An island in the North Pacific, Guam is about a quarter of the way between Hawaii and the Philippines. Not known to many, but Guam is visited by over a million tourists every year because of the beautiful pristine beaches and breathtaking views. Being quite remote, there are probably a lot of things you didn’t know about Guam. Read on to learn more interesting facts about Guam.
- Non-voting Americans. Guam has been a United States territory since the end of WWII. This means that the people of Guam have U.S. citizenship and a non-voting delegate in congress. In other words, the Chamorro cannot vote for the U.S. President and their delegate has no authority in policy making or in political decisions. The central government, in turn likewise has limited influence on local Chamorro administration.
- “Where America’s day begins.” Being located right on the International Dateline, Guam is the first place where the sun rises on US soil. Guam is 14 hours ahead of the US East Coast. This means that when the sun sets in Guam it has yet to rise in most of the US mainland.
- Strong Spanish influence. Guam was a colony of Spain for over 300 years. Despite the fact that this colonization was lifted in 1898 (over 100 years ago) and the physical distance of Guam from Spain, the influences in their culture, language and traditions are still evident today. The Chamorro language is confusingly similar to the Spanish language, you’d actually think you were in a province in Spain.
- Nearest US soil to Asia. The reason there are hundreds of thousands of visitors from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines to Guam is because the flight to the island is only 3.5 hours.
- Spam’s Biggest Fans. The people of Guam just love Spam. When this canned meat brand turned 75 years old, TIME magazine featured in an article a few unknown facts that included how much Guamanians consumed in a year.
- The Local People Are Guamanians, The Indigenous People Are Chamorro. Calling the people Guamese is a common mistake. The proud people of Guam are Guamanians. Chamorro is the oldest civilization in the North Pacific. Local Chamorro culture and traditions are well-preserved and are today a unique mixture of many countries that colonized the beautiful island over a span of several hundred years.
- Very Strong Catholicism. The people of Guam are very religious and a good 85% of the population are Catholic. This may be attributed to the 300 years the Spanish colonized Guam, among other countries in the region. Spanish missionaries brought with them certain influences that have become ingrained and deep-seeded into the Guam culture and are still alive and strong to this day.
- Large Army Base. A quarter of the island belongs to the military for the Naval and Airforce Base, and is the largest US base in the Pacific.
- Shopping Haven. Guam is very popular as a Duty Free shopping haven. All major shopping malls are open 24/7 and carry most luxury brands.
- No Tips, Please. Tipping in Guam is not expected nor encouraged. Tips are included in the bills which in many ways is very convenient for everybody.
Your vacation wouldn’t be complete without seeing Guam’s first and only white lion, Rio, live at Encore! Where the Magic Happens every night (except Wednesday) at 8:30 PM. The nightly show also features the magic of Anthony Reed, the silent comedy act of Mr. Robb, and the hand balancing performance of Ian Faraonel. All of the performances are family-friendly and appropriate for all ages.
You don’t really know what you’re missing until you’ve made that trip to Guam. It may be a small island but there’s just so much to see and do. Get your backpack and book your next adventure to Guam.