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Spots on the Rock

Find your next adventure at Facpi Island

Distant, deserted island within reach

  • 4 min to read

Travel southwest along Agat's untouched beaches to the gateway of Guam's rich geological history. 

This beach trek is characterized by many natural wonders and is rated medium for a lengthy and challenging hike mostly through water. Note that hikers may only execute this adventure during low tide and with calm waters all around.

Our destination is a rather large, rock island just off the coast of a headland in southwest Guam known as Facpi Point, which was also designated as a national natural landmark in 1972.

An island just off the coast of Facpi Point, appropriately named Facpi Island, rises just above 40 feet and is an interesting natural wonder to explore and is also a great site for superior snorkeling.

To get to the parking, travel down to Agat, passing the main village – as well as the boat marina – until you reach Ga'an Beach (also known as Nimitz Beach). Park here.

One unfortunate barrier to this beach hike is that there is no way to park anywhere near the destination in order to conveniently leave afterward. So, this time you will have to retrace your steps to get back to your car. With that being the case, be prepared for a long and trying walk under the hot sun.

However! These facts aren't meant to discourage hikers, because this particular hike is more than worth the struggle. Along the way you will pass numerous spots of volcanic rock seen nowhere else around the island, so it's truly a geologist's paradise.

Additionally, there are so many natural treasures among the coasts' volcanic sands, as well as exciting marine life. You won't have to look too far to find an abundance of colorful fish, octopuses, sea cucumbers, starfish, clams and tons of crabs scurrying around.

Better yet! Just beyond the reef of this coastline is where tourism charter boats routinely take visitors dolphin watching – so if you're lucky, there might be some friendly dolphins nearby.

Mesmerizing sea life, lava rocks

To begin, walk out to the beachfront of Ga'an Beach and begin hiking toward the south.

Note that very little of this hike will be over white sandy beaches, but rather over muddy and rocky terrain.

You will be walking along the coastline the entire way to Facpi Point, which is also visible in the distance, so there should be no fear of getting lost with the island destination as your compass the whole way.

Continue walking along the beach, past the Old Spanish Bridge and the store next to it. Soon, you will begin to pass by the backyards of some houses near the waterfront.

While you're allowed to legally pass through the waters beyond the property, refrain from entering or otherwise trespassing onto the land. You won't be able to avoid walking through water at this point.

After crossing the small river by the last house, you should reach a rocky shoreline. This next stretch is known as Taelayag Beach.

Soon, you will have to traverse around the first of two headland points. Carefully make your way around the jutting hill through water and over slick and slippery rock.

The next leg will grant hikers a few spots of shade as you walk clumsily over beds of scattered rocks and limestone.

Hikers may want to take a break under the coconut trees by the end of this beach, as the area is one of the few along the entire hike that offers ample shade.

Afterward, carefully plot your path around the next jutting hill, likely to be crawling with crustaceans.

Spots of beach, swimming too

Just around the turn is another great place to camp out for a while. Set aside your belongings and explore!

The dozens of lava boulders jutting out of the ocean are signs of Guam's prehistoric formation. Can you believe these preserved lava rocks have been there for thousands of centuries?

Take a dip in the shallow pools nearby, where there are also tons of small, turquoise fish darting around.

After you've hopped over the many lava rocks and swam with the fish, continue the hike by making your way through the waters around the hill to reach the next leg of the hike, Sagua Beach.

This coastal area is probably the most pristine stretch of white sandy beach hikers will see all day. Another option – if you haven't taken a break yet – is to lie along the sand for a while, baking in the summer sun with the sound of small waves lapping against the shoreline.

However, if you've been determined to reach Facpi Point with no desire to take the optional breaks or coastal tours, simply continue along the beach as it rounds about to the last stretch of rocky shores before finally arriving at the destination.

At the end of Sagua Beach, you should find yourself within close reach of Facpi Island.

Unlike other rock islands seen off Guam's coasts, Facpi Island is very secluded and unique, rising 200 feet into the air with many points of interest all around.

Visiting the island during low tide is both a beautiful sight and a powerful experience. While there is likely to be anywhere from one to three feet of water here – even at low tide – rest assured that the reef lies just beyond Facpi Island. So as long as the water is calm, it's safe to venture out.

Exploring an uninhabited island

Be very careful when making the trek out to Facpi Island, just a 10-minute trudge through water from the mainland. There are numerous dips all around the waters here that could easily transition from walking through a foot of water to taking a three-foot fall into a pool.

Once you've made the clumsy venture across shallow waters, congratulations! You've arrived at Facpi Island.

From here you have two options. You can either explore the left side of the island or you can head straight to snorkeling on the right side.

If you choose to explore first, it's best to have gloves on and to set aside your belongings somewhere safe. You want to be as free as possible.

Head over toward the left side of the island and first find the small, rocky entrance with limestone walls and a spot of sand. Keeping in mind all of the sharp, jagged rocks all around, steadily climb up the limestone bench to get to the other side.

Climb over the next set of limestone rock walls to see more of the tiny island. While there aren't any truly sandy spots around Facpi Island, you might as well see as much of it as you can!

Once you've decided you've seen enough of the island's rocky western half, make your way back around to the other side.

The right side of the island is a little easier to traverse and definitely has more area to spread out.

Carefully make your way up the first few sharp rocks to reach a relatively flat platform atop a limestone boulder. The sea below is great for snorkeling, located just by the edge of the reef.

Be sure to snorkel for a while here to make the long trek truly worth it, but only proceed if the waters are calm.

After this long, tiring trek through water and over a couple of miles of "sand" and rocks, you get to do it all over again! Retrace your steps back to the mainland and follow the coastline back to Ga'an Beach/Nimitz Beach.

Treat yourself to a well-deserved lunch at the Marina Grill – located at the Agat Marina – or to some ice cream at Subway or any of the businesses at the small complex just before leaving the southern village.

Happy hiking!

Reporter

The Scoop coordinator, Spots on The Rock columnist and Life documenter. Email: tihu@postguam.com. Follow Tihu on Twitter and Instagram at @tihualujan.

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