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Spots on The Rock

Beached by the bay

Treasure hunting along the shores of scenic southern Guam

  • 2 min to read

She sells seashells by the seashore. Who is "she"? Could be you, if you decide to take a therapeutic trip down south for some scenic sights along Guam's southwestern coast.

Head to Umatac for a cute coastal cruise, a mere mile of combing stony seashores for natural and nautical treasures.

Along the craggy coastline between Umatac Bay and Toguan Bay, we'll see stellar sights of the small seaside village and have the opportunity to check out one of the island's best-kept secrets – a snorkeler's paradise hidden in plain sight.

The hike to the bay is filled with imagery straight out of National Geographic magazine. We'll see a variety of seabirds soaring through the air, cross over a crab kingdom littered with hidden holes and walk long, white, sandy shores beside geological remnants of the island's fiery formation.

This short southern adventure is easy and breezy, perfect for pets and kids. However, there are a few rocky areas where detouring into the nearby, shallow water might be the easier option, so wear shoes you don't mind getting wet. Otherwise, the majority of the hike is a literal walk on the beach.

Let's get started

To start, head down to the shore by finding the beaten seaside path along the right side of the parking lot. Continue north along the stony shoreline.

Skirting this side of Umatac Bay, you'll have to hop over a few rocks, hug a few coconut trees and limbo under a few low-hanging plants if you're set on avoiding the water for now.

Swing around the mouth of the bay and head left as it climbs a small rocky outcropping, which quickly descends back to the coastline.

Just around the corner is a cute little cove, a natural wonder all its own! See the usually blackened igneous/lava rocks tinted by streaks of pink, purple and red.

At the end of this little cove is where you might have to dip into about 2 feet of water to get around. Afterward, walk through a strip of dense jungle, topped with towering gågu (ironwood) trees. You'll emerge at the entrance to crab kingdom.

Do not disturb

How do you know you're at crab kingdom? Look down! Hidden beneath the blanket of a large grassy field, you should be able to spot a multitude of miniature holes, home to probably hundreds of ghost crabs – little crustaceans that are nocturnal and pale in coloration.

Feel free to frolic through their grassy hideaway, but try not to destroy any of the holes, especially since their tenants are likely home asleep.

Next along the coastal cruise, we finally hit the beach and stride past a string of coconut trees. You can see iconic Cocos Island in the distance.

For those about to rock

While you're stumbling through the sand, take note of the cool rock formations rising from the shore to your right. These are igneous rocks, essentially cooled-off lava plumes. There are also schools of tiny, bright blue fish zipping around the shallow pool, as well as a few crazed crabs running amok. They don't often receive visitors!

To the left you'll begin to see a few remote residences and beach shacks. Let's stay away from there.

Near the end of this beach bonanza, you'll hear the serene sound of waves crashing not too far from the shore! The reef is rather close here, and the waves roll in pretty impressive proportions. Let's keep our distance from there, as well.

After curving the corner of the beach, you'll reach the mouth of Toguan Bay. Continue down the coastline to reach the sandy shoreline, near the highway. You'll pass another ranch and residence along the way.

Into the deep

Settle down near rumbling Route 4, grab your snorkel mask and fins, and head into the deep blue! Take note of the weather and surf conditions before you do, of course.

From the shoreline, it's only about 10 to 20 feet of wading into the refreshing waters nearby before hitting a hidden underwater utopia. The reef here is alive with colorful coral – home to a diversity of fish that filter through them.

After living a brief life as a mermaid or merman, waddle up to the shore and either retrace your steps back along the charming Umatac coastline to the cemetery, or find your second parked car nearby.

Happy hiking!

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