The longest saltwater lagoon in the world

The spectacular Marovo Lagoon is a sight to behold. Your first glimpse of the lagoon through the small window of your plane will leave you awestruck by the unquestionable beauty of this little-known paradise. Hundreds of small, green, coral encrusted islands pop out of the deep, blue sea gleaming like emeralds floating on a sapphire blue blanket.

Marovo Lagoon is the world’s finest double barrier reef enclosed lagoon. Located on New Georgia’s eastern side, the lagoon is over 100 kilometres long. A chain of coral reefs and islands encircle the big island of Vangunu which is also known as the ‘mainland’ to the local population of 12,000 spread amongst some 70 villages around the lagoon, whilst the islands bordering the outer, deeper sea are known as the ‘barrier islands’.

Described as the eighth wonder of the world by James A. Michener in his Pullitzer Prize winning book Tales from the South Pacific, Marovo Lagoon was once proposed as a World Heritage listing for its complex, diverse and rich habitats both above and below the water.  It is the scuba diving and snorkelling hot spot of the Solomons where interactions with turtles, manta rays, friendly sharks, and a wide variety of reef fish and coral gardens are common. Alternatively, embark on a kayaking expedition and/or observe the laid-back village life of the Solomon Islands.

Marovo Lagoon Geographical Information

Marovo Lagoon is located in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province. The two major volcanic islands of Vangunu and New Georgia bound the lagoon on its southern and western sides. 130 kilometres of raised barrier reef and about 100 individual islands run along the length of its northern boundary, whilst the smaller volcanic island of Gatokae occupies the south-eastern corner. The inner lagoon also has numerous islands.

The world’s only accessible submarine volcano is found in Marovo Lagoon. Kavachi Volcano’s summit varies from 40 metres underwater to 30 metres above sea level and can change tens of metres in a few days.

Marovo Lagoon is only a short 1 hour flight from the capital of Honiara. The main airstrip is at Seghe, located in the west. From the grassy airstrip at Seghe, visitors walk only 20 metres to the banana boat launch to transfer to their resort of choice.

The secondary airstrip at Gatokae in the eastern part of the lagoon is currently closed.

Things to do in Marovo Lagoon

Remote and unspoilt, Marovo Lagoon is a destination for adventure travellers seeking out a place of natural beauty, peace and quiet; where a harmonious insight can be gained into local village life and into the astounding and bio-diverse ecosystem.

Scuba diving
Marovo Lagoon offers many exciting world class dive sites from lagoonal coral gardens to vertical walls dropping off 2,000 metres into the depths of the ocean. If you listen closely, you can even hear the sonic sounds of the Kavachi submarine volcano erupting. There are several WWII wrecks to explore and divers will delight in exciting big fish encounters with seasonal hammerhead sharks and manta rays, plus the ever present reef sharks, barracuda, dogtooth tuna, Spanish mackerel and jacks.

Snorkelling
The snorkelling in Marovo Lagoon is simply amazing. Calm waters abound inside the lagoon whilst more experienced snorkellers can seek out sites on the fringing reefs or in the deeper passage drop-offs. Huge schools of fish and vibrant corals can be found almost everywhere. Snorkellers may even experience the thrill of cruising amongst reef sharks, turtles, lionfish, moray eels, eagle rays, devil rays and manta rays.

Freediving
The warm, blue water and brilliant visibility makes Marovo Lagoon an excellent choice for free divers. No thick wetsuits and heavy weights to slow you down. Vertical visibility of 30 – 40 metres and horizontal visibility of 100 – 150 metres is common throughout most of the year. Vertical walls dropping from rain forest to the sea bed at 75 – 200 metres and bottomless blue water are some of the options available for free divers.

Kayaking
Kayaking is a splendid way to experience life on Marovo Lagoon. The waters are calm and the sea-life abundant. Magnificent coral gardens and prolific tropical and pelagic fish life abound, all surrounded by beautiful beaches and rainforest. Turtles, dolphins, rays and the occasional whale can be spotted too. Add to this the opportunity to sample genuine Pacific Island hospitality and culture whilst staying in eco-lodges within villages dotted throughout the lagoon. This will ensure that the experience of kayaking in this pristine and unspoilt environment will be truly unique.

Island Tours – village visits, river tours and beach picnics
Learn about ancient cultures and traditional village life practised around the lagoon. See Master carvers at work demonstrating the many stages in production of the famous Marovo woodcarvings, dugout canoe making, and other traditional crafts.

River tours can be organised to witness life amongst the mangroves where saltwater crocodiles and a unique array of birdlife resides. A relaxing picnic on a deserted beach with ample snorkelling time can also be arranged.

When to Travel to Marovo Lagoon

Marovo Lagoon experiences a tropical and equatorial climate, with warm air and water temperatures all year round. Daytime temperatures range from 26˚C – 30°C with some humidity. Night time temperatures are around the mid to high 20’s. Rain falls year round. December to March is generally a little wetter, slightly hotter and more humid. May to August is breezy at times due to the moderate south-east trade winds and is cooler and less humid. On the eastern side of the lagoon, significant rain falls during the heart of the trade wind season as well from July through September.

Sea temperatures range from 27˚C – 31˚C with the shallower lagoonal water temperatures rising above these temperatures under the equatorial sun .

Marovo Lagoon Hotels and Resorts

Driftwood EcoLodge Solomon Islands Driftwood Eco-Lodge

On Gatokae Island (2 hours boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: No
Restaurant: No
Wifi: No
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
Evis Evis Resort

On Nggatirana Island (25 minute boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: No
Onsite Shop: Yes
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
Ropiko Ropiko Beach Resort

On Gatokae Island (2 hours boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $-$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: No
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: Yes
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
The Wilderness Lodge The Wilderness Lodge

On Gatokae Island (2 hour boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre:Yes
UepiIsland Uepi Island Resort

On Uepi Island (40 minute boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: Yes
Geographical Information

Marovo Lagoon Geographical Information

Marovo Lagoon is located in the Solomon Islands’ Western Province. The two major volcanic islands of Vangunu and New Georgia bound the lagoon on its southern and western sides. 130 kilometres of raised barrier reef and about 100 individual islands run along the length of its northern boundary, whilst the smaller volcanic island of Gatokae occupies the south-eastern corner. The inner lagoon also has numerous islands.

The world’s only accessible submarine volcano is found in Marovo Lagoon. Kavachi Volcano’s summit varies from 40 metres underwater to 30 metres above sea level and can change tens of metres in a few days.

Marovo Lagoon is only a short 1 hour flight from the capital of Honiara. The main airstrip is at Seghe, located in the west. From the grassy airstrip at Seghe, visitors walk only 20 metres to the banana boat launch to transfer to their resort of choice.

The secondary airstrip at Gatokae in the eastern part of the lagoon is currently closed.

Activities

Things to do in Marovo Lagoon

Remote and unspoilt, Marovo Lagoon is a destination for adventure travellers seeking out a place of natural beauty, peace and quiet; where a harmonious insight can be gained into local village life and into the astounding and bio-diverse ecosystem.

Scuba diving
Marovo Lagoon offers many exciting world class dive sites from lagoonal coral gardens to vertical walls dropping off 2,000 metres into the depths of the ocean. If you listen closely, you can even hear the sonic sounds of the Kavachi submarine volcano erupting. There are several WWII wrecks to explore and divers will delight in exciting big fish encounters with seasonal hammerhead sharks and manta rays, plus the ever present reef sharks, barracuda, dogtooth tuna, Spanish mackerel and jacks.

Snorkelling
The snorkelling in Marovo Lagoon is simply amazing. Calm waters abound inside the lagoon whilst more experienced snorkellers can seek out sites on the fringing reefs or in the deeper passage drop-offs. Huge schools of fish and vibrant corals can be found almost everywhere. Snorkellers may even experience the thrill of cruising amongst reef sharks, turtles, lionfish, moray eels, eagle rays, devil rays and manta rays.

Freediving
The warm, blue water and brilliant visibility makes Marovo Lagoon an excellent choice for free divers. No thick wetsuits and heavy weights to slow you down. Vertical visibility of 30 – 40 metres and horizontal visibility of 100 – 150 metres is common throughout most of the year. Vertical walls dropping from rain forest to the sea bed at 75 – 200 metres and bottomless blue water are some of the options available for free divers.

Kayaking
Kayaking is a splendid way to experience life on Marovo Lagoon. The waters are calm and the sea-life abundant. Magnificent coral gardens and prolific tropical and pelagic fish life abound, all surrounded by beautiful beaches and rainforest. Turtles, dolphins, rays and the occasional whale can be spotted too. Add to this the opportunity to sample genuine Pacific Island hospitality and culture whilst staying in eco-lodges within villages dotted throughout the lagoon. This will ensure that the experience of kayaking in this pristine and unspoilt environment will be truly unique.

Island Tours – village visits, river tours and beach picnics
Learn about ancient cultures and traditional village life practised around the lagoon. See Master carvers at work demonstrating the many stages in production of the famous Marovo woodcarvings, dugout canoe making, and other traditional crafts.

River tours can be organised to witness life amongst the mangroves where saltwater crocodiles and a unique array of birdlife resides. A relaxing picnic on a deserted beach with ample snorkelling time can also be arranged.

When to Travel

When to Travel to Marovo Lagoon

Marovo Lagoon experiences a tropical and equatorial climate, with warm air and water temperatures all year round. Daytime temperatures range from 26˚C – 30°C with some humidity. Night time temperatures are around the mid to high 20’s. Rain falls year round. December to March is generally a little wetter, slightly hotter and more humid. May to August is breezy at times due to the moderate south-east trade winds and is cooler and less humid. On the eastern side of the lagoon, significant rain falls during the heart of the trade wind season as well from July through September.

Sea temperatures range from 27˚C – 31˚C with the shallower lagoonal water temperatures rising above these temperatures under the equatorial sun .

Hotels and Resorts

Marovo Lagoon Hotels and Resorts

Driftwood EcoLodge Solomon Islands Driftwood Eco-Lodge

On Gatokae Island (2 hours boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: No
Restaurant: No
Wifi: No
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
Evis Evis Resort

On Nggatirana Island (25 minute boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: No
Onsite Shop: Yes
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
Ropiko Ropiko Beach Resort

On Gatokae Island (2 hours boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $-$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: No
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: Yes
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: No
The Wilderness Lodge The Wilderness Lodge

On Gatokae Island (2 hour boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre:Yes
UepiIsland Uepi Island Resort

On Uepi Island (40 minute boat ride from Seghe)

Budget: $$$$
Pool: No
Beach/Beachfront: Yes
Bar: Yes
Restaurant: Yes
Wifi: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Gym: No
Spa: No
Onsite Dive Centre: Yes