Some of the world’s most pristine and unspoiled snorkeling spots

The Solomon Islands makes up an archipelago of 992 tropical islands fringed by coral reefs, boasting some of the healthiest and most diverse marine environments in the world. Countless snorkeling spots are found in the archipelago, but many of them are located in remote areas. If you are lucky enough to reach them, you’ll have some uninhabited islands to yourself. The Solomon Islands are also renowned for the hundreds of WWII ships and aircrafts littering the ocean floor, providing snorkelers with many wrecks to explore at shallow depths. The reefs of the Salomon Islands are teeming with over 900 fish species (including angelfish, clownfish, lionfish…), hundreds of colorful coral types and tons of exciting sea creatures, such as sea turtles, reef sharks and manta rays.

The Solomon Islands is not a free shore snorkeling destination. Most snorkeling spots are resort house reefs (only accessible to guests) or uninhabited small islands or patch reefs, only reachable by boat tours. Even in the main inhabited islands, you’ll generally have to pay a small fee to the locals to access the beaches.

Snorkeling in the Solomon Islands, Tavanipupu
Tavanipupu Island offer beautiful shallow reefs and varied underwater life, a few steps from the beach (left, a paintspotted moray, gymnothorax pictus).

In Guadalcanal, the coastline just west to Honiara hosts a few decent reef snorkeling spots, such as Mbonege Beach and Turtle Beach, as well as several WWII shipwrecks, like the Wreck of Kinugawa Maru, some 5km north of Rere Beach. Snorkeling is far better in the small islands off the eastern tip of Guadalcanal, like in Tavanipupu Island and around Marapa Island, but they can’t be easily accessed. Just north of Guadalcanal, you’ll find in the Nggela Islands a few resorts renowned for offering great snorkeling straight off the beach, like Nugu Beach Resort and Maravagi Beach Resort. Simon’s Nature Reserve, a beautiful and shallow coral garden, is also a great option in the area.

Orange clownfish in Solomon Islands
The orange anemonefish is one of the Solomon Islands iconic fish (here photographed in Tavanipupu).

For travelers looking for the best snorkeling spots in the Solomon Islands, head to Marovo Lagoon. This double-barrier lagoon, bordering the eastern parts of New Georgia and Vangunu Islands, is listed as a World Heritage Area. Enclosing dozens of tiny islands and reefs, pristine Marovo Lagoon shelters some of the finest coral gardens in South Pacific. Most of the resorts offer snorkeling tours to the lagoon’s reefs. Uepi Island Resort, surrounded by lush shallow coral reefs, is one of the best options. In the same general area are the Wilderness Lodge in Nggatokae Island and Evis Resort, in Nggatirana Island, both with a pleasant house reef.

Other exciting snorkeling hotspots in the Solomon Islands are the Papatura Islands (which lies just north to Santa Isabel) and the islands and reefs accessible from Munda (on New Georgia’s west coast).

When to go snorkeling in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands are a year-round snorkeling destination, thanks to pleasant water temperatures around 27°C to 29°C (81-84°F). The wet season, from November to April, is characterized by hot temperatures (December and January, where highs are regularly around 32°C/89°F being the hottest months) and heavy, brief local showers. A dry, cooler season occurs the rest of the year, but temperatures remain warm enough to enjoy snorkeling.

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