Guam - Attractions
The city of Hagatña (formerly known as Agaña) has been the centre of Guam ever since the Spanish first set about remodelling the island on behalf of God. The town is small enough to explore on foot in an afternoon and there are plenty of parks and historic buildings. Central Hagatña features the remains of Casa Gobierno, the Governor's Palace, which dates back to 1736.
Don't miss the revolving statue of Pope John Paul II on the site where the man himself held mass in 1981. The twirling pontiff certainly beats the miniature Statue of Liberty in Paseo de Susana Park to the north. In the southeast of the park, a statue of Chief Quipuha stands forever condemned to survey the congested traffic of Hagatña's main thoroughfare, Marine Drive. Quipuha donated the land for Guam's first Catholic church, the site of the present Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral in the town centre of Plaza de España. Next door is Latte Park, named after the mysterious stone pillars, or lattes, moved here from an ancient Chamorro village. Dating back to 500 AD, the pillars are thought to have been the foundations for some very impressive native homes.
A sleepy village with a smattering of Spanish-era influence and some of the island's richest Chamorro flavours, Inarajan is perched on Guam's scenic southeast coast. Along the waterfront is the Chamorro Cultural Village, a publicly funded complex of bamboo and thatch shelters where traditional Chamorro crafts are demonstrated. Salugula Pool is a natural saltwater pool with diving platforms and arched bridges. Down the road are the ruins of a concrete Baptist church built in 1925, and a bronze sculpture depicting a battle between two Chamorro chiefs, Malaguana and Gadao. In the cliffs across the bay from Inarajan is Gadao's Cave, which has ancient pictographs said to be drawn by Gadao himself. Another worthwhile trip from the town is to Talofofo Falls, a two-tier cascade with swimming holes. Be prepared for a fairly hefty entrance fee. Nearby Talofofo Bay Beach Park is one of the island's prime surfing haunts.
The tourist centre of Guam is just up the beach from Hagatña. Called Tumon Bay, it's essentially a one-road-deep resort strip fuelled by hotels, clubs and restaurants. It's also geared towards Japanese package tourists, which translates into high prices. Tumon Bay itself is quite shallow and at low tide it's possible to wade right out to the reef for a look around. Y'pao Beach Park is on the bay's southwest side and was once home to an ancient Chamorro village, as well as a leper and penal colony. These days it's a popular fiesta site. Up the other end of the bay is Gun Beach, named after a rusty old Japanese gun hidden in jungle growth at the foot of the northside cliff. The beach is notable for its very cool 'star sand', tiny orange grains with star-shaped points. It's actually the calcium carbonate shells of a common protozoan found on Guam's reefs.