Would you like to jet ski, snorkel, scuba dive, windsurf, wakeboard, sea-walk, fish, swim or just lie on the beach? Perhaps you are more interested in renting a sand buggy or touring a jungle? Or go look for dolphins? Well, you can do all of these things at Cocos Island, a mile off the southern tip of Guam. Believe it or not, but according to TripAdvisor, Cocos Island Resort — the place that offers all of these activities — is rated “# 1 of 1 thing(s) to do in Cocos Island.”
Cocos Island lies just off the coast of Guam about a mile from the village of Merizo. It’s about a mile long and only a couple of hundred yards wide. There are beaches along the north shore facing the lagoon and one pier jutting out from a place called Cocos Island Resort. That’s where we were headed one day for some water sports and related activities.
It took us about 45 minutes to drive down to Merizo from our hotel in Tumon. Then after a twelve-minute boat ride we were deposited on the dock of Cocos Island Resort. The ferry from Merizo is operated by Cocos Island Resort and is a tad expensive. It cost $125 for the six of us and we got the local rate (my wife just had to show her Guam birthplace on her US Passport). It took about a half-hour to figure out our schedule at Central House, the main office where you sign up and pay for everything. The staff told us it was too windy for parasailing but it would probably be OK in a couple of hours. So we scheduled parasailing for last. My family decided that three activities plus one meal would be enough for one day and so chose jet skiing, snorkeling and parasailing.
The resort is organized like an amusement park. You have to buy tickets for everything at the main office. There’s a little lounge off the main lobby of Central House where you will find a couple of vending machines and at least three separate places where you can get food — but only with tickets.
First on the agenda: jet skis. We paid for 30 minutes and they gave us about 40. My daughter and two grandkids took turns riding with my son-in-law.
We then decided to walk to the Marine House for a hamburger lunch. (There’s also a restaurant in the resort that offers a buffet and an ice-cream stand near the main office.) After lunch my daughter and her family went snorkeling for an hour ($25 each) . There was no room in the boat for me and my wife so we hung out in the lounge chatting with a Chamorro tour guide who had just brought in a boat load of Japanese tourists. Then we headed for the end of the pier (the platform from which the resort operates sea walking and snorkeling is about 200 yards from the end of the pier) where we reunited with our grandkids while their parents went parasailing.
We spent about 4 1/2 hours on Cocos Island and all of the day’s activities including lunch and the ferry ride cost about $500 at the local rate. I thought the place was a little dumpy and the prices too high for the services they provided. Overall the staff didn’t seem to be too friendly. I got the impression that some of the staff did not speak English very well. Most of the workers with whom we came in contact were Micronesian, probably from the Federated States of Micronesia, but some may have hailed from other Micronesian republics such as the Marshall Islands or Palau. We chatted with one of the boat pilots when the others were snorkeling. He told us that he was from Pohnpei, one of the four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (the others are Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae). During our stay on Guam we observed that most of the homeless and lowest-paid workers on the island were from Chuuk.
Our two grandkids and their parents had a great time. My wife and I basically came along for the ride and we were happy that they were happy. I also got to take a lot of pictures. I don’t know if you can tell from the photos but it rained a lot during the first two hours on the island but hardly at all during the last two hours.
The last ferry back to Merizo leaves at 4pm. We took the 2pm boat which gave us time to visit the scenic village of Inarahan (the next stop after Merizo on the road that goes around the island) and Talofofo Falls on the east side of Guam before heading back to Tumon.