Friday, July 12, 2024
Solomon Islands travel guide - Travel S helper

Solomon Islands

travel guide

The Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation in Oceania that consists of six main islands and over 900 smaller islands. It is located to the east of Papua New Guinea and to the northwest of Vanuatu and has a land area of 28,400 square kilometers (11,000 sq mi). Honiara, the country’s capital, is situated on the island of Guadalcanal. The nation derives its name from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which comprises the North Solomon Islands (part of Papua New Guinea) but excludes outlying islands such as Rennell and Bellona, as well as the Santa Cruz Islands.

For thousands of years, people have lived on the islands. The first European to see them was the Spanish sailor lvaro de Mendaa in 1568, who named them Islas Salomón. When Captain Gibson R.N. of HMS Curacoa proclaimed the southern Solomon Islands a British protectorate in June 1893, Britain established its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago. The Solomon Islands campaign (1942–1945) witnessed intense combat between the United States and the Empire of Japan, including the Battle of Guadalcanal.

In 1975, the then-British foreign territory’s official name was changed from “the British Solomon Islands Protectorate” to “Solomon Islands.” Self-government was established in 1976, followed by independence two years later. Today, the Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen of the Solomon Islands, presently Queen Elizabeth II, serving as its head of state. The current Prime Minister is Manasseh Sogavare.

Flights & Hotels
search and compare

We compare room prices from 120 different hotel booking services (including Booking.com, Agoda, Hotel.com and others), enabling you to pick the most affordable offers that are not even listed on each service separately.

100% Best Price

The price for one and the same room can differ depending on the website you are using. Price comparison enables finding the best offer. Also, sometimes the same room can have a different availability status in another system.

No charge & No Fees

We don’t charge any commissions or extra fees from our customers and we cooperate only with proven and reliable companies.

Ratings and Reviews

We use TrustYou™, the smart semantic analysis system, to gather reviews from many booking services (including Booking.com, Agoda, Hotel.com and others), and calculate ratings based on all the reviews available online.

Discounts and Offers

We search for destinations through a large booking services database. This way we find the best discounts and offer them to you.

Solomon Islands - Info Card

Population

707,851

Currency

Solomon Islands dollar (SBD)

Time zone

UTC+11

Area

28,400 km2 (11,000 sq mi)

Calling code

+677

Official language

English

Solomon Islands | Introduction

Geography Of Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is a large island country with a distance of approximately 1,500 kilometers between the westernmost and easternmost islands (930 mi). The Santa Cruz Islands (of which Tikopia is a part) are located north of Vanuatu and are particularly remote, being more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the other islands. Bougainville is physically part of the Solomon Islands, although it is a Papua New Guinea independent territory.

The Solomon Islands archipelago is divided into two terrestrial ecoregions. The Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion encompasses the majority of the islands. Forestry operations have put a significant strain on these woods. Together with the adjacent archipelago of Vanuatu, the Santa Cruz Islands are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion. More than 230 orchid and other tropical flower types adorn the landscape. There are many active and dormant volcanoes on the islands, with Tinakula and Kavachi being the most active. Mount Makarakomburu, at 2,447 meters, is the highest peak. The area is dotted with many low-lying coral atolls.

Climate In Solomon Islands

The ocean-equatorial climate of the islands is very humid all year, with a mean temperature of 27 °C (80 °F) and minimal temperature or weather extremes. The colder months are June through August. Though seasons are not discernible, the northwesterly winds that blow from November to April bring more frequent rainfall and the occurrence of squalls or cyclones. The yearly rainfall is about 3050 mm (120 in).

Demographics Of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands had a population of 552,438 people in 2006.

The majority of Solomon Islanders are Melanesian in ethnicity (94.5 percent ). Polynesian (3%) and Micronesian (1.2%) are the two other major groups. There are a few thousand Chinese people.

Religion In Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands religion is mostly Christian (comprising about 92 percent of the population). The major Christian denominations are: Anglican Church of Melanesia (35%), Roman Catholic (19%), South Seas Evangelical Church (17%), United Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (11%), and Seventh-day Adventist ( 10%). Another 5% believe in indigenous ideas.

Islam, the Baha’i Faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among those who remain (LDS Church). According to the most current estimates, there are about 350 Muslims in the Solomon Islands, including members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Economy Of Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands, with a per-capita GDP of $600, is classified as a developing country, and more than 75 percent of its labor force is involved in subsistence and fishing. The vast majority of manufactured items and petroleum products must be imported. Wood was the Solomon Islands’ primary export commodity until 1998, when global prices for tropical timber plummeted precipitously, and in recent years, Solomon Islands forests have been severely overexploited.

Copra and palm oil are two more major cash crops and exports. On Guadalcanal, gold mining started in 1998 at Gold Ridge. Exploration for minerals in other regions continues. Following the ethnic unrest in June 2000, shipments of palm oil and gold stopped, while wood exports decreased. Undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold abound on the islands.

The Solomon Islands’ fisheries also provide opportunities for export and local economic growth. As a consequence of the ethnic conflicts, a Japanese joint venture, Solomon Taiyo Ltd., which ran the country’s sole fish cannery, shuttered in mid-2000. Despite the fact that the facility has reopened under local control, tuna exports have yet to begin. Negotiations are now ongoing to revive the Gold Ridge mine and the large oil-palm plantation.

Tourism, especially scuba diving, is a significant service sector in the Solomon Islands. Tourism development is hindered by a lack of infrastructure and transportation constraints.

By 2002, the Solomon Islands government was bankrupt. The government has restructured its budget after the RAMSI intervention in 2003. It has consolidated and renegotiated its internal debt and is now attempting to renegotiate its international debts with the help of Australia. Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, and the Republic of China are the primary assistance contributors.

Notably, Solomon Islands courts re-approved the profiteering export of live dolphins, most recently to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The government first prohibited this practice in 2004, after worldwide outrage over a transport of 28 live dolphins to Mexico. The decision drew condemnation from Australia and New Zealand, as well as many environmental organizations.

Entry Requirements For Solomon Islands

Visa & Passport for Solomon Islands

Everyone must have a passport, an onward ticket, and enough money to cover their stay in the Solomon Islands.

Citizens of the following countries may get visitor visas on arrival:American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cook Islands, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

Everyone else will need to apply for a visa advance.

If you have a visitor’s permission, you are not permitted to work, conduct business, participate in religious vocations, or do professional research. If you want to perform any of those activities, you must first get a company license.

How To Travel To Solomon Islands

Get In - By plane

Henderson International Airport is located 7 miles east of Honiara, the capital. Most days, scheduled flights leave from Brisbane, Australia. Flights are also available between Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Guinea.

Get In - By sea

Honiara is sometimes visited by cruise ships.

It is also feasible to go by boat from southern Bougainville in Papua New Guinea into the western province of the Solomon Islands, since people often travel between the Solomons’ Shortland Islands and Bougainville.

How To Travel Around Solomon Islands

Get Around - Auki Ferry

This service operates most days from Honiara Wharf to Auki on the island of Malaita, which is located across the Slot from Honiara. In 2012, the one-way ticket was S$300 and the return fare was S$580. The ferry passes through the Florida Islands channel, which is worth viewing, and there’s a good possibility you’ll see a lot of flying fish if you look out the front or sides of the boat. The catamaran ferry is a former Auckland Harbour ferry and is not intended for ocean travel. This implies that when it’s tough, it’s rough, so prepare accordingly. The boat features lots of comfy seats, air conditioning, and a large flat screen TV that plays movies throughout the trip. You can purchase beverages and snacks on the ferry, but it’s better to do it on the way out from Honiara since supplies run short once the boat returns. There is a restroom.

Boarding begins at 7:30 a.m., with a departure time of 8 a.m. Purchase your ticket from a vehicle parked in the wharf car park outside the jetty gate. It’ll be the one swarmed by people trying to obtain tickets at 7:30 a.m. The boat pauses at Tulagi (9:30 a.m.) on the Florida Islands before departing ten minutes later for Boromole (arr. 10:30), which has a lovely beach and water. It arrives in Auki at 12:30 and departs for Honiara through the same route at 2pm (boarding from 1:30pm). Return to Boromole is at 3:30 p.m., and Tulagi is at 4:30 p.m., before arriving in Honiara at sunset, or about 6 p.m.

Destinations in Solomon Islands

Islands in Solomon Islands

  • Choiseul
    the northernmost region, which comprises the Treasury Islands, Shortland Islands, and Choiseul itself
  • Florida and Russell Islands
  • Guadalcanal (Honiara)
    the main island, which contains the capital city and the primary airport
  • New Georgia Islands
    New Georgia, as well as a slew of small islands and atolls
  • Malaita
  • Rennell and Bellona
  • Makira
    Previously, this island was known as San Cristóbal.
  • Santa Isabel
    where the first European encounter with the Solomon Islands occurred
  • Santa Cruz Islands
    small, isolated islands in the Solomons’ south-east, closer to Vanuatu than anyplace else in the Solomons

Cities in Solomon Islands

  • Honiara – capital
  • Aola Bay
  • Lofung
  • Noro
  • Viru Harbor
  • Yandina

Things To See in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands contain all of Melanesia’s major attractions. Idyllic island landscape with beautiful sandy beaches and breathtaking natural beauty in the form of forests, lagoons, and waterfalls. Underwater life is just as beautiful as it is above water for people who like diving. There is a plethora of wildlife to explore as well as wonderful, colorful cultural customs to see. Highlights include the beautiful and massive Lake Te’Nggano, which is strikingly flanked by towering cliffs that were previously the reefs that encircled this ancient lagoon. Langa Langa Lagoon in Auki is much more well-known. While its waters are brown rather than brilliant blue, life here is leisurely and serene, with people working on traditional handicrafts and classic canoes gliding across the river in silence.

It’s also one of the locations where you can view the country’s famous manmade islands. Some date back to the 16th century, but new ones are being made all the time, utilizing stones and coral materials. Follow the somewhat difficult but lovely route to the boiling mud of the Reoka hot springs, or try a two-day trek to the summit of the volcano Kolombangara for experienced hikers. The route to the Mataniko Falls, with underground caves that served as a hide-out for Japanese troops during WWII, and the Tenaru Falls is easier but more picturesque. They’re both near to Honiara, the country’s capital, and the National Museum and Culture Center. East Rennell, located in the Rennell and Bellona region, is the world’s biggest elevated coral atoll and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Money & Shopping in Solomon Islands

In Honiara, ATMs are accessible. Some hotels and resorts accept Australian currency.

The majority of the population relies on agriculture, fishing, and forestry for a portion of their income. The vast majority of manufactured items and petroleum products must be imported. Undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold abound on the islands. However, significant ethnic conflict, the closure of major commercial companies, and an empty national purse have resulted in catastrophic economic turmoil, and the country is on the verge of collapse. Due to the government’s inability to pay and assaults on ships, tanker delivery of critical fuel supplies (including those for electricity production) have become irregular. Nonpayment of bills, as well as a shortage of technical and maintenance personnel, many of whom have left the nation, pose a danger to telecommunications.

Culture Of Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands’ traditional culture, age-old traditions are passed down from generation to generation, supposedly by the ancestor spirits themselves, to create the cultural values of the Solomon Islands.

Media

Due to linguistic difficulties, illiteracy, and the difficulty of getting television signals in certain areas of the nation, radio is the most important form of media in Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) provides public radio services in the Solomon Islands, including national stations Radio Happy Isles 1037 on the dial and Wantok FM 96.3, as well as provincial stations Radio Happy Lagoon and, previously, Radio Temotu. There are two commercial FM radio stations, Z FM at 99.5 in Honiara (also broadcasting on 107.5 in Auki), and PAOA FM at 97.7 in Honiara (also broadcasting on 107.5 in Auki). There is also one community FM radio station, Gold Ridge FM on 88.7.

There are no TV services available across the Solomon Islands, although satellite TV channels may be received. However, One Television, a free-to-air station in Honiara, rebroadcasts ABC Asia Pacific (from Australia’s ABC) and BBC World News. Residents may subscribe to SATSOL a digital pay TV service that re-transmitted satellite television, as of December 2010.

In the Solomon Islands, traditional Melanesian music comprises both group and solo singing, as well as slit-drum and panpipe groups. Bamboo music became popular in the 1920s. Edwin Nanau Sitori wrote the song “Walkabout Long Chinatown” in the 1950s, which the government refers to as the unofficial “national anthem” of the Solomon Islands. Modern Solomon Islander popular music comprises a variety of rock and reggae styles, as well as island music.

Literature

Novelists Rexford Orotaloa and John Saunana, as well as poet Jully Makini, are all from the Solomon Islands.

Sport

Solomon Islands has a rugby union team. Since 1969, the Solomon Islands national rugby union squad has competed in international matches. It competed in the Oceania qualification competition for the Rugby World Cups in 2003 and 2007, but failed to qualify on both occasions.

National teams in association football, futsal, and beach soccer have been among Oceania’s most successful. The Solomon Islands national football team is a member of FIFA’s OFC confederation. In the FIFA World Rankings, they are presently placed 184th out of 209 teams. The squad became the first to defeat New Zealand in qualifying for a play-off place against Australia for World Cup qualification in 2006. They lost 7–0 in Australia and 2–1 at home.

The Solomon Islands national futsal team, the Kurukuru, won the Oceania Futsal Championship in Fiji on June 14, 2008, qualifying them for the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup, which was held in Brazil from September 30 to October 19, 2008. The Solomon Islands are the Oceania region’s reigning futsal champions. The Kurukuru won the Oceania Futsal Championship in Fiji in 2008 and 2009. They won the championship in 2009, defeating the host country, Fiji, 8–0. The Kurukuru presently hold the world record for the quickest goal ever scored in a futsal contest. It was established by Kurukuru captain Elliot Ragomo, who scored three seconds into the game against New Caledonia in July 2009. They do, however, have the less desirable distinction of suffering the worst loss in the history of the Futsal World Cup, when they were defeated by Russia by two goals to thirty-one in 2008.

The Bilikiki Boys of the Solomon Islands are the most successful beach soccer team in Oceania. They have won all three regional championships to date, qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on each occasion. As of 2010, the Bilikiki Boys were rated fourteenth in the world, higher than any other Oceanian team.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Solomon Islands

Stay Safe in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands are situated in the Pacific “Rim of Fire” and are prone to earthquakes, some of which are very big! An 8.1 magnitude earthquake near Ghizo Island (in the New Georgia Islands) in 2007 caused a tsunami up to 12 meters high, killing 52 people. An 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Santa Cruz Islands in 2013 caused a 1 m tsunami (fortunately, the epicenter was deep enough beneath that a huge wave was not produced), killing less than ten people. In addition to these two, earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7.0 are quite common (every year or two). If you feel an earthquake, get to higher ground right away!

While not as terrible as in neighboring Papua New Guinea, crime rates are significant in the Solomon Islands. Traveling after midnight is hazardous, particularly in Honiara, and muggers have been known to target visitors at Mt Austin’s Japanese War Memorial even in broad daylight.

Ethnic tensions between Guales (Guadalcanal inhabitants) and Malaitans, as well as between everyone and the Chinese, remain high. Australian soldiers have been stationed in Honiara since 2003 to keep things under control, but this could not prevent violent riots from damaging major sections of the city in 2006.

Stay Healthy in Solomon Islands

Malaria is the most serious public health problem in the Solomon Islands. Visitors should take anti-malarial medication before, during, and after their visit.

In contrast to other South Pacific islands, saltwater crocodiles are very abundant in the Solomon Islands, and extreme caution should be used while in or near ANY body of water. Knowledge is your greatest defense, as well as the safety of the crocs themselves. While the population in the Solomons is nowhere like that of Northern Australia or New Guinea, it is nevertheless regarded reasonably robust in contrast to most of the species’ Southeast Asian range. This is particularly true of the Solomon Islands’ most populous islands, which are closest to New Guinea.

Asia

Africa

South America

Europe

North America

Read Next

Honiara

Honiara is the capital city of the Solomon Islands, governed as a provincial town on Guadalcanal Island’s northeastern coast. It has a population of 64,609...