Why go to Gizo?
A great gateway to get out and about to the other islands in the Solomon chain close by
Port is very basic and lined with local market stalls that can be expensive
Gizo has limited facilities in port, but get out on a shore excursion and you'll discover the raw beauty of the Solomon Islands.
Gizo Cruise Port Facilities?
The ship will dock off shore and tender boats will bring you into port. Arrival in port is at a wooden jetty so it can prove a bit difficult to get on and off the tender boats. It's a short walk up the jetty and the path is concreted for a short way before falling off to the dirt road and sandy grassed area under palm trees.
Good to Know?
There are limited facilities in Gizo so be prepared before you step off the ship. The actual passenger terminal is an open-air, traditional-style hall. Here you will find a makeshift stand for money exchange, but changing money on the island can prove tricky unless you are a client of the bank. Credit cards are not accepted in the small market stalls.
The Gizo Hotel is the main point of call for all other amenities. They have the only bathroom facilities, free internet in the lobby, and the bar offers a great place to relax with a cool drink, overlooking the main street.
On Foot: Gizo is a small port and it only takes about 20 minutes to walk up and down the main street in town. There is not much outside of town so no need to walk too far.
By Boat: The wooden banana boats in Gizo are taxis on water. You can negotiate a price with locals to take you to neighboring islands, but be prepared to have a true island experience. Safety standards on these boats are not the same as provided by the cruise ship transfers. The boats used for cruise ship shore excursions will provide life vests, water and ensure you are returned to the ship on time. Booking a boat yourself means you run the risk of your skipper slipping into "island time," which might result in a late return back to the ship.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Solomon Islands' currency is the Solomon Dollar (SBD). (You can visit www.xe.com for current rates.) There is an ANZ bank at the end of the main street with an ATM where you can withdraw money, but unless you are a local client, you cannot change currency in the bank. The Gizo Hotel can change money, but they run out fast so get in quick. Worst case scenario, you can barter with local vendors who often will accept AUD and NZD.
English is widely spoken and understood throughout the Solomon Islands. However, the local language is Pijin English. Pijin is also known as Solomons Pidgin, Neo-Solomonic or Kanaka, and is closely related to Tok Pisin, Bislama and Torres Strait Creole. Say thank you "tagio tumas" to the locals in their lingo -- it will bring a smile to their face and be much appreciated.