Country guides Australasia
Blessed with sun-soaked beaches and crystalline waters, the Solomon Islands is remote, unspoilt and made up of nearly a thousand islands and atolls. This stunning archipelago is fast becoming a popular ecotourism destination, offering world-class snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and surfing.
Though much of the country's economy is still based on subsistence fishing, the Solomon Islands, with its unrivalled natural splendour, deserves to be raking in tourism revenue. Unfortunately, the lack of infrastructure and amenities is hindering the growth of the country's tourism sector. On the other hand, this is great news for those seeking a beach holiday in a tropical paradise as yet devoid of the ill effects of mass tourism.
Sprinkled across the South Pacific, these Melanesian islands have seen a lot of history. It is believed that Papuan-speaking settlers arrived around 30,000 BC, while the first European to discover these gems was Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, a Spanish navigator who set out from Peru in 1893. During World War II, the Solomon Islands saw some fierce battles between the Japanese and the Allied forces, including the Battle of Guadalcanal - its shipwreck graveyards beneath the azure waves bearing testament to this.
Ocean lovers will have a whale of a time exploring some of the world's most diverse aquamarine life, while landlubbers can marvel at the islands' unique fauna and flora, majestic volcanoes and one of the world's rarest orchids. History buffs will love the WWII historical sites such as Iron Bottom Sound, where the remnants of sunken vessels lie in their watery graves.
Popular islands and groups within the archipelago include Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz and Choiseul. The capital city of Honiara on Guadalcanal has a number of interesting historical sites and a bustling Central Market for souvenir shopping, along with several restaurants and nightclubs.
Ultimately, Solomon Islands is a tropical getaway untouched by the crowds and excessive prices of global tourist hotspots. It's not only a great spot for diving and fishing enthusiasts but is also a brilliant pilgrimage for history buffs, especially those interested in the Pacific theatre of WWII.