About the Solomons
The Solomon Islands is north east of Australia and the third largest archipelago in the South Pacific, comprising around 992 islands, ranging from large landmasses with rugged mountains and virgin forests, to low lying coral atolls. They are scattered in a double chain of islands covering 1.35 million km2 of sea and extend for 1,667km, in a south-easterly direction from Papua New Guinea. The country's capital, Honiara, is situated on the north-west coast of the island of Guadalcanal.
Tropical, with average daytime temperatures around 29-34°C and high humidity. Evenings may be as cool as 22°C. There are no defined seasons but November to April are wetter months and squalls and cyclones may occur. Whichever way, we get a lot of rain so bring a rain coat or spray jacket of some sort.
Most Commonwealth, US and EU visitors do not need visas prior to arrival (most – but not all, please check). Visitors' permits are issued for the duration of your trip to a maximum period of three (3) months. Please refer to the Ministry of Commerce website to check whether you need a visa prior to arrival. If you do, the website will also explain how to apply for a visa.
Duty Free/ Departure Tax
200 cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or 225 grams of tobacco, 2 litres of wine or spirits. Goods in excess of SBD$1,500.00 are dutiable. Departure Tax is included in your flight ticket.
240 volts with Australian type outlets are available in Honiara and other major resort areas.
11 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+11).
There are 87 indigenous languages including Melanesian Pidgin English which is used predominantly. English, the official language, is used in major centres and understood throughout most of the Solomon Islands.
Informal light attire is appropriate for both day and evening wear. Pack a light sweater for the occasional cool evening – a spray jacket comes in very handy. Bikini's and swimming briefs should be confined to resort pool areas or covered by a lava lava (sarong). Ladies should avoid skirts or shorts that show upper thighs.
The people of the Solomon Islands have a rich culture which observes many traditional "kastoms" which vary from province to province. Please ask about appropriate behaviour and always ask permission before taking pictures of people or places. Most land outside of Honiara is traditionally owned and may require a ‘kastom fee’ to access, so ask before entering any areas outside the city boundary.
3G networks are available in Honiara and major provincial capitals. Local Sim cards for mobiles/tablets are inexpensive and readily available.
Health and Travel Insurance
Like many other tropical countries, malaria can be a problem in the Solomon Islands. Appropriate malarial medication should be taken and it is wise to consult your doctor a few weeks before leaving home.
Water is relatively safe, but precautionary boiling is recommended for all drinking purposes. Bottled water is readily available.
Honiara has a recompression chamber that is operated (but not owned) by volunteers. Sessions cost around USD$800 per hour and if evacuation is required that can run to more than USD$50,000. We cannot emphasise this enough: Travel insurance is highly recommended.