Solomon Islands Dollar - Travel Money Saving Tips
Solomon Islands are laid-back, welcoming and often surprisingly untouched. From WWII relics scattered in the jungle to leaf-hut villages where traditional culture is alive. Then there’s the visual appeal, with scenery reminiscent of a Discovery Channel documentary: volcanic islands, croc-infested mangroves, huge lagoons, tropical islets and emerald forests. Don’t expect white-sand beaches and ritzy resorts. With only a smattering of traditional guesthouses and comfortable hideaways, it’s tailor-made for ecotourists. For outdoorsy types, lots of action-packed experiences await: climb an extinct volcano, surf uncrowded waves, snorkel pristine reefs or kayak across a lagoon. Beneath the ocean’s surface, awesome WWII wrecks and dizzying drop-offs will enthrall divers.
What currency to use in the Solomon Islands?
The currency used in the Solomon Islands is the Solomon Islands dollar (SBD) and foreign currency exchanges are readily available. However, some resorts do accept Australian dollars as payment. The coins look almost identical in size to the currency used in Australia. If you plan on shopping or purchasing handicrafts - you will need some local currency.
There are the main commercial banks, ANZ, BSP, Bred Bank and Pan Oceanic Bank. ANZ, BSP, Bred Bank and POB operate ATM money machines in Honiara. All commercial banks in Honiara, Auki and Gizo handle foreign exchange and there are also currency exchange services available at Honiara International Airport. Some of the hotels and resorts around the country will accept American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit cards, but not all so it may be worth checking first.
Travel in the Solomon Islands.
Canadian, U.S., British, Commonwealth and E.E.C visitors do not need to obtain a visa before arrival. (Subject to change). Passports must be valid for 6 months after your departure. Everyone needs a passport, onward ticket, and sufficient funds to cover their stay in the Solomon Islands. Honiara International Airport is located 8 kilometres east of the capital, Honiara. Solomon Airlines offers flights departing from Brisbane, Australia four times a week, whilst Virgin Australia offers an additional two services to and from Brisbane. There are also flights departing from Port Vila Vanuatu, Nadi Fiji and Port Moresby Papua New Guinea.
Outboard-powered dinghies are the most common means of transport in the Solomons. People pay a fare to travel a sector. Charters cost around S$1500 per day for the boat and a driver; fuel is often not included (S$22 per litre in remote areas). Public minibuses are found only in Honiara. Elsewhere, people pile into open-backed trucks or tractor-drawn trailers. Taxis are plentiful in Honiara and there are small fleets in Gizo and Auki. They are meterless, so agree on the price before you set off.
Travel tips for the Solomon Islands.
The Solomons was the scene of bloody naval, air and land battles during the war in the Pacific in 1942-43. History buffs and the families of veterans come to see the memorials, museums and rusting military hardware, mainly on Guadalcanal Island but also in the Western Province. You can still see jeeps, tanks and amphibious vehicles in the jungle, as well as foxholes and caves where the Japanese were dug in.
There are hot springs on Savo, where a volcano last erupted in the 1840s. Solomon Islands has a number of other volcanoes. For example, Tinakula in the Santa Cruz group and Kavachi, a submarine volcano near New Georgia, have erupted regularly every few years, and Simbo Island has a solfatara (a volcanic area or vent that yields only hot vapours and sulfurous gases).
There are between sixty and seventy languages spoken in the Solomon Islands archipelago as opposed to the nation state of Solomon Islands, which covers a smaller area. The lingua franca is Pijin, and the official language is English.
The Solomon Islands enjoy a tropical climate with daytime temperatures averaging 29C and evening temperatures averaging 19C. April to November is the most popular time to visit as the climate is very pleasant with little rain but the Solomon Islands are definitely considered a year round destination.
Also see our full Foreign Exchange Guide to the Solomon Islands for more money saving tools and information on Solomon Islands Dollar Transfers and Travel Money.