Welcome to Paradise – Your Guide to Diving in the Solomon Islands.

With some of the best reef and wreck diving in the world, plus abundant pelagic fish, reef sharks and mantas, the Solomon Islands are an undisputed bucket list destination. These idyllic islands have countless dive sites for all experience levels, with hundreds of coral-encrusted WWII wrecks and diverse underwater landscapes that include plunging walls, caves and coral gardens. With year-round diving and almost countless islands to choose from, you are truly spoilt for choice. Read on to find out more.

Top places to go diving in the Solomon Islands.

The Central Province.

1. Florida Islands.

The Florida Islands, also known as the Ngella Islands, are close to Honiara and offer fantastic diving. One of the most famous dive sites there, the Twin Tunnels, has two vertical lava tubes that you can descend into and down to a reef wall at around 36 meters.

There are huge schools of fish at the entrance to the tunnels and the walls are covered in corals, sponges and fans. The tunnels are busy with life, including pygmy seahorses, hairy squat lobsters and octopi.

Hop over to Maravai in the Florida Islands and you can experience another popular dive, the Devil’s Highway. You’ll need a reef hook if the currents are running, which they often are, but you’ll be rewarded with mantas swimming overhead. 

2. Russell Islands

Sitting between Honiara and the Western Province, the Russell Islands host some of the best-known dives of the Solomon Islands. Leru Cut is perhaps the most famous dive site, where you can glide between the walls of a crevasse that cuts through an island.  

The Wreck of the Ann is a must-see wreck swathed in soft corals and there are numerous wrecks to explore at White Sand Beach. You can swim through a halocline at Custom Cave, search for pygmy seahorses at the popular Mirror Pond, or explore scenic hard coral gardens at Kaukau and Koemurun Islands. There are also shallow caves filled with sunlight and framed by lush jungle overhead. 

Guadalcanal Province.

3. Honiara, Guadalcanal Island.

You might not think of Honiara, the capital and largest city of the Solomon Islands, when it comes to diving in the Solomon Islands. There are however many sites to explore just off the coast.

Mbike is a small island that is popular for weekend getaways from Honiara thanks to its shallow reef just off its beach. Bonegi Beach is a short drive from Honiara and has two well-known WWII shore wreck dives, the Hirokawa Maru (Bonegi 1) and Kinugawa Maru (Bonegi 2). Between them, they offer easy wreck diving in light-filled shallow waters and deep wreck diving down to 50 meters.

The Eastern Province.

4. Iron Bottom Sound.

When divers talk about the Solomon Islands, Iron Bottom Sound is one of the first places that gets mentioned. Sitting between the Florida Islands and Guadalcanal, this stretch of water is famous for its wreck dives.

This area was at the center of the WWII Guadalcanal campaign, which created hundreds of wrecks that are the jewel in the crown of Solomon Islands diving. There are around 200 ships and over 600 aircraft wrecks in this 600-meter-deep sound.

The USS Aaron Ward is a popular tech wreck dive down to 60 -70 meters and there are countless other deep wrecks to choose from. Combined with the wrecks just off the nearby Florida Islands, there is plenty for snorkelers, recreational divers and tech wreck divers to enjoy.

The Western Province. 

5. Mary Island.

Sitting in exposed open water between the Russell Islands and Marovo Lagoon, Mary Island is known for its huge schools of fish in clear blue waters. Big schools of jacks and barracuda are commonly seen off the reef walls, as are reef sharks and bumphead parrotfish. It’s a weather-dependent dive site with strong currents but it’s a fantastic place to dive if you love pelagic action. 

6. Marovo Lagoon

Marovo Lagoon is the world’s largest saltwater lagoon and covers a staggering 700 square kilometers.  It is protected by a double barrier reef and is dotted with hundreds of jungle-clad islands, many of which are uninhabited.

With so many islands, there are numerous dive sites to choose from in this calm and clear lagoon. There are protected dive sites with easy conditions, plus thrilling cuts and passages where the lagoon waters spill out into the ocean.

The lagoon’s reefs are thriving; covered in hard and soft corals, with huge sea fans and thousands of reef fish. It’s a great destination to spot sea turtles, sharks and mantas and to drift over pretty coral gardens.

Uepi Island in the north of the lagoon has colorful coral drop-offs and a handful of famous dive sites to choose from. There are also fantastic macro diving sites near Turupu Island. 

7. New Georgia Islands.

New Georgia Island is the largest in the Western Province and has excellent WWII wreck diving and flourishing reefs. Nestled on the southern coast of New Georgia Island, Munda offers some of the best diving in the world, with untouched marine ecosystems and incredible biodiversity.

Spectacular walls plunge into the depths at Munda, patrolled by numerous reef sharks and passing hammerheads. Eagle rays, tuna and barracuda are common and there are also diverse macro critters to find. As well as reefs and diverse marine life, Munda also has numerous WWI wrecks, including planes, bombers, a Japanese freighter and tanks.

Roviana Lagoon is another highlight of diving in New Georgia Island and offers bustling reefs and more WWII wrecks. When you’ve had your fill of wrecks and reefs, head to the outer side of the barrier islands. They are renowned for their excellent wall diving. The caves at Mbulo Island are also well worth visiting.

8. Ghizo.

As well as having wrecks and coral gardens, Ghizo has numerous drift dives for experienced divers. It is one of the most popular bases for Solomon Islands diving and rightly so.

There are many dive sites just a short ride from Ghizo Island with famous wrecks that include the Japanese Toa Maru, the American Hellcat and American Corsair fighter planes and the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

What experience do you need to go diving in the Solomon Islands?

There are dive sites suitable for all experience levels in the Solomon Islands. It is a good idea to get your deep diving and wreck diving certifications before you go if you want to make the most of the wreck diving there.

When is the best time to go diving in the Solomon Islands?

You can go diving in the Solomon Islands all year. There is a rainy season from November to April, but it is still possible to dive.

What is the best way to go diving in the Solomon Islands?

Liveaboard diving is a great way to explore the Solomon Islands and reach a variety of the top dive sites there. There are also some excellent dive centers at the islands, including the award-winning Dive Munda.

Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for Scuba Schools International (SSI), wrote this article.

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