Guam (Chamorro: Guåhån), officially the U.S. Territory of Guam, is an island in the Western Pacific Ocean and is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States. Guam is located 900 miles north of the equator in the Western Pacific. Guam’s lush tropical terrain along with urban areas within the island covers 220 square miles and is the southernmost island in the Mariana Island chain. Because of its western location from the International Date Line, Guam is the first to experience the new day in the United States; hence Guam is "Where America’s Day begins." Its capital city is Hagatña (formerly Agana).
As a member of the American family, Guam is able to offer visitors a stable and secure environment. Federal law provides local self-government on Guam, U.S. citizenship for her people, and application of the U.S. Constitution to the island. While maintaining its relationship with the United States, Guam also enjoys its strategic location as the gateway to Asia. This proximity makes travel to and from Guam quick and convenient.
The Island of Guam has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage dating back over 4 centuries. Today, Guam is a truly cosmopolitan community with a unique culture that is a combination of ancient Chamorro traditions, over 300 years of Spanish influence and the Roman Catholic Church doctrines. Guam's culture has also been influenced and enriched over the last 50 years by the American, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Micronesian immigrants that have each added their unique cultural contributions.
Guam is a 'Tropical Paradise' featuring gleaming white sand beaches, marine and land based out-door activities, historical and cultural landmarks, cosmopolitan dining and active nightlife.
The island was formed by the union of two volcanoes; a limestone plateau in the northern and southern sections of Guam joins the extinct volcanoes. Guam sits at 13 degrees North latitude and 144 degrees East longitude, approximately 210 miles southeast of the Marianas Trench, the deepest trench in the world.
Guam is located approximately 6,000 miles from San Francisco, California; 3,800 miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii; 1,500 miles south of Japan; 1,596 miles from the Philippines; 2,026 miles east of Hong Kong; and 1,922 miles east of Shanghai.
PEOPLE AND POPULATION
Primary ethnic groups are Chamorro (37%), Filipino (26%), Pacific Islander (7%), Caucasian (6%) and other Asian ethnicities including Japanese, Korean and Chinese (2%).
Guam’s climate is characterized as Tropical Marine and the weather is very hot and humid with minimal seasonal variations. The yearly temperature is 85° Fahrenheit (29º Celsius), with the mean low at 76° Fahrenheit and a mean high at 86° Fahrenheit. The average water temperature is also 85° Fahrenheit, enabling many visitors to the island to enjoy an array of water sports. The island experiences two seasons—dry season from December through June and rainy season from July through November. September and October are the rainiest months, each averaging about 14 inches of rainfall.
Time: Guam is 18 hours ahead of Pacific Time and 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Meridian Time.
Electricity Voltage: The electrical current is identical to the U.S. Mainland: 120 volts/60 cycles.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Guam, an unincorporated Territory of the United States. Guam’s local government is organized into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The legislative branch consists of a unicameral legislature with 15 members who are elected for two-year terms. The Legislature is empowered and responsible for creating laws to protect the community, ensure its health and welfare and promote Guam’s development. Guam’s judicial branch decides issues of local laws and interprets how these laws should be applied. The judiciary consists of two bodies: the Superior Court of Guam and the Supreme Court of Guam. Finally, the executive branch is managed by the island’s highest elected officials, the governor and lieutenant governor of Guam. These officials are tasked with the implementation of Guam’s laws through its departments, bureaus, committees and agencies that make up the government of Guam.
The United States government also maintains a presence on the island. As set out in the Organic Act of Guam, the government of Guam shares, but in most instances defers, its authority and duties in certain areas of governing our island to the federal government. The federal government maintains jurisdiction over certain areas including immigration, negotiation and execution of treaties and agreements with other nations, certain aspects of the maritime industry, protection of environmental integrity and defense. The existence of an elected government and the presence of the United States government create a secure and stable political climate.
Guam offers some significant health care advantages to Americans living in Asia. Guam’s health care system includes two major hospitals, a widespread clinic network, a broad selection of general and specializing physicians, and medical evacuation operations to Hawaii, the U.S. mainland and the Philippines. The island’s two hospital facilities are the Naval Regional Medical Center and the Guam Memorial Hospital. While the Naval hospital provides services to veterans, active-duty personnel and military dependents, Guam Memorial Hospital provides health care for the remainder of the general public. The Guam Memorial Hospital is a publicly owned facility operated as part of the government of Guam system.
Guam has ten specialty and emergency care clinics and about 30 pharmacies for prescription drug needs. Specialized healthcare facilities are the Guam Radiology Consultants, 2 renal care facilities, Guam’s first privately owned and operated birthing center with all the comforts of home, a surgicenter for outpatient surgical procedures, and the Heart & Vascular Institute of Guam.
The medical board of physicians on Guam has set standards for practitioners, which are similar to those in California. All doctors must be U.S. trained and board eligible to practice on Guam.
The Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) is a 130 bed acute care hospital in Dededo, Guam. They offer world-class medical care to the residents of Guam as well as the FSM, the CNMI, Palau and the Marshall Islands. They are committed to be a center of excellence for cardiology services, comprehensive cancer care, and by providing a full range of treatments for diabetes and other diseases.
GRMC's medical departments include Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedics, Urology, Neurology and Radiology. GRMC also offers Ophthalmology and ENT care along with comprehensive diagnostic services using some of the latest technology available.
Guam offers a wide variety of housing options ranging from ocean-view villas and executive homes, to cozy condominiums, duplexes and single-family homes well suited for new and growing families. Housing for purchase or lease on Guam is readily available. Construction costs range from $65 to $90 and up per square foot (depending on quality) giving an average 3-bedroom house price of approximately $ 78,000 to $ 150,000. Mortgage loan funds at attractive rates of 6.5% – 8% are readily available from institutional lenders.
Condominiums and houses are available for sale in Fee Simple. There are certain restrictions to foreign individuals purchasing properties, but corporations registered on Guam can purchase properties freely. Purchases are usually handled at title and escrow companies with title insurance available to protect buyers. Price for a three-bedroom condominium (mid-level unit) averages about $150,000 with three-bedroom houses selling for about $180,000.
The rental market indices show most residential leases are for one to three years. A security deposit of one month’s rent is a standard charge. Mid-level rentals range from $900-$1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment or condominium and $1,200 to $1,700 for a three-bedroom house.
A full American-style public school system is available to all citizens and residents of the Territory. Education receives particular emphasis, as close to half of the government’s budget is education-related. The Government of Guam spends approximately 40% of its annual budget on education and Guam has some of the highest requirements for teaching credentials in the United States. There are 37 public schools and 18 private schools on Guam patterned after school systems in the continental United States. Public schools, including institutions of higher learning, the Guam Community College (GCC) and the University of Guam (UOG) are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The Chinese and Japanese communities each support schools to preserve their respective language and culture.
- University of Guam
- Guam Community College
Guam’s organized sports leagues take advantage of favorable weather and year-round opportunities to play and compete. There are various competitive leagues in baseball, bowling, soccer, football, rugby, swimming, running, cycling, volleyball, martial arts, golf, tennis, handball, boxing, wrestling, paddling, jet skiing and wind surfing. There are also public and commercially operated fitness centers. Guam is a paradise for water sports activities such as jet skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and parasailing. Guam also has some of the best golf courses in the region. Other amusement centers include bowling alleys, movie theaters and community recreation centers. Guam’s infrastructure is able to support international competition in a variety of sports.