A Travel Primer For Guam’s Culture, Food, And Beaches

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There’s a good chance you’ve seen Guam come up a lot on your social feeds lately. Sadly, it probably hasn’t been connected to travel. As a far-flung vacation destination, the island nation isn’t getting too much buzz. First off, it’s tiny; second, it’s been occupied by the US off-and-on since 1898. Instead, Guam is in the news because North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is planning a military show of force near the island this month in response to Donald Trump’s bloviating. Which doesn’t exactly put the island on the Uproxx Travel Hot List.

But before everyone runs for the hills in terror of nuclear war breaking out, it’s important to remember that Kim made the same threats in 2013. In response, President Obama installed THAAD missile defense systems on the island, in case of this very scenario playing out. On top of which, the Japanese military is prepared and equipped to shoot down any missiles that pass through their airspace. So, at the end of the day, the whole affair might just be about two lunatics measuring their dicks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

At Uproxx, we’re all for the road less taken — so we thought we’d offer a closer look at one of America’s more beautiful Pacific colonies. Guam is the southernmost island of the Mariana Islands archipelago. It’s roughly the size of the city of Chicago with a population hovering around 170,000 — an island paradise with high-end resorts, volcanic beaches, and azure seas. As soon as the bomb threat passes, it might be your perfect getaway.

Here are some of our favorite reasons to visit.

FOOD

Being an American territory means you’ll find pretty much every chain you’re familiar from home over in Guam. You’ll definitely get a middle-America-by-way-of-Hawaii vibe too — Guam is the biggest consumer of SPAM after Hawaii, thanks to post-WWII rations and a deep-seated love of the processed meat.

Going beyond the colonial food of the Americans, you’ll find the indigenous Chamorro cuisine. It’s a pan-Polynesian blend that incorporates east Asian and Spanish influences. Dishes like kelaguen (a citric-acid-cooked shredded meat dish) and tinaktak (coconut braised minced meat) are stars of the local scene. You’ll also find a lot of pork and beef barbecue, served with the local red rice and kelaguen (best described as chicken ceviche).

And, of course, there’s plenty of seafood pulled directly from the warm Pacific waters. You’ll also find plenty of tropical fruits pretty much everywhere you go. There’s even a mango festival every May that celebrates mango in all its fabulous forms.