The basics of travel, weather & diving conditions
To help you plan your trip, we've prepared a list of basic information you'll want to know before you book. Once your trip has been reserved, you'll receive pre-departure information with all the details you need for your adventure.
Getting There & Away
You'll book your international flights into and out of Honiara International Airport (HIR).
From North America, flying via Nadi, Fiji is the most direct route. Flights leave from Los Angeles.San Francisco, Hawaii and a few other North American cities. Please note that due to the international date line it is necessary to book flights that depart 2 days before the desired arrival date.
From other parts of the world flying via Brisbane, Australia is usually the best option although from some Asian countries flights via Port Moresbt, Papua New Guinea are also possible.
If you're dive cruise is on a Solomons PNG Master itinerary departing from Munda, there are daily domestic flights to Munda (MUA) from Honiara.
International flights are possible to most destinations on the day of disembarkation but please ensure you allow plenty of time for transfers and check in.
Traveling via Australia: If your flight connection time in Australia is longer than 8 hours, or you wish to extend and stay in Australia for a visit there, you will need a transit visa, visitor visa or ETA, depending on your travel plans and itinerary.
If your flight transits through the United States, you will also need a visa for entry there,
Most visitors do not require a visa prior to arrival in the Solomon Islands. You will receive a 90-day visa at the airport. However, It is always wise to check with the nearest Solomon Islands embassy or consulate if you have any question regarding entry requirements.
If you are traveling with medication please bring your physician’s prescription with you. A yellow fever certificate will be required if you are coming from a country with yellow fevor.
You should have a printed copy of a return or onward ticket to prove that you are planning to leave the Solomons after your visit. Also, your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months beyond your stay.
We strongly recommend spending an additional night before your liveaboard adventure to ensure being well rested for the diving ahead and gives you extra leeway in case of delayed flights or luggage. .After the dive trip, it's also a good idea to spend an extra night to avoid any delays that might cause you to miss your international flight. Whatever your plans, we advise you to allow plenty of time between flights and between a liveaboard's arrival back to port and your departure flight.
What´s the weather like in the Solomons ?
Located just a few degrees south of the equator, the climate is tropical year round, which means generally sunny with frequent, short bursts of rain. Humidity is usually high, particularly inland, but is significantly lower on the smaller islands and aboard ship. There are roughly two seasons. There is more rainfall from November to April, however, the area is not monsoonal and so storms usually blow through very quickly. Temperature changes only very slightly throughout the year with the average daytime temperature being around 27°C (81°F). While evenings are generally also quite warm we would always advise guests to bring warm clothing just in case.
What about Water Temperatures ?
Water and air temperature are pretty much constant, and vary only 2 - 3 degrees all year long. The water temperatures range between 28-30° C (80-86° F) all year with the "cooler" time of year from June to August. Most divers are comfortable in a 3mm wet suit or just a lycra but it really depends on how much you feel the cold. Please keep in mind that although the water and air are warm, if you are doing 4 - 5 dives a day some thermal protection is recommended..
The diving in the Solomons is generally relatively easy as the currents are mild, the water warm and calm and the visibility great.. Even when it is windy, the seas are calm among the islands where you will dive. On most dives you can choose your own depth so you don't need to be doing repetitive deep dives. There are a few dives with currents, like Devil's Highway, but generally the currents in the Solomons are very mild and dives are planned with the current in mind to minimize difficulty.
Experience Required for Solomons Diving
Solomons dives are typically appropriate for all levels of divers. If you're a novice, or have very few logged dives, your Cruise Director and dive guides will work with you to ensure that you don't undertake dives beyond your level of experience. A few wrecks are at recreational diving depths. If your main interest in the Solomons is diving the wrecks, we'll be happy to help you to find a "wrecks week" itinerary or set up a private charter.
Best Time to Go
The diving here is good all year round. Having said that, however, it's good to note that January and February tend to be very wet. The Bilikiki reserves these months for annual maintenance but the Master dives throughout the year.
The boats offer rental gear if you don't wish to carry everything with you on your long journey. Besure to request in advance to guarantee correct sizes and equipment.
Generally, medical care in Solomon Islands is very basic and medical supplies are limited. There are around 8 hospitals, the best of which is located in Honiara. To prevent stomach ailments we recommend normal precautions with food. Drinking only bottled water is important. Bring a good insect repellent and long pants & long-sleeved shirts to help prevent any insect borne diseases. Malaria is present in the Solomon Islands, as are other tropical diseases such as dengue fever, TB, hepatitis, and typhoid. We recommend consulting your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information and vaccinations well before departure.
Measles prevention: in response to recent measles outbreaks across the Asia Pacific region, all guests entering the Solomon Islands are required to complete a health declaration form regarding immunisation against measles. The forms will be made available at check-in counters and on board your flight. Also, all non-residents arriving from measles-affected countries including Papua New Guinea, American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand and Philippines (including transit through these countries) will be required to provide certified proof that they have been vaccinated against measles at least 15 days prior to their date of arrival.
Flying after Diving
Current studies show that you should wait at least 24 hours after multiple days with repetitive diving before flying. Please keep this in mind before you book your onward international or domestic flights.
The best option is to arrive with enough US Dollars for your trip, although both liveaboards will generally accept Visa cards. It's a good idea to exchange some money into Solomon Dollars before boarding so that you have money for buying some of the exquite Solomon Islands carvings.
Taxes & Fees
Bilikiki : there is a $25 per person per night tax payable before the trip. There are no extra taxes or surcharges to pay onboard.
Solomon / PNG Master: Marine Kastom fee applies to all guests on board Solomons PNG Master and is tracked by our Captain and Cruise Director. It is distributed among all of the villages where we dive, snorkel, moor or participate in village visits. Any excess funds are used to assist the villages in local improvements including marine conservation education programs and mooring buoy programs. By paying the Marine Kastom Fee you provide the funds to manage the local waters and guarantee our lasting success in nature protection and conservation.
Do I need insurance ?
We strongly recommend comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable events including personal & business impediments, illness, travel delays and missed flight connections. We hate seeing any of our clients fall into the category of unfortunate travelers who are without coverage for unexpected circumstances
Diving insurance: the liveaboards now require diving insurance. You must not confuse regular travel medical and/or travel insurance with diving-specific insurance such as DAN (Divers Alert Network) or Dive Assure. This type of insurance will cover all of your scuba diving and snorkeling activities, including the costs for recompression chamber treatment and emergency air evacuation. These are not covered by the average travel insurance.
We recommend Dive Assure as they are one of the few companies who offer insurance which includes general travel insurance, including trip cancellation .... plus full dive coverage.
Click here or on the button in the side panel to access Dive Assure directly.
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