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Solomon Islands Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Solomon Islands
Capital City: Honiara
Language Spoken: Melanesian pidgin in much of the country is lingua franca; English is official but spoken by only 1%-2% of the population note: 120 indigenous languages

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Geographic data

8 00 S, 159 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earth tremors; volcanic activity

Natural resources

fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel

Land use

arable land: 0.62% permanent crops: 2.04% other: 97.34% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying

Climate

Semi-tropical, mainly hot and humid, with little annual variation in temperature. The wet season (November to April) can bring severe tropical storms. Required clothing Tropical, lightweights and cottons are recommended. Rainwear from November to April.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+11

Population

552,438 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.3% (male 116,370/female 111,834) 15-64 years: 55.4% (male 154,793/female 151,308) 65 years and over: 3.3% (male 8,696/female 9,437) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 18.9 years male: 18.7 years female: 19 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.61% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

30.01 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

3.92 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.91 years male: 70.4 years female: 75.55 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.91 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Dress for business meetings is typically casual (though modest) and a shirt and trousers or skirt will suffice. English and French are widely spoken in business circles. Office hours are 0800-1200 and 1300-1630 Monday to Friday, 0730-1200 Saturday.

Crime

There are still some guns held illegally in the community and a consequent risk of armed robberies and intimidation. A number of former militants operate personal ?fiefdoms? with armed followers. Some militant groups split and engaged in internecine conflict; some others pursued criminal activities. This has contributed to a general climate of lawlessness and criminal violence, particularly in Honiara, elsewhere on Guadalcanal, and on Malaita. There was an increase in criminal activity in Honiara in September 2006, including reports of robbery and rape. There has also been an increase in armed gang violence, particularly in the vicinity of the Burns Creek area in East Honiara including the Ranandi industrial center. Crime goes up after dark. The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has limited resources and response times to calls for assistance are likely to be slow. Swearing is a crime and can lead to large compensation claims and even jail.

Hotels

There are only six hotels in Honiara. Visitors are advised to make advance reservations. The Tavanipupu Island Resort in the Marau Sound (Guadalcanal) is accessible by air and sea. Accommodation is also available in the Reef Islands, Western Solomons and Malaita.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available. Country code: 677. Outgoing international code: 00. There are no area codes. Solomon Telekom provides fax services at its offices in Honiara, though introduction elsewhere has been gradual and only some hotels have facilities. The Main Post Office in Honiara is open 0900-1630 Monday to Friday; 0900-1100 Saturday. Other post office opening hours are 0800-1630 Monday to Friday; 0800-1200 Saturday.

Electricity

is 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-type flat 3-pin plugs are in use. Electricity 230/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-type flat three-pin plugs are in use.

Plug Types

 

Food And Dining

There are a few restaurants outside the hotels in Honaria. Both Asian and European food is served and the cuisine is generally good. There are two Chinese restaurants in Honiara which are quite popular. Table service is normal. Spirits, wine and beer are available.

National specialties:
? Tapioca pudding.
? Taro roots with taro leaves.

Tipping:
There is no tipping on the Solomon Islands and visitors are requested to honor this local custom.

Nightlife
Honiara is a comparatively quiet town, although there are a few clubs with music and dancing, the occasional film show, and snooker and darts. The clubs offer temporary membership to visitors.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months required by all except nationals of Hong Kong (SAR) with a document of identity.

Visas

A Visitor?s Permit will be issued to most nationals on arrival at the airport (including those listed in the chart above). The permit allows stays of up to three months and the cost of the permit varies according to nationality.

Note

Visitors from the following countries need clearance from the Immigration Department and are required to give prior notice in order to obtain a visitor?s permit:
(a) all African countries;
(b) all CIS countries (except Belarus);
(c) nationals of Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, China (PR), Colombia, Comoros Islands, Congo (Dem Rep), Congo (Rep), Costa Rica, C?te d?Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Korea (Dem Rep), Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, The Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen.

Application to

Nearest Solomon Islands Consulate, High Commission or Embassy or Principal/Director of Immigration, Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Affairs and Tourism, PO Box G26, Honiara (e-mail: [email protected]).

Application requirements

All visitors: (a) Valid passport. (b) Onward or return tickets. (c) Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of stay. Visitors requiring prior clearance: (a)-(c) and, (d) Photocopy of passport. (e) Details of itinerary. (f) Reason for visit.

Working days required

Apply well in advance.

Temporary residence

Apply to the Labor Division, Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Affairs and Tourism (see address above).

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

SI$40. Transit passengers and children under two years are exempt.

Embassies

Permanent Mission of the Solomon Islands to the United Nations in the USA

Suite 400L, 800 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 599 6192.
Website: https://www.un.int/solomonislands/

Most visits to the Solomon Islands are trouble-free, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
The Solomon Islands is in the Pacific ?Ring of Fire? and subject to earthquakes.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/solomon-islands

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/SolomonIslands.html

Currency

Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD; symbol SI$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of SI$50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of SI$1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency restrictions

The import of local and foreign currency is unlimited provided declared on arrival. The export of local currency is limited to SI$250; the export of foreign currency is limited to the extent approved by the Solomon Islands' Monetary Authority.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1500.

Currency exchange

Money can be changed at banks, bureaux de change, some hotels, and larger shops and restaurants. Automated foreign exchange machines and three ATMs are available in Honiara.

Credit cards

All major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and tourist resorts. Check with your credit, or debit, card company for details of merchant acceptability and other facilities which may be available.

Travellers cheques

Can be exchanged at banks, of which there are three in the major towns. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Australian Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Atoifi411+ 2 digits
Auki40+ 3 digits
Buala35+ 3 digits
Gizo60+ 3 digits
Henderson36+ 3 digits
Honiara29+ 3 digits
KGVI39+ 3 digits
Kira Kira50+ 3 digits
Kiu414+ 2 digits
Lata53+ 3 digits
Malu'u413+ 2 digits
Munda62+ 3 digits
Noro61+ 3 digits
Taro63+ 3 digits
Tigoa52+ 3 digits
Tulagi32+ 3 digits
Yandina412+ 2 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in the Solomon Islands as the standards of care are low and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available is often out of date or heat damaged and therefore should be avoided

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Hospitals and pharmacies in the Solomon Islands are limited to population centers and missions. The nearest reliable medical facilities are in Australia or New Zealand. Medical conditions resulting from diving accidents may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hazards to bathers include corals and jellyfish, poisonous fish, and sea snakes.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Malaria - prevalent Food-borne and water-borne illness: diseases such as the diarrheal diseases, the typhoid fevers and helminthic infections are common. Hepatitis occurs. Biointoxication may occur from raw or cooked fish and shellfish. Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Influenza risk extends throughout the year.

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Gizo HospitalP.O. Box 36 Gizo Gizo Province
Helena Goldie HospitalP.O. Box 82 Munda New Georgia
Kilu'ufi HospitalAuki Malaita Island
Lata HospitalLata Santa Cruz Island Temotu Province
National Referral HospitalP.O. Box 349 Honiara Guadacanal

Media

Press: The main newspapers are the daily English-language Solomon Star and Solomons Voice.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

Need help?

UK Customer Services0330 880 3600

Open Mon - Fri 8:30am - 6pm.
Sat 8:30am - 4pm.
(Calls may be monitored or recorded)

Contact details can be found in your policy documentation

Available 24 hours a day, every day