The Solomon Islands is growing in popularity as a tourist destination, as the tourism industry enjoys one of its best ever starts to a year.
For first timers visiting the island nation, be it a quick getaway or extended trip, these top five activities are sure to make an ordinary vacation extraordinary.
1. Immerse yourself in village life...
...Even if only for an hour!
Whether you’re visiting the Lumatapopoho commune near Honiara or retracing Will and Kate’s steps at the Melanesian village of Maetaraha, you’ll not only get a glimpse of the multifaceted culture present in the Solomon Islands, but also marvel at synergetic relationship between the villagers and the environment.
Be respectful and attentive as you observe them go about their daily routine and customs – they may be shy, but they’re very honoured to have you there.
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2. Get in the water
Swim, snorkel, fish – heck, even island-hop if you can! With waters a consistent 29 degrees and 300 days of great weather per year, you’d be crazy not to.
The corals at Sandy Island are exquisite, but if you can’t get there don’t fret – you’re pretty much guaranteed an underwater spectacle wherever you go in the Solomons.
3. Go diving
If you’re SCUBA-certified and mad about plumbing the depths of the ocean, then there’s no doubt that the Solomons will feature on your bucket list. After all, not only is the region home to an abundance of WWII wreck sites, but also to an impressive collection of reef structures.
Major diving areas are located in Western Province (Gizo, Munda, Marovo), but those in Honiara, the Florida Islands and Ironbottom Sound are equally riveting.
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4. Check out the WWII museums and relics
Even if you haven’t seen Thin Red Line starring Sean Penn, it would be inconceivable for you to leave the Solomons ignorant of the legacy of WWII.
From Ironbottom Sound and Tulagi, to the Guadalcanal American Memorial and the Vilu War Museum, you’ll come to understand just how integral the war is to Solomon Islander history, culture and identity. And that’s just in Honiara!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, initiate yourself at the National Museum & Cultural Centre at the heart of the capital.
5. Sit in on a Sunday morning church service
If you happen to be in Gizo in the latter part of the week, attend the one at Mbabanga Island. Even if you’re not religious, it’s hard not to feel a sense of awe when you’ve got a whole village before you singing its lungs out.
In fact, it’d probably be the most soulful exhibition of community you’d witness in a long time, so skip the sleep-in and get there early, around 9am.
To start planning your trip to the Solomon Islands and visit the official tourism website here.