West of the airport on the northwest coast of the Orote Peninsula, the snorkeling in the Spanish Steps lagoon is quite popular with local divers for its marine life and beautiful scenery. This shallow cove is surrounded by tall cliffs and the walls of Orote Island protect the cove. This lagoon is known to have strong currents and the route down to the lagoon is quite ...
West of the airport on the northwest coast of the Orote Peninsula, the snorkeling in the Spanish Steps lagoon is quite popular with local divers for its marine life and beautiful scenery. This shallow cove is surrounded by tall cliffs and the walls of Orote Island protect the cove. This lagoon is known to have strong currents and the route down to the lagoon is quite difficult. During a Spanish Steps snorkeling dive, you may encounter jacks, octopus, anemones, clownfish and the occasional black-tipped reef shark. This is considered one of the best snorkeling spots on Guam.
To reach the Guam snorkeling by air, fly into the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) which is located in the middle of the island. The Spanish Steps are located inside Naval Base Guam on the west side of the island. To get to the parking area, you will need to have your own naval pass or be a guest. In either case, all guests need to leave the base base 5pm. The signed trailhead is located on the far western peninsula past the turnoff to Fort Santiago. From the parking area, there is a challenging 1 mile hike through jungle down to the Spanish Steps lagoon (30 minutes). The trail has a steep 160 foot descent that makes use of several ropes and ladders. As you approach the final descent to the water, there are stairs cut into the cliff that are hundreds of years old.
While the dry season is typically January to June, the best snorkeling on Guam is during the months of May through August. The highest water clarity can be found if there is an incoming tide during the morning. While snorkeling in Guam, keep an eye out for green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles and dozens of species of sharks. Overall, there are over 700 species of reef fish and over 300 species of coral on the fringing reefs. Most snorkelers stay within the fringing reef since there is usually a strong current just beyond the reef. There are a couple lesser well-known snorkeling dive sites off the east coast of Guam, which should only be attempted during the local summer months and then only with extreme care.
Note: Since December 2018, the access through Naval Base Guam has been intermittently closed. As of early 2020, the access to the Spanish Steps parking lot only was "indefinitely closed" without a reason provided. Make sure to call in advance prior to heading out.
Overall, Spanish Steps is the 13th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 17 snorkeling dives in Guam.
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