Life in Guam

Håfa Adai! The island of Guam is in the Western Pacific and is the southernmost and largest member of the Mariana Islands and a part of the geographic region of Micronesia. Guam is an unincorporated U.S. territory governed under the Organic Act of Guam, a federal legislation passed by the U.S. Congress and approved by the U.S. president on August 1, 1950, granting U.S. citizenship to all Guamanian residents. Despite being the largest of the Micronesian islands, Guam is small; only 32 miles long and four to eight miles wide. Guam’s primary source of income is tourism, and its second largest source of income comes from the military. Guam has two U.S. military facilities, the Naval Base in Santa Rita and Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo.

Guam’s culture is quite diverse and has a long history of European colonialism, beginning with Spain who established a colony in the 1600s, occupied by the Japanese for several years at the beginning of World War II, and later liberated by the U.S. in 1944, prior to becoming a U.S. territory. Chamorros are the people indigenous to Guam and make up 37% of the population as of the 2010 census. About half of the total population (roughly 170,000 as to date) in Guam is Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders (including Chamorro), about 1/3 of the population are Asian (predominantly Filipino); and a small amount of the population that are White, Hispanic, Black, or other ethnic origins or races. English and Chamorro are the official languages of Guam.

Guam has a tropical climate with temperatures typically ranging between 70-90° F throughout the year and a wet season lasting between May through November (this is also Typhoon season). Guam is close to the equator, so don’t forget your sunscreen! Some of the most popular pastimes in Guam include hiking, visiting one of Guam’s beautiful waterfalls, engaging in various water sports, golfing, and frequenting Guam’s beautiful beaches. Guam also has spectacular snorkeling and diving opportunities and is known for having incredibly rich marine life. There are additional activities for thrill seekers such as skydiving and parasailing.

Guam is across the International Dateline from the mainland U.S. and uses the Chamorro Time Zone, formerly the Guam Time Zone, which observes standard time ten hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+10:00). The zone is 15 hours ahead of the North American Eastern Time Zone. Entry requirements for Guam are the same as for any U.S. destination. Passports are not required if individuals have a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID. Otherwise, a passport is recommended and is required for international travel.

Some helpful websites to explore to learn more about Guam, include: