This weekend we find ourselves along the island’s northwestern coast, hiking down a beautiful cliffline path to one of Guam’s most beautiful beaches.
Designated as an ecological reserve in 1984, Haputo Beach covers about 252 acres of coral reef and limestone forest. Please keep in mind that the area was declared a preserve in order to keep out invasive species, and to maintain the secluded beach’s beauty.
The beach is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it’s the site of the ancient Chamorro village of Haputo.
This hike requires you to have a military identification card, special military authorization, or at least a friend with base access.
Access to the beach is through Naval Communications Station (NCS), in Finegayan, Dededo. Enter the Navy base by turning in at the access point, which is directly across from the Shell Gas Station and left of the old NCS McDonald’s.
Thankfully, the Navy base has lots of descriptive signs pointing to the Haputo Beach trailhead. Be sure to follow them and any other regulations while on the base.
At the parking area, directly across the hike entrance, you can read signs about the ecological preserve.
Follow the trail that, a little past them, leads into the jungle and toward the ocean. As you descend, sometimes you’ll have stairs underfoot, and sometimes you’ll be walking on bare, and, at times, loose ground. Be aware of your footing.
For most of the half-mile or 20-minute trek to the bottom, you’ll be shaded by the jungle canopy.
The beach, ocean, and shining horizon of the Philippine Sea are also visible along most of the way.
A little more than halfway down, you’ll reach a pretty stable staircase – about 200 steep man-made steps – from which it’s just a few minutes to the beach’s crystal blue waters, which are great for snorkeling in calm weather.
After reaching the bottom of the staircase, follow the rest of the path to the beach. You made it!
Now, while Guam is an island with dozens of beautiful and pristine beaches dotting its coasts, this beach is definitely on another level. It’s a wonder it hasn’t been more widely featured.
Lined with soft white sand, clear of any rocks, and an abundance of trees to settle underneath, Haputo Beach is naturally manicured by Mother Nature herself, and would find no competition from Tumon Bay beaches, or any other for that matter.
Take some time to soak in the secluded area and vast beauty that is mostly yours for a little while. Also be sure to take advantage of the snorkeling and jungle exploring the hike offers.
Respect your surroundings
While snorkeling, please be careful and considerate of the life in the preserve. Be sure not to step on or damage any coral. Because the waters are secluded and, for the most part, untouched by man, you’ll find lots of brightly colored coral here, along with a variety of fish and other sea life.
Another added feature to the beach is its place in the Chamorro civilization’s history. According to Guampedia, the beach was the site of the ancient Chamorro village of Haputo, which was allegedly captured and burned by the Spanish in 1678.
In the thick jungle situated against the cliff and behind Haputo Beach lie remains of this ancient village.
Put on your Indiana Jones hat and – without fear of rolling boulders or hostile warriors, of course – check out the latte stones, among which Chamorro life would have been bustling four centuries ago.
Since the jungle is very much overgrown, there is little to no trail to follow. Thankfully, the jungle area is not so vast, however, and at any given spot, you should be able to find the colorful tags dotting trees to get some sort of guide to the latte stones.
As you pass a variety of flora – including coconut trees, bamboo forests, and taro plants – you should stumble upon the latte. There is actually one large and intact latte stone with smaller stone fragments of what are possibly other latte stones and ruins.
To return to your car, retrace your footsteps back up the stairs and cliffline, and remember to leave only footprints behind. Happy hiking!