Organising a trip to go scuba diving in the Solomon Islands is easy, except at the start when you need to choose the region you want to explore. You’re likely not to have enough time to visit them all. And it’s hard to select a destination for scuba diving in the Solomon Islands as they all seem attractive. Hopefully, our experience and research can help you make the best choices for your holidays.

Tetepare

We did not visit all the places listed in this article (yet!). To write it, I’ve used our experience travelling to the Solomon Islands for Easter 2019 and all the research made to organise this 2019 trip and our tentative trip in 2020 (cancelled because of COVID-19).

Where to go scuba diving in the Solomon Islands

We found eight destinations reputed for scuba diving in the Solomon Islands, with beautiful coral reefs and WWII wrecks. I’ve listed them below, with more information on how easy (or hard!) it is to get there and the other activities you can do in the area. Keep in mind that we could only visit three of these places during our trip: Munda, Tetepare and Gizo. The comments on other destinations are based on research only, unfortunately. I’m looking forward to updating this article one day with more first-hand experiences!

The numbers do not indicate my preference. They’re ordered from north to south and a reference to the map at the end of the article.

Tetepare

Are you covered for scuba diving by your travel insurance? It’s worth double-checking. If not, I recommend DAN (Divers Alert Network) for those who dive regularly. WorldNomads* and Covermore* also make it easy to add adventurous activities like scuba diving to your plan.

1. Gizo

Access: Easy; domestic flights to Gizo.

What to see: The dive centre in Gizo is well-established and offers trips to a great variety of dive sites. There’s a lot to see underwater, with wrecks but also big walls of corals and abundant fish life. Most dive sites are close to the dive shop.

Where to stay: We stayed on an island close to Gizo (Komolo Resort*), which was very basic. It’s not at all what I would describe as a resort, but we liked the feeling of being away from everything. Fatboys Resort* on Mbabanga Island is a popular choice among scuba divers in Gizo. The boat will stop there in the morning to pick you up. If you don’t mind the extra commute, you can also stay at the beautiful Imagination Island Resort*. If you want to stay close to the dive shop, Hotel Gizo* is the only hotel in town. But make sure you read recent reviews* before booking.

Other things to do: Simbo Island is known as a great day trip from Gizo. Not too far from Gizo, but allow time for at least an overnight trip, you can hike Mt Rano from Hambere village. It is one of the most challenging trails on Kolombangara Island, but it’s worth it to get some of the best views of the surrounding islands.

Island hopping between Gizo and Munda

2. Munda

Access: Easy; direct international flights from Brisbane (Australia) and domestic flights.

What to see: Munda offers many different dive sites to please all kinds of divers: splendid reefs, drop-offs with massive sea fans, abundant marine life (from pelagic to small critters), and also WWII wrecks.

Where to stay: Agnes Gateway Hotel* seems like the logical choice when you’re going to Munda for scuba diving holidays. The shop Dive Munda* is located in the resort. But you may also have a look at resorts on nearby islands. For an extra fee, the team from Dive Munda will pick you up on their way to the dive sites. We chose to stay at Titiru Eco Lodge* and loved it. But if you plan to dive every day, you’ll probably not want to pay the extra fee, so Zipolo Habu*, which is closer, could be a better option. I recommend contacting Dive Munda as they may have new partnerships. If you’re on a budget, you’ll also find homestays near Munda (Ravihina Home Stay* is the most famous one).

View from the deck of our room at Titiru Eco Lodge*

Other things to do: Munda isn’t only visited by scuba divers, so you’ll find many other things to do nearby. A few hikes start from the south of Kolombangara, which isn’t too far from Munda. Resorts can also organise many activities other than diving, such as fishing, hiking, snorkelling, canoeing or visiting small nearby islands with great stories… During our stay at Titiru Eco Lodge*, on Rendova Island, one of the most popular activities was their village tour. We also had free access to canoes and could sign up for guided walks to caves or up the mountain.

3. Tetepare

Your underwater pics don’t look that good? Check out my tips for beginners to take underwater photos that aren’t blue!

Access: A remote island about 2 hrs away from Munda by boat. There are domestic and international flights to/from Munda.

Tetepare is probably the hardest to organise if you have limited time and you’re not travelling with a group. It’s a remote island a couple of hours away from Munda. The dive shop in Munda can organise a trip there for a group of six people. Unfortunately, we didn’t find other scuba divers interested in joining us for the trip as it’s a lot more expensive than diving near Munda but we still went for a snorkelling trip and tour of the island. When we stayed at Titiru Eco Lodge* on Rendova Island in 2019, they talked about building an antenna for the dive shop there. This could bring it one hour closer to Tetepare so, hopefully, the trip would become easier to organise.

What to see: Corals, corals, corals. And all the coral reef marine life that comes with it. Tetepare is known to host one of the highest diversities of fish and coral in the world.

Where to stay: If you stay on Tetepare, you won’t be able to dive. The dive shop is in Munda, so my recommendations are the same as before: Agnes Gateway Hotel*, Zipolo Habu*, Ravihina Home Stay*. Titiru Eco Lodge* is between Munda and Tetepare, so it could be an excellent option if they agree to take you on the way.

Other things to do: If you don’t manage to organise a diving trip to Tetepare (not enough divers in our case) but still want to experience the remoteness, it was our favourite place for snorkelling in the Solomon Islands. We also went for a short forest walk with a knowledgeable ranger, happy to share information about the island and its natural resources. If you can stay overnight, you’ll get access to more activities. Even without scuba diving, the trip wasn’t cheap.

4. Marovo Lagoon North | Uepi Island

Access: Easy; domestic flight to Seghe then about half an hour boat trip to Uepi.

What to see: Uepi is reputed for its beautiful soft and hard corals. I particularly liked that night diving is possible as they have shore dives available.

Where to stay: Uepi Island Resort* is the only resort on Uepi Island. We received a quote for around AU$350-400 per night per person (all meals and taxes included, as well as our transfers from Seghe airport included).

Other things to do: Although you’ll be staying at a dive resort, there are a few other activities available, such as walks in the rainforest and guided kayak tours. You can snorkel and kayak for free off the resort.

5. Marovo Lagoon South | Nggatokae Island

Access: A remote island about 2 hrs away from Seghe. There are domestic flights to Seghe.

What to see: Beautiful coral walls and plenty of marine life (including pelagic).

Where to stay: The Wilderness Lodge* is an SSI-certified Dive Resort. Unfortunately, it has been closed for a few years for renovation and doesn’t have a reopening date when I’m writing this article.

Other things to do: The Wilderness Lodge offers many tours in addition to scuba diving. Hikers will have many choices of overnight hikes with camping or village stays. Kavachi Volcano, a submarine volcano, is not too far and quite spectacular for those lucky enough to be there when it’s erupting.

If you’re a free diver, you may want to consider staying at Driftwood Lodge*, but note they don’t offer scuba diving.

6. Russel Islands

Access: Easy, via a liveaboard leaving from the capital Honiara with domestic and international flights from Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).

What to see: Mirror Cave and Leru Cut are the highlights when diving Russel Islands.

Other things to do: Ask the liveaboard before the trip what are your options, as they may be able to organise local experiences for you. The liveaboard option we looked at offered at least one village visit, and a stand-up paddle board was available on the boat.

7. Tulagi

Access: Easy; day trip from the capital Honiara with domestic and international flights from Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).

What to see: Known as one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world, with planes, shipwrecks and equipment from WWII. Twin Tunnels is a reputed coral dive in the area.

Where to stay: If you dive Tulagi for more than one day, your best option may be to stay at Raiders Hotel & Dive*, in the township of Tulagi. You will be closer to the dive sites, and they are SSI affiliates. If you want to stay in Honiara and go to Tulagi for a day trip, Tulagi Dive* will take you there. In Honiara, the Coral Sea Resort & Casino* offers suites with sea views at an affordable price (considering accommodation in Honiara isn’t cheap). You can find hotels closer to Tulagi Dive (Kitano Mendana Hotel* or King Solomon Hotel* for example), but they’re more expensive. Chester Resthouse* was the cheapest option during our trip and our choice as we only had a few hours in Honiara between two flights (we landed in the middle of the night and left for Gizo early in the morning). It was very basic but clean and suitable for a few hours of sleep. It wouldn’t be my choice for a longer stay, but it has some advantages – and a lower price – that may seduce some travellers.

Other things to do: In Tulagi, you will have the opportunity to go hiking, kayaking, fishing, and visiting a village and some WW2 sites. Near Honiara, you can explore waterfalls, arts and craft markets and join a WWII tour.

8. Mary Island

Access: Easy, via a liveaboard leaving from the capital Honiara with domestic and international flights from Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).

What to see: There are a few dive sites around Mary Island, popular for those who want to see prolific marine life and pelagic fish (including barracuda, sharks and occasionally manta rays). At Barracuda Point, lucky scuba divers can get surrounded by multiple schools of jacks and barracuda for spectacular photos and memories.

Other things to do: See above for the liveaboard to Russel Island.

Itinerary suggestions to visit multiple regions to scuba dive in the Solomon Islands

You’ll have more relaxing diving holidays if you stick to one region. Travelling around the Solomon Islands isn’t always easy, and timetables aren’t often reliable. It takes time to go from one region to another, and it surely isn’t cheap. If you decide to explore multiple regions as we did, do not try to fill in too much in one trip.

A liveaboard is a good option if you want to visit multiple places without worrying about logistics. It wasn’t our first choice as we like travelling to remote areas just the two of us. It feels more like an adventure and allows us to exchange with locals that we wouldn’t have as part of a group or on a liveaboard.

When planning your transfers from one spot to another, remember you cannot fly after diving. You’d need to opt for a boat transfer or a day with another activity. All our flights were on time during our trip, but it’s not always the case. It’s risky to expect to be able to dive on the day you fly in.

Shark on Tetepare Island – you can enjoy marine life when you’re out of the water in the Solomon Islands

Here are a few ideas of combinations you can do during your scuba diving holidays in the Solomon Islands:

  • Tulavi, Gizo, Munda and Uepi: If you have time to wait a day and then fly, regular domestic flights link these four reputed diving spots. It’s the easiest way to travel from one point to another, and you’ll get scenic views from up there.
  • Gizo – Munda (+ Tetepare): our choice for our first trip. We flew to Gizo and travelled by boat from Gizo to Munda, around beautiful islands. In bad weather, you can take a shorter boat trip to Noro and then a bus down to Munda. We added a day trip to Tetepare (snorkelling only).
  • Munda – Tetepare – Uepi: If you manage to organise a stop at Tetepare between your trip from Munda to Uepi, you’d be in for a great adventure! I found it way too hard to organise and risky as we wouldn’t have any plan B if the weather wasn’t good for the long boat trips. I wouldn’t recommend this for your first trip to the Solomon Islands.
  • Marovo Lagoon North and South: This is what we initially wanted to do on our second trip to the Solomon Islands. But it was out of our budget. If you travel to Nggatokae Island from Uepi Island Resort*, you can try to organise a dive at the barrier islands of Marovo Lagoon during your transfer. Make sure you check if scuba diving is available in the south of the lagoon as the Wilderness Lodge* was closed when I was writing this post.

If you’re not just after scuba diving, check out our 7-day itinerary focused on things to do in Munda.

Equipment you need to scuba dive in the Solomon Islands

Wetsuit or no wetsuit?

One of the best parts of scuba diving in the Solomon Islands was the water temperature. It’s as warm outside and inside the water. You don’t need a wetsuit for scuba diving, so the shop doesn’t provide them or has very few options available. Most people are happy to only dive in swimming suits, but if, like us, you get cold quickly or want to be fully protected from the sun, you may want to bring your own suit.

We opted for full-body Sharkskins – which were great to be protected while on the boat and snorkelling too. As there’s no need for extra warmth, you could opt for a stinger suit for sun protection. If you choose to wear just your swimmers, bring reef-safe sunscreen.

BCD, Reg, Computer

We could rent a BCD and a reg from the dive shops. Dive computers were also available. I prefer to bring my own computer as it’s easy to transport and I am sure I have all my dive history from the previous days.

Safety sausage

They didn’t always give a safety sausage in the equipment we rented, so I’d advise bringing one. It doesn’t take space and weighs close to nothing.

Torch

A diving torch is always a good idea for safety and to bring up more colours during the dive. But it also makes a lot of sense to bring one for diving in the Solomon Islands as there are many wrecks to explore.

Sunscreen

You’ll need to apply sunscreen often, so pick one that is safe for the reef and marine life. If you wear long sleeve tops, you’ll be better protected from the sun, and you’ll use less sunscreen.

Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen could harm the reef? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water.

Best time to visit the Solomon Islands

The climate of the Solomon Islands is equatorial, so it’s warm all year round. There are higher risks of rain from November to April. From June to September, the sea can be more agitated. Hence, April or May and October or November are usually the best time to visit the Solomon Islands.

Did you go scuba diving in the Solomon Islands? Share your experience in the comments below!

Map of where to go scuba diving in the Solomon Islands

Leave a Reply