Solomon Islands Expedition

The Solomon Islands may not come straight to mind when considering a cultural and tropical escape. However, with its abundance of pristine reefs and untouched beaches, village communities thriving in traditional ways of living, jungles strewn with wartime relics and a sense of relaxation everywhere you travel, this rarely visited destination may well be one of the South Pacific’s best kept secrets. Meet the villagers of Titiru as you join in on a community day, explore a local historian’s ‘museum’ of artefacts dating back to World War II, swim and snorkel off the paradisiacal Hopei and Tetepare islands and learn of the head-hunting traditions of times past at Skull Island. Spend time relaxing and absorbing the local cultures of the Solomon’s island communities as you discover a place that’s offering so much for the curious traveller.

Destination: Makira Island

Travel Dates: From 16/05/2020 to 26/09/2020

Duration: 8 days

Company: Intrepid

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  • Trek through the lush jungles and discover the rich underwater ecosystem and pristine reefs of the Solomon Islands with guided visits to Tetepare and Hopei islands

  • Join locals in participating at a bung, or community day
  • You’ll attend a church service and sit down for a feast, learning about traditional customs and the local way of life in Titiru village

  • Learn the history of what’s known as Kennedy Island – once a secondary wartime base for US President John F Kennedy and now a far-flung paradise of rainforests and colourful reefs

  • Meet Barnie Paulsen – a local man who has spent years collecting memorabilia in the jungle, and visit his backyard 'museum' full of wartime relics and him full of stories to tell

  • Get the rare opportunity to visit a site of skull trophies at Lola Island, or what’s more commonly called Skull Island, detailing the head-hunting histories of the Solomon Island’s tribal culture

  • Breakfasts Included: 4
    Lunches Included: 4
    Dinners Included: 2
    Private vehicle,Boat
    Age: min 15
    Group Size: 1 - 12

Day 1: Munda
Welcome to the Solomon Islands! You will be met at Munda Airport by your group leader and will take a very quick transfer to your lodge for the evening. Relax into your accommodation, or ‘stap isi’ as the locals would say, before an important welcome meeting at 3 pm, where you will continue the introductions with your fellow travellers. Please remember to bring with you a copy of your medical insurance details for your group leader’s record. There’s a couple of important things to consider when travelling in the Solomon Islands, and your leader will fill you all in at this time. Afterwards, jump on a boat and get exploring – today you’re off for an afternoon snorkel and swim.

Day 2: Munda – Titiru
Stock up on an early breakfast then get back on the water to travel by boat to your Titiru village homestay. Be ready to unplug from the world for a few days and take in the untouched wilderness of the Solomon Islands. Once arrived, take a walk through the local village, and be welcomed into this community with smiles, local dances and a church service. The Titiru community, like most Melanesian island life, places strong emphasis on community, and today, you will eat with the locals at a large community feast. Called a ‘bung’, this community event is all about coming together once a week to allow time for everyone to catch up, so relax and enjoy the festivities.

Day 3: Titiru – Tetepare
This morning, head from Titiru to Tetepare Island – roughly a 1.5-hour boat ride away. Keep in mind that you’ll set off by boat when the seas are at their calmest, so be prepared for an early wake-up call! Tetepare is one of the largest uninhabited tropical islands in the world, and has remained mostly untouched throughout the years, despite decades of logging on other islands here. Today, you’ll have the chance to see this island in all its pristine beauty, keeping your eye out for endangered turtles and dugongs in their natural habitat, and searching for some of the region’s best marine life. For those who want to stretch their legs, why not embark on a rainforest walk with your group leader, discovering some of the island’s primary lowland forest. Settle in for the afternoon and evening at Tetepare Island for a couple of drinks with your group, and enjoy a beach barbecue as the sun sets over the Solomon Sea and another day in the islands.

Day 4: Titiru
After breakfast, you will have the chance to explore the island for another day. Take a walk into the jungle in search of some of the local wildlife – you may be lucky enough to spot hornbills, tiny pygmy parrots or the endemic Tetepare White-eye birds. Take another swim in the nearby coral reefs and relax along the beach, then after lunch, head back to your waiting boat where you will transfer to Titiru for the rest of the evening. You’re on island time now, so sit back and relax.

Day 5: Munda
This morning, enjoy breakfast and get ready for another adventure. Today’s all about chasing waterfalls, so be sure to pack some comfortable trekking sandals that you’re happy to get wet, as this trail can get a bit dicey. Your boat ride from Titiru will take around 35 minutes, then you’ll head into the jungle for a challenging yet rewarding trek to Munda Waterfall. Once you’ve made it, you’ll have some time to relax by the waterfall, perhaps with a swim or just taking in the serene sights. After a light lunch, head back into Munda and after checking back into your accommodation and possibly grabbing a bite to eat, jump back on the water and head to picturesque Hopei Island for an afternoon swim. You may even be able to stock up a cooler with some drinks to have on the island! What a way to end off another day in this haven.

Day 6: Munda
This morning, meet Barnie Paulsen, who has been scouting the island of New Georgia for war memorabilia since he was a little boy. In the early days, he spent his time searching for brass and copper to sell to scrap merchants, but he later discovered an American dog tag and that, he says, forms the backbone of his private ‘museum’ of WWII relics. His backyard museum contains ammunition, machine guns, shells, knives and personal artefacts. Barnie will take you trekking through jungle and mountains littered with remnants of the war and, in the name of responsible tourism, please do not take any souvenirs of your own. On the walk you’ll see anti-aircraft gun placements, battle sites, the US aircraft and military dump and more.

Day 7: Skull Island and Kennedy Island
Today, you’ll learn of some local history and dramatic community events with a guided visit to Lola Island, or what’s commonly known as Skull Island. In centuries’ past, Solomon Islander tribes would raid nearby villages during times of conflict and the conquering groups would take back the lead warrior or chief’s head as a trophy. You’ll see these skull trophies on display, which, until recently, were strictly forbidden to visit unless you held a high stature in the local village. This is the only skull island in the Solomon Islands that village elders to be visited be outsiders. Your guide will also tell you about the two gods and the legend of Nusunusu – a common sculpture featured around the Islands. Later on, you’ll travel to Kasolo Island, or Kennedy Island – a place where US President John F Kennedy nearly lost his life during WWII after his craft was wrecked by a Japanese destroyer. You’ll learn about the history of this island, as well as have time to snorkel in the nearby reefs and sparkling waters. Travel back to Munda and enjoy another stunning sunset.

Day 8: Munda - Departure day
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time after breakfast, provided you comply with the lodge’s internal check-out procedures. For more information on flight schedules, arranging transfers from Munda to Honiara and onward international connections, please speak to your agent at the time of booking.

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