Diving in the Solomon Islands - Bluewater Dive Travel

Solomon Islands

A school of fish in the Solomon Islands
An aerial view of a floating market in the Solomon Islands

Scuba Diving in the Solomon Islands

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Solomon Islands Diving HIghlights

The Solomon Islands has some of the most pristine dive sites in the world. Unspoiled because of the remote location, there are not many divers or fishermen to put pressure on the reef and fish. The marine diversity of the Solomon Islands is hard to beat!

Hundreds of world-class wrecks, dramatic caves, endless lush coral gardens, biodiversity to rival other Coral Triangle destinations like Indonesia, PNG, and the Philippines, little to no other dive boats around...the Solomon Islands truly is a scuba diving paradise.

Looking to book a trip? View all liveaboards in the Solomon Islands or read on to learn more!


Intro to the Solomon Islands

For incredible reefs, lots of fish, and very few others divers, the Solomon Islands is the place to be. You find wrecks, caverns, wide-angle reefs, large sea fans, soft corals, and lots of macro. There’s an incredible diversity of hard corals.

The Solomon Islands rival any other Indo-Pacific dive travel destination for coral reefs, diverse marine life, and historic World War II wrecks. Topside, you get great cultural experiences like villagers and children in dugout canoes visiting your boat for friendly commerce and interaction.

Your options in the Solomon Islands are limited, which may be a good thing. There are only a couple of resorts and liveaboards. 

View Location on Google Map

If you enjoy getting off the beaten track, check out our guide to diving Vanuatu.

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Diving Information 

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Marine Life & Photography Subjects

Lying at the eastern edge of the famed "Coral Triangle," the Solomons offer an impressive diversity of marine life, ranging from exquisite nudibranchs to friendly cuttlefish and a wealth of other critters. Fish life is also abundant, including massive schools of trevally and barracuda, along with a vast assortment of colorful reef fish. Many reefs offer forests of healthy hard coral, sponges, fans, and soft coral. Underwater terrain is similarly varied, including walls, slopes, coral gardens, and pinnacles, plus dramatic and highly photographic caverns like Leru Cut.


Lens Selection

Photographers should pack both wide angle and macro lens as you will get opportunities to capture walls with mega fans, large schools of jacks or barracuda, mantas, and reef sharks. The macro shots include nudibranchs, blennies, seahorses, leaf scorpion, and every type of ghost pipefish.  

You can use a fisheye lens for wide-angle, schooling fish, wrecks, lionish and cuttlefish, and 60mm or 100mm macro lenses for macro subjects. Super-macro opportunities are also good, and there isn't much surge.

Visit our sister websites Bluewater Photo for the best underwater photography equipment and the Underwater Photography Guide to learn from scratch or brush up your skills! 


Solomon Islands Typical Dive

On a liveaboard, 5 dives a day is typical and that usually includes a night dive. You can dive solo or go with friends and/or a guide. Although some dives are from a big boat, tenders are more common. The tender is usually waiting for you - in the event that you surface early, they’re available to bring you back to the boat. Diving is fairly easy with not much current, good visibility, and plentiful marine life.

Most divers use nitrox due to the repetitive diving. Depths are standard for Info-Pacific reefs, with the best marine life between 20-80 feet deep. On most dives you can get into the shallows, so long dives upwards of 70-90 minutes are possible. Motoring between sites is usually done during meals or at night, allowing you to maximize your time spent in the water.  


Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperatures: Generally 26-29 degrees Celsius/80-85 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Visibility: Average visibility is around 15 meters/50 feet, though at times you’ll enjoy 21-30 meters/60-90 feet or 
  • more.
  • Depth Range: Depths are standard for Indo-Pacific reefs, with the best stuff being between 20-80ft deep.


Dive Sites

  • Mary's Island: It is a popular site with plentiful reef sharks and big schools of jacks and barracuda. Big bumphead parrotfish are commonly seen here and you may see an occasional napoleon wrasse or tuna. Typically, an entire day of diving is done here. This is the main place for "big stuff" - definitely a wide-angle site.
  • Barracuda Point: This site is on Mary's Island. Here you’ll find hundreds of jacks and barracuda in multiple schools swirling toward the sun. It's a photographer dream to shoot away as divers become engulfed by a wall of fish unconcerned with firing strobes.
  • Devils' Highway: This is an advanced dive with strong currents, but it’s where the mantas cruise. You are dropped a couple hundred yards from the wall in about 15' of water, hovering like a skydiver only a few feet from the rock shelf floor. Once you approach the drop off to the wall, kick hard downward and find a place to hold on. (Don’t forget to pack dive gloves!) You will be delighted by the dozen or so mantas that continue to swim back and forth along the top of the wall, feeding in the current.
  • Florida Islands: The Florida Islands are close to Honiara, and have many excellent dive sites. One of the most famous is Twin Tunnels. It's a seamount with two big lava tubes. You can descend into either tube and come out in a cave on a reef wall at about 36m. This dive is great not only for the lava tubes, but for the huge schools of fish that swirl around the seamount, and the fabulous reef on top. There are lots of fans with pygmy seahorses, barrel sponges full of hairy squat lobsters, there are cuttlefish, octopus, eels, rays, and literally hundreds of species of fish and corals. This is just a gorgeous dive and everyone loves it.
  • Russell Islands: The Russell Islands lie between Honiara and Western Province. The highlight would have to be the caves 
  • there - not scary enclosed caves, but shallow caves that are really just cuts in the reef, with gorgeous big shafts of light, and you can look up into the jungle canopy above. Leru Cut, Custom Cave, and Mirror Pond are three well-known sites.
  • Marovo Lagoon: Located on the east side of New Georgia Island, Marovo Lagoon is the world's biggest saltwater lagoon. Uepi lies on the edge of it, and is home to the highly regarded Uepi Island Resort. The renowned Liveaboard, the Bilikiki, visits many sites here. One favorite is Kicha, which is known for lots of reef sharks, big schools of friendly spadefish, barracuda, and a beautiful reef covered in hard and soft corals.
  • Munda: About an hour's flight from Honiara, on the west side of New Georgia, is Munda, another off-the-beaten-path destination that offers spectacular walls, caverns, and coral gardens, as well as numerous WWII plane wrecks. Grey, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef sharks routinely patrol, as do Hammerheads. Eagle rays, Dogtooth Tuna, Barracuda and other pelagics are also common. Smaller critters include Pygmy Seahorses, varieties of Anemonefish, Spiny Lobsters and Fiery Dartfish. There is plenty of history evident above the surface too, along with cultural sites including skull collections left behind by previous generations of headhunters!
  • Western Province: The provincial capital, Gizo, is roughly a 90-minute flight from Honiara, and offers a good mix of healthy reefs, wrecks, and diverse marine life. It's also a great example of a sleepy South Pacific island community, with several small resorts, a handful of shops and restaurants, and an open-air market. Like the rest of the Solomons, this region is steeped in WWII history, including the island where John F. Kennedy and crew met a Japanese torpedo aboard PT-109. 


Wreck Dives in the Solomon Islands

There is no shortage of wrecks in the Solomon Islands. Near Honiara, there are three Japanese wrecks that locals dive all the time. They are the Hirokawa Maru, Kinugawa Maru, and Kysyu Maru. Two of them are at Bonegi Beach, which is a 20-minute drive from the center of Honiara. The third is a few kilometers past Bonegi Beach. Locals call the wrecks - somewhat uncreatively - Bonegi 1, Bonegi 2, and Bonegi 3. They are super easy shore dives, you simply walk into the water and the wrecks start at a depth of just a few meters. The back end of the B1 wreck is around 60m, B2 goes to 30m, and B3 is around 50m at the bottom.

  • B1 is a favorite, some locals have done it 300 times already and say they could easily do it 300 more. There are lots of swim-throughs in the wreck to explore, torpedo holes you can go in and out of, big open cargo holds with cars and other junk inside. Also simply incredible marine diversity, there's interesting macro subjects every square meter of the wreck. Divers have seen sharks, turtles, rays, and there are often big schools of snapper, sweetlips, and jacks. It's also a great night dive, schools of flashlight fish can often be found in the cargo hold, and eels, octopus, and cuttlefish abound.
  • B2 is a smaller wreck. It's shallower, and the top is poking out of the water, so lots of people go there to snorkel. The sand slopes on either side of the wreck are full of garden eels and blue spotted stingrays.
  • B3 has less coral than B1 or B2, but it's an interesting wreck to explore. It has some really nice swim throughs that don't involve any tight squeezes.
Check out our guide to Palau Diving for another amazing undersung wreck destination.

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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

From the US, some people fly direct to Brisbane or Cairns, changing planes once. You can also fly to Fiji, make a plane change, then head to the Solomons' capital, Honiara. Here you’ll board your liveaboard or take a small plane to your resort.  


How to Dive the Solomon Islands

There are two liveaboards that service the Solomon Islands, and a few great dive resorts.  


Best Time to Dive the Solomon Islands

January - March is the rainy season, but diving is still good then; any other time is great. Cyclones rarely hit the Solomon Islands. The weather is always hot and humid, 23-34 degrees Celsius/74-93 degrees Fahrenheit.


Other things to do in the Solomon Islands

Most itineraries revolve around diving, but there are several natural hikes, waterfalls, and World War II sites to explore. For true culture shock, visit the local Kwaio Village. Here, religion has a strong presence and customs and traditions are unlike anything you’ve experienced at home. You can also go on fishing trips, go kayaking, surfing, sailing, or on war tours of battle sites and memorials. Around Honiara, there are lots of hikes to do. Many of them involve walking through beautiful villages, along jungle trails, to scenic waterfalls where you can swim and picnic.

Outside Honiara, resorts are able to arrange activities including village visits, looking at carvings, and local cooking lessons. Carvings from the Solomon Islands are worth a special mention, as some of the artistry and workmanship is exceptional...be sure to leave some extra space in your luggage! Don't worry though; if you run out of room, arrangements can be made to ship your treasures home.

Savo Island is an active volcano that lies just off the coast of Honiara. It can be visited as a day trip, or you can stay at Sunset Lodge (which is run by Sir Allen Kemakeza, former Prime Minister). A typical day trip involves a 30-minute drive from Honiara to Vila Village, where you'll board a 'banana boat' (tinny/ tenders/ small boat with motor).

The 30-minute boat ride to the island generally includes dolphin sightings, and flying fish are virtually guaranteed. When you get to Savo, you can climb the volcano to see bubbling hot springs and geysers, visit the megapodes (a chicken-like bird that uses the volcano's heat to incubate its eggs), or even go swimming with the dolphins.

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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Local currency is the Solomon Islands Dollar (SI$). Credit cards are accepted by major tourism businesses, but elsewhere you will need cash. Currency and major traveler's checks can be changed at a few banks in Honiara and other population centers.
  • Electricity: 240 volts, with Type I (Australian) and G (UK) plugs.
  • Entry Requirements: Make sure your passport has a blank page and is valid for 6 months. You'll also need an onward ticket and adequate funds. Visitor permits for up to 3 months are granted upon entry and visas are not required for most nationalities. However, citizens of communist countries, the Indian subcontinent, Kiribati and Nauru should check with a Solomons Islands embassy before traveling.
  • Language: English is the official language, but Melanesian pigin is the language of choice for most people.
  • Health: As with any travel, it is recommended you are up to date on routine vaccinations such as Typhoid, Tetanus/Diphtheria, Hepatitis, and Polio. Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended if you plan to go ashore around dawn or dusk, especially for land-based resorts. Check with your doctor 4-6 weeks before travel for specific recommendations.
  • Safety: The Solomon Islands are generally quite safe, with incidents of violence against visitors being rare. Just use common sense, as you would in any other remote area. 

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Reviews (3)


The Solomon Islands was a great diving destination. Is not only the diving but the historic value the island has (e.g., 2 nd world war sites) its people and their traditions is something everyone you have in their bucket list to visit. The amount of marine life , the diversity you find makes this diving destination an unforgettable one. Be sure to spend 1 or 2 days in Honiara to visit important 2nd world war landmarks and a 10 to a 15 day LiveAboard is recommended since this destination has so many island to dive and visit. I personally loved the mangroves and tulagi.

Visited on 05/2024 - Submitted on 05/22/2024

Diving the Wild West with Bluewater Travel

In Fiji, people refer to the Solomon Islands as “the Wild West.“ Malaria is endemic, and there’s a history of unrest, political and tribal. Headhunting was practiced here as recently as the early 20th century. The tourist trade is still in its infancy. Only about 8,000 tourists visit each year. Most of them go to Gizo island in the Western Provinces, about an hour-and-a-half flight from the capital.
But the dearth of tourists and development also means that the dive sites here are mostly in pristine condition, especially if you get away from the main islands. In the Solomons, there's the added benefit of many, many undiscovered dive sites. We were able to explore sites no one had ever visited before. The Solomons have always been high on my diving short list and I booked a week on the Islands' newest liveaboard dive boat.
The liveaboard was a purpose-built dive boat originally out of Cairns, Australia. New owners moved it to the Solomons at the beginning of 2016. Designed for the high-occupancy rates on the Great Barrier Reef, the boat holds as many as 30 divers. On our seven-day cruise there were only five.
I like liveaboards-lots of dives at sites that are usually unreachable by day boats (with dive sites, higher traffic usually means damage to the reef and less to see). Sure, they’re expensive, but for some locations (like the Galapagos and the Solomons) they are really the only way to see the best locations.
As a solo diver, the worst part about liveaboards is having to share a small cabin with a stranger. Luckily, here, as in the Galapagos the year before, the boats weren't full, so I was able to have a cabin to myself without paying a premium.

I flew from Fiji to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon’s is a scruffy port town with little in the way of amenities for the traveler. It grew up around Henderson Field after the war, when the British moved the capital from the old colonial center in Tulagi across the bay to take advantage of the infrastructure left by the Americans. So there’s no old colonial architecture, few restaurants, and the hotels mostly cater to business travelers.

I arrived a few days before the dive trip, hoping to tour some of the World War II battlefields. I was surprised to find that unlike most cities, Honiara has no travel agencies offering tours to the local attractions. It isn’t that there aren’t any, just that there no demand to visit them. There’s no WWII museum in the capital, and no memorials other than a few dusty plaques mounted on an obscure wall in the airport, crowded between large advertising signs.

After much work, I was able to find a guide to show me around the main sites: Tenaru River, Henderson Field, Bloody Ridge, and the wreck of the Kinugawa Maru.

About a dozen kilometers out of Honiara, I visited an idyllic beach where I snorkeled through the wreckage of the Kinugawa Maru, a Japanese transport beached after being bombed by American planes during the Battle of Tassafaronga. What's left of the ship is overgrown with beautiful corals and home to thousands of brilliantly-colored fish.
The beach is a favorite weekend picnic site for the locals. Again, there are no markers or memorials. Just the gentle waves and the memories rusting away into the sand.
After hanging out in Honiara for a couple days, it was time to go scuba diving. I met my fellow divers on the dock in Honiara at sunset and took a skiff out to Taka. Our small band included a couple from Taiwan and a retired firefighter and his wife from California.

We met the crew: Captain Dan the mad Brit, Divemaster Mossy the crazy Aussie, his fellow divemaster Lacey, local guide Action Jackson, and their support team. They were all great: friendly, helpful and all clearly having a good time. Dan and Mossy especially were a hoot. They kept us entertained the whole trip.
Leaving the industrial grime of Honiara harbor with its rusted hulks and floating trash, we motored into a night filled with stars and no light pollution except from the boat's navigation lights. The southern constellations and the Milky Way were intensely bright and clear.

And the next morning we awoke in another world. There's nothing like a South Pacific dawn. And there were plenty more of those to come. Not to mention the spectacular sunsets.
For seven days we cruised through the small islands of the Solomons chain (there are over 900 of them). We visited the Russell Islands and the Floridas, then sailed out to remote, uninhabited Mary Island.

I never get tired of the colors: the rich azure of the deep channels contrasting with the limpid turquoise of the shallow reefs and the vivid greens of the tropical vegetation. It is a place of stunning beauty. The only other boats were the locals in their canoes. In the whole week, we saw only one other motorized vessel.

Most of the islands are volcanic rock fringed by a reef that goes from the waterline down to 50-60 feet, then drops off abruptly hundreds or even thousands of feet. The shallow reefs are rich with corals and fish. The visibility almost always good, but near Mary Island it was incredible--at least 200 feet.
The coral is profuse and colorful, even more so than in Fiji. We saw a few sharks and rays, but most of the action was on the reef--nudibranchs, cuttlefish, turtles, seahorses, and so much more. Unfortunately, the plague of crown-of-thorns starfish is beginning to appear here. At some of the sites, we saw dozens of them chewing on the reef, leaving swathes of dead coral in their wake.

We did 25 dives on the cruise. One of the most memorable was the Bat Cave. The islands are riddled with caves carved by the waves. At this site, you enter via a swim-through, then surface in a cave filled with roosting bats. There is a hole in the roof of the cave where sunlight comes though (as well as bats). We were warned to keep to the sides of the cave and keep our regulators in our mouths to avoid falling guano. 

Three dives of the best dives were on some very shallow reefs. Some of the most spectacular sights were in five to six feet of water, including lush corals and a couple close encounters with some curious cuttlefish.

The reefs are owned by the local villages that front them. Jackson, a local who has been guiding for dive boats in the area for many years, knew all the villagers and negotiated the fees we paid to dive on their reefs. The village spokesman and his whole family would come out to welcome us and collect their money.

At other times we were visited by locals eager to sell their produce or fish. We scored lots of delicious bananas and papayas.
Even the little kids had their own canoes. We would often see small children rowing on their own seemingly far from any habitation.

Once the diving was finished, we visited a village in the Florida Islands. it was truly an idyllic setting. The village children gathered in a tree to watch us arrive. As we stepped out of the boat, we were greeted by women in native garb and given leis and fresh, cold coconuts with stalks of ginger for a straw. Then the women sang and danced for us. They put on a whole show including traditional songs and dances, hymns, and a special goodbye song to end the performance.

It was a lovely end to an incredible dive trip.

Visited on 06/2020 - Submitted on 06/08/2020

Just to add to the Shore Dives available past Boneghi 3 (B3) are the B17E Flying Fortress, I have just provided a Road Sign for George the Local Landowner. He charges SBD 50 (USD 8) to dive. He is now selling a 25 minute Video of the Wreckage that is a complete swim around. The wreck is the cockpit and fuselage to past the wing section and the full wing with all four engines. The tail section past the wing was recovered in 1944 by the SeaBees. The aircrafts' name is "Bessie : The Jap Basher" and crashed some seven weeks after the Marines landed on Guadalcanal (7AUG42) on 24SEP1942. Depth is 20m and it is a 70m swim offshore.
The next Wreck up the road at approx. 40klms from Honiara is the Japanese Submarine I-1 that was attacked by two New Zealand naval vessels in early 1943. Unfortunately salvage attempts resulted in the destruction of the the Bow Section, but the stern motors and Battery sections have some shape of a Submarine. It is laying against the shore reef on a slope. Anthony is the Local Landowner and again the charge is SBD50. It is a long snorkel (300 m) so hiring a local canoe is a good idea. Not sure of the depth but 35-40m is approx. The small bay has an amazing range of Clown Fish in a small area, well worth a snorkel
The local dive shop Solomon Island Dive (Tulagi Dive) has day trips to all the wrecks NW of Honiara and the Submarine and B17 is a popular day's diving.
Currently there are two Liveaboards operating from Honiara : Bilikiki Cruises and Solomon Islands Dive Expeditions (SIDE) "Solomon Star". Both have multiple dive itinieres and the 10-14 day expeditions that go further up "The Slot" towards Bouganville in Papua New Guinea are the most sought after.
Other deep diveable wrecks are SE of Honiara and include the USS John Penn and multiple wrecks in Tulagi area.

Visited on 08/2014 - Submitted on 10/25/2014


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