My wife and I have recently returned from a trip to the Solomons which included a 4 night stay at Uepi.
First off, the snorkelling is just mind blowing with coral and fish everywhere! For example, if you just snorkel around the 'Welcome Jetty' where your boat transfers arrive/depart from, you can swim along the edge of a coral drop off that descends 30m almost vertically downward. 3 types of shark (none dangerous) will come up and take a look at you as you snorkel along and just marvel at the abundance and diversity of species you can see. A short boat ride away (at a cost of something like $10 - $15 each) is the manta ray cleaning station where huge rays come into water only 8-10m deep and slowly swim around beneath you as the cleaner fish give them a wash and brush up - a magical experience!
The accommodation we had was a beach-front bungalow which was a fairly long walk away from the bar and dining area but it's on a flat, sandy path that's well maintained so it's not a big deal. Each bungalow is a good distance from the next one (at least 50m at a guess) and has a nice veranda with seating and a hammock. The beach-front bungalows look out onto Marovo Lagoon whilst the others are set back slightly from the water but still appeared to be great and were very close to the water. Our cabin was the last in the line and had the sea at the front and forest on the side and back. We actually spotted a rare hornbill in one of the trees from outside our bungalow which was really awesome!
Dinners are communal and consist of a 3 course meal with the main being a buffet. The food is really excellent and, if someone has caught anything on one of the evening fishing trips, includes an extra sashimi course! We had fresh, raw Spanish Mackerel one night but the Wahu I caught the next day was definitely better! Alcohol is very expensive but they allow BYO so if you want wine or something, better to bring it with you.
Besides snorkelling, diving, relaxing and the odd fishing trip, there's not so much to do on land. There is a bush walk but that's only for the very sure-footed as it's quite treacherous under foot and is strenuous in the heat.
My only regret with this place is that we didn't do any diving. My wife can't swim and snorkels in a life jacket (a great idea we came up with on our honeymoon) so as we wanted to do things together; diving was off the menu. Of the people we met there, some had been back more than 30 times for the diving and atmosphere of the place! One very nice lady was a photographer who regularly comes to Uepi to get photos of the rare sealife there - this should speak something about just how good the snorkelling and diving at this place is.
The whole resort is very professionally set up and run though in doing so lacks the real Solomon Islands experience - possibly the only negative thing I can say apart from bemoaning the lack of mosquito nets over the beds. The bungalows all have screened windows but as the cleaners tend to leave the door open when they've been out, the screens don't do a lot!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With an international reputation for excellence, Uepi Island Resort in the Western Province is the ultimate getaway in the Solomons. World class diving, snorkeling and sea kayaking is complemented by beachfront bungalow accommodation, friendly personalized service and meals based on fresh local produce. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Uepi Island Hotel Marovo