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This idyllic group of more than 900 different islands lies in western Melanesia in the wide swath of Pacific Ocean between Fiji to the east and Papua New Guinea to the west. The main city is Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, where one of World War II’s bloodiest battles was waged. Despite the country achieving independence nearly 35 years ago, a period of civil war flared there between rival ethnic groups from 1998 to 2003. Outside military assistance helped quell what locals refer to as “the tensions,” but violence again flared in 2006 when hundreds of Chinese residents were targets of vigilante rioting, leading many to flee the islands. The election of a new prime minister in 2006 helped bring calmer times.
The Solomons are known for phenomenal diving, from the hundreds of impressive and historic World War II wrecks to beautiful reefs. Some of the best islands to dive in include Gatokae, Gizo, Munda, Tulagi and Uepi. All the islands are worth experiencing.
Honiara offers the greatest sheer number of wrecks, while Gizo, about an hour-long flight from Honiara, is a standout both on the surface and under. Wall dives can be done here and manta ray sightings are common. History buffs can indulge themselves in wreck diving – a vessel carrying John F. Kennedy long before his election as a United States president wrecked here. Topside, you can enjoy kayaking, waterskiing, biking, hiking and snorkeling.
Several land-based resorts exist on all these islands and one major live-aboard company, Bilikiki Cruises, offers comprehensive trips to many of the different islands.
Scuba Travel Ventures can easily book your resort or live-aboard accommodations for you to immerse yourself in these unique islands.