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Solomon Islands ©Jim Lounsbury
Blessed with sun-soaked, coconut palm-fringed beaches and crystalline waters, the remote and unspoiled archipelago of nearly a thousand islands and atolls of the Solomon Islands is becoming an increasingly popular eco-tourism destination, offering world-class snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and surfing.
Much of the country's economy is still based on subsistence fishing, and although the Solomon Islands deserves to be a world beater of a tourist destination, an unfortunate lack of infrastructure and amenities has kept the growth of the country's tourism sector in check. This is great news for those seeking a beach holiday in a tropical paradise, but who don't want to go anywhere where the effects of mass tourism are already widespread.
Sprinkled across the South Pacific, these Melanesian islands have seen a lot of history. It is believed that Papuan-speaking settlers arrived around 30,000 BC, while the first European to discover these gems was Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, a Spanish navigator who set out from Peru in 1893. During WWII the Solomon Islands saw some fierce battles between the Japanese and the Allied forces, including the Battle of Guadalcanal, and the shipwreck graveyards beneath the turquoise waters bear testament to this.
Explore some of the world's most diverse aquamarine life, while landlubbers can marvel at the islands' unique animals and plants, majestic volcanoes and the world's rarest orchid. History buffs will love the WWII historical sites such as Iron Bottom Sound, where the remnants of sunken vessels lie in their watery graves. Popular islands and groups within the archipelago include Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz, and Choiseul. The capital city of Honiara on Guadalcanal has a number of interesting historical sites and a bustling Central Market for souvenir shopping, along with several restaurants and nightclubs.
English is the official language.
Travellers to the Solomon Islands age 18 and older may import the following goods duty-free: 200 cigarettes/250g cigars or tobacco, two litres liquor, other goods valued to SBD400. Offensive weapons, pictures and literature is prohibited, and Firearms and ammunition require a police permit obtained prior to arrival.
Electrical current in the Solomon Islands is 230 volts, 50Hz. The most commonly-used plug is the three-prong Australian plug.
The Solomon Islands' climate is tropical, with little variation in temperature or humidity throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons: a drier season (May to November), and a monsoon season (December to April), where heavy rainfall is common, and there is a threat of tropical storms. The most comfortable time to visit the Solomon Islands is between June and September, though the best time for surfing in the Solomon Islands is between October and April.
Visitors are required to hold return or onward tickets and proof of sufficient funds. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
A passport valid for six months from arrival is required. A visa is required but a three-month visitor's permit can be issued on arrival.
A passport valid for six months after arrival is required. A visa is required.
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers to the Solomon Islands arriving from an infected area. Immunisation against hepatitis A and hepatitis B is recommended, and the territory has in the past few years been subject to outbreaks of dengue fever and rubella. A Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is recommended for all travellers born after 1956, as is a typhoid vaccine (except short-term business travellers or cruise ship passengers). Tap water should not be drunk unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected.
Medical facilities are very limited so pack a personal medical kit, and bring adequate supplies of all medications. Should a doctor be needed, the main facility is the Central Hospital and National Referral Hospital in Honiara. Comprehensive medical insurance is recommended for travellers.
* For current safety alerts, please visit Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK or Travel.State.Gov
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Embassies of Solomon Islands
Foreign Embassies in Solomon Islands
Local culture in the Solomon Islands is relaxed but traditional. While informal dress (including shorts) is acceptable, you should avoid wearing beachwear off the beach. Always show respect for older people, especially in rural areas. Girls are not to show friendliness to strangers of the opposite sex when accompanied by their relatives. If invited into a local's home, the guest will be expected to eat first.
Public Holidays in Solomon Islands
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