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Spots on the Rock

Scavenge seashells by the seashore in idyllic Ipan

Miles of white sandy beaches and superior southern snorkeling spots in Ipan

  • 4 min to read

Adventure to Ipan, Talofofo, to follow about 4 miles of southeastern coastline over white sandy beaches and several snorkeling sites, with a peek into World War II history as a plus!

While Ipan is a quiet suburb most residents probably just pass through, the outskirts of this little community offer miles of some of the best beaches on the southern end of the island.

To start, burst into the jungle beyond the parking and you should find the established trail immediately. While the trail to the right will be the one to follow for this first leg of the hike, take about 10 minutes to venture left toward Ylig Point.

Near the beach in this area lies your first WWII remnant, a Japanese fortification that was likely constructed to repel American forces in the event that they might have tried their luck at Ipan instead of the Asan Beach Unit, the first landing site of U.S. forces on Guam during WWII.

After checking out what is left of this first remnant, continue north along the coast to reach Ylig Point, a nice place to explore the limestone shore filled with crabs, fish and perhaps even octopus lying about the shallow waters. Here, you also can see Ylig Bay, Turtle Cove and Tagachang Point in the distance.

After exploring the area, retrace your steps back to the trailhead by the parking spot, and this time head south along the well-beaten path.

While most of the "white sandy beaches" advertised lie farther into the hike, this first leg of the journey holds its own charms.

With no chance of getting lost so long as hikers stay on the recognizable path by the coastline, this part of the trip is mostly covered by a canopy of trees, providing a shady and breezy nature walk.

Residents of Ipan casually use this trail as a hidden jogging path, in contrast to the buzzing highway on the other side of the nearby jungle.

Although the beach here is incredibly shallow and rocky for the most part, enjoy the nature walk. It's very likely that hikers will come across any variety of seabirds fluttering by the water or in the treetops.

Midway along this first leg, hikers will noticeably discover a second WWII Japanese fortification located just off the path and by the beach. This structure has remained intact, for the most part, so be sure to head inside the fortification for a peek into the past. The small windows in the structure were likely used for artillery purposes.

Scavenge seashells by the seashore in idyllic Ipan

JUNGLE TREASURES: This particular World War II remnant can be found by turning left at the Togcha Cemetery trailhead and is halfway between the hike's start and Ylig Point. What's left of this structure is seen tucked away, reclaimed by the jungle just off the hike path. Post file photo

Two options at the river

After checking out this remnant, continue along the defined path for another 15 minutes until you reach a river. Hikers have two options here. You can either cross the river upstream where it is most shallow or you can avoid the water for now by following the hiking path to a barrier, which leads to the main highway. If you choose the highway, cross the bridge and find your way back to the beach on the other side of the river, just before Jeff's Pirates Cove.

Either way, once you've made it to the other side, continue along the beach until you reach Jeff's Pirates Cove. Now a popular tourist stop in Ipan, this site was the location of a former WWII Navy Flight Personnel Rehabilitation Camp. You have the option of stopping by Jeff's for a quick bite to eat or other refreshments before continuing on the journey ahead.

Continue the hike by traveling along the beachside. In about 10 minutes you should reach Ipan Beach Park, another nice rest stop along this unusual hike, complete with small pavilions and restrooms. You also have the option of going off the path and crossing the nearby road to reach the Ipan Mobil gas station for a cool soft-serve ice cream treat.

Whether you choose to indulge now or after the hike, make your way back to the beach and continue to walk down the coast. This is where hikers can truly enjoy miles of "white sandy beaches," pristine and, for the most part, isolated.

Just beyond Ipan Beach Park, hikers will have to venture into shallow waters to go around a limestone outcropping in order to continue the trek. Just around the corner lies the Tongan Beach Resort, a tiny southern resort that caters to tourists and is signified with its large concrete retaining wall.

While the resort's amenities have a price tag, the beach outside is free! The waters here are also much deeper than the shallows of Ipan Beach Park or the first leg of the hike. Take some time here to lie in the soft sand or go for a much-needed swim.

After yet another brief break along this extensive hike, the next interesting point is Mana Beach, which lies just a few feet from the resort. The waters here are especially great for snorkeling, but only when the surf is calm.

Scavenge seashells by the seashore in idyllic Ipan

WILDLIFE: A seabird seen along the Ipan Beach hike, just off the coast near the Togcha Cemetery. Birds, crabs and other beach critters can be seen along this isolated coastal area at any time of the day. Post file photo

Swimming, snorkeling along the way

Look for a cut in the reef just off the shore of this beach, signified by its deep blue waters. Take some time here to enjoy the best snorkeling site along this hike, but only if the weather and water allow (use your best judgement).

Continuing the hike, along the next stretch of beach is the site of the former Camp Dealy, a resting camp for U.S. submariners after WWII. While there aren't any war remnants in the area around the beach, swimming holes possibly crafted by the submariners themselves remain just off the shore, making this area another great place to take a dip and relax.

Soon after, hikers will reach Asanite Bay, characterized by its rocky shoreline. While white sand luxury takes a break for now, check out the variety of washed-up corals, sea glass and other interesting beach treasures here.

Afterward, rejoin the continuing beach path just beyond the rocky shoreline. Here, the trail changes again from cobble to a trail into unique beach vegetation. Take this last leg of the hike, another nature walk, to reach our last destination.

Last stop: First Beach

This defined path will lead hikers past a variety of island vegetation, as well as limestone rock formations before reaching Asquiroga Cove, or First Beach.

A popular locale in Ipan, and southern Guam in general, this beautiful landscape is the final destination after enjoying miles of pristine beaches and several snorkeling and swimming sites – not to mention captivating WWII remnants, too.

Enjoy what's left of the day here, swimming, snorkeling and playing in the sand. Rest assured – if you chose to do so – that you parked another car just outside the beach and won't have to trudge over sand and through water for miles just to get back home.

On your return trip, if you didn't stop by during the hike, treat yourself to a nice, cool treat with soft-serve ice cream at Ipan Mobil or a hefty burger-and-fries meal at Jeff's Pirates Cove.

Happy hiking!

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