Moving is a stressful thing to do no matter how near, or far the move may be. While Solomon Islands is a beautiful collection of more than 900 breathtaking islands, moving to paradise can still be a little overwhelming, even to seasoned travelers. Solomon Islands is not heavily populated with tourists, so if you are planning a move from the USA, don’t expect to see many other Americans when you arrive unless you are planning to spend some time in casino or resort that caters to tourists. This may be something that appeases you as it means the islands are not overrun with tourism and other activities that often deplete an area’s natural beauty and appeal.
While there are many places to consider when thinking about moving to Solomon Islands, a few of the top to consider would be Uepi, Ghizo Island or Honiara. Uepi and Ghizo are a little touristy but not extremely overcrowded at all. Haniara is not a touristy area although it does have a very large population of almost 57,000 people. As a town with the largest population in Solomon Islands, it is also a quaint town where people are quiet and tend to keep to themselves. It may take a little more to get used to the quietness of the area, but if you prefer to be away from the mainstream life, you will most likely find it a perfect location to live. Uepi is great for those who enjoy diving as it has a beautiful natural lagoon and Ghizo Island is a very beautiful island with a population of nearly 6200, which is the second largest in Solomon Islands. No matter where you choose to live, you will find that the locals tend to live in rural areas whereas foreigners usually live closer to town.
Things to Do
Solomon Islands has great appeal for anyone who loved the great outdoors and enjoys living life in a peaceful setting. You could get lost for weeks in nature in many areas of Solomon Islands. In Honaira alone you can find spectacular waterfalls at Tenaru Falls or plenty of waves for surfing at Mbonege Beach. There are also many lagoons for swimming and snorkeling throughout the islands and luscious flower gardens, museums, cathedrals and plenty of woodland for hiking. If you want to traipse off into the woods when you arrive, be sure to hire a local guide or you may find yourself lost. There are also quite a few day cruises to take which will take you to numerous locations in the islands. You can also find some interesting marketplaces to shop for groceries and other things you are going to need in your home as well as small café’s in town and small clothing shops with local outerwear and other accessories.
Cost of Living
When it comes to living expenses in Solomon Islands, the cost will vary from one island and one town to another. In Honiara, apartment or home rental can run between $500 and $1000 monthly depending on the area. In Ghizo Island or Uepi, you may find accommodations for $500 to $800 monthly but you may need to live farther from town than you would in Honiara. You can usually locate a home in most areas that when combined with utilities, you will spend less than $1200 monthly. For many retirees and expats looking to relocate, the islands offer an affordable cost for living in paradise. Most other expenses, from clothing to food and drinks, is typically far less expensive in the islands than what things cost in the USA.
Visa and Importation of Goods
When you move to Solomon Islands, it may be best to hire an international mover to bring your household goods over so you will have them. While household items can often be found cheaper in the islands, it may not be precisely what you need for comfort. You will also find that it is convenient to have a personal car to drive when you live in the islands. You won’t need it if you are hopping from one island to another by boat, but for daily travel in your own community, it is a great convenience.
Car importation requires an overseas car shipper such as A-1 Auto Transport Inc and you will need to show proof of ownership to customs. It is also mandatory to apply for, and receive, a Solomon Islands driver’s license before you will be able to drive. Be sure to have proof of insurance or you will not be able to retrieve the car from the port nor will you be able to legally drive once you have taken possession from customs.
Tourists do not need a visa to visit the islands for up to 90 days, but when you are planning to move permanently and will exceed the 90-day limit, you are required to have a visa showing that you are going to live in, or work, in the islands.
While you will need to pay bills and possibly work once you move to the islands, you will also have plenty of time to take advantage of the wide array of fun that the islands offer those that live in them. Whether you enjoy snorkeling, surfing, dancing or spending time just taking in the natural beauty of the islands one day at a time, you will find that the islands, including the amazingly friendly locals, will grow on you, and you will feel right at home very quickly.
by Ross Campbell of A-1 Auto Transport Inc