By Meghan Thomas
Moving to a new city or state, you anticipate there are a few “logistics” you’ll need to figure out once you arrive. Where is your nearest grocery store? What are your options for doctors, dentists, etc. But moving from the mainland to Guam is… well it feels like a whole new ballgame. While yes, this beautifully relaxed island is part of the United States and is Westernized by all basic standards, it has its own unique way of doing things that can take a little longer to get used to! So to help you out, check out a list of 8 things I wish I knew my first week on Guam. While this in no way provides a comprehensive list of all of the resources available to you on Guam, hopefully, it will point you in the right direction!
“Can you hear me now?”: Finding Cell Service
Most of us have probably had the same cell number since we were presented with our first Pink Razr flip phone at age 13… (did I just age myself?). Regardless, your old, reliable companions AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile won’t be of much help to you here. Guam has its own unique cell service providers that you’ll need to reach out to (in person!) to get your cell set up with your new Guam digits.
PRO TIP: If you’re reading this before you go, make sure to get your phone “unlocked” by your current provider for ease of registration when you arrive.
Phone: (671) 644-4482
Experience Center - 509 South Marine Corps Drive, Suite 4, Tamuning Micronesia Mall - 1088 Marine Corps Drive, Dededo
*GTA also has locations at both the Anderson Air Force and Naval Base Guam Exchanges for those affiliated with the military
Phone: (671) 688-2273
Headquarters - 890 S. Marine Corps Drive Tamuning Agana Shopping Center - 302 Route 4 Ste 100, Hagatna Micronesia Mall - 1088 Marine Corps Drive, Dededo
*Docomo also has a location at the Anderson Air Force Exchange for those affiliated with the military
Phone: (671) 922-4483
Agana Shopping Center - 302 Route 4 Ste 100, Hagatna Guam Premier Outlet – 199 Chalan San Antonio, Tamuning
Micronesia Mall – 1088 Marine Corps Drive, Dededo
Alternate Option: GoogleFi has begun working better on Guam; some love it, but some say it can still be spotty here and there
Home-Sweet-Home: Renting or Buying
There are plenty of awesome places to live on Guam, but it’s not quite as easy as searching online and pressing “apply” like you do in the mainland. Whether you’re renting or buying, I do still recommend starting online - browse the Guam FlexMLS to see your options - but the best way to understand your options and quickly find the best fit for you is to call one of the many realtors who can drive you around the island and show you what it’s got! Below are a couple of companies that I’ve had direct experience with out of 30+ realty groups on island that can help you find your dream house or apartment.
Property Shop Guam
Ellen’s Realty Guam
Blue Pacific Realty
Others you hear of often: Heritage Realty Guam, Island Realty Guam, Modern Realty Guam, Coral Sea Real Estate - Guam. Re/MAX Diamond Realty, Infinity Realty Guam, Heritage Realty Guam Century21 Commonwealth Realty, Hafa Adai Realty, The Salt + Light Realty, Pacific Rim Realty
When You Realize AirCon is a Non-Negotiable: Documents & Utilities
The not-so-fun part — changing over to a Guam Driver’s License and setting up your power, water, and garbage now that you’ve found that perfect home. Once again, if you think you’ll just pop online to do a quick sign-up, think again! Most of the key government agencies now often renewals online, but first-time registration must be done in person. Here are the top 4 you’ll likely need to visit shortly after arriving:
Guam Department of Revenue & Taxation
Guam Power Authority
Guam Waterwork Authority
Guam Solid Waste Authority
I’m Hungry: Where to Get Groceries
Once again, say goodbye to your old faithfuls: CostCo, Krogers, Albertson, etc. But have no fear, we have our own Guam equivalents! Check out the following to find your favorite snacks and stock the fridge for the week ahead.
You guessed it, this will feel the closest to your classic suburban grocery store
Locations: Tamuning, Sinajana, Mangilao, MongMong-Toto-Maite, Dededo, Yigo, Santa Rita
Can you guess what this is? Yes ma’am — your Costco equivalent to buy in bulk!
Locations: Tamuning, Chalan Pago Ordot, Dededo
Locations: Dededo, Yigo
Super Happy Mart
Location: Lot 2176, 311 Bamba Way, Barrigada, 96913, Guam
PRO TIP: Don’t forget about Mom & Pops! There are dozens of smaller, local supermarkets and Mom & Pop corner stores that sell groceries, especially if you’re looking to stop on the way home from work or for a quick late-night snack. Take advantage of how frequently you pass them, and support local small businesses while you’re at it!
... Where’s the CVS?: Pharmacies
Have you noticed that you only get sick or need medicine… when you don’t have access to those things easily set up? Keep your eyes peeled early on for these locations so you can easily find them when that more “urgent” time comes!
Guam Rexall Drugs
Mega Drug Pharmacy
Location: 255 Rte 30A, Tamuning 330W Marine Corps Dr, Dededo 548 S Marine Corps Dr, Tamuning
They also have a location in Dededo
Pacific Health Care Pharmacy
Island Family Pharmacy
Oka Pharmacy Inc.
Location: 241 Farenholt Ave., STE. 101, Tamuning
Others to look out for: ITC Pharmacy, Simply Rx Pharmacy Guam, MinutsRX Pharmacy, Farmacia de Marianas, Community Pharmacy, Express Med 2 Pharmacy, American Medical Center, Perezville Pharmacy, Super Drugs, Express Med Pharmacy, Sagan Amot Pharmacy, Polymedic Pharmacy, Isla Home Infusion, TakeCare FHP Health Center Pharmacy (& Urgent Care!)
Nesting: Home Basics & Decor
When I moved to Guam the first time, I arrived to my boyfriend having no furniture in the house except a bed, a couch, and a TV (sitting on top of his clothing box…). Knowing how to fill your home on island doesn't have to be difficult — just stop by one of these tried and true furniture shops to find something your style!
Home Deco Furniture
Ross Dress For Less
Confused why this is on the list? While Ross stores in the states may be a bit lackluster, Guam’s Ross’ are hidden gems of the Pacific, filled with something for everyone. If you’re looking to decorate on a budget, head to the Ross home goods section for almost anything you could need!
Didn’t find something you like? There are plenty of other niche furniture locations to choose from:
Shen’s Furniture, Townhouse Furniture & Appliance, Willy’s Furniture Outlet, Butler’s Manila Bay Traders, KS Outlet, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Betterday Modern Furniture, Kwong Hwa Department Store, Hanssem Pacific, Deal Depot
PRO TIP: If you’re military waiting for your home goods or you ordered furniture to be delivered from off-island, you can rent furniture to make sure you aren’t sitting on boxes while you wait! Check out Dial Rent-to-Own or Happy Rent-to-Own.
Whats’ Going On Here?: Local News & Happenings
You’ll want to start keeping tabs on local events, news, weather reports, and government so that you can truly feel part of the community! Make sure to follow on social media or subscribe to the top news outlets so you’re always in the know.
Pacific Daily News: guampdn.com
The Guam Daily Post: postguam.com
Marianas Business Journal: mbjguam.com
Pacific Island Times: pacificislandtimes.com
Local Radio Stations:
Power 98 - FM 97.5: Hip Hop, Pop, RNB, Soul
Boss 104.3 - FM 104.3: Classic Rock
105.1 The Kat - FM 105.1: Classic Rock, Classics, Entertainment, Rock
Breeze 93.9 - FM 93.9: Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Oldies, Pop, RNB The
Point - FM 93.3 or FM 104.3: News, Talk
Star 101 - FM 101.1: Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Pop, RNB
Hit Radio 100 - 100.3: Hits, News, Pop, Top 40
Realizing You Can Get Sick on a Tropical Island: Healthcare
There really is nothing worse than stepping out into 90 degrees, 99% humidity when you have a sinus infection and a 100-degree fever! Let alone looking out at the clear blue sky and indigo ocean as you wallow in your jammies, too tired to go outside. Don’t hold off on getting the care you need because you haven’t found a place to go - try out any of these locations to see if it's the right fit.
Guam Memorial Hospital - 850 Gov Carlos G Camacho Rd, Tamuning
Guam Regional Medical City - 133 3, Dededo
American Medical Center - Tamuning, Mangilao
FHP Health Center - 548 S Marine Corps Dr, Tamuning
Guam Seventh- Day Adventist Clinic - 388 14B, Tamuning
IHP Medical Group - 655 27 Suite 108, Dededo
HagatnaMED Clinic - FQC2+8FP, Hagåtña
Popular Primary Care Offices to Consider: American Medical Center FHP Health Center Central Medical Clinic DPHSS Community Health Center Express Care Health and Skin Clinic Health Services of the Pacific IHP Medical Group Marianas Physicians Group Pacific HealthCare Clinic Pacific Medical Group United Family Medical Center The Doctor’s Clinic
My biggest piece of advice? Don’t move here on a Friday and plan to start a new job on Monday. (Whoops… been there, done that!) Give yourself 1-2 weeks to get your ducks in a row. Because if there’s one rule of thumb to making things happen on Guam it’s this: Start early, be patient, and have a plan before you actually need one. Soon, you’ll be all settled in and bopping around like a local!