The Solomon Islands are a South Pacific archipelago east of Papua New Guinea. They occupy a strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea.
Florida and Russell Islands
New Georgia Islands
Renell and Bellona
Santa Cruz Islands
Santa Isabel The Solomon Islands is a fascinating region
Honiara - capital
The Solomon Islands came under a British protectorate in the 1890s. The islands were the scene of many battles during World War II, including the important battle of Guadalcanal.
Following independence in 1978, government corruption and ethnic tensions came to the fore. The Solomons have seen near anarchy in recent years, despite attempts to restore stability. Tensions between the Guadalcanalese islanders and the Malaitan ethnic group have frequently bubbled over to a state of civil war.
Tropical monsoon climate, with few extremes of temperature and weather.
Mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls, with the highest point being Mount Makarakomburu, at 2,447 meters.
The International Airport, Henderson, is 7 miles east of the capital, Honiara. Scheduled flights depart from Brisbane, Australia about three times a week. There are also flights departing from Vanuatu, Fiji and a handful of other South Pacific neighbours.
Cruise ships occasionally visit Honiara.
It is also possible to travel from southern Bougainville in Papua New Guinea by boat into the Solomon Islands western province, as locals routinely travel between the Solomons' Shortland Islands and Bougainville.
The islands are home to more than 120 indigenous Melanesian languages, with most citizens speaking the local Melanesian pigin as a lingua franca. English is the official language, but spoken by only 1 or 2% of the population.
ATM's are available in Honiara. Australian dollars are accepted at some hotels and resorts.
The bulk of the population depends on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for at least part of their livelihood. Most manufactured goods and petroleum products must be imported. The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold. However, severe ethnic violence, the closing of key business enterprises, and an empty government treasury have led to serious economic disarray, indeed near collapse. Tanker deliveries of crucial fuel supplies (including those for electrical generation) have become sporadic due to the government's inability to pay and attacks against ships. Telecommunications are threatened by the nonpayment of bills and by the lack of technical and maintenance staff, many of whom have left the country.
While not as bad as neighboring Papua New Guinea, crime rates in the Solomon Islands are high. Travel after dark is dangerous, especially in Honiara, and muggers have been known to target tourists at the Japanese War Memorial on Mt Austin even in broad daylight.
Ethnic tension between Guales (residents of Guadalcanals) and Malaitans, as well as between everybody and the Chinese, continue to simmer. Australian troops have been in place since 2003 to keep things in check, but this did not prevent violent rioting in Honiara in 2006 from destroying large parts of the city.
Malaria is the biggest health issue in the Solomon Islands. Travelers to the area should take anti-malarial pills before, during and after their stay.
Saltwater Crocodiles are relatively common (in comparison to other islands in the South Pacific) in the Solomon Islands and great care should be taken while in or near ANY body of water. Knowledge is the best defense for yourself and for the protection of the crocs themselves. While by no means anywhere even close to crocodile levels in both Northern Australia and New Guinea, the population is still considered relatively healthy on the Solomons in comparison to much of the species' Southeast Asian range. This is especially true of the islands closest to New Guinea, which hold the highest populations in the Solomons.
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|Area||28,450 sq km|
|Electricity||240V/50Hz (Australian plug)|
|Government||parliamentary democracy tending toward anarchy|
|Population||494,786 (July 2002 est.)|
|Religion||Anglican 45%, Roman Catholic 18%, United (Methodist/Presbyterian) 12%, Baptist 9%, Seventh-day Adventist 7%, other Protestant 5%, indigenous beliefs 4%|