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Guam? Really? Yup, the 212-square-mile island in the Philippine Sea about midway between Japan and Hawaii is sixth on the top 10 list of U.S. states/territories most favored by overseas visitors last year. In 2010, Guam had 1.3 million overseas visitors, according to a list compiled by the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries — which defines “overseas visitors” as tourists from beyond the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Tiny Guam beat out Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas and New Jersey, numbers 7 – 10 in the list. Not surprisingly, New York took the top spot with 8.6 million foreign visitors, followed by Florida, California, Nevada and Hawaii. Makes sense. But what about Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Alaska? Nowhere to be found. Yet there sits Guam, as smack in the middle of the list as it is in the ocean.

guam hotel resort coast

guam ruined church ruin historic

guam beach sunset palm tree tropical

Sure, it has year-round tropical weather, lovely beaches and hospitable people. Its Chamorro culture is a stew of Spanish, Micronesian, Asian and Western influences — a heady mix you can taste in the island’s unique cuisine. And of course you’ll also find all the water sports, golfing and hiking you’d expect on an island.

So who’s going to Guam? According to the Guam Visitors Bureau, most tourists come from nearby Japan and South Korea (each just a three- to five-hour flight away). But you can get there from the continental U.S. too — though you’ll have to spend more than half a day on a plane and make at least one connection, typically in Honolulu. Once you get there, you can relax at a big-name resort (such as the Outrigger or the Westin), or stay at a more intimate property like the Guam Garden Villa, a B&B homestay.

You can also get to Guam by cruise ship. It’s a popular port for world cruises, with Princess and P&O among the lines visiting this year.

Have you been to Guam?

— written by Jodi Thompson

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One Response to “America’s Most Surprising Top Destination”

  1. debbie says:

    yes, I lived on Guam for 4 years. That’s where I learned to scuba dive through MDA dive shop. Now I have a better appreciation for the ocean and love to dive. If you do any diving – there are 2 must see dives…one is the blue hole and the other is a wreck where 2 ships (Cormoran-German from WWI and Tokai Maru-Japanese from WWII) sit on top of each other after being sunk or scuttled during their battles. There is also the Marianna’s Trench. Besides scuba diving, you can do “boonie stomps” – hiking through the jungle, or visit the Wednesday night Chamorro market for some of the best food and cultural entertainment. Or you can visit the beaches or shop at Tiffany’s, Macy’s or the world’s busiest Kmart!

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