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Song of Solomons

The Facts

Solomon Airlines (677/20031; reservations@solair.com.sb; www.solomonairlines.com.au) makes the 2 1/2-hour flight from Brisbane, Australia, to Honiara and provides service between 23 destinations within the archipelago.

Island accommodations are basic, and service, though warm and friendly, is slow.

King Solomon Hotel A modern building with a small pool, built into the hillside near the main street. DOUBLES FROM $60. HIBISCUS AVE., HONIARA, GUADALCANAL; 677/21205, FAX 677/21771; kingsol@solomon.com.sb
Maravagi Island Resort Clean waterfront cottages with ceiling fans and mosquito nets. Good snorkeling and diving. DOUBLES FROM $40. MANA, FLORIDA ISLANDS; 677/29065; scubacrew@yahoo.com.au
Uepi Island Resort This well-established resort is known for its friendly staff and its seafood dishes. Kayaks, canoes, and snorkeling gear are available for rent. An on-site dive shop offers lessons for beginners and advanced divers. DOUBLES FROM $240, INCLUDING ALL MEALS. 61-3/9787-7904; www.uepi.com; info@uepi.com

Wilson Maelaua, director of Tourism Solomons (Honiara; 677/27772, fax 677/27904; toursol@solomon.com.sb), can make all internal travel arrangements, including hotel, boat, and flight reservations. To book the Lalae, contact Captain Steve Goodhew (Honiara; 677/38888; www.lalae.com.sb; info@lalae.com.sb). His boat sleeps six and is equipped for snorkeling and fishing.

The Solomon Islands offer some of the world's best diving. Dives can be scheduled through the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (Honiara; 677/22442, fax 677/23986) or Uepi Island Resort.

For an overview of the islands, see Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific Archipelago, 1800-1978, by Judith Bennett, and Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story, by Martin Clemens. Lonely Planet publishes a guide geared to backpackers, with phone numbers and useful maps.

Ethnic tensions continue to trouble the island nation; violent incidents occur, but tourists are not specifically targeted. Travelers should avoid the island of Malaita and the largely inaccessible Weather Coast of Guadalcanal, on the south end of the island. For U.S. State Department advisories, see www.travel.state.gov/solomon_islands. Medical facilities and services are limited; the nearest reliable hospitals are in Australia and New Zealand. The islands are a high-risk area for malaria. See the Centers for Disease Control's Web site (www.cdc.gov/travel/austspac.htm) for more information.
—Jaime Gross


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