Life in Guam — Pros and Cons of Living in Guam

palm tree near body of water during daytime

Thinking of building a life in Guam? Then this article is timely, just for you. Living in Guam is like having your freedom of personal space. But is that all there is?

In this article, I’ll give you 12 pros and cons of living in Guam. I hope it helps you through your decision-making process!

Life in Guam

Life in Guam is simply relaxing, aesthetic, and pleasing. It’s the best place for people who are not stoked about noise and fast life.

Guam is a little island in Micronesia, Western Pacific. The island draws its significance from the role it played during the Second World War. To date, Guam remains a United States island territory.

Guam has an admirable number of people. With a population of 171,657, Guam ranks 51 among the best places to live in the United States

Guam is called Snake Island for a reason. History records the destructive activities of venomous snakes in Guam. This venom is not very dangerous to human beings, but its effect on animals and forestry is alarming.

Guam, though small, is the best place to meet new people. Residents boast of making new friends from different backgrounds. Thanks to tourism and of course, the hospitality of residents.

Guamanians practice their indigenous Chamorro culture. For culture, many have said Guam is more related to Asia than it is to the United States. 

Did you Know?

Before the 1898 Spanish-American war, all Guamanians were identified as Spanish nationals. After the war, Guam became an American territory.

Today, everybody born on Guam Island is an automatic U.S. citizen. Being a United States territory, Guam gets to share some benefits with the U.S. 

Summary of Pros and Cons of Living in Guam

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of living in Guam to consider before moving. 

Pros of Living in Guam Cons of Living in Guam 
Tropical Island LivingMaipe Guam is Hot
Language DiversityHint of Racism
Quiet LifeLimited Fresh Food Choices
Proximity to Other LocationsCost of Living is High
Influx of TouristsRising Rate of Crime

Advantages of Living in Guam

1. Tropical Island Living

Guam is one of the most populated islands in Micronesia. Every lifestyle that comes with being on an island is what you get when living in Guam.

For people who love water, Guam is a great retirement option. You have a lot of swimming options and beaches to relax in.

2. Language Diversity

English and Chamorro are Guam’s official languages. But since almost half of the population living in Guam are Filipinos, it’s an added advantage if you speak Filipino. 

Some other languages spoken in Guam are

  • Tagalog (spoken by the migrant population)
  • Korean (spoken by the tourist segment and migrants)
  • Japanese (Spoken by a dominant segment of tourists)
  • Chuukese (spoken by the Chuukese population)

3. Quiet Life

If you need your peace, life in Guam will give you unadulterated peace. Most people intending to retreat for some time of isolation come to Guam. 

And this doesn’t make the residents any less friendly. They’re warm and hospitable, but they’ll respect your space if you want it. 

  1. Proximity to Other Destinations

From Guam, it’s easy to access Hong Kong, Manila, and Tokyo. Chances are that you’ll feel trapped sometimes on the small island. But with these other places just a few hours away, you can take a trip.

4. Influx of Tourists

Tourism is a major Guam industry. In fact, tourism employs the highest number of people in Guam.

According to Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA), Guam entertains about 1.2 million tourists yearly. This generates about $1.4 billion for Guam’s economy and creates about 18,000 jobs.

Vibrant Nightlife

For such a small, calm island, the vibrance of the nightlife there is shocking. It’s suitable for all ages, so you may want to plan some family activities when in Guam.

You can find some places that might interest you on TripAdvisor.

Beautiful Scenery

Guam scenery comes with a perfect backdrop for every kind of occasion. Couples find it interesting to have their wedding by the beach.

The white noise from ocean waves gives the best effect. There are tons of things to do in Guam. You’ll never get tired of the beautiful sights in Guam.

Disadvantages of Living in Guam 

1. Maipe Guam is hot

This is a common expression Filipinos use to express their dissatisfaction with the weather in Guam. They even had to sing a song about it!

When it’s hot in Guam, the temperature rises from 76°F to 88°F. It rarely goes below 74°F, nor does it often go above 90°F.

Even at that, the heat that Guam’s dry weather comes with is inexpressible!

2. Hint of Racism

In the heat of the Black Lives Matter Campaign, Guamanians in Hagatna took to the streets in solidarity with the cause. 

According to one of the protesters, many people don’t think Black Lives Matter doesn’t apply to Guam but she experienced her fair share growing up black in Guam

Another protester spoke up about segregation against Chuukese and Filipinos in Guam. I guess nobody could have known this if the campaign didn’t create that much uproar.

3. Limited Fresh Food Choices

In Guam, you won’t find Whole Foods and all the other fresh food options you have in the United States.

It may interest you to know that 95% of foods in Guam are imported. I think it’s a top con of living in the tropics.

Imagine a place where eggs finally reach the store shelves a month (or more) after they are laid? This will be a huge limitation for many.

4. Cost of Living is High

Did you know that living in Guam is more expensive than living in any other part of the United States? Guam is the 6th most expensive place to live in the United States. 

According to Living Costs, here’s a breakdown of the cost of living in Guam:

For one person monthly:

  • Total cost of living including rent cost – $2,223
  • Without rent cost – $765
  • Cost of rent and utilities – $1,458
  • Food – $579
  • Transportation – $58

For a family of four:

  • Total cost of living including rent cost – $5,158
  • Without rent cost – $2,246
  • Cost of rent and utilities – $2,912
  • Food – $1,509
  • Transportation – $157
  1. Rising Rate of Crime

While Guam boasts of reasonable peace, there are still reports of crimes, especially in recent years.

According to Numbeo, Guam has a 50% rate of crime (on a 100% scale). The increment of crime in the last 3 years (2019 – 2022) is 67.24%. Property crimes are at a rate of 72.12%.

While this is something to consider, the rate is definitely minimal in comparison with other parts of the United States.

Finally …

Just like in any other place, life in Guam is what you make of it. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions About Living in Guam

Where is the best place to live in Guam?

According to Modern Realty Guam, the best place to live in Guam is Barrigada. The next best places to live in Guam include:

  • Tamuning 
  • Dededo
  • Magilao
  • Inarajan 

Is Guam hotter than Hawaii?

Yes. Since Guam is tropical, it tends to be hotter than Hawaii. Hawaii is a subtropical location. Subtropics are never as hot as tropics. 

Do hurricanes hit Guam?

Yes. One of the cons of living in the tropics is the high susceptibility to hurricanes. In Guam, hurricanes come in the form of typhoons.

But typhoons in Guam have been occurring most between June and December

Why are there no birds in Guam?

The absence of birds on Guam island can be traced to the activities of tree snakes in Guam since the 1940s. 

The introduction of these brown tree snakes led to a sudden decline in the number of birds in Guam. Considering the importance of birds in seed dispersal, this has become an issue for the Guam government.

Where is the worst place to live in Guam?

I’d say Dededo, and that’s because of the kind of traffic you’ll experience there. Yes, Dededo is a great place to live, but traffic is terrible there.