An ambitious town, Buka used to be a tiny place but it has boomed in the last 15 years, during the war and afterwards, and now has many new buildings and residents. Although tourist sights are as scarce as hen’s teeth, it’s worth spending a day or two soaking up the atmosphere and chatting with the locals. It feels so exotic to be the only foreigner wandering in the streets, and people are genuinely interested in talking with a ‘real’ tourist. Most of the shops and services are on, or just off, the main waterfront strip of Buka.
Buka remains an important port for copra and cocoa; but for travellers, it serves primarily as a point of departure to Bougainville.