Solomon Islands Travel Guide
A chain of islands lying east of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands have had a long history of human habitation, and in more recent times, a pivotal role in the War of the Pacific. While it may not have the beaches for which other South Pacific paradises are famous, its culture, history, and coral reefs make it a worthwhile destination in Oceania.
Currency: Solomon Islands Dollars
Languages: Pidgin, various indigenous languages, English
What To Do
Begin your time in the Solomon Islands by spending time at the Vilu War Museum. This archipelago was front and centre in the battle for the Pacific during the Second World War, and while this time was a troubling one for soldiers and locals alike, this period in history left behind plenty of artifacts which serve as a reminder of this time.
Situated 25 kilometres from the capital city of Honiara, the highlights of this institution include Japanese field machine guns, downed remains of both Allied and Japanese aircraft, as well as memorials honouring soldiers from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Japan.
Passionate about diving? If you have always dreamed of descending to the resting place of sunken ships, exploring the wrecks of Bonegi I and II will be a must-do activity during your time in the Solomon Islands.
A pair of Japanese naval vessels sunk in shallow water off Honiara during the course of World War II, these wrecks have remained remarkably intact as the generations have passed. A variety of coral formations have attached themselves to the ships as the years that have gone by, though, so those diving down to these wrecks will be treated to a kaleidoscope of colourful coral and fish. Allow yourself two hours to make the most of your dive here.
Back on land, spend an hour watching life go by at the Honiara Central Market. Drawing merchants from the outer islands who depend on sales to wholesalers and locals in the capital to eke out a respectable living, it is a great place to come if you are looking to get a feel for the Solomon Islands.
Get a feel for the jungle interior of the Solomon Islands by paying a visit to Tenaru Falls. Regarded by many travellers as one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the South Pacific, this awesome torrent of water plunges more than 200 feet into the gorge that lies below.
Reaching these falls is far from easy: hiring a guide is strongly advised, as the trek can get slippery, there are places where you can fall if you are not aware of the danger, and the trail can be easily lost along the way. Once you are there, though, all the slipping, swatting of mosquitoes, and sweat expended will be worth it in the end.
Solomon Islands is not well known for having knockout beaches, but there are a few spots where you can leave the troubles of the world behind, if only for a day or two. Get away to Marovo Lagoon, whether it is on a day trip or whether you choose to book accommodation here.
Known by experts to be one of the world’s finest lagoons encircled by a double barrier reef, this place could easily be described as heaven on Earth. Hundreds of islands are located within, twenty of which are inhabited. While there are no beaches which could be described as significant, its shallows are suitable for swimming, snorkelling, and diving.
Additionally, there are several villages where locals go about their lives in much the same way they have done so for generations. Resorts will often bring in local performing artists to perform songs and dances, so be sure to inquire about whether this is offered before committing to one.
Kennedy Island is another spot you should check out should you find yourself the western isles of the Solomon Islands. Named after the late President Kennedy, it relates to an incident in the Second World War when the boat he was commanding was sunk by a Japanese vessel. He and surviving crew swam to a nearby island, which may or may not be the isle now named for him.
There is a memorial built on the island by an Islander who assisted in rescuing the survivors; with an excellent coral reef off its beach, snorkelling is a popular activity on day trips out there.
What to Eat
During your time in the Solomon Islands, try to sample some Kibbe if you get the chance. A meat pie made from minced lamb, onions, and chopped walnuts, it is a great meal to have at the end of a productive day.
Green Papaya Curry is another meal which is made from a local ingredient which can be found in abundance throughout the Solomon Islands. Made from the pulp of unripe fruit with onions, garlic, Thai chillies, and coconut milk, this savoury meal will do well at turning up the heat if you love spicy food.
While it is often served as a savoury meal, Poi is also consumed as a sweet dessert by some locals in the Solomon Islands. A porridge created from the corm of the taro plant, ripe bananas and coconut cream is added to this mashed root to create a beloved sweet end to dinner in this part of the world.