Solomon Islands Guide
Five Things First Time Travellers To the Solomon Islands Should Know
- Swearing is a crime. If you're caught saying any of the less than savoury words, you could end up with a fine or a jail sentence.
- Don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is available everywhere and if you're trekking through the jungle, just make sure you boil it first. Another handy item to bring with you is a water filtration bottle. It will save you time purifying the water and won't take up much space in your daypack.
- The official currency in the Solomon Islands is the Solomon Islands dollar. Exchanging money around the capital and at the airport is easy. It's also worth having cash on you as not all hotels and resorts will accept card payments.
- Beachwear is only acceptable on the beach. Once you've left the resort, you'll need to change into something showing less skin when exploring the towns or villages.
- English is the official language, but not everyone speaks it. A lot of the older generation still speak Pijin English but you shouldn't have too much of a language barrier to overcome during your trip.
Best Time To Visit the Solomon Islands
The best time to visit the Solomon Islands is during the dry season. From May to October, temperatures dip and humidity is at its lowest making it a more comfortable period to travel through the region.
June to September is considered to be the best time to hike, but if you're a diver give these months a skip. The seas are quite rough, and visibility will be poor. For optimal conditions, plan your diving holiday between December and March.
Another thing to keep in mind is that between June and August many festivities take place. This is a great time to visit if you want to experience the local culture and celebrate the Queen's birthday or the island's Independence Day. You'll be able to witness the traditional dancing at its finest as well as many interesting cultural shows.
The wet season in the Solomon Islands is from November to April. But the good news is that it isn't monsoonal, and the storms blow over fairly quickly. One thing to keep in mind is that cyclones can occur during this time, but they aren't very common.
There isn't really a high season or a low season in the Solomon Islands. So even if you do book your flights during the dry season, you'll pay about the same any other time of the year.
Solomon Islands Cities
The largest city on the Solomon Islands is the capital, Honiara. The majority of the population lives here, and it's home to the country's only international airport.
While most travellers use Honiara as a springboard to the more remote destinations, it's still worth spending a day or two here.
Visit the various World War II monuments around the city, join a tour to the nearby cultural villages or go on a trek and explore the nearby rainforest.
Gizo is the second biggest town in Papua New Guinea. Despite its size, it's the pulse of the Western Province. Visit the bustling waterfront and markets to get a sense of what life is like in this remote destination.
While there isn't much to see, it's a great base for hikers, divers or surfers.
Auki is the Solomon Islands's third largest town and the capital of the Malaita Province. It's located at the end of the Langa Langa Lagoon and is rich in culture.
Make sure you visit the bustling market. It's where many of the Malaitans trade and is the hub of business in the province. For travellers, it's the perfect place to get a glimpse of everyday life and pick up some delicious eats in the process.
Top Attractions in the Solomon Islands
The Marovo Lagoon is a must-visit for any diver visiting the Solomon Islands. It is the largest saltwater lagoon in the world, and its reefs are a magnet for marine life.
You'll see everything from manta rays and sharks to smaller creatures like the Napoleon Wrasse. In recent years, Orcas have been spotted in the lagoon's waters, adding to the sheer range of diversity found here.
The Marovo Lagoon boasts a plethora of dive sites. No matter your skill level, you'll be able to enjoy this unique underwater world.
And if you don't feel like getting wet, simply hire a boat. The water is so clear here that you'll be able to spot the marine life without even going underwater,
During World War II, the Solomon Islands became a strategic outpost for the USA. Over the years, it saw intense fighting between the Japanese and the Americans, leaving behind a haunting legacy of the lives lost.
For history buffs, no visit to the Solomon Islands would be complete without exploring the battlefields and memorials. One of the best places to go on the islands is West New Georgia. It's home to a vast collection of World War II relics including a Japanese freighter and large anti-aircraft guns.
There's also plenty of wreck dives dotted around the coastline and museums featuring memorabilia. And if you have the time, go on the World World II historical tour in Honiara. You'll learn more about the role the islands played in the war and visit some of the most important sites in the city.
Located on the Vonavona Lagoon, Skull Island is a tiny islet home to the skulls of warriors and Radovan chiefs. Only a 30-minute boat ride from Munda, this morbid attraction dates back to the 1920s.
While it's not everyone's cup of tea, culture vultures will love it. The tours are led by local chiefs, and they will fill you in on the island's past. You'll get to visit the skull shrines made from defeated enemies decorated with shell money.
It's one of the Solomon Island's most sacred sites and is an incredible experience. If you do decide to visit, remember to show plenty of respect especially to the locals that maintain this eerie attraction.
Located outside of Honiara, the Mataniko Falls is one of the top inland attractions. The hike begins at the small village of Lelei and is a steep ascent up to the undulating hills.
Once you're at the top, you'll be able to float down or walk back to the village. The entire trek should take about two hours, and you'll need to know how to swim.
It's not possible to do this hike independently. You will need to hire a guide from Lelei which can be arranged at the tourist office in Honiara.
Watch Baby Sea Turtles Hatch
The beaches of Solomon Island are important nesting grounds to the endangered Leatherback turtle. Each year, these majestic creatures make their way back to the shore to lay their eggs.
Over the years, the local villages have started various conservation projects to ensure the eggs aren't poached and as many newborns make it into the ocean.
If your timing is right, you can visit the beaches during nesting season and watch the female turtles prepare their nests. Hatching season is a firm favourite with travellers as hundreds of tiny leatherbacks emerge from the sand and dart for the ocean.
Major International Airports in the Solomon Islands
- Honiara International Airport