You may have heard of Guam in one context or another, but whether you have or not you will certainly have heard of their currency. They use the United States dollar as their official choice of currency.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are six coins that are used for this currency, all of which are denominated in cents, as you would expect. The smallest coin is the one cent coin, and following on from this you can get the five, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins. There is also a dollar coin.
You can also use any of seven banknotes denominated in dollars. These are the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar notes. However the $2 note is now quite rare so it wouldn’t be a surprise if you didn’t actually see it while you were in Guam.
From past to present – the history of the Guam United States dollar
The US dollar is an old currency, having been in use since 1792. Before this the Spanish dollar was used in the US. The reason why Guam uses the US dollar is that it is part of the US. It is known as an unincorporated territory and while it is not that close to the US it does qualify as one of its territories. Therefore it uses the same currency as its ‘parent’ country, if you like.
How to get hold of the Guam United States dollar
As you might imagine the US dollar is probably the easiest foreign currency to get hold of, if you don’t already live in the US and you’re using it every day anyway. Before you travel to Guam you can order your United States dollars from your choice of bureaux de change. There are plenty of them about so you can work out which ones offer the best prices and buy accordingly.
You can also bring in traveller’s cheques since they will be pretty easy to exchange once you’re in Guam. This means you can take additional finance that is safer than simply having cash on you.
You’ll be pleased to know that cash machines are quite plentiful in Guam too. In short you shouldn’t have any issues getting hold of any cash at any point. Since Guam is quite popular among tourists you’ll find there are lots of opportunities to pay by credit card as well. If you’re taking a debit card it’s a good idea to get it on the Cirrus network since these should be accepted in Guam as well.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Guam United States dollar
You can be assured of finding information for the US dollar on every good currency converter you come across. All you need to do is enter your own currency and then find the US dollar to ensure you get an accurate conversion between the two. You can either convert one unit of your own currency or, if you know how much you want to take with you in cash, convert that amount instead.
It’s worth remembering that there is no commission included in any of these figures, so you’ll still have to account for that. This is why it is worth comparing different bureaux de change to each other so you know where you stand.
There is no embassy for Guam in the UK, and unusually the UK government website does not have any precise travel advice for the territory on its pages. However you can get updates from the Government of Canada website at http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/guam.
Travelling safely with the Guam United States dollar
For the most part Guam is a safe place to be. It regularly attracts tourists from all over the world, and it is uncommon for crimes to occur against tourists. However with that said you should always be careful and alert so you can be sure of keeping safe while you are there.
For example you can minimise any possibility that you’d be affected by petty crime by keeping your valuables well out of sight. You might also like to divide up any cash you are carrying with you so you can minimise the odds of someone getting it all if they try to pick your pocket.
Other tips include making sure you stay within well-lit areas at night; don’t stray off to unknown and quiet places since you never know whether they will be safe or not. In addition it is usually a good idea to make sure you don’t go anywhere on your own after dark.
Where to spend your dollars in Guam – and what to spend them on
Guam is an island located far out to the east of the Philippines. Papua New Guinea lies to the south of the island and the island itself is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.
The capital of the island is Hagatna, also sometimes referred to as Agana. Ironically enough this is not a big city; in fact it equates to little more than a village. However this is where the government of the island is located, and it is also a hub of commercial activity.
There are many places you can go to in Guam, so once you are settled in your accommodation you can start exploring what the island has to offer. There are quite a few natural sights you can see, one of which is Mount Lamlam. This is located over on the western side of the country, and it is a natural landmark recognised by the United States. If you are a keen hiker you can attempt to reach the summit of the mountain, which brings with it the chance to look down over great swathes of the island. It is the highest peak Guam has to offer, and the views are well worth the effort.
Elsewhere you might want to head to Underwater World in Guam. This is a great attraction for the whole family to visit, especially since there are all kinds of different areas to explore. For example you can head into the underwater tunnel and watch fish, sharks and all manner of other creatures swim lazily above your head. There are other sights worth seeing here too such as the dolphin fountain and perhaps most notably the shark’s jaw. See just how big their jaws are by standing right next to one – teeth and all!
As you might expect, Guam is well-known for its superb beaches. Indeed some people come here to enjoy a relaxed break with nothing but sunbathing and swimming in mind. If this includes you, head for Ritidian Point, especially during the week when it is far quieter than at weekends. The sandy beach is famous for being just about perfect, so you’ll have many options to choose from when it comes to finding somewhere to lay down your towel.
Back into nature now and we can discover Chief Quipuha Park. This isn’t too far from the capital and it actually provides a tribute to the chief of the same name. It’s not a large park by any means but it is worth a look if you happen to be in the area for any reason.
Of course the one thing we haven’t mentioned yet is shopping. If you like the idea of browsing various goods and you want to take a few things home with you as souvenirs, there is no better place to go than Chamorro Village. This is open throughout the week so whenever you are nearby you can head out to the village to see what is on offer. There is a famous night market on Wednesday’s so this might be worth considering. You can shop, browse, eat and drink here to your heart’s content, and it provides an unusual and entertaining place to go for a few hours at least.
Finally if you are ready for some serious hiking why not head out to discover Tarzan Falls? There are several falls in total and the views are completed by the discovery of a nice pool that the waters fall into. You can take your swimming gear and a towel as well as your hiking gear so you can make the most of this particular location.
Guam is popular among holidaymakers for lots of different reasons. As you can see there are many sights to be discovered here, and you can enjoy every moment of exploring Guam for yourself. While a stunning beach holiday is the ideal way to make the most of the island, there are plenty of attractions and locations you might want to visit as well. Ideally a good mix of both would provide you with the best holiday of all.
If you’ve never been to Guam before at least you’ll be familiar with the currency before you go. That means you can focus on planning other aspects of your holiday ahead of time to ensure you have the best break.