The Solomon Islands are another of the world's most stunning and forgotten tropical island destinations. The Solomon Islands lie on the equator just to the east of Papua New Guinea and north of Australia. The Solomon Islands are a great destination for the more adventurous travelers looking for a more unusual destination. The Solomon Islands offer picturesque tropical rainforests, exotic and rich cultures and traditions, and heavenly tropical beaches - not to mention world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. This is also a key destination for those interested in the American military history of World War Two. Today the Solomon Islands is a safe destination, but it is recommended to hire a guide to make sure you understand the local customs and to translate.

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About The Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands are made up of six major islands and over 900 small islands (many of which are uninhabited). Bougainville Island is geographically part of the Solomon Islands archipelago but is part of Papua New Guinea. In 2020 Bougainville voted overwhelmingly for independence and has started they wish to become a fully independent country by 2027.

  • Fun Fact: Bougainville May Become The World's Youngest Country In 2027

The Solomon Islands: The Facts

  • Population: 650,000
  • Capital And Largest City: Honiara
  • Official Language: English
  • Currency: Solomon Islands Dollar
  • Independence: 1978 (From The United Kingdom)

The Solomon Islands Campaign

The Solomon Islands are the site of some of America's largest military battles in its history. This is where the Gualacanal Campaign took place, Henderson's Air Field, and the Solomon Island Campaign. Today scuba diving and trekking through the jungle you can find scores of destroyed and discarded Japanese and American warships, jeeps, trucks, aircraft, and other military equipment. Two American aircraft carriers - the USS Hornet and the USS Wasp were sunk by the Japanese here.

Related: The 10 Most Important Places Every War Tourist Must Visit

The Solomon Islands Campaign was a long and grueling series of land, air, and sea battles that eventually ended with the Japanese withdrawal and an Allied victory but at the cost of over 10,000 (mostly American) lives. It was the first large Allied offensive of the Pacific War.

Today there are numerous World War Two museums and memorials around the islands - full of war memorabilia including Japanese Katanas. There are also scuba diving tours of sunken submarines and seaplanes that have become the homes of coral and colorful tropical fish.

  • Visa Requirements: 3 Month Free Permit On Arrival (EU Citizens Visa-Free)

What To Do And Where To Stay

Of course, there is much more to these islands than the legacy of World War Two. The Solomon Islands are a veritable treasure trove of adventures to see and do.

The easiest way to get around is by air, there are domestic flights to some 20 destinations across the islands. And another option is by ferries and cruises - a stunning way to really explore the islands. The Solomon Islands is a developing country, so while it does have some decent roads - especially on the islands of Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Makira - in general, expect roads in poor conditions.

There are many resorts, bungalows, and lodges for you to choose from across the islands. Some of these are on the main islands, while others are out on excluded islands.

Imagination Island Resort

  • Cost: Deluxe Double Room $155
  • Cost: One Bedroom Bungalow Over Water $275
  • Cost: Bungalow $275

Coral Sea Resort & Casino

  • Cost: Deluxe Suite With Sea View $300
  • Cost: Luxury Waterfront Villa $390

Bird Watching On The Solomons

One of the fun inland activities to do on the Solomon Islands is joining a birdwatching tour. Here you will see many of Solomon's stunning endemic birds. Birdwatching tours often follow some challenging trails and so you will need to be reasonably fit. There is a very high degree of endemism here and often bird species are unique to only one island.

  • Fun Fact: The Solomons Are Home To Rennel - The Largest Raised Atoll In The World

Some of the bird species here include kingfishers, lories, lorikeets, crows, monarchies, thrushes, honeyeaters, thicket birds, owls, fantails, rails, and Boobook.

Related: 22 Things To Know About Tribal Living In Papua New Guinea

Culture Of The Solomons

Like neighboring Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands is culturally very diverse. Despite only having 650,000 people (90,000 back in 1950), they are home to around 70 languages. The culture of the Solomons reflects this diversity among the groups who live here.

  • Fun Fact: The Island Of New Guniea Has Over 1,000 Of The World's 7,000 Languages

The Solomons are part of Melanesia but they also include some culturally Polynesian societies. Be sure to buy some of the unique arts and crafts from these islands made of carved wood, stone, seashells, and woven objects. Another notable part of The Solomon Island's culture and history is the Malaitan shell money. These were made in the Langa Langa Lagoon and where small polished shell disks were drilled and placed on strings.

When exploring the Solomon Island's remember these are developing. On the outer islands, you can step back in time where nothing much has changed in hundreds of years. There is no electricity, no supplied water, no shops, no roads or internet. One of the more crazy cultural attractions is the ancient ceremonial shrines that dot the islands - these include skull shrines.

Forget the movie, the Solomon Islands is home to the real-life Skull Island. You can get tours to these islands full of skull shrines filled the victim's heads of headhunters of long ago.

In short, the Solomon Islands are a unique destination of incredible tropical beauty and diversity and are important to American military history.

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