Solomon Islands: A Diving Wonderland
Solomon Islands is a hidden gem in the South Pacific and has yet to be discovered by tourism masses. When comparing tourist numbers with neighbours Fiji and Vanuatu, Solomon Islands is a lot less visited and, thus, has its special appeal for divers. The Island offers some of the world´s most pristine diving spots, including beautiful reefs, wrecks, big animals, caves and the most beautiful beaches. And the best thing is: All this is not crowded with tourists, but it´s enjoyable and very authentic.
In order to give you an idea of where to find the most beautiful diving spots of Solomon Islands, here are a few tips you might want to consider:
Best areas for diving in Solomon Islands
Florida Islands/Twin Tunnels
The Florida Islands have many excellent dive sites – one of the most famous spots being Twin Tunnels, which are named after two big vertical lava tubes in a seamount. The tubes are right next to each other. You have the option of picking either one of them and swim down to where they join and open up on the side of a reef wall at about 36 meters. The walls of the lava tubes are covered in fans and corals, which makes diving through them an amazing experience. You can observe pygmy seahorses, hairy squat lobsters, cuttlefish, octopus as well as eels, and even the occasional nurse shark all in one dive.
Russell Islands/Leru Cut
The Russell Islands offer beautiful diving spots and absolute highlights are the caves divers have the opportunity to explore there. Leru Cut is one of them and probably the most famous diving spot in the whole country. It´s and indents into the side of a small island, which has a depth of 12 meters. You can surface at the end of the “cut”, and look up at huge trees and listen to birds calling - it´s definitely the best of both worlds.
Also known as Mborokua, Mary Island is the best site for divers who want to see barracuda, sharks, and huge bump head parrotfish. To top it all off, you can visit the underwater volcano nearby, which gives off the occasional rumble.
Near Honiara, there are three Japanese wrecks people dive all the time. Due to their close proximity to Bonegi Beach, locals call them Bonegi 1, 2 and 3. All of them can be reached by simply walking into the water and reach them from the shore. Bonegi 1 is the favourite and most visited wreck with many locals having dived through it many hundred times. There are lots of swim throughs and torpedo holes in the wreck you can go in and out of and enjoy the incredible marine diversity, including sharks, turtles, rays, and snapper.
Tours and Activities
Diving and Snorkelling in Seghe
Some of the most outstanding diving in the world, the perfect water clarity puts vibrant coloured corals, a multitude of marine life and outstanding wrecks on display. Learn to dive, join a snorkelling excursion or simply step off the pier into the beautiful lagoon.
Snorkelling in Suavanao
The area offers some amazing snorkeling opportunities with various soft and hard corals, World War II wrecks and tropical fish to find. A signature snorkel experience is the blue lagoon which looks like a volcanic hole. You will have the change to swim with friendly black tip sharks, sea turtles and manta rays.
Swim and Snorkel near Kirakira
Visit white sandy beaches and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in clear pristine clear waters, in easy reach of Kirakira, including the Three Sisters and Ugi Islands. There are also unique surfing breaks and snorkelling. Coral reefs abound, spend hours exploring and see an extraordinary variety of tropical fish, by motor boat from Kirakira Harbour.
Diving in Gizo
There are over 15 world class dive sites around the Gizo area ranging from manta ray dives, coral dives, and famous World War II relics including the renowned Toa Maru No. 2 Dive plus a host of Japanese and American fighter planes dive sites.
Iron Bottom Sound was the scene of some of WWII's biggest naval battles. It is the channel between Guadalcanal, Savo and the Florida islands and is the resting place for over 50 Japanese and Allied warships and fighter planes, hence the name "Iron Bottom". Noteable dives around Honiara include Hirokawa Maru, USS John Penn, and Kinugawa Maru. For the more experienced diver, try out the Aaron Ward in the nearby Florida Islands, the only diveable destroyer.
One of the Solomons most significant ecological sites, discover Njari Island and enjoy a swim, snorkel or relax surrounded by stunning natural beauty and a chef-prepared BBQ lunch.
Located between Isabel and Choiseul Province, these four small islands are home to the largest rookery of the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles in the South Pacific. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area was established to protect the remaining Hawksbill turtle population. Learn more about the turtles, swim, snorkel, relax or take a cultural tour.
Tetepare Island is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific covering approximately 118 square kilometres. Tetepare has untouched rainforest, gorgeous coral reefs, captivating cultural sites and unique wildlife. Swim or snorkel in Tetepare’s beautiful lagoons, walk in the rainforest, bird watch, relax on the beaches or visit cultural sites from the island’s renowned head hunting days. The accommodation is in traditional Melanesian leaf houses and set either on the edge of the rainforest or shores of the lagoon.
Explore this small Island where US president John F Kennedy and the crew of PT109 were ship wrecked during WWII. There is great snorkelling, hammocks to relax on and an area for a BBQ if you want to take a picnic.
An eventful 1-2 hour boat ride through open seas and strong currents from Kagau will take you to Arnavon Island where you can experience the world reknown Arnavons Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA) which covers 40,000 acres, three small uninhabited islands, flourishing reefs, fish-filled lagoons and beaches that are home to thousands of egg-bearing turtles. All bookings are to be done through the Nature Conservacy office in Honiara. The best time to visit Arnavon Island is the turtle nesting season in June, July, and August.
Bonegi Beach is a haven for divers and beachgoers. Two Japanese freighters (Hirokawa Maru and Kinugawa Maru) bombed by the allies are beached right in front of the Bonegi stretch. They are the most dived wrecks in the country and are excellent for both beginners and more experienced divers due to proximity to the shore and the amazing coral and fish life that have made the freighters their home.
Agnes Gateway Hotel
On the banks of Munda Harbour with views over the lagoon and an open decked restaurant and bar. Stay amongst divers and anglers, with Dive Munda also on-site. The property has hotel room and cottage style accommodation and is perfectly located next to the market square and only a 3 minute walk from Munda Airport.
Uepi Island Resort
A top dive and snorkel destination globally! Uepi has so much to offer with its perfect coral formations, outstanding marine life, and beautiful natural lush jungle. The island is 2.5km long with six traditional style bungalows, two units, and two guest rooms. With a maximum of 26 guests, feel relaxed and part of the family.
Yawana Dive & Bungalows
This budget accommodation caters to only a small number of guests at any one time. There is a traditional bungalow, the larger Den house or the Bunkroom which has single beds. The dive shop is on-site and convenient for those who want to get straight into the water once you wake up.
Visit a range of rarely visited dive sites, during an exclusive 7 or 10-night liveaboard cruise with Bilikiki. Visit the Russell Islands, Mary Island, and the Florida Islands to dive spectacular reefs and discover the natural diversity and the traditional village life the Solomon Islands are renown for, in absolute comfort.
After just a 7 minute boat ride from Gizo Airport you will arrive to warm smiles and a well stocked bar on the dock. Each traditional style bungalow has its own private beach with stunning views across the lagoon. Whether you try the numerous water sports on offer or just relax there will be no escaping the beauty of Sanbis.