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Mount Lam Lam Sno n’ Ice Cream

Easily one of our best discoveries of this latest trip was Mount Lam Lam Sno n’ Ice Cream. We were scootering back from our 1000 Steps Trail hike, hot as the dickens and thirsty as all get out, when a sign advertising “shave ice turn right ok” called out like a beacon to me. The line was long and moved slowly and we were serenaded by the same three J-pop songs on repeat while we waited, but it was WELL worth the wait.

I got just a standard shave ice with coconut and li hing mui. The flavor was true-to-life and so, so sweet. Marshall got our first experience with halo halo. We had to watch another woman eating hers before we realized that you were supposed to stir it around very thoroughly before eating, but it was still mighty tasty.

The shop is in a little courtyard/circle area with a school, a library, and a convenience store but there are signs on the street to direct you into there.

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A Children’s Treasury of Guam Bendy Straws

One thing we never expected to love about Guam but has quickly become one of our favorite quirks is that almost all straws there are bendy straws. We’re all talk about how “a straw’s a straw” until we get all up in the bendy straw’s business. Because the bendy straw is the best straw.

Aji-Ichi Restaurant

Meskla Dos

Shoreline Grill

Infusion Coffee House

Khaohom Thai Restaurant

The Beach Bar

Jeff’s Pirate Cove

Chamorro Village Night Market

TuRe’ Cafe

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1,000 Steps Trail

Trailhead

It’s more steep than it looks!

It took awhile, but our first glimpse of the ocean was so rewarding.

After many, many steps, you end up at this bed of coral and lava rock, which is easy enough to navigate if you were smart enough to wear nice shoes. Just don’t step where you can’t see rock because those plants can be deceptive when it comes to hiding how deep the rock is beneath.

We went on a relatively calm day for the sea and were able to walk out onto the coral shelf. But only for about 10 minutes before a HUGE wave came and almost threw both of us against the rocks. We scampered our asses out PRONTO, to only just barely miss an even bigger wave that could’ve been fatal for us both. Please be careful!!

The tree at the start of the trail back is marked with an orange tag and a gatorade bottle, so don’t worry about getting too lost to find your way back to the stairs because someone before you has you covered! Of course, if you stray too far you may not find that tree, but I can’t imagine it’d be that hard. (By the way, aren’t these Australian pine trees just beautiful?)

I read the name as the 10,000 Steps Trail in multiple places before we got there, but now I’m seeing that it’s actually the 1,000 Steps Trail and only has about 150 (incredibly steep) stairs. I feel like I missed out on about 9,850 stairs but after that climb back up, I’m not complaining! Hold on tight because those handrails are awful wobbly in a lot of places. Apparently Mangilao Golf Club is slacking on their maintenance of this area.

We did this one on our first day back following a short stop at the Dededo Flea Market for a $25 Filipino-style bolo machete. We had big plans to follow this one with another hike, but it was HOT and we were out of water, so we opted for shave ice and some water instead of another hike. I regret nothing.

If you’re heading to this trail from Tumon, the easiest way is to take 1 into Dededo, then turn at the Winchell’s onto Macheche Rd. through Latte Heights. When that dead ends at 15, turn right onto 15. The road to the trail is the first street north of the golf course, which you can tell is starting because there’s a thick line of palms on the inside of a chain-link fence. (Otherwise, you’ll have to do like us and go to the golf course and turn around to find the street. Either works!) At the end of the road, there’s a trailhead made of two stones. You might think you should park there, and if you’re in a car, you should. But if you’re on a scooter or bicycle, follow the semi-trail for a few yards and you’ll find a hidden parking lot with picnic tables. I don’t get why they’d block off the parking lot to cars, but I’ve learned to not question things like this.

Overall, this isn’t much of a hike in most places, though there are some more rugged spots than just a long staircase. Make sure you have plenty of water, though, because the climb back up those stairs is pretty intense in the late-morning/early-afternoon heat.

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Marshall’s favorite restaurants on Guam

We’ll be back on Guam in a few days!

There’s a lot to love about Guam, and the food there isn’t the least of it.

Here is a rundown of places that we loved, that we’ll make a point to visit again:

Meskla Dos
412 N. Marine Corp Drive
Hagåtña

Meskla Dos menu

This place is right by K-Mart, so you know you’ll be in the area.

We got the tininu barbecue plate with three meats for $10; we got katni (beef short ribs), tasahos (smoked pork), and manok (chicken). Naturally, it came with red rice and finadene. It also came with a side of “finadene dinanche” (a thicker condiment made with peppers). Along with a Carlsberg (interesting Danish beer …. not sure how that fits in with the Chamorro theme, but that’s cool) and a soda, our total was under $15.

Apparently this place is known for its burgers, but our fiesta plate was absolutely perfect:

Bad photo; good food.

It’s open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day.

My cousin, who’s in the Navy and stationed on Guam as I write this, tells me they have burgers served in-between two grilled cheese sandwiches. (!)

The prices are excellent, though a $1 “service charge” was slipped onto my bill.

Lorwill’s BBQ Stand
28 Marine Corps Drive
Dededo

Our boonie stomp guide took us here, and we drove by it a couple of times as we puttered around the island. I don’t remember what I had, but I think it was some part of the pig humans weren’t intended to eat. But it was pretty darn good.

What it lacks in décor it makes up for in the food.

I couldn’t find a menu online (but I did find a troubling news item from 2010 about this place being shut down because of a “roach infestation”). I’m gonna try not to let that bother me too much. I don’t know how you can keep a kitchen bug-free in a climate like Guam’s unless you’re using a lot of pesticides. I hate to say it, but the occasional roach is less scary to me than a vat of poison poured over ever kitchen surface.

Aji-Ichi Japanese Restaurant
Marine Corps Drive
Tamuning

I was surprised at the lack of sushi I found on Guam. I thought an island in the Pacific would be sushi central. This isn’t the case. And to add insult to sushi scarcity, the one place we kept trying to go to, Rotary Sushi, was always closed. So I was glad to find Aji Ichi:

First of all, this place apparently has three locations on Guam. I’m not sure if I have the address correct above, because one of the other locations may also be on Marine Corps Drive. I think this place was next door to Infusion, the coffee shop we visited a few times.

The sushi knocked me out. It was good, and it was cheap.

The Yelp reviews keep mentioning ramen and bento. I can’t vouch for that (though I’ll be sure to try it when I’m there), but my sashimi sampler was fantastic.

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Suggestions?

Have any of you ever been to Guam? We leave for our trip soon and want to make sure we’re seeing everything that needs to be seen. Please let me know if you know of a hike, a beach, a restaurant, or anything that we shouldn’t miss! (Especially if it’s a hike that leads to a beach!)

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Gov. Joseph Flores Beach Park (Ypao Beach Park)

You know, it kind of feels like a copout to say this was one of our favorite beaches because it was so close to our hotel, but it really was one of the best. It’s definitely a tourist-centric beach, with more facilities and parking than I saw almost everywhere else. But because of that, it was well maintained and perfect for some easy but scenic snorkeling.

It’s settled right on the outside edge of Tumon Bay, between two hotels that have their own private beach access so their guests are filling the shores at the beach park. Even though it’s easily the most touristy beach, it was still remarkably uncrowded and I think we only saw 10-15 people on the busiest day. It’s opposite Two Lovers Point, but you can still see the gorgeous cliffs to the right in the picture.

The water is about waist deep for me, a 5’10” woman who’d rather swim in deeper waters. I don’t remember there being much of a current, so I’d gather it’s relatively safe for kids of most ages as long as they know how to paddle. And why would they be in the water if they don’t?

The beach area itself isn’t very large, and just a five minute walk to the left or right gets you into a very private feeling area. The sand is nice and soft, and we were more than happy to just sit and drink a cheap bottle of strawberry wine from Kmart on the quiet, peaceful shoreline when we got to the beach and found it closed on our last day.

Snorkeling is decent. Not the best, but definitely not the worst. It’s a great, calm area to get your feet wet and make sure all your equipment works before setting out for more challenging waters.

As an added bonus, Proa is just at the end of the road and they have great ribs. And as another added bonus, it’s just across the street from Tower of London Pub, the least cheesy bar on the strip (and the most affordable).

Prime picnicking capabilities!

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Hike to Pagat Cave and Pagat Point

We paid for a boonie stomp with Guam Guided Adventures because we wanted someone who could give us history and talk about the vegetation we were passing as we went. Rob, our guide, took us to Pagat Cave and Pagat Point (and Gun Beach after) when we told him we wanted a medium-difficulty hike with great scenery. That was basically the only criteria we gave him and he picked out the perfect trail for us.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures in the cave because there was a family having a birthday celebration inside when we got there and I wanted to respect their privacy. If you have some, I recommend bringing waterproof flashlights so you can find your way around in the water. It’s so cool and refreshing in the water there, but try to not shine the light on the walls if you can avoid it. (I won’t say what was crawling all over some of them but it rhymes with “wockwoaches.”)

Along this trail, you’ll also pass through an ancient Chamorro site with a few artifacts still remaining for you to see.

You might be tired from trying to keep from slipping on the limestone by the time you hit the caves, but it’s worth it to forge ahead to the coast. The trail will lead you to a beautiful lava formation over the water, with a natural bridge crossing over the crashing waves below you. It’s absolutely breathtaking. This is the view from the middle of the natural bridge.

We weren’t able to do it when we did the hike because the tide was going crazy strong, but this spot is also great for cliff diving. From what I’ve read, you can dive off the edge and let a wave lift you onto a rock to climb back out. I’m hoping we’ll be able to do this on our next trip! Use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to jump, but don’t do it if the water is as rough as this:

It’s beautiful, right? I’m still kind of in awe over what we saw when we reached the end. The hike back is uphill, so spend plenty of time relaxing and having fun before you heading back to the car!

The trailhead for this hike is on 15, about halfway between Adacao and Yigo. You’ll see a parking area on the left (if you’re heading north) with the entrance directly to the right. Like any other hike where you leave your car behind unattended, keep no valuables inside, or anything that even looks like it might be a valuable, and leave the doors unlocked so the windows don’t get busted when someone decides they want in even though you have no valuables inside.

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Talofofo Falls Resort Park

If I could insist upon one single place where all visitors to Guam should visit, it would without a doubt be Talofofo Falls. Not only is the drive to the park from Tumon absolutely gorgeous, going through the rolling hills of  Santa Rita, but the destination is the most unique place we found on the island.

We had no idea what to expect when we got there. We knew there were waterfalls, and we knew Shoichi Yokoi’s hole was somewhere on the grounds, but what we found was more than we ever could’ve imagined. It all started with an unexpected military discount based entirely on the Navy anchor tattoo on my wrist. “Nice anchor. Military? Cool, you got the discount.” I get the feeling they aren’t sticklers for checking military IDs.

When we walked in, we were greeted by the above, which they called a “trolley.” Ha! From what I could tell, the park benches were only kind of latched down but when I asked an employee, he said no one had ever fallen off. Knock on wood!

After walking around the grounds for a few minutes, we ended up at a gate with a sign warning of adult content lurking past the fence. Sign us up! Turns out Loveland is a garden of erotic statues. I still can’t believe we almost didn’t go because if I’d found out after we left that I missed out on something like that, I’d be so upset.

There’s also a “haunted house” on the way to the cable cars, with hydraulic-powered frights that look frighteningly like Elvis lurking around every corner.

The actual falls are gorgeous, of course. There are two falls, with swimming available in the upper falls. We were able to splash around with a local family, climbing up on the slippery rocks with each others’ help and diving into the deep pools. Yokoi’s Cave is a short walk from the falls, so I’d recommend swimming after your trip to the cave instead of having to walk the slippery rocks with water from your swimsuit dripping down your legs. Bring some snacks and spend the afternoon because the falls are super refreshing!

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Ritidian Point

Talk about paradise! It took us two hours to get there from Tumon (on scooters that wouldn’t go over 35 mph and a decent hike through private property) but it was entirely worth the trip.

The hike down remind me a bit of the steps to and from Coit Tower in San Francisco, except somehow even more lush and tropical.

When we got there, we were completely awe-struck by how beautiful the beach was. There was not a single soul in any direction (something we saw more often than not on the island) and it was like stepping into a postcard.

The only downside of the beach is the current. Thanks to its location on the island, the tides are incredibly strong and have a tendency to suck people right out into the Philippine Sea. Yikes, right? Total yikes. And perhaps it’s different in the refuge area, but the water doesn’t go more than a couple feet deep all the way out to the coral shelf. Because of the tide and the shallow water, snorkeling ain’t easy out there, but what you can find is still beautiful. Even if you don’t snorkel, there’s plenty of beach to be combed and napping under a palm tree to be done.

We tried to visit on New Year’s Eve, which is apparently some form of a government holiday. I don’t know where you can find a list, but make sure you don’t visit on a government holiday because the public part of the beach is a National Wildlife Refuge and it won’t be open to the public.

When we realized the public beach was closed, we tried our best to find some sort of access to it from the private side of the road. The beach is at the bottom of a steep drop-off, so you can’t just sneak through the woods and find your way there like you could on the south side of the island where there are fewer cliffs. All of the private beach access points are part of resorts that require AT LEAST $20 per person to get in, and from what I’ve read, few of them are worth the high cost of admission. A camp let us park our scooters behind a tree and use their stairs to get to the beach, but we were very lucky they were so kind and I honestly wouldn’t count on that for a return visit.

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Pago Bay and the Much Nicer Beach Down the Road

I can summarize Pago Bay in three words: Don’t go there. To expand on that, the trail to the beach is hard to find, there is no parking except in a private neighborhood, and once you finally do get parked and find the trail, the beach and the water are nasty to the max. The only reason that first picture of Pago Beach looks semi-decent is because it’s washed out by the blazing Guam sun. This one’s a little more true-to-life:

Truly remarkable, though, is Taga’chang Beach, just down Rt. 4. I believe there’s a sign for it, right past the sharp bend beyond the neighborhood at Pago Bay (if you’re going south). There’s a long road that’ll be absolutely beautiful to gawk at with a beach at the end even more remarkable.

Marshall certainly enjoyed his time snorkeling in this remote, completely private bay and seemed to find some wonderful wildlife under the waters. My time was spent exploring the giant lava rocks, little lagoons, and caves all along the shoreline. There are little covered gazebo/picnic spots near the parking area, which would be perfect for a nice big lunch of tinala katne and red rice.

Yona just took over management of the beach and the article I read said something about a fee structure to help with maintenance, but I’m not sure if that means a fee just to access it or a fee to rent out the covered areas. Might want to make sure you have a couple of bucks on you when you show up just in case, but I promise you it’s worth it.

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