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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands travel guide

About Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands archipelago is made up of nearly 1,000 tropical islands scattered across the southwestern Pacific, just to the east of Papua New Guinea. The remote location has kept the islands an unspoilt gem of a travel destination, with a slowly developing tourist industry.

The main islands to visit are Guadalcanal, Malaita, Choiseul, New Georgia, San Cristobal and Santa Isabel. The capital of Honiara, on Guadalcanal, is also well worth some time, with a museum, botanical gardens and its very own Chinatown. Villages and scenic drives are within easy reach of the capital, as are the popular World War II battlefield tours and carving villages on the islands of Rennell and Bellona.

Many Pacific islands are well geared to tourism today, but Solomon Islands bucks the trend, with a few shambolic guesthouses to stay in and a thoroughly laid-back approach to life. No palatial resorts here. The locals pride themselves in preserving the natural beauty of the islands.

Wander the jungle-strewn landscapes and take pleasure in stumbling across leaf-hut villages. Indeed, the traditional culture of the islanders endures to this day. Some 70 languages are spoken among the half a million largely Melanesian inhabitants, the majority of whom are Christian, though they also cling to their ancient customs. Many still wear traditional indigenous clothing, while the pan flute can be heard everywhere.

On the natural side, there are volcanic islands to explore, vast lagoons, spell-binging rainforests and countless tropical islands. Be sure to tour the mangrove forests, but beware of crocodiles. More active visitors can go surfing and kayaking, while the well-kept coral reefs offer ample opportunity for snorkelling. Guided tours into the yawning chasm of an extinct volcano is another unmissable, as are dives down to shipwrecks from World War II.

The Solomon Islands may not be that well known compared to other regional destinations, but this makes them all the more enticing for the adventurous traveller.

Key facts

Area:

28,896 sq km (11,157 sq miles).

Population:

594,934 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

21.5 per sq km.

Capital:

Honiara.

Government:

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state:

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor-General David Vunagi since 2019.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Rick Hou since 2017.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Solomon Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights to and from Solomon Islands remain suspended. Check with your travel company for the latest information.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Solomon Islands.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Travel from Solomon Islands to the UK is extremely challenging with very few, if any, remaining routes open.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Solomon Islands

Taxis are available at the airport and are functioning normally. Internal flights are operating.

Accommodation

Hotels are open and social distancing is encouraged but not enforced.

Public places and services

Hotels, bars, restaurants and shops all open as normal. Nightclubs have recently reopened.

Healthcare in Solomon Islands

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should remain where you are and call the Ministry of Health on (677) 23650 (Landline) or (677) 7522202 (Mobile). You will then be contacted by the Public Health Emergency Surveillance Team.

It is possible to have a Covid-19 test done locally. If you require a PCR test, you can request one. You should call the Ministry of Health – Public Health Emergency Response Team – on the 2 numbers above.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Solomon Islands.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Solomon Islands

We will update this page when the Government of Solomon Islands announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Solomon Islands national vaccination programme started in March 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines. The Government of Solomon Islands has stated that British nationals resident in Solomon Islands are eligible for vaccination. Further information on the vaccination programme is available on the Government of Solomon Islands Ministry of Health website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Solomon Islands, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Political situation

You should monitor local media and be vigilant around political demonstrations and large gatherings.

Crime

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has limited resources and response times to calls for help can be slow. There have been reports of robberies involving violence, handbag snatching, pick-pocketing, distraction thefts and harassment, particularly around the central market and local beaches. There has been a recent increase in the number of house burglaries. Make sure you have effective security in place.

Civil unrest and drunken behaviour can occur. Foreigners and expatriates may be attractive targets for violence. Take care if going to local nightclubs and be aware that such venues rarely have adequate fire precautions in place.

Take sensible security precautions at all times, and maintain a high state of personal awareness. Be especially vigilant whilst travelling around Honiara at night particularly if on foot. Take particular care in the squatter settlements around Honiara, White River and the Lungga Bridge, Sun Valley, Mataniko Bridge, Burns Creek and Henderson (airport) area. Security incidents in these areas have included improvised road blocks, sporadic rock throwing and more serious violent criminal acts, including sexual assault, robbery and vehicle hijacking. If you plan to visit rural Guadalcanal, take day trips outside Honiara or visit the island of Malaita you should check local advice before travelling. Visits to other provinces in Solomon Islands are generally trouble-free.

Road travel

There are few roads in Solomon Islands; 90% of these are on Guadalcanal and Malaita. Many are very heavily potholed and in some areas bridges have collapsed. Standards of driving and vehicle maintenance are poor. Be especially careful when overtaking. Many Solomon Islanders chew betel nut and frequently open vehicle doors, including on the driver’s side, when travelling at speed, in order to spit onto the road. Take care when driving in and around town. Poor pedestrian discipline and speeding has resulted in a number of fatal accidents. Driving at night requires even more care as there is little street lighting.

If you are involved in a road accident the law requires you to stop and stay at the scene until the police arrive. There may however be circumstances where this is not safe, for example if a large and hostile crowd has gathered. In this case, it may be preferable to drive to the nearest police station to report the incident.

Air travel

Reliability of services can be patchy and cancellations occur. Domestic flights are particularly prone to disruption and visitors with international connections should take note and plan accordingly. Facilities at Henderson International Airport are well below those at most international airports and you should prepare accordingly. International flight departures are to Brisbane, Nadi, Port Moresby, Tarawa and Port Vila.

Sea travel

You should avoid travel on inter-island ferries wherever possible. Ferry services are usually crowded and safety regulations are not always strictly applied. Some domestic inter-island passenger ferries are operated at a nationally acceptable standard, but most domestic shipping is operated at a standard that would not be acceptable to an international traveller, and few carry recognised insurance. You should check with the operator before embarking. Bring your own lifejacket if you are taking sea journeys. Journeys to small and/or remote islands are usually in small-motorised canoes.

Dangerous wildlife

Salt water crocodiles are native to many parts of Solomon Islands, and there are regular sightings on beaches. Take local advice before entering unfamiliar waters, including lakes. There are also large species of shark (such as bull, hammerhead and tiger sharks) in the coastal waters.

Water sports

Many visitors to Solomon Islands take part in water sports, including scuba diving and snorkelling without incident. However, deaths and serious accidents have occurred because basic safety measures weren’t taken. Safety precautions and emergency responses may be less than those expected in the UK.

There’s a decompression chamber in Honiara staffed by volunteers. Registered dive operators can provide information on access arrangements.

Make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for the activities you take part in.

Communications

There are two mobile telephone networks operating in Solomon Islands. Coverage is variable but does extend to the outer provinces and is becoming more extensive. Contact your service provider for further details. Your UK mobile phone is highly unlikely to work in the Solomon Islands. Local SIM cards and handsets are available. Solomon Telekom offers a hire service for satellite phones. Mobile 4G internet services are available in Honiara. Check with the operator for tariffs.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Solomon Islands, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Drug use is illegal in Solomon Islands, and can lead to prison sentences.

Swearing is a crime and can lead to large compensation claims and even jail.

Dress codes, particularly for women, are modest. In certain areas there are ‘tabu’ sites only visited by men.

Land ownership in Solomon Islands is an important and sensitive issue. Walking and trekking off the beaten track, or the use of many of the beaches around Honiara, may require payment of a ’kastom’ fee to the landowner.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Solomon Islands and the penalties can include custodial sentences. Open displays of affection are likely to offend. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Solomon Islands set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Solomon Islands

All non-Solomon Island citizens must receive prior authorisation from the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s Office before being granted permission to enter the country.

The Solomon Islands designate other countries as being ‘Low Risk’, ‘ ‘High Risk’ or ‘Restricted” The UK is designated as Restricted.

Low Risk countries are currently Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Pacific Island nations (excluding Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia/Tahiti).

To enter Solomon Islands from Low Risk countries travellers must undertake two COVID-19 PCR tests prior to flight departure and both results must be negative.

  • First Test - 14 days prior to departure - results to be sent with your Pre-Departure Form to NHEOC_REPAT@moh.gov.sb
  • Second Test - no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure - results to be sent to NHEOC_REPAT@moh.gov.sb

Quarantine in Honiara will be 14 days.

Restricted countries are currently Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the USA.

All countries not listed as either Low Risk or Restricted are designated High Risk.

Passengers from Restricted countries will not be accepted for travel unless they are a Solomon Island citizen or can satisfactorily demonstrate that they have completed the prescribed course of a COVID vaccine at least 4 weeks prior to travel. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’)

To enter Solomon Islands from High Risk countries (including Restricted countries for eligible fully vaccinated travellers) passengers must undertake three COVID-19 PCR prior to flight departure and negative test results are required:

Quarantine in Honiara will be 21 days.

Prospective travellers who are currently in a Restricted country also become eligible to enter Solomon Islands after spending at least the 14 days prior to travel in a Low/High risk country.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Non-Solomon Islanders must pay for quarantine and COVID-19 tests in one of the local hotels. Anyone testing positive will be moved to an isolation facility, their quarantine extended, and further COVID-19 tests will be taken.

There is a complete prohibition on yachts or pleasure craft entering Solomon Islands territory by sea. This applies to all ports and islands in the territory. You may not enter Solomon Islands by yacht or pleasure craft. Mariners in distress seeking entry as an emergency safe haven should make all efforts to contact Solomon Islands Authorities well in advance of entering. The penalties for entering Solomon Islands by yacht or pleasure craft without permission include forfeiture of the boat, imprisonment, fine and deportation.

If you are already in Solomon Islands and hold a short term visa for Solomon Islands which is close to expiry, you should contact Solomon Island Immigration to get your visa extended. If you are outside Solomon Islands and have a work permit, visa or exemption, you should contact the Ministry of Commerce and Immigration before beginning the return process; visa conditions may have changed since your visa was issued.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Solomon Islands has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. You should follow the entry rules for unvaccinated people. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

Quarantine requirements

Entering the country illegally/not observing the mandatory quarantine period could result in a fine of up to SBD 1 million (approx. £100,000) and/or 20 years imprisonment.

Testing / screening on arrival

All incoming travellers eligible to enter the country must complete a Traveller’s Public Health Declaration card. You must provide full details of your place of stay, travel itinerary and current personal contact details in Solomon Islands for 14 days after your arrival/quarantine in Solomon Islands.

You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. If you need further information about entry requirements, contact the local immigration authorities or the nearest Solomon Islands high commission. You should also check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.

Regular entry requirements

Visas  

British nationals visiting Solomon Islands do not need a visa. However, you should have a printed copy of a return or onward ticket. Check with the Solomon Islands Immigration Department for any other visa related questions, including how to apply for research, business or residency permits.

If you’re visiting or living in the Solomon Islands, you’re advised to get a multiple entry visa for Australia.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Solomon Islands.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Solomon Islands.

Measles vaccination evidence requirements

All travellers, with effect from 28 December 2019, will be required to complete a Travellers Health Declaration Card on arrival.

From 28 December 2019, to enter Solomon Islands you will need to show proof of vaccination against measles if you have travelled from or via Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and the Philippines.

From 20 January 2020 proof of vaccination against measles will also be required if travelling to Solomon Islands from/via Kiribati and Papau New Guinea.

The requirement is not applicable to persons transiting through Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, the Philippines, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea where the original port of boarding, departure or embarkation is outside of the affected countries. A transit in this instance, means staying within the airport terminal complex.

You must be vaccinated at least 15 days prior to arrival in Solomon Islands and you must be able to provide documentary evidence of your vaccination. Failure to do so may result in you being unable to board your inbound flight or deportation.

For the purposes of entry into the Solomon Islands, the proof of vaccination is required to be in the form of:

  • A vaccine card (yellow card) or other documentation that lists the measles vaccine as having been administered at any date prior to the 15 days stipulated, or in childhood. The proof of vaccination also includes a medical certificate from a recognised medical practitioner or hospital that states the traveller is protected from measles due to a past infection or immunisation with measles vaccine;

  • A medical certificate from a recognised medical practitioner/hospital that states a travellers blood test confirms the presence of measles antibodies or that the test is reactive for measles.

These requirements are not applicable for infants under 6 months of age, pregnant women and persons where there is evidence of contraindications for vaccine administration such as immune deficiency and allergies.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Solomon Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Solomon Islands.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Other health risks

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are widespread across Solomon Islands. You should follow the advice of local authorities, National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Viral infections are common and you should take precautions to reduce the risks (ie washing hands and drinking bottled water).

UK health authorities have classified Solomon Islands as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Medical treatment

Medical facilities are very basic. There are limited hospital facilities and medical supplies aren’t always available. The National Referral Hospital in Honiara frequently runs out of blood supplies and often has a very limited stock of oral re-hydration salts, paracetamol and basic antibiotics. Wards and units can close down at very short notice. Gizo hospital is newly built and has good facilities, but can also run short of supplies.

Take a basic medical kit with you when visiting rural and remote areas. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. To receive medical treatment in Australia, you’ll need a medical visa before you arrive in Australia.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The Solomon Islands are a part of the ’Ring of Fire’ that surrounds the basin of the Pacific Ocean; earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity can occur at any time.

Sometimes localised tsunamis are caused by larger undersea earthquakes. The Solomon Islands authorities are responsible for providing tsunami warnings and alerts, usually through radio broadcasts. You can get up to date information from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre

The tropical cyclone season normally runs from November to May. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the  World Meteorological Organisation and Solomon Islands Meteorological Service.

Heavy rain and flooding can affect the Solomon Islands. Bridges are often washed away as a result. Check local weather forecasts and take care if you are travelling during the tropical cyclone season.

Access to banking facilities is difficult in rural areas. ATMs are available in Honiara, Gizo, Munda and Auki.

Credit and debit card payments through the 2 main banks ANZ and BSP are becoming more widely available in Honiara

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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