When-Where-Why?

The Solomon Islands is a beautiful archipelago in Melanesia. The main island is Guadalcanal and its capital is Honiara. The Solomon Islands were British Isles until 1978.

We spent three weeks at the Solomon Islands.

We made a stop on Guadalcanal, Gizo, Kolombangara, Munda and Tetepare.

We left in November 2019. It was very hot and humid, and we had nice showers.

Tetepare is an island located in the “Western Province” of the Solomon Islands. It is a good hour and a half boat ride from Munda (when the sea is calm …). This island has become a protected nature reserve. It is completely preserved from industries that are deforestation. It has not been populated for almost 200 years because of the people who fled the headhunters (big custom in the region). There’s a virgin rainforest, monitor lizards, leatherback turtles, snorkeling spots, crocodiles and more to discover, including many rare and endemic species. We stayed 10 days on Tetepare (we extended our stay so much it was nice); I think it was the most interesting visit we had in the country, perhaps with Imbu Rano on Kolombangaran.

The website of the island is very well done, do not hesitate to take a look at the different options available: www.tetepare.org

Good to know

By coming to stay on Tetepare, you contribute to preserve the island and its ecosystem. The money collected is used to help the descendants of the island’s inhabitants to preserve their cultural heritage and also helps them in their everyday life. This money is managed by the association they created: the Tetepare Descendants Association (TDA).

Before you come

If you come with few things, do not forget to take anti-mosquito and anti “sand flies”, a kawé, closed shoes to walk in the forest, flip flops, batteries of spare parts (there is a generator to recharge from time to time but you have to ask before). Also take care of yourself for hours if you have bad weather or treck (books, music, card and board games, etc …). I do not know if they have material for snorkeling so take your stuff.

Internet & Phone

As in many places in the Pacific, the phone and the internet are extremely expensive. Arriving at Honiara Airport, in exchange for your boarding pass, Bmobile will give you a free local SIM card. You will have to activate it and reload it in a sport where it is written “top up”. There is another company, “Our Telekom”, which makes similar offers but the SIM card costs 10SBD. Calls, messages and the internet are three separate things you will have to pay. There is a little network in a very specific place of the resort.

Money

Here we use a currency called SBD, local dollars (1SBD = 0.11euros in November 2019). There is no ATM. Remember to take a lot of cash with you and find out if there is an ATM where you go, and if not, how much would your stay cost, including activities. Banks are BSP and ANZ. There are many ATMs on Honiara and some on Gizo and Munda, but none on Tetepare.

Try to pay Jenno on Munda in advance and only take what can be used to pay for activities on the island during your stay.

Transports

Plane

There are not many flights to come and leave from Honiara. There is one flight per week with Fiji Airways and one per week with Fly Solomon.

Internal flights are expensive for the distance traveled. You can easily combine flights + boat to get from one island to another. There are domestic flights to Munda and even international flights.

Transfer Munda – Tetepare

Since Munda ask your hosts, they must know people who can drive you on Tetepare Otherwise go to the website of the island which is very well done and that will give you the contact of Jenno who lives on Munda.

Price: 1900 SBD per boat.

Contacts Jenno (she organizes since Munda): 7711673 / tetepareecolodge@gmail.com / www.tetepare.org / office at Agnès resort in Munda.

Transfer Tetepare – Seghe (Morovon Lagoon)

Jenno can arrange the transfer with Tumi and Hickson.

Price: 2000 SBD per boat.

Contacts Jenno (she organizes since Munda): 7711673 / tetepareecolodge@gmail.com / www.tetepare.org / office at Agnes Gateway resort in Munda.

Housing

* Tetepare Ecolodge

It is the only accommodation on the island. Housing held by Tumi. It can accommodate about 13 people. The bungalows are simple but pretty and with sea views. They are built in a traditional way, with material that comes from the island itself. There are several showers (cold water) and toilets, it is very well laid out and clean. There is a large common room for meals and stay chatting. Meals are included in the price, they are different each time, very well cooked, hearty and very good. There is tea and coffee available all the time! If you need to recharge your batteries, there is a generator; Ask in advance if you can plug something in because it is not lit continuously and they avoid plugging in at night because of the noise.

– Accommodation rate: 600 SBD per night per person then 510 SBD from the fourth night. They are building a bungalow with private bathroom and toilet (higher price of the coup).

Conservation fees: 120 SBD per person.

Contacts Jenno (she organizes since Munda): 7711673 / tetepareecolodge@gmail.com / www.tetepare.org / office at Agnès resort in Munda.

Food

You will eat at your hosts because it is included in the room rate. We will pick you up when meals are ready. The food is fresh and if you are lucky the rangers may be able to bring you coconut crab! What is certain is that you will enjoy!

Activities

There is a lot to do on this island. The only problem will be what budget would you like to spend there? Here is a list, not exhaustive, of the things to do, and also of what we did while staying 10 days. For information, the price of the activities varies according to the places where you go because of the consumption of gasoline. I put you some rates from 2019. The most logical would be to combine activities that are in the same area to reduce travel and therefore costs! Prices are per boat so it’s divided by the number of people leaving. Tumi will make sure that you spend as little money as possible and that you do as much fun as possible.

Note: For dugongs … do not come here specially to see them. We learned on arriving, unfortunately, that it is no longer “the place to go” to see. The 2010 tsunami wreaked havoc and marine grasses are only beginning to grow back. You can be lucky and see it but it is not guaranteed. You may be more likely to see and swim with long-beaked dolphins though!

What: Tetepare is one of those very preserved places where you will have the chance to snorkel. There are pretty corals with a lot of marine life. You will meet turtles (some endangered), black tip sharks, white sharks and gray sharks, rays, moray eels etc …

Where: There are several snorkeling sites all around the island. You can combine multiple sites the same day.

Price: 100 – 300 SBD for a few hours near the resort. More expensive if you go to islands around and if you do a picnic.

Tip: Ask your hosts to accompany you to the beginning of the trail, they will explain some plants and trees.

What: Tetepare is one of those privileged places where you can see dolphins and possibly swim with not much! Every morning (unless the sea is agitated), long-nosed dolphins come out of the lagoon. There are really a lot. They are not used to the coup it will make several attempts. In any case, it’s splendid from the boat! There is also another place further, half an hour by boat. This activity must be combined with snorkeling to reduce the cost of gas.

Rate: 250 SBD right in front of the resort with snorkeling. 950 SBD half an hour from the resort with snorkeling and a big bbq on the beach.

Tip: Leave as soon as possible.

What: Tetepare is an island with a beautiful, untouched rainforest, home to many species of birds, insects, reptiles and many other animals. Rangers have trails where you can go with or without a guide, day or night.

Where: Around the resort or further by boat.

Price: Free around the resort.

What: In 2019 the rangers and the TDA began to set up a trail for hiking in the forest over several days. The trail is extremely well done. They plan to do 6 camp sites (hard!) To sleep at night.

Where: The departure is the lodge and it is almost the tour of the island.

How: I think you’ll need a guide but to check.

Price: To see on the spot or before coming; at the same time ask if you need to bring back camping.

Tips & Warnings: Having done some trekking in the rain forest and camping, I strongly advise you to take a waterproof bag in which you will put dry clothes to change you to the camp and others to sleep. Take two or three pairs of socks for long hikes because if it rains you will be soaked and you may not dry … and put his wet clothes is horrible! Also take flip flops, a big book and some musk … if you arrive early at camp …

What: Do you want to see crocodiles? It’s possible. They are in a lake not far from the resort. We will take you there by boat and you will be able to try to observe them. But it is not guaranteed. You can also go there on foot; it’s about 3 hours round trip.

What: There are rare species on this island and the rangers have a mission to count them, measure them and collect as much information as possible about them. You can ask them to show you how they do on green turtles, in the lagoon. The money raised will be used to maintain this work of ecosystem conservation.

Note: They must find turtles too; in general there is the morning near the beach but nothing is guaranteed.

What: If you are lucky to pass on Tetepare at the time of nesting turtles, and you have a little time, do not hesitate to spend the night on the beach with the rangers. A turtle, “green” or “leatherback” might come to lay eggs. It is also possible to go to Rendova, where they have earlier than Tetepare. On the other hand you will have to sleep there because there are three hours of boat to go (and so it’s very expensive).

Note: If a turtle comes to lay on the beach, know that it comes back inevitably 10-11 days later.

What: Do you want to see or help the rangers in the monitoring of coconut crabs? It’s possible. You will go at night with them and you will try to find them.

What: You can go to visit villages on the neighboring island, Rendova. People will be happy to show you their customs and crafts that you can buy. It is also possible to see turtles fight in the village of Baniata, when it is the season.

What: If you want to explore a little further, we can bring you by boat and possibly prepare a picnic for lunch. The midday meal was for us a deluxe meal: barracuda just sinned and baked with Plantin bananas (a special variety we had never tasted before) and many other good things!

Where: Saruma island (nice island and good snorkeling), Raro River, Teteparer’s tour

Price: Depends where you want to go but can reach 950SBD.

What: There are sacred places on the island where you can go for a walk. There are places where people made sacrifices, places of meetings between the chiefs where they discussed with the gods, mystical places, places where you can see bones etc …

Where: Hokata East, Siokodi

Tip: Combine that with another activity not far because it’s fast.

Leave a Reply