The higher the climb, the better the view and the better the jump. There are few things in this world as simple and exciting as leaping off a jagged rock, soaring through the air, and plunging into a cool pool below. When you jump, you feel just like a kid again, whose biggest worry is making the biggest splash.
Check out some of Guam’s best natural high dives:
Priest’s Pools is a hike in southern Guam. The Yledigao River cascades along terraces of basalt lava as it heads toward the ocean. The water is cool and somewhat clear. Jumping into Priest’s Pools is a test of courage, as you can’t see the bottom from the ledge. Be sure to test the depth of the waters before you jump in!
To get there: From Route 4, just south of Merizo Pier, turn onto Chalan Joseph A. Cruz. Turn left just before Merizo Elementary School at dead-end road. Follow the unmarked trail through sword grass covered hills for about 20 minutes.
This secluded cove on the edge of a gemstone sea is named for the shape of the limestone carved out by the ocean. Climb up the rocky staircase on the back of the turtle, shout “cowabunga,” and leap off its head, a 15-foot drop into Ylig Bay.
To get there: Take Route 4 south into Yona. After passing Pago Bay, and two supermarkets—7 Day and Day Buy Day—start down the long, curving hill. Take the dirt road on the left, halfway down, and drive in far enough to be out of the way. Take the path on the ocean side of the road, and head down the steep hill, until you come to the beach. If no one has been here in a while, great banana spiders will have spun their webs overhead, shriek if you must, but also take solace in the fact that you have come across a rarely trodden path.
A large freshwater pool fed by the Ylig River, Tarzan Pools has a great rope swing that will make you feel like the king of the jungle. Allow at least two hours, to get down and back, and pack sunscreen.
To get there: Take Route 4 south into Yona, hang a right at the stop light, onto Route 17, and keep right at the fork after Windward Hills Golf Course. Long before you hit Santa Rita, there will be a clearing on the right, with shoes hanging off the telephone poles like Christmas tree lights. This is the place to park. Soon after you start, the path will fork, left to Tarzan Falls, so continue straight to the pools. Soon, the path will open up into a confusing red dirt field, without a clear trail. Veer left, down the slope and follow trail markers through the sword grass field, watching out for steep potholes along the way. After a ways, stone steps will bring you down to the Ylig River. From there, head right, downriver, until you find the large pool.
In a valley surrounded by palms and papayas, sheltered from the heat of day, is a cool, deep pool filled by a 75-foot waterfall. Halfway down the fall, juts a small ledge that was made for jumping. Take a leap through the fall, and float in the freshwater below—the perfect reward after the long and difficult hike.
This is my favorite hike on Guam—I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made it, and how many times I got lost trying. Before heading out, look over The Guam Guide photo map and pack plenty of water.
At least once a year, one of the local papers reports someone being airlifted out of Sigua with a broken back. Apparently some stupid boys aren’t satisfied with the leap from Lower Sigua and get the bright idea that they have to jump off the top of the waterfall to prove their manliness and stuff. That’s a 75-foot fall into a pool that never gets deeper than 10 feet.
On two occasions, I have come to lower Sigua and looked up find to a bunch of guys egging each other on. The bravest was the guy who said forget it, and took the long climb back down.
Manmade pools don’t compare to beautiful natural wells filled and filtered by the ocean. Right off Route 4, Inarajan Pools is a great place to set up a picnic and spend the day. While it used to be a highlight of the area, the concrete diving board is now an accident waiting to happen. Over the years, the weather has taken a toll on the structure, ripping most of the board off. The platform cuts off a full yard from the shallow water, so you will find yourself trying to take a long walk off a short pier.
Always swim around the area first, and make sure it is deep enough—daily tides alter offshore water depth, and rainfall affects freshwater pools, rivers, and waterfalls. Waterfalls are more intense during in Rainy Season, (July through November), but it is also more difficult to get through the rivers.
Just because that writer on The Guam Guide (ahem, me) said this was a good spot to jump off, doesn’t mean you should do so blindly—after all this is the same girl who said you should eat pickled eggs.