Hafa Adai! My name is Luke Scott Fernandez, better known on Instagram as @lostwithlukes. I am 23 years old, born and raised on the island of Guam located in Micronesia which is one of three regions in the Pacific.
Living on a small island in the middle of the ocean inspires me to travel and see the rest of the world, even if traveling means going to a smaller neighboring island. I am inspired by the Pacific Islands mostly because our cultures and ways of life are so different, yet we are so close to one another.
No two islands are the same. Each island has its own “gems” that are so unique you can’t find them anywhere else in the world. The islands also inspire my photography. We as Pacific Islanders have such a vast history and unique homes that are often overlooked by mainstream travelers.
What I Love Most About Guam
Guam is indescribable to me. The answer that I always give to people when asked how to describe my home is, Guam is Guam. The beaches, sunrises, sunsets, waterfalls, mountains, culture and people are like no other. Every time I leave Guam to travel abroad, I always want to come home.
What I love most about Guam is that it’s my home. As small as the island is, there is so much to do. The sunrises and sunsets never get tiresome, nor does swimming in the ocean. I am thankful to be away from the world. What I am most grateful for is that I can swim with sea turtles every day.
Exploring my Island of Guam
The island is unique and if you are traveling to Guam, I highly recommend renting a car because public transportation is not that great. Though the island is small, the landscape is quite hilly and everything is spread apart so walking or biking is not the best way to get around and see the sights.
My travels around Guam are not that comprehensive compared to others who visit the island. I think that is much like many locals. For as long as I have lived in Guam, I still have yet to complete many of the hikes here. Because I am from here, it’s one of those “I will get to it later” type of things.
I would say I have only explored half the island. However, the places I have explored have been breathtaking. They never fail to amaze or remind me of just how beautiful my home is. Some of the places that are on my bucket list are Sigua Falls, Mount Lam Lam, Cocos Island and Blue Hole.
Travel Tip: If you are exploring Guam, always bring extra clothes, towels, slippers (flip-flops) and if you see a local “mom and pop” store, stop in and buy local snacks. They are usually located in front of the register area.
Top 10 Things To Do in Guam
My favorite places on Guam are near the ocean. The ocean has always been my second home and for the past year it has been my teacher. It helps me understand the importance of conservation and love for living things.
I’m in the water often, whether it be free diving to swim with turtles or paddleboarding to see dolphins. The ocean is my number one playground. So if you love the ocean just as much as I do then you will love these ten activities and experiences in Guam which largely revolve around the ocean.
1. Watch the Sunrise at Marbo Cave Cliffs
Marbo Cave Cliffs offers an amazing view of the ocean on the east side of the island. It feels like you are tucked away from the world in this spot. The cliff line is a must-see if you want to experience a beautiful Guam sunrise.
2. Relax on the Beach at Tumon Bay
If you are into lounging around and sipping drinks on the beach then this is the place for you! Tumon Bay is where most of the hotels and restaurants are located. It’s a great place to watch the sunset, go paddleboarding and snorkeling. If you are super lucky you might run into some stingrays.
3. Take in a Magical Sunset at Priest Pools
Priest Pools are an interesting set of natural pools in the middle of grassy lands that overlook the ocean. It’s an amazing spot for sunset but if you do watch sunset from here, bring a flashlight so you can find your way back.
4. Pick up Snacks from Buenas Market in Yona
If you are visiting or passing by Yona and you see Buenas Market then pull in and buy some snacks. Buy pickled eggs, pickled mango, pickled papaya and pickled daigu (raddish). These are must-have snacks on the go.
5. Discover the Beaches of Ritidian & Urunao
These beach areas are close to each other and are some of the most gorgeous beaches on the island. They are located on the northern side of Guam and have the softest and whitest sand on the island. You are so far away from everything that you forget about the worries of the world. Travel Tip: There is no food or drink stands around, so pack a bag with snacks.
6. Enjoy a Beverage at the Bar of Gun Beach
The Beach is one the best places in Guam to hangout with friends, enjoy a cold beverage and watch the sunset by the sea. I personally watch the sunset here almost everyday. It’s definitely a favorite place of mine.
7. Shop around the Chamorro Village Market
Chamorro Village Market happens every Wednesday night in Hagatna (the capital village). There is food, music, dancing and local shops you can look around. Travel Tip: Bring cash with you and go between 4:30pm – 8:30pm.
8. Jump into the Sea at Merizo Pier
Merizo Pier is a fun place to hangout, take photos and jump off into the sea when hanging out with friends. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset if you find yourself down south during that time on your visit to Guam.
9. Pop into Pop’s Bakeshop for a Cream Cheese Roll
Pop’s Bakeshop in Agat not only has one of the best cream cheese rolls on the island but they also serve rolls with regular cheese and taro cream cheese too! I recommend waking at 5am and heading down to Agat to grab a box of treats. You can always exercise the rolls off later on your trip!
10. Grab a Donut from Crown Bakery in Guam
Crown Bakery in Mangilao has the best fresh donuts on the island. Make sure you get the glazed donuts and go between 6am – 8am or 4pm – 6pm. Again, you will be doing plenty of swimming, walking and hiking on your trip to Guam so don’t feel too bad about treating yourself to a donut or two!
Melting Pot of Cultures in Guam
Guam is a melting pot of cultures from all over Micronesia, Asia and America. The native culture of Guam is the Chamoru culture and it has a strong Spanish influence. The native people were once colonized by Spain.
The cultural belief of “inafa’ maolek” – which consists of values such as respect, relationships and communal responsibilities – is the foundation for the Chamoru culture. Family plays a big role in the culture as many live in multigenerational homes, as well as maintaining family connections that extend not only from immediate families but to third and fourth cousins.
Other cultural practices such as singing, dancing, religion, food and storytelling help create connections and bonds with one another. These traditions also help pass down the culture from generation to generation.
The best way to immerse yourself in the culture is to befriend locals, shop local, eat local, ask questions and if you get invited to a fiesta, go! You can also read more on the Chamoru culture and history via this link.
Incredible Food Scene of Guam
Food is an integral part of the local culture here on Guam. It is something that brings us all together whether it be hangouts, small parties, birthdays, holidays or even village fiestas. The food on Guam is diverse with Chamoru, Korean, Japanese and American food, as well as other influences.
However, local food will be the best food you have ever had! In the local Chamoru culture meat, rice, fish and vegetables are a staple when it comes to eating. Some local restaurants that I particularly like are King’s Restaurant, Shirley’s Cafe, Pika’s Cafe, Sundays, Meskla, Proa, Tommy’s Pizza, Fu’una Cultures, Fisherman’s Co-Op and the local farmers market.
The local farmers market happens every Saturday and Sunday in Dededo and ends at 10am. They mostly have food trucks and fresh produce. We also have food truck night throughout the north and central parts of the island. If you see a bunch of food trucks, find somewhere to park and make sure you have cash because credit cards are usually not accepted.
Travel Tip: Most places accept credit or debit cards, but other small businesses only accept cash. Be sure to have cash when visiting Guam.
Best Places to Stay in Guam
Renting a car is a must and I recommend an airbnb somewhere on the southern end of the island like Agat or Merizo. But if you are into luxury, Tumon and Tamuning are the places to be. Tumon and Tamuning are where most of the tourists stay and where the shops and restaurants are.
The southern part is more laid back and nature-filled. I’m not sure of any specific airbnbs or hotels to stay at because I never do staycations because every day is a mini-vacation on Guam. So I will leave that up to you!
Need to Know Before you Go
Before visiting Guam I recommend the following tips: learn about the history and culture, always respect the locals and their traditions, if locals tell you not to go into the ocean at a certain point please listen as the ocean can get dangerous, support local artisans, pick up trash, have cash on hand, do not step on coral and have fun! If you see me say Hafa Adai!