Untouched by influences of the modern world the Solomon Islands are considered the most authentic destination of the South Pacific. 

Located on the western fringe of the Pacific, north east of Australia, the Solomon's comprise of 992 islands, extending some 1667 kilometers south-east from Papua New Guinea. Rich in culture, this pristine paradise is one of the Pacific’s best kept secrets and offers the visitor a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.

General Details

Situated to the south east of Papua New Guinea and only 3 hours by air from Australia, the Solomon Islands are one of the most peaceful and beautiful areas of the Pacific. The Solomon Islands comprise 992 islands, of which 147 are inhabited. The estimated population of 560,000 are predominately Melanesian, while some outer islands are home to Polynesians and Micronesia's. The local people appear shy but are very friendly. Most live a subsistence village lifestyle retaining many traditional and ancient customs.

The international country code for the Solomon Islands is 677. The Solomon Islands are 11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

 

Entry and Visa Requirements

Canadian, U.S. , British, Commonwealth and E.E.C visitors do not need to obtain a visa before arrival. (Subject to change). Passports must be valid for 6 months after your departure.

Medical and Health Requirements

Dental, doctors and hospital services are available in major centers. 

Malaria does exist in the Solomon Islands and anti malarial precautions are recommended. Remember that some medications can make you sun sensitive, so extra care must be taken to ensure that skin is protected from sun burn. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken. 

Currency

The currency of the Solomon Islands is the Solomon Dollar. If you plan on shopping or purchasing handicrafts - you will need some local currency. We can help you with small denominations on board. ATMs are available in Honiara.

Duty Free

The allowance is 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco and 2 litres of spirits or equivalent. Please do not bring any alcohol onboard as we have a ‘Ship’s Bar Only’ policy.

Some guests like to bring gifts for the local villagers. School supplies (pencils, erasers, rulers), soccer balls, simple grooming aids, used reading glasses, fishing lures and line are all considered valuable. Check out our Pack for a Purpose Program for more information.

Shopping

High quality craftwork including wood carvings, mother of pearl items, shell jewelry and baskets can be bought direct from craftsmen in the outer islands or from craft and souvenir shops in Honiara. Local markets operate most days offering flowers, fruit, vegetables and handicrafts.

 

Weather

The Solomon Islands enjoy a tropical climate with daytime temperatures averaging 29C and evening temperatures averaging 19C. April to November is the most popular time to visit as the climate is very pleasant with little rain but the Solomon Islands are definitely considered a year round destination.

Clothing

The emphasis is on light and casual clothing but not too brief in public places. Remember to cover up with light cotton clothing at dusk and dawn to prevent mosquito bites. Sun protection is absolutely essential. A sarong or skirt is appropriate for village visits as the local custom is to cover your thighs.

Banking

Trading banks are ANZ and Bank of the South Pacific. ATMs are available in Honiara. If traveling to the remote outer islands, it is best to secure cash first. We can assist you with small denominations on board. Foreign currencies are not well recognized in the outer regions.

Language

Predominately English speaking throughout although Melanesian Pijin is spoken by locals.

Religion

Local traditional beliefs and ceremonies are maintained in remote areas but Christian influence is predominant.

Water

In general, do not drink local water. In the tropics it is important to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration.

Electricity

240 volts AC, Plug I - same as Australia. 

Departure Tax

There is currently no locally paid departure taxes for the Solomon Islands.

 


More Frequently Asked Questions

Printable Version available.

General Solomon Islands

I need hotel accommodations before or after the trip. Can you book them for me?

We can’t make your booking for you – but we can recommend a hotel and provide contact information for you. Most hotels in Honiara are represented on booking.com which is a great way to make a reservation directly.

What else is there to do in Honiara?

If you have time and your schedule allows, it is worth spending one or two days in Honiara before or after your trip on board Taka. There are a number of very interesting WWII tours which can be organized through the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau. Birding is also a favourite pastime and tours can be arranged through the SIVB. You can also continue your diving adventure with several shore dives less than an hour away from Honiara. Let us know if you need to organize a guide. We recommend Tulagi Dive for your local diving needs.

Preparing for My Trip

Should I get travel insurance?

Yes. Travel insurance can provide you protection from a number of unforeseen events. Insurance should be taken to cover: weather problems; expedition cancellations; airline difficulties; medical problems and lost or damaged luggage. Unforeseen weather or machinery problems may cause us to cancel or change an itinerary. No refund is offered for time lost due to the medical evacuation of a guest or reduction of dives due to weather conditions. No compensation is offered to guests to change flights or holiday plans.
When considering insurance, you should also secure medical evacuation insurance. See our diving FAQs for more information.

What fees or charges should I expect on board?

Kastom fees ($25USD per night) are not included in your basic trip fee. Many of our guests choose to pay this fee in advanced of their travel. It will be noted on your receipt if this fee has been pre-paid. Otherwise, it may be paid on board on check out.
In addition to the Kastom fees, the following are not included in your trip fee: nitrox, personal purchases, bar drinks, gratuities, gear rental, courses.

What is the recommended gratuity?

Gratuities are never expected but always appreciated. We commonly hear comments from our guests along the lines of "this is the best dive boat that I have ever been on. The crew were incredible." For exceptional service, tips of about 10% of the value of your trip is appropriate. You will find our live aboard crew provides excellent service day and night. A tip is always very welcome and can be given to the Trip Director to be shared among the crew. We ask that you not tip individually on board the boat so that we may recognize all of our staff's contributions.

What payment forms are accepted on board?

Payment on board for any extras such as bar drinks, gift shop items or gratuities may be paid at the end of the trip. We accept Solomon Dollars, US dollars or credit card (Visa and MC) which will be processed in US$ through our reservations office. A 3% fee is applied to all credit card transactions.

What should I bring or pack?

Dress on board the boat is very casual and you will need little more than t-shirts, shorts and swimsuits. You may wish to pack a very lightweight sweater from the evenings or to wear in the air-conditioning. Sunscreen is a must. Additional items you may want to consider are sunglasses, a hat, and light walking shoes for beach visits. Dress in the villages is more conservative. Longer shorts or a sarong to cover your thighs is recommended. If you need additional clothing, you can visit our on-board boutique.

How much spending money do I need?

Artwork in the Solomon Islands is a highly desirable souvenir. During our 7 and 10 day adventures, we often have the opportunity to buy artwork directly from the artists. Villagers visit us as we travel and we stop at villages where locals display their art. Prices vary widely based on size and intricacy but many of our guests spend between $500SBD and $1500SBD ($60USD to $200USD) on handicrafts. You will need cash for these purchases.
If you end up with more cash than intended at the end of the trip, we are happy to take this as payment against your on-board purchases or towards gratuities.

Arriving in Honiara

What are the customs/immigrations procedures like at the airport?

Honiara airport is quite small, however you will still need to clear immigration and customs. When you arrive, the immigrations officers will check your entry documentation and your passport. For most travellers, they will issue a visa at the time of arrival. You will also go through an agricultural check. Be sure to declare any food you are bringing in to the country.

The next step is customs clearance. Again, be sure to declare any items that you will be leaving behind in Solomon Islands.

Immediately outside customs is the Hall of Hero’s at Henderson Airport. Take a moment to look at the plaques and other memorabilia which is displayed in memory of fallen heros.

At the airport you can also find a cash only currency exchange and an ATM should you need to secure SBD Cash.

Outside the airport, you will find the taxi queue. If you are being met by our driver (on the day of boat departure only), he will be waiting there for you.

Can I get duty free at the airport?

Yes. There is a small duty free gift shop at the airport that you can have a look at while you are waiting for your luggage. Please do not bring any alcohol onboard as we have a ‘Ship’s Bar Only’ policy.

What happens if the airline loses my luggage?

While this is a rare situation, lost luggage does happen from time to time. If your luggage is lost or delayed by the airline, it is important that you notify our staff as soon as possible. If you provide us your airline and flight information along with your luggage locator information, our reservations office will track your luggage and work directly with the airline to secure your luggage when it arrives in Honiara. If possible, we will organize a rendezvous with the vessel, however, this is often not possible as we are out at sea and not in an area where we can organize a transfer. It is important that you carry any items that you cannot be without (such as medications) in your carry on luggage.

You can purchase the essentials for your trip in Honiara and we have rental gear on board to keep you diving. While it is unfortunate, even lost luggage should not stop you from enjoying your adventure! Many customers choose to fly in one or two days early to eliminate this risk.

What happens if the driver isn’t there to pick me up at the airport or at my hotel?

Our driver is extremely reliable and this is an unusual situation. If our driver is not at the appointed destination, give him a few minutes – traffic in Honiara is problematic. If he has still not arrived in an appropriate time, it is best to make your way directly to your intended destination. Keep your receipts as we will reimburse you for any incurred expenses.

On trip day, our vessel leaves from Point Cruz Yacht Club, which is located behind Mendana Avenue near the Visitors Bureau at 6pm.

What if I miss my flight or my flight is delayed?

There are only a few flights in every day and if one is delayed, it often affects a number of customers. Normally, we can delay our departure by a few hours to accommodate any customers who may be impacted.

It is more difficult if you miss your flight or if your flight is cancelled as it typically means you will arrive at least one day after vessel departure. You should contact our reservations office as soon as you know this is a possibility. Our vessel will depart on the scheduled day. We will do our best to organize a rendezvous for you with the vessel, however, there will be an additional cost associated with this. Make sure you have travel insurance in place for this eventuality. Many customers choose to fly in one or two days early to eliminate this risk.

I am coming in a few days early, what do I do?

If you plan to come in early for your trip, check with your hotel to see if an airport transfer is included. If not, we recommend you book one with Sight See Solomons: tours@sightseesolomons.com.sb. The cost will be about $100SBD. You will need cash for the driver (or for a taxi).

Check into your hotel and enjoy Honiara. On the day of vessel departure, we will pick you up from the front lobby of your hotel between 5:30pm and 5:45pm to take you to the Point Cruz Yacht Club. Our reservations office will confirm the specific pick up time about two weeks prior to your trip.

If for any reason there is an issue with your pick up, please make your way to the Point Cruz Yacht Club for 6pm. Our Trip Directors will meet you there for final departure.

I am flying in on the same day that the boat leaves port, what do I do?

Our departure dates and times are lined up to work with incoming and outgoing flights. You may choose to arrive in Solomon Islands on the same day that Taka departs from port.

Most flights arrive between 1pm and 4pm. Our driver will be there a few minutes before your arrival and will meet you outside of the customs area. Look for him with a SIDE t-shirt and signage. Boarding time is not until 6pm, so you will likely have a bit of time between your arrival and the vessel meet time. Our driver will take you to the Point Cruz Yacht Club where you can secure your luggage for a few hours. The Yacht Club has a bar where you can grab a beer and visit with the locals. There is also a spot to get a light snack and a great Indian Restaurant right at the premises. Out front, you are a two-minute walk from the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau which is definitely worth a visit. You should also be able to pick up a town map here. You are also easy walking distance from shops, banks, the art market and the National Museum.

Be sure to return to the Yacht Club by 6pm. If you need help finding your way back, ask anyone for the Point Cruz Yacht Club. It is behind Mendana Avenue near the Visitors Bureau.

Can I board early?

No. We often come into port from our previous trip on the same day that we are departing for our next trip. Which means we have less than 8 hours to clean the vessel from top to bottom, provision our supplies, refuel the boat, etc. Our turnover day is extremely hectic and unfortunately we are unable to invite you on board early.

Life on Board

What happens when we arrive on board?

Boarding the vessel begins at 6pm. Prior to boarding, we will check your paperwork and ensure we have the proper documentation in place. We need each customer to complete a booking form and sign our liability waiver prior to boarding. We ask that this be done several weeks in advance, but if you have been unable to complete the form, you will do so just before boarding.
Once on board, we ask all of our customers to participate in a safety briefing before settling into your rooms. This is to ensure we can make a timely departure from port. You will be served dinner and have the opportunity to meet our staff and the other guests as well as to settle into your room. Normally the first night we will travel between 3 and 6 hours to our first dive site.

I’m celebrating a special occasion on board. Who do I tell?

Whether its your anniversary, birthday, honeymoon, wedding or you are celebrating a 100th (or 1000th) dive – please let us know so the crew can celebrate your occasion. Kindly advise our reservations office so the crew can be notified in advance.

Is there internet or wi-fi available?

No. We will have cell phone coverage on and off throughout the trip but we are often limited to satellite and radio contact. Enjoy the opportunity to disconnect while on board.

What kind of electricity is available?

We have 220V power on board with Australian style (I) plugs. Power on board is created through our generator and we ask you to leave your high voltage appliances (hair dryers, etc.) at home. We have a limited number of plug adapters on board and suggest you bring your own with you. If you have a number of items to charge, a power bar is often a handy item.

Can I drink the water on board?

Yes. We have ample drinking water on board and have the ability to make high quantities of good quality water. It is important to stay hydrated in the tropical heat.

What are the meals like?

We serve three meals a day, usually buffet style with a variety of options for all dietary preferences. In addition, snacks and fresh fruit are always available. It is helpful if you let us know about any dietary requirements in advance of your trip so we can properly prepare. We can cater to gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant and a variety of other alternatives. We do not maintain a kosher kitchen.
Cold water and hot coffee/tea are always available. We have a fully stocked bar with soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits available for purchase. We do have a ships only bar policy and ask that you do not bring alcohol on board the vessel. Drinking and diving do not mix. Once you consume alcohol, you become a snorkeller until the next day. Divers who over consume in the evening may be required to sit diving out the following morning for everyone’s safety.

What if I get sick on board?

All of our staff have first aid training and our Captain and Trip Director are both Emergency First Response Instructors with advanced first aid training. Please advise us of any medication you may be taking prior to your vacation. Note: Some malaria prevention medications including mefloquine (brand name Lariam) has side effects which can mimic decompression sickness.

Will I get seasick?

We hope not. We sometimes experience rougher seas during our crossings. In order to minimize the impact to our guests, we typically time these crossings through the night while you are asleep. For guests who are prone to seasickness, we do suggest you bring over the counter medication or consult your doctor about prescription brands. Currents and winds may cause moderate movement of the vessel at times.

What do we do when we are not diving?

In addition to diving, we offer a variety of activities including village visits, beach picnics, island walks and tours. The opportunity to interact with the local villagers is often a highlight for our guests. Please check out our Pack for a Purpose program to learn how you can have an impact on your vacation.

How is the snorkelling?

Snorkelling opportunities exist every day on charter but not necessarily at every site. Let us know if you would like to snorkel and we will be sure to have one of the tenders available to take you to the best spots. We often have non-divers join us on the trip and work hard to create special opportunities for them to enjoy the reef.

Can I go fishing?

We do not allow fishing gear on board the vessel, however, we have gear on board for hand lining. Our staff fish most days and often catch fish for dinner. You are welcome to try your hand with them as well.

What can I buy on board?

We have a mini-boutique on board with a selection of clothing and miscellaneous items. Due to limited availability, we recommend you pack a small save a dive kit with critical items.

Diving

What qualifications do I need to join a trip?

Diving in Solomon Islands is extremely diverse and we are happy to accept certified divers of all levels. Whether you have just completed your Open Water course and have only a few dives under your belt or you are the most experienced diver with thousands of dives, we have something for you.

If you haven't been diving in a little while, we do strongly recommend you complete a scuba review with a dive shop in your local area before joining us. That way you will be ready to jump right back in when you arrive in Solomon Islands.

I have heard about the WWII wreck diving in Solomons. How many wrecks will we dive?

The wreck and WWII history in Solomons is rich. We will dive a number of sites related to WWII including at least one ship wreck, a plane wreck and a number of dump sites outside of military bases where you can see the remains of ships, trucks, jeeps and other equipment.

Many of the best known wrecks in Solomons are located in Iron Bottom Sound and are quite deep - well beyond recreational limits. If you are keen to dive these sites including the John Penn and Aaron Ward, we recommend you look at one of our wreck focused trips. Please note there are specific qualification and experience limits for these trips as the diving is more extreme.

What will the visibility be?

We enjoy excellent visibility throughout most of the year. YOu can expect visibility in the 25m (80') to 35m (120') range. Weather can impact our visibility as well as spawning. We will adjust our dive sites and plans to bring you the very best conditions, but if visibility is less than expected, it is a great opportunity to focus on some of our more unique macro life.

How many dives do you offer a day?

Divers will have the opportunity to log four or five dives most days. As we build our diving plan, we take into consideration tides and local conditions as well as diver preferences. Let us know if there are specific sites you are hoping to see and we will do our best to incorporate them.

Is nitrox available?

Yes. Nitrox is available on board for an additional charge. See our rate sheet for the most up to date prices. We aim to blend between 30% and 32% for most dives. If you are not already certified, take your training on board.

I have done referral training. Can I finish my check out dives with you?

With advanced notice, open water check out dives can be arranged. You will need to bring the appropriate paperwork with you. Be sure to discuss this with the reservation office prior to your departure.

I like to have a private guide. Can this be arranged?

Yes. We can provide a private guide for you if you prefer. In addition to the guide's fee, there is a charge for guide room and board as we bring additional staff on board for this service. Please discuss this with our reservation office prior to departure.

Can I take advanced certification or specialty training on board?

Yes. Our instructors are available for further training in scuba diving. Prior arrangments are recommended to ensure materials and equipment are on board. All of our training is PADI.

What dive gear do I need to bring?

Certified scuba divers need snorkel, fins, mask, regulator (with gauges and octopus), BCD, and dive computer. In addition, a safety sausage and a whistle are required for all divers. For night dives, a torch is required. We provide tanks, weights and weight belts. A wetsuit is recommended. There is a very limited save a dive kit on board so back ups of critical items (like your prescription mask) are highly advised.

What if my gear fails/breaks on board

Our staff are restricted from repairing you gear on board. We do have a tool kit which you are welcome to access for simple fixes. If a key component of your gear fails during the trip, we are happy to rent you gear from our on board rental gear.

Do you offer night dives?

Yes. We offer evening/dusk dives on most days and at least one night dive on each 7 night trip and two night dives on each 10 day trip.

We are also pleased to offer a free Fluoro night dive on all of our trips. We have a number of blue fluoro lights available for your use on board. If you have never tried this type of dive, you should! It brings a new element to your diving.

Can I solo dive?

Yes, as long as you are certified and dive with the appropriate equipment including redundant air and a back up computer. We have 40cf (5l) sling bottles available for rent on board.

Can I bring my rebreather?

Yes. At this time, we do not have a oxygen booster on board so we need plenty of notice to ensure we have adequate oxygen for you. In addition, we can secure sorb and other supplies. Our reservation office is happy to work with you on your specific needs.

I am a sidemount diver. Can you accommodate me?

Yes. You will need to provide your own gear including rigging for your bottles and a left hand valve if you prefer to use one, however, we have plenty of tanks on board and are happy to install your valve for you.

What about tech diving?

We focus on recreational diving on our standard itineries. You will be limited to no stop limits and 40m (130') on these trips. We do offer specific itineries for technical divers. Have a look at our calendar and choose the trip that is right for you.

Will I see sharks?

We hope so! Many of our sites are frequented by black tip and white tip reef sharks and when we are lucky we get a visit. We have also seen thresher, lemon and hammerheads from the boat. As with all marine life, sharks are wild animals and every encounter is a special one.

Can I bring my speargun?

No. Spear fishing, fish feeding and collecting of any kind are all prohibited.

What is the water temperature?

Warm! Water temperatures range between 26C (78F) and 30C (86F). Most divers find a full 3mm wetsuit is comfortable for them, however, if you tend to be colder adding a vest or even a lightweight hood can take the edge off. Remember, if you are doing all five dives every day - your body temperature will drop and it takes time to recover and warm up.

Can I rent dive gear?

We have a full suite of rental gear available on board. It is best to make your reservation early in order to ensure that you secure the right sizes to make your diving comfortable.

What kind of tanks are available?

We have a selection of tanks available. We provide a standard 80cf (10l) tank as part of your package. If you would like a specialty tank 63cf (8l) or 100cf (12l), these are available for rent. In addition, we have 2l in line DIN tanks for rebreather divers and 40cf (5l) sling bottles for solo divers or those who prefer a little extra air.

What are the entry and exit procedures for diving?

We select the best entry procedures for the dive site, our divers capabilities and the conditions. We have a great dive platform on the big boat and dive directly from Taka whenever possible. An easy step off the water level swim grid takes you directly into the water. We also have two entry points from either side of Taka. A giant stride off the side of the boat takes you directly to the dive site. We also have two RIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatables) that are always in the water for safety. We do use them for dive entries as well. When you surface, you can hand up gear such as sensitive cameras or weights before you return to the vessel to exit up the two ladders on the dive platform.

What do you do to ensure diver safety?

Our primary concern is your safety. With our many years of operating experience we have been able to fine tune our safe diving practices. We believe every diver should be equipped with a lifeline, noise maker and safety sausage. If you don't have any of these safety items we are happy to lend you one of ours. Divers are required to complete a 3-5 minute safety stop on every dive, be on the surface at the pool closed time and arrive with a minimum of 500psi in their main tank. Concealing important medical information form us or ignoring the above rules can result in the limitation or cancellation of your divng privledges without compensation or credit. For worst case situations, we always keep at least 20 cubic metrs of medical oxygen on board. We have satellite phone and texting communications, our crew members are trained as oxygen providers, first aid providers and in marine emergencies.

Where is the nearest recompression chamber?

Prevention is the best option when it comes to decompression sickness. We encourage all of our divers to dive conservatively and stay well within their limits. In the case of an emergency, there is a re-compression chamber in Honiara. Emergency evacuation can be made by boat or by helicopter, however, the cost of this can be very high. Travel insurance is recommended and evacuation insurance is strongly recommended on all of our charters.