Solomon Islands Department of Commerce, Employment and Tourism : Tourism Information

Isabel Province

Map of Isabel Province

Isabel, or Santa Isabel, was the first point of contact by Europeans when Mendana chanced upon it in the mid sixteenth century. It is home to a very friendly and peace-loving Melanesian people, divided into about six language groups. There is very little development on the island and no roads beyond a short stretch in the Provincial Capital Buala, and the town of Kaevanga on the south coast. Villages are all traditional, with beautifully kept leaf houses and gardens.


Children at Salio village, SE Isabel. (1)

The village of Kia in the north is of especial interest, as it is built mainly on stilts over the clear lagoon waters. All transport is by canoe, outboard or dugout. The island, the Solomons Islands' longest, is a high, rugged one with a sharp spine of almost impenetrable mountains (there are some inland villages in the flatter parts of the south east). It is surrounded by a fringing reef and has some of the most pristine and luxuriously rich waters and coral reefs anywhere on earth.


Coral inlet near Allardyce, NW Isabel (2)

The waters teem with fish, turtles and megapodes breed on the sand beaches, the coconut plantations throng with parrots, eagles and frigate birds soar the trade winds as they blow up the coast. At night the lagoon waters sparkle with phosphorescence. There are crocodiles in the many deep rivers.


River winding through rain forest and mangrove swamps - beware Crocodiles!(2)

  In the far north are the Arnarvon Islands, protected as a conservation area noted for a breeding area of rare green and leatherback turtles. To the south west, the island of San Jorge is known as a place of the dead, where spirits reside, and strange phenomena are observed by overnight visitors.


More reef islands, home to multitudes of parrots, eagles, frigate birds, boobies, monitor lizards, coconut crabs, nesting place of turtles  (2)

Isabel Province is one of the least visited provinces. It is serviced by Solomon Islands which flies to Buala (Fera) and Suavanao in the north. Most villages have rest houses where the culturally sensitive visitor will be most well looked after. The only transport around the island is by outboard canoe, or on the Provincial ship, the M.V. Isabella, which makes a weekly run up alternative sides on the island. This is not a cruise ship but a very interesting experience as it puts in to every village along the coast to take on passengers and exchange cargo.

Prize giving and leaving ceremony for Form Three students, Allardyce Provincial Secondary School (PSS) (2)

Tourists wishing to experience the real way of life in Melanesian villages will be pleased to know that Solomon Village Stay has locations on this very beautiful and fascinating island.

Arnavon Islands: the conservation area


Church and Rising Drum, Allardyce PSS(2)

Isabel Mere (Women's) Dance, women of Kia performing at Allardyce School, NW Isabel(2)
Exploring the islands of the fringing reef lagoon, near Allardyce, by dugout canoe (2)

Out on the fringing reef, NW Isabel (1)


Provincial Government Contact Details

Isabel map.jpg (40828 bytes)

Maps courtesy of Bob Vincent, Eddie Kakai and Mick Saunders of The Map Factory, Census Office

Photographs by:

  1. Sophie Kavoukis
  2. David Leeming

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