If you’re interested in a tropical Pacific island location that’s full of both history and natural wonders, look no further than the 1,000 tropical isles of the Solomon Islands archipelago. Strung out across the southwest Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia, the Solomon Islands remain relatively unspoiled. However, eco-tourism in particular is beginning to draw an increasing number of tourists to the area.
Given the biological and geographical diversity of this island chain, a visitor can find attractions and activities that will complement his or her personal tastes, whether sporting, nature-watching, historic, or cultural. Here are a few of our recommendations for creating the ideal tour of the Solomon Islands, depending on your own travel interests:
Are you a diving enthusiast? Underwater diving is what draws thousands of visitors to the Solomon Islands. Divers come from around the globe to experience the underwater delights found here. Both scuba divers and snorkelers can appreciate the teeming marine life and other underwater treasures. The warm waters of the area are a hospitable setting for brightly colored marine life, from coral reefs and waving sea fans to rainbow-colored fish and other sea creatures.
As the Solomon Islands were a staging area during World War II, offshore waters also contain many wrecks and war artifacts. The area provides some deep drop-offs for the more adventuresome diver, and many uncrowded sites are available along the archipelago’s miles of shoreline.
Is your idea of travel exploring a region’s past? If so, you’ll find plenty to explore in the Solomon Islands. As noted above, the islands were the seat of major activity during World War II, particularly in Guadalcanal. Military history buffs will enjoy tours of the island’s battlefields. Other options include the Vulu War Museum, an outdoor museum containing a large number of American aircraft and Japanese artillery exhibits, and the U.S. War Memorial. Guadalcanal’s Skyline Ridge provides a striking backdrop to the memorial, which perches atop it. In addition to panoramic views, the war memorial offers a comprehensive overview of World War II activities in this area of the Pacific.
Finally, Solomon’s Peace Memorial serves as the Japanese Memorial to the war in this arena, and it was built by war veterans and their families. Its stone monument was erected by a paved square, surrounded by lovely frangipani and hibiscus, in Japan’s national colors of red and white.
Do you enjoy mingling with the locals for a glimpse of local culture? Then consider a stroll through an authentic island village, such as Macedonia Village along the Bonegi River. A tour of the village provides a unique perspective on the habits and customs of Solomon Islands natives. If you’d like to combine cultural exploration with a healthy dose of shopping, visit one of the local markets, such as the Central Market in Honiara. It offers colorful displays of fruits and vegetables, tended by women in bright island dress. In Gizo, a waterfront market is spread out under tall trees near the shore. Each morning, villagers arrive by boat from nearby islands to sell or stock up on sweet bananas, coconut water, and other offerings.
Are you most inspired by fresh air and the wonders of nature? In the Solomon Islands, you’ll never be without inspiration. The diversity and relatively untouched beauty of the islands is a draw for many visitors, who can explore nature in such settings as rainforests, mountainsides, beaches, and river banks. The islands themselves vary from extinct volcanoes to tropical forests or mountainous crags.
Many walking treks in the islands provide opportunities for exploration and exercise in breathtaking natural settings. For example, one walking track winds its way through the Borare River Cascades, where hikers can listen to and feel the thunder of the freshwater cascades through the river valley. Kahove, Mataniko, and Tenaru waterfalls offer natural pools for leisurely dips, as well as views of canyons, cliff formations, and tropical vegetation. Guided walks through rainforests showcase their tropical wildlife and verdant landscapes.
We haven’t even mentioned the island’s famed surfing, fishing, resorts, and other attractions. So many activities to choose from! Whatever draws you to the Solomon Islands, you’ll find that your stay in this Pacific paradise will seem too short when your visit draws to an end.