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Diving in The Solomon Islands

Outstandingly beautiful yet wonderfully undiscovered by the masses, the Solomon Islands promise an idyllic dive vacation. Discover colorful reefs, endemic species and WWII history beneath the surface.

Diving in The Solomon Islands

Quick facts

Amazingly diverse, yet wonderfully uncrowded, the Solomon Islands offer a wide range of tropical dive environments. These include caverns, reefs, wrecks, large sea fans, steep walls, soft corals and muck. The marine biodiversity is stunning and the WWII history found in the wrecks leaves divers to wonder about years gone by. Furthermore, the reefs have remained healthy due to the lack of pressure incurred through tourism. All of these factors combined, create a dive destination that is out of this world.

The major dive areas can be defined as Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Munda, and South Marovo Lagoon. Guadalcanal and Tulagi host a wide variety of WWII wrecks as well as many other shipwrecks. Munda and South Marovo Lagoon feature beautiful reefs, sheer walls, muck diving and some sites that attract a number of pelagic species. While most of the reefs begin just off shore, the wrecks might require a bit of a swim or a boat ride. Some of the wrecks can be quite deep, reaching 213 feet (65 meters) or more. There is something for every level of diver in this South Pacific nation.

Diving is available year-round in the Solomon Islands. However, monsoon season does occur from January until April and brings a greater chance of rain and windy days. June through August is slightly cooler than the rest of the year, although temperatures remain fairly warm and humid. Water temperatures make for comfortable diving, ranging from 81 to 88°F (27 to 31°C). Most diving can be accessed by both liveaboard and dive resort. A combination of both would give you the greatest chance for the best dives. But wherever you dive in the Solomon Islands, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 1,638Per trip
USD 3,640Per trip

What to see

From big to small, the Solomon Islands have it all. The reefs are covered in colorful fish and macro subjects are plentiful. Divers might see pygmy seahorses, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, xenon crabs, mantis shrimp, ribbon eels and hairy squat lobster. Clown fish, bumphead parrotfish and cuttle fish are commonly spotted. Schools of jacks, barracudas and tuna often approach from the blue. Lucky divers will spot reef sharks, napoleon wrasse and clusters of mantas.

However many dives you complete, you are sure to leave the Solomon Islands with more new species than you can remember.

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

The Solomon Islands is a Melanesian nation to the northeast of Australia. It stretches between Papua New Guinea to the west and Vanuatu to the southeast. Made up of 922 islands, 350 of which are inhabited, the Solomon Islands were formed by volcanic and earthquake activity over the years. The islands have been largely untouched by tourism in the last 100 years. As such, there hasn’t been pressure placed on the various underwater environments and many of the gorgeous dive sites remain uncrowded.

In ancient times, the Solomon Islands were inhabited by the Melanesian people, Austronesian speakers and the Polynesians. The first European to arrive was Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira. He was followed in the 19th Century by a series of missionaries who largely failed in their mission due to the custom of recruiting locals into forced labor in Queensland and Fiji. As a result of this labor trade, violence erupted and Great Britain declared the islands as a protectorate in 1893. Throughout World War II, the Solomon Islands were the scene of intense fighting between the United States and Japan, particularly during the Battle of Guadalcanal. Finally, independence was gained in 1978.

Today, the country enjoys a constitutional monarchy under the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. In recent history, ethnic violence threatened the stability of the country between 1998 and the early 2000s. However, in 2003, an Australian-led peace force disarmed the ethnic militants and improved the situation on the ground. In recent years, the country has enjoyed peace and stability, making it a safe and beautiful destination.

Other attractions

The activities in the Solomon Islands are as wide ranged as the country is. A number of water sports outside of diving are available. These include surfing, sailing, deep sea fishing and sea kayaking. With islands covered in dense rainforest, there are limitless opportunities for outstanding hiking. For the history buffs, there are numerous World War II monuments and historical areas spread throughout the Solomon Islands. While diving may be the main attraction, you’re sure to find plenty to fill your topside hours.

Getting there

If you wish to go to the Solomon Islands, you will most likely need to fly from Brisbane in Australia, Port Vila in Vanuatu or Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. The Honiara International Airport into which this flights arrive is 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of Honiara. It is also possible, yet risky, to hire a motorized canoe for a crossing between Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and Gizo in the Western Province.

Moving between the islands can be accomplished by air or sea.

UTC+11:00

Time zone

SBD

Currency

+677

Calling code

230 V

Electric volt

G, 

I

Plug type

HIR

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.