Over the past year and a half, island residents had to come to terms with limiting social interactions and staying indoors for the sake of good health.
Travel plans were canceled, vacations turned into staycations, and get-togethers were confined to immediate household members only. The list of acceptable outdoor activities was cut down to grocery shopping, food runs, and isolated exercise. The hustle and bustle of popular locations on the island slowed to a near halt.
Quarantine during the pandemic was a challenge for all, but it allowed the people of Guam to pause, look around, and realize their home was the best place to stay put. From stunning views of nature to the abundance of local businesses, residents began to re-experience Guam through the perspective of a traveler.
The beauty of the sea
Since the island was closed off to tourists, residents had Guam’s renowned beaches to themselves. With social distancing in mind, people enjoyed their days in the sand while others took to swimming, snorkeling, and diving in our surrounding waters. While underwater, some saw marine wildlife they had only seen in pictures, like sharks, sea turtles, and various types of fish. Once populated by non-residents, places like Ypao Beach and Fish Eye Marine Park were appreciated by locals.
Roaming through the land
Hiking became a popular activity, too, even for those who had never done it before. Waterfalls, mountain ranges, natural pools — residents had the chance to see them all. Through hiking, some learned that Mt. Lam Lam is technically the largest mountain in the world, if you include its distance from the bottom of the ocean. Others were amazed at how orchids naturally bloom along the trail to the Tarzan Swim Hole. Trekking showed a different side of Guam that cannot be seen by traveling up and down Marine Corps Drive.
Refresher in Guam history
Island residents also had the time and space to visit the popular tourist attractions that were otherwise busy under normal circumstance. This led to a greater appreciation and acknowledgment of Guam’s history and culture. People explored historic places like Gadao’s Cave in Inarajan, which holds pictographs left behind by ancient CHamorus, and the Piti Guns Site, which serves as a reminder of the devastation that Guam endured as a result of World War II.
Appreciation of local businesses, products
Local eateries, gift shops, and craft stores became the center of attention during the pandemic as residents were reminded of just how talented our island’s culinarians and artisans are. Restaurants offered new menu items to cater to locals, while creative businesses produced sustainable products and decor for style and waste-conscious living. Imprinted with the Håfa adai spirit, you cannot find Guam products elsewhere. This is why tourists are drawn to them, and why local residents are proud that these products are available right here at home.