Spotlight: USA Territories

The U.S. Territories refer to a group of geographical areas in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. With varied histories, these territories often reflect a mix of American and local lifestyle. Each island in the U.S. territories boasts unique geography, history, sites and customs, and offers a culture thast are distinct from the other states. Whilst the five major territories share the qualities of tropical destinations, they each also offer one of a kind experiences, ranging from Guam's fascinating role in the history of war, to the rainforests of American Samoa or Puerto Rico, to the white beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the all-encompassing resorts of the Northern Mariana Islands. Outdoor activities, museums and historical attractions can be found throughout the U.S. territories, and visitors will find no shortage of recreational activities. With such diversity on offer there has never been a better time to plan a trip to one of the Territories of the United States. Better still, there is no reason why you can't visit them all.


Guam – Land of the Chamorro
Puerto Rico – Isle of Enchantment
American Samoa – Heart of Polynesia

Northern Mariana Islands – Chamorro Standard Time
(+10 hours GMT)
Puerto Rico –
Atlantic Standard Time
(-4 hour GMT)
American Samoa –
Samoan Standard Time
(-11 hours GMT)
Guam –
Chamorro Standard Time
(+10 hours GMT)
U.S. Virgin islands –
Atlantic Standard Time
(-4 hours GMT)

Getting around

As many of the islands are remote, renting a car is usually the best way to see as much of the territory as possible, occasionally interspersed with a short ferry or boat ride in-between islands. In some of the destinations, shuttle buses offer hop-on/hop-off services around the islands. Thanks to the relatively small size of the islands, sometimes a walk or short cab ride will suffice.


American Samoa: If you can imagine one last authentic, tropical escape left in U.S. territory, it would be American Samoa. About halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the heart of Polynesia, American Samoa is truly off the beaten path. Ninety percent of its incredible volcanic peaks, thick rainforests and pristine coral reefs remain virgin landscape. Samoan heritage is equally preserved. Explore World War II history, soak in lush scenery, dive the crystalline waters and immerse yourself in a colourful, ancient culture.

The Northern Mariana Islands: An easy warm-weather escape northeast of Guam. Once you're on the islands, the only difficult decision you'll have to make is whether to sunbathe on a beautiful beach, try your luck at a casino, play golf with dazzling views of the Philippine Sea or go scuba diving in a World War II shipwreck. Then again, there is no reason why you can't do them all.

Puerto Rico: Ready for an island getaway? Puerto Rico offers an exciting blend of old and new, from the walled, colonial city of Old San Juan to modern, luxurious resorts. Outside the capital of San Juan, visitors can explore the El Yunque Rainforest, or venture into the sinkholes and underground rivers at Rio Camuy Cave Park. Those searching for real seclusion can fly to Vieques, a relatively unexplored island with pristine beaches ideal for snorkelling and swimming, and a bioluminescent bay where colonies of dinoflagellates make the ocean glow

Guam: With an average of 30°C highs and 26°C lows, it's beach weather year-round on the Pacific Ocean island of Guam, a U.S. territory since 1950, where there are only two seasons: dry (December through June) and rainy (July through November). Don't let that rain keep you away. Downpours are brief on this island that's just 48 kilometres long, 14.5 kilometres wide and best known for its beaches, Chamorro culture and historical sites stemming from both Spanish colonization and World War II.

U.S. Virgin Islands: A territory of the United States of America since 1917, the United States Virgin Islands is an exotic group of islands located in the Caribbean Sea. The United States Virgin Islands is comprised of three principal islands, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas, plus 50 smaller islands, cays and islets that are part of the Caribbean archipelago.

Fun fact: Guam has two official languages, English and Chamorro, the indigenous language.

Must see

Coral World Ocean Park, U.S. Virgin Islands: Swim with sea lions, pet a shark and hang out with iguanas in this two-hectare park, which includes aquariums and marine pools as well as nature trails and butterfly garden.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico: An 11,700-hectare tropical rainforest awaits visitors to El Yunque, where trails take you through the ferns, past the parrots and deep into the heart of Puerto Rican paradise.

War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam: Stop in to T. Stell Newman Visitor centre, the park's new museum commemorating bravery and sacrifices during World War II, featuring interactive exhibits and artefacts. Outside, explore coral reefs, wetlands and forests where you can fish, hike, snorkel or dive.

Fagatele Bay, American Samoa: Fagatele Bay on the island of Tutuila is part of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, which protects about 168 species of coral and 271 species of fish, believed to be the most diverse in the U.S. marine sanctuary system. Formed by a collapsed volcanic crater, the warm-water bay is surrounded by towering, verdant cliffs. Bring along gear for fantastic snorkelling or diving.

Managaha Island, North Mariana Islands: A small island sheltered in a lagoon that is Saipan's famous tourist destination. This coral islet sitting in Saipan's lagoon is a mini-paradise with a fascinating history. Snorkelling, scuba diving and sightseeing are all popular here.

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