What is the culture like?

Solomon Islands is a melting pot of cultures and even though around 95% of people are of Melanesian origin, they have some different cultural norms, based mainly on clans and kin.  Because the nation consists of so many islands, many of them home to specific families or clans of multiple families living together, a natural geographic division exists and over time this has evolved into recognisable cultural differences, including diverse languages and dialects.  Having said that, there are also many similarities that run through most of the population.  Generally, you will find a friendly and welcoming culture, very supportive of those in the family and clan and also quite open to accepting the differences in other people.  Kastom and Wantok are terms that are commonly used to describe village life, with Kastom referring to the practice of handing down traditional ways of doing things and Wantok (meaning “One Talk”) reminding people of their duty to those who speak the same language.  These cultural beliefs point to the strength of the ties between family and clan members and how important this is to the social fabric of the country.

What is the weather like?

The weather in Solomon Islands is tropical or equatorial, so it is warm all year round.  Typically, equatorial climates experience just 2 distinct seasons through the year, the Dry Season and a Wet Season.  There is little temperature change between the seasons, but as the names suggest there is a change in the amount of rainfall and humidity between the 2.  The Wet Season is between November and April and is when the country gets around 70% of its annual rainfall, as well as experiencing a higher level of humidity. The Dry Season runs from May to October and has lower rainfall and humidity.  The peak tourist time is during the Dry Season as most visitors find it easier and more pleasant to holiday in lower humidity. It’s important to note that the Wet Season is not monsoonal with extended periods of very heavy rainfall and “poor” weather usually blows through fairly quickly. So, with wonderful sun-soaked days offered year-round, there is never a bad time to visit Solomon Islands! Click here to find out more about the weather in Solomon Islands.

What language is spoken?

English is the official language of Solomon Islands, introduced when English speaking missionaries settled in the country in the early 1900’s, however the most common language used is Pijin.  There are still many traditional dialects spoken throughout the islands, but generally they are specific to an area and not useful for communicating on a broader scale, so the existence of both English and Pijin facilitate that function.

What is the religion in Solomon Islands?

Around 95% of the population are Christians, represented by a wide number of dominations, with the Anglican Church of Melanesia constituting around 35%, Roman Catholic 19% and the South Seas Evangelical Church, Seventh Day Adventists and other denominations making up the balance.  The remaining non-Christian population are split between traditional aboriginal religions, Islam and the Baha’I Faith.

Is it safe to drink the water?

Generally, travellers are advised to boil all water before consumption or stick to bottled water where possible.  It’s also important to avoid ice cubes, as the water used has often not been boiled prior to freezing.  Like many tropical or equatorial nations, the water is usually safe for locals, but visitors haven’t been exposed to many of the microbes that are present.

Do I need a power adapter?

Solomon Islands’ power sockets use a standard voltage of 220-volts and standard frequency is 50-Hertz.  The plug configuration is the same as Australia, so can use your standard electrical equipment without worrying about any adapters.

What are some local etiquette tips?

Respect is a key cultural consideration in Solomon Islands life.  One example is the importance of respect that is reserved for elders and women, which visitors to the country should observe where possible.  Dress codes are modest, especially for women. Walking across or using private property, including wilderness and beaches may require payment of a “Kastom” fee to local landowners.

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