from their Asian heritage, the Spanish occupation and strong ties to America. People tend to be friendly and welcoming, but it is recommended that visitors observe modesty and politeness. Most of the Chamorro people are Catholic. The Japanese account for around 90 per cent of visitors, but Guam is also a popular destination with Chinese and Korean tourists.
Visas for Guam
Visitors from the UK, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia can enter Guam without a visa for up to 15 days.
Electricity in Guam is 110-120 volt, 60Hz. Standard North American sockets are used, but an adapter may still be required if plugging in American appliances. Standard 220-240 volt UK appliances will require a step-up transformer and adapter.
Central region Shops: open 10am-9pm Monday to Saturday, close at 6pm on Sunday.
Rural shops: Majority open 9am-5pm.
Banks: open 10am-3pm Monday to Thursday, close at 6pm on Friday.
Guam is an English-speaking island, but these Chamorro phrases may come in useful:
Hello - Buenas
How are you? - Hafa tatamanu hao?
I'm fine - Todu maolek
Goodbye - Adios Esta
I don't understand - Ti hu komprende
Excuse me/Sorry - Dispensa yo'