TRAVEL TO SOLOMON ISLANDS
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WELCOME TO SOLOMON ISLANDS
The Solomon Islands are an archipelago of nearly 1000 volcanic islands and atolls. There are six major islands, Choisuel, Guadacanal, Malaita, Makira, New Georgia and Santa Isabel and 992 small islands, atolls and reefs. The main islands are rugged and characterized by thick mountainous forests and deep valley. Mount Popomanaseu on Guadalcanal is the highest point at 7644 feet.
The population is 550 000 with 93% of people being Melanesian; the rest are Polynesian, Micronesian and other cultures. Officially the language is English, but there are 63 distinct languages spoken in the islands with Pijin (Pidgin English) being used by most people as a common language.
Religion is strong in the Solomon Islands, with 95% of people belonging to a Christian church. Community and family ties are also very strong. It is not uncommon for a local to trace their ancestry back ten generations. Local customs and traditions are also very important and a part of everyday life for Solomon Islanders.
The Solomon Islands are a special place, known for being unspoilt and uncrowded. It’s a pristine environment with flourishing plant and animal life, and abundant marine life.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN SOLOMON ISLANDS
Cultural traditions are very strong in the Solomon Islands and you’ll find many differences in traditions and customs throughout the Solomons depending on family and clan lineage. The traditional way of doing things in each village is very important and is central to the way village life and Solomon Island society are organized. Visit the markets for local food and produce, crafts, jewelry and other items. You can visit villages on the outer islands and experience life as it was hundreds of years ago with no electricity, internet, running water, shops or many roads.
Mataniko Falls is a waterfall in Honiara’s hinterlands. Hike from Lelei village to reach the waterfalls, which feature thunderous amounts of water cascading down a cliff into a canyon below. You’ll need a guide from Lelei to reach the waterfall.
Kolombangara Island is an almost perfection round island, part of the New Georgia Islands group. It is an extinct volcano 5807 ft high, covered in lush forest and dense jungle. It’s home to a large variety of wildlife and is managed as a conservation area. It’s the perfect place to explore. You can trek to the volcano crater and rim, birdwatch, snorkel or enjoy rainforest and river walks.
Skull Island is a 30 minute boat ride from the city of Munda and sits on a beautiful lagoon filled with colorful fish. The atoll is very small and home to hundreds of human skulls. The practice of headhunting (decapitating enemies and preserving their skulls) is a well-documented part of history in ancient Melanesia. You’ll find graves and shrines with skulls on display. The skulls range from 300 to 1000 years old and include a special display for village chiefs.
Kavachi's Underwater Volcano
Kavachi volcano is a shallow submarine volcano south of Vangunu Island. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific, with spectacular surface eruptions every few years. The summit of the volcano beneath the surface can change tens of meters in a few days, depending on volcanic activity. Kavachi volcano is the world’s only accessible submarine volcano with tourist activities a safe distance from the vent. You can snorkel with huge schools of pelagic fish and many sharks, go sportfishing around the vent or watch the eruptions from a boat.
Savo Island dolphins
In the waters surrounding Savo Island is a little known breeding ground for bottlenose dolphins just a short distance from the island. A short boat ride will see you in the middle of dozens of dolphins playing in the water. You can go “swimming” with the dolphins, not in the conventional way but by holding onto water-ski handles off the side of the boat as it maneuveres through the water with the dolphins.
Beautiful Marovo Lagoon is the largest saltwater lagoon in the world. You’ll find it in the New Georgia Islands and its 270 square miles, protected by a double barrier reef system. The Marovo Lagoon World Heritage Area is located within the Marovo Lagoon, as are many islands. The lagoon is a popular diving destination and can be reached from Honiara by a 1 hour flight, or 10 hour ferry.
Lake Tegano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest fresh-water lake in the South Pacific. You’ll find Lake Tegano at the south end of the Island of Rennell, at one stage Lake Tegano was the atoll’s lagoon. It’s at sea level and the water is brackish and surrounded by cliffs and some small limestone islands. It’s a popular snorkeling location with large numbers of endemic species, sea snakes and hermit crabs.
The Solomon Islands offer divers a range of different tropical diving opportunities ranging from caverns, reefs, steep walls, lush soft corals and WWII wrecks. Most of the reefs are close to shore and are teeming with diverse marine life. It’s remarkably quiet for such a great diving location with crystal clear waters. Top diving sites are Twin Tunnels - two big vertical lava tubes, White Beach, Leru Cut - an indent into the side of a small island, Mary Island, Battery Point, the wreck of the Ann and Bonegi Beach where you’ll find two large Japanese WWII wrecks in shallow water.