Making a move to Solomon Islands from the United States is by far, not an easy task to undertake but in the long run, it may well be one of the best decisions of a lifetime. While there are many, hundreds actually, islands and areas to choose from when planning a move to these beautiful islands, one of the best for expats is Honiara. This is simply because you will find more expats in this area than in most and there are quite a few luxury spots to check out that tourists tend to travel to. Speaking of tourists, you will not find an overabundance of them in the islands which is part of what makes Solomon Islands such a special place to be.
Honiara has been growing over the last decade and there are approximately 70,000 residents locally. While many, especially those not from Solomon Islands originally, live in the updated areas of the city, the majority still reside in rural areas and small villages along the coastline. Among locals in the islands, there are more than 60 languages spoken yet English is the primary language. This is great for expats from the U.S.
Many areas are without access to electricity but in the more modernized areas, you can find electricity as well as running water and even internet. If you are lucky enough to have internet, you should probably know that it tends to drop from time to time. This is not going to be much of an issue however as there is an abundance of spectacular things to in the area, especially if you love the great outdoors, the ocean and friendly people.
Housing and Living Expenses
Houses in Honiara
As an expat who has lived in Solomon Islands for the last year, I can genuinely say that it is not going to be difficult to find housing in Honiara. Whether you want to spend a little or can splurge and spend more is going to determine where you can live. Expensive areas of Honiara will cost roughly $1000 USD or more for housing but you can also locate homes for less than $500 USD in normal areas of town.
I prefer to live in a home that is fairly inexpensive and to spend my money on things besides housing. Utilities run around $100 USD monthly and internet service is about the same as utilities. Remember, the internet is intermittent at times but is has been gradually improving over time.
Food is fairly comparable to what many people pay in the U.S. Clothing is less expensive as you can find jeans and summer clothes for prices ranging between $10 USD and $20 USD. A local gym membership, yes they have gyms here, will run you a little over $100 USD but who needs a gym when you have paradise at your disposal day and night?
It is cheaper to drive your own vehicle than it is to take public transportation, so having a car is very important if you want to save money while living in this beautiful city.
Moving Your Home Goods and Car
As a U.S. citizen, you can stay in Solomon Islands for up to 90 days without a tourist visa. Anything after 90 days requires a visa. You also must have a valid passport and verifiable photo identification. Before planning your trip to the islands, it is very important to have a complete medical check-up and ensure that all vaccinations are up to date. While there are not many illnesses in the islands, you need to be prepared for malaria as it is common due to the mosquitos. You can see a private physician in Honiara for around $30 USD, but medications may not always be available for many illnesses. If you require daily medications, be sure to check ahead of time to make sure they will be available. You can bring some with you, but you must have a letter from your U.S. based doctor.
You will need to hire an international moving company to have your household goods shipped over. They need to arrive within a few weeks of your arrival and all items in the container must be carefully listed to clear customs. It is imperative that you have a house to move into upon arrival if you are having personal property shipped.
If you want to drive you must get a Solomon Islands driver’s license. You can learn more about this from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury
. You will also need to speak to them for permission to unload your shipping container when it arrives.
You can import one personal car
to Solomon Islands if you plan to stay long-term. The cost can run anywhere from $2500 to more than $5000 depending on the type of car you own and the port it will leave from in the U.S. as well as the entry port in Solomon Islands. The owner of the car is required to be at the port when it is imported and for the customs clearance. Your vehicle shipping agent will be able to let you know the precise paperwork you will need and what your fees will be. In general, you will need all standard paperwork that shows proof of ownership as well as your driver’s licensed and proof of insurance.
Take Time to Explore and Relax
Even a local move can take a toll on a person, but when you move overseas to a place like Solomon Islands, not only can it be stressful but it can be a little overwhelming as well. It is a complete culture shock to those who have never been to the islands and it is very important to take a few days if possible and spend time getting to know the local area.
Spend some time shopping locally and meeting some of the locals that you will probably see daily and get to know better over time. Honiara has many fun things to do including beautiful memorial gardens, a war memorial and museum, a great central market area and best of all, majestic blue coastal waters and some of the best shoreline in the entire world.
Soak in some sun and take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding you. Solomon Islands is sure to be the most spectacular place you have ever lived.