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snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Sydney, Australia
8 posts
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snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Hello everyone,

tripadvisor has been a great source of helpful information for us so far and I hope you can help us this time too.

We're planning about 5 weeks in Solomon Islands in May/June, did quite a lot of research and would love to experience "the best" of each islands we decided to visit...

We'll be definitely spending 4-5 days at Charapoana lodge in Marovo lagoon and would love to spend also a few days at Uepi resort which has according to many of you "the best snorkelling in the world", even though the opinions do differ. Unfortunately it is completely out of our budget (AUD$370 per night for the cheapest guest room adjoined to the other guest room), but if it's really the best thing we're ever going to experience that I guess it's worth it if we're travelling that far...

Is snorkelling/diving at Uepi on Marovo Lagoon really that spectacular compared to other places at Marovo lagoon, Charapoana lodge or in Munda/Gizo/Tulagi? We don't care that much about the accommodation itself, food or power, we're really just after the best of snorkelling and diving...

I also heard that if you stay at Charapoana lodge you're not allowed to snorkel on Uepi's reefs even though there're so close....the last thing I want on our vacation is not to feel welcome somewhere or be screamed at as someone unfortunately was by Uepi resort'd owners.

Just from the perspective of the quality and closeness of superb snorkelling at Uepi resort, would you guys still recommend it for someone travelling on budget? If a place for SBD$300 pn has comparable snorkelling/diving than would rather pay that then SBD$4000pn. Thank you so much!

Lismore, Australia
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200 posts
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1. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

I can't comment on Western Province resorts, but Maravagi, in the same island group as Tulagi, would have better snorkelling than Tulagi, for the simple reason that it is a much more pristine area, and Tulagi has been a built up settlement for over 100 years, with the asociated degradation of the environment.

Edited: 21 January 2013, 12:05
Tugun, Australia
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33 posts
8 reviews
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2. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

I have only ever stayed at Uepi so cant compare with Charapoana. Uepi was incredible diving but i rated other places a little higher purely for scuba not snorkeling.

I loved Tulagi for diving - the quality of reef dives, drift dives, lava tunnels etc. The wrecks in the area are amazing including the very deep USS Aaron Ward.

Another fantastic spot was Munda - the dive operators are so wonderful there. They really love what they do and can customise diving to suit everyone including snorkeling. You have a couple of accommodation options in munda itself to suit budgets as well as Lola island nearby. look up http://www.zipolohabu.com.sb/

you will have an amazing time in the western province and your money will go further than Uepi if that is a bit expensive. you can always drop in to Fatboys for a well deserved break too!

Sydney, Australia
8 posts
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3. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Thank you! I just noticed that minimum number of nights at Uepi is 3 nights which together with transport and diving would be out of our budget. We'll be definitely diving in Tulagi, Munda and maybe Gizo. At the moment we're looking at the Wilderness Lodge on Gatokae Island near Marovo which turns out to be as expensive as Uepi but the snorkelling/freediving and the village tours are rated as excellent by so many people....

Tugun, Australia
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33 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

good to hear you are doing some great locations. Just a little note when you are allocating time for the different areas to dive. Gizo area dive spots whilst very good - are still on the mend from the tsunami several years ago.

Sydney, Australia
8 posts
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5. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Hello,

thank you for your note....I was reading about that...it's really hard to imagine how "bad" the dive sites are after tsunami for someone who hasn't dived there before...and how they compare to other dive sites (e.g. Munda or other countries). Diving is really expensive in Solomon Islands, so we have to choose the dive sites really carefully.... If it's possible to answer it, which dive sites would you say are still worth it and which not and rather dive elsewhere (Munda or Tulagi).... Thank you

Seattle, Washington
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3,685 posts
46 reviews
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6. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

We are considering Solomon islands November 2104 but we are just snorklers. Still a good choice? I thought the prices at Uepi seemed reasonable but would consider other options. Would love to hear your ideas. Donna

Edited: 30 January 2013, 20:46
Tugun, Australia
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33 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

one persons holy grail of dive sights is another persons ho hum..... what do you want to see.....wrecks, coral, fish, sharks, caves, tunnels ..... deep, drift, points, bombies ?

Melbourne, Australia
3 posts
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8. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Also considering Soloman Islands for snorkelling. We want to see; wrecks, coral, fish, sharks, caves, tunnels. I am trying to convince my fiance Solomon Islands is the place we should go for our Honeymoon. We will travel ate Oct/Early Nov. Any suggestions and from I've gathered diving is experience but what about snorkelling and say fishing charters?

Seattle, Washington
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3,685 posts
46 reviews
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9. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

Ok not a big wreck fan but all creatures under the sea I'm interested in. We can free dive , don't mind current or waves (within safety), don't mind having to swim out to see a reef, don't care if it's off the beach or off a boat or off a kayak.

Lismore, Australia
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200 posts
153 reviews
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10. Re: snorkelling/diving at Charapoana vs Uepi - is Uepi worth it?

I am aware of snorkellers doing the cruises on Bilikiki, not just divers. It has the advantage of moving between a number of sites.

Otherwise, one (or more) of the Western Province resorts, or Tavanipupu, off Guadalcanal, would be good for a honeymoon.

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