Crystal clear waters, 992 islands and relatively untouched by tourist traffic, a trip to the Solomon Islands is a step into a slower, more relaxed pace of life.
With a cultural heritage stretching back thousands of years you’ll find plenty of friendly islanders welcoming you when you arrive. The islands are geared more towards eco tourists than those seeking glamourous luxury resorts but don’t let that put you off. You’ll feel like you’re stepping on to the set of a David Attenborough documentary with huge lagoons, tropical inlets, shimmering forests and volcanic islands.
With 992 island to explore, there’s plenty to see and do. Here are some highlights.
- Go diving and explore the warm waters and numerous WWII wrecks
- Discover the rich cultural history and traditions of island life, with village life often remaining the same as it has for centuries
- Home to some of the least known birds on the planet, you’ll find a sanctuary of birdlife to discover
- Explore the area’s rich WWII history as a strategic Pacific base
- Learn to surf and enjoy one of the world’s best new surf destinations
With so many islands there plenty to keep you busy. Explore the rich cultural history, learn to speak ‘Pidgin’, the local dialect, or swim in the warm crystal waters.
People and culture
There is a small but growing population in the Solomon Islands of approximately 550,000 people.
The capital, Honiara, has a population of about 70,000 and is rapidly growing. You’ll find modern technology and ancient traditions sitting side by side here, however most of the islanders still live a traditional lifestyle in rural villages, seemingly a long way from the 21st century you may recognise.
You’ll find a lot of islanders barter for goods and find alternative forms of currency such as shell money. The concept of money is still relatively new for them.
Expect to eat fish, chicken, pork, coconut, sweet potatoes and taro. Look out for the main market, the Central Market, in Honiara, bursting with noise and colour, a don’t miss cultural experience.
Flora and fauna
The islands are rich in wildlife and teeming with plants, greenery and animals.
The islands form part of a region considered to be one of the most geographically complex in the world and are in a very active volcanic area. Iconic mangroves and coconut groves occupy the coastal regions while the more mountainous regions are shrouded in thick jungle.
The highest mountain is on Guadalcanal, a peak of 2,331m. Rare wild orchids are just some of the 4,500 plant species spread across the islands. The birdlife is just as diverse and exotic, with an astounding 69 bird species unique to the Solomons and the underwater realm is said to contain some of the richest marine life in the world.
History of the Solomons
Too much to go in to here, it’s widely held that the islands were first occupied as early as 25-30,000 BC.
The British were the first colonial settlers in 1893, coming fully under their control from Germany in 1900, with independence being granted in 1978. They still remain a part of the Commonwealth, with HM Queen Elizabeth II the head of state.
The islands played a strategic position in WWII, with invasions from Japan and the USA as they tried to capture this important stronghold.
Post-WWII the island has flourished and should definitely be added to your list of untouched destinations not to be missed.