The Solomon Islands are pleasantly void of mass tourism. For those that make it here no doubt wonder why. Even better is discovering Oravae Cottage a tiny island with a quaint cottage and "penthouse" double bedroom annex. You're fed by the local family who live at the end of the island and days are spent doing as much or as little as you please. Dive, snorkel, surf, trek or simply lie in a hammock watching the water changes from blue to green as the day goes by.
There are 700 islands in the Solomons. After the tsunami of 2007 we helped a local family rebuild a cottage on their island that they had been renting out to the odd tourist that discovers this beautiful part of the world. It was their livelihood and we had stayed at the orginal one and got to know the family quite well. We went back over Easter to visit and had the most amazing 10 days. Surfing, world class diving and snorkelling but mostly just watching the sun rise over Kolombangarra volcano and setting in front of our over water balcony. This is the type of hut that the big resorts try to replicate. Here it is the real deal without 100 other ones right next door. Oh and Solbrew is a delicious beer! www.oravaecottage.com should be up soon.
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The Solmon Islands is renown throughout the Pacific for its shell jewellery. Neckalces made from traditional currency - jewellery produced for brides is extremely elaborate and features heavy strands of shell money. Carved pendants, engraved pieces and fern or tortoise shell overlays are also features of Solmon Island jewellery. Solomon Islanders are so skilled at jewellery making, their work is found throughout the Pacific at local markets, with a significant mark-up. It has becomes a strong informal export business to those countries attracting a larger share of tourists. An excellent selection of shell jewellery can be found at the Honiara Central Market, and you won't have to fight with other tourists for the good pieces.
The docks behind the Honiara Market are home to several rusting ships, and occasionally one that is still seaworthy. The docks are now mostly used by stall holders to unload goods brought by small motorboats. This girl was playing with other children on the jetty, waiting for her parents to finish work at the market.
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