A trip to the Andamans is a vacation from the ordinary . . . leave your regular life behind and begin to plan a daily island schedule by the departure of the ferry boat, the sunrises and sunsets, or the next high tide on your favorite beach. Long tropical days allow for plenty of time to try the wide variety of watersports, a trek to the top of the highest mountain, a private boat charter to an uninhabited island, or deep-sea fishing near an active volcano – there are so many adventures to experience in the Andamans that you will find it difficult to choose just a few!
The beauty of these tropical waters is beyond imagination, with colorful reefs, amazing sea life, and vast canyons and walls that drop away into the deep. Beginners can experience the Andamans underwater during a visit to the islands, and even expert divers are amazed at the wide variety of diving experiences available. Best visibility in the water is from October through May, with the calmest seas from March to May. All islands have SSI or PADI certification scuba shops offering dive classes with dive masters, and can be found at hotels, resorts, jetties and adjoining the busier beaches. Live-aboard excursions can be booked to dive at Barren Island volcano and other remote locations.
Havelock, Neil, South Andaman - most popular islands for equipment rental and classes
North Andaman - Ross & Smith Island boat trips for day trip diving
Middle Andaman - scuba interest growing in Mayabunder for Interview Island reefs
Long Island - private scuba resort attracts divers from around the world
Little Andaman - unexplored reefs and wall diving for experts only
Cinque Island - North Point for experts only
The shallow waters and reefs around the Andaman islands are a snorkeler’s paradise, and most visitors enjoy floating in the warm waters and watching the underwater life visible in the clear turquoise waters. Many beach stalls, local vendors, hotels and resorts offer rental equipment on the islands at a reasonable price. Even non-swimmers can participate in the sport with a special snorkel mask and flotation ring held by a guide in the shallow water at the public beaches. All islands except Middle Andaman have access to superb snorkeling locations on the beaches and nearby islands. Many good snorkeling sites are accessible at high tide from the shoreline, or you can visit uninhabited islands and reef systems by boat rental with guide if permits are required.
Havelock - Elephant Beach, Radhanagar, Kalapathar and Vijaynagar beaches, South Button, Tamarind Wall near Henry Lawrence Island
South Andaman - Jolly Bouy Island, North Bay, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
North Andaman - Ross and Smith Island, Narcondam Island, Kalipur and Lamiya beaches
Neil - Sitapur Beach, offshore at Bharatpur Beach, Laxmanpur Beach
Little Andaman - Bala Reef, Butler Bay, Hut Bay, Ganga and Chattan beaches
The secret has spread to the world’s best surfers and beyond about the perfect waves breaking in the Andamans. February to mid-May may be the best time to come for dependable wave action. The Andamans are best-suited for intermediate and expert surfers at most of the discovered breaks, but the local surf camps offer classes for beginners at many of the popular beaches. For Little Andaman, bring your own shortboard, step-up, and accessories as there are no supplies available on the island. Some boat-only accessible surfing can be arranged with locals guides near the tribal reserves, but the location must be permitted by government agency or you can risk fines and imprisonment.
Little Andaman - Jackson Creek, Kumari Point, Tochangeou, Butler Bay
South Andaman - Corbyn’s Cove, Chidiya Tapu, Sentinel, Butlers Bay
Off Rutland Island - Jarawa Point at Totems Reef, Twin Islands
Most of the larger resorts, hotels, and boutique lodgings have swimming pools for relaxing and enjoying the Andaman sun, but most visitors come to the islands for the beautiful beaches. Some beaches have guards, chairs, changing rooms, restrooms, food stalls and public transportation. Other beaches are isolated with only eco-huts for shade and swimming is at your own risk. Any nearby living coral reefs are off-limits to touch or walk on, and the ocean floor can be sharp or rough with volcanic rocks, dead coral, or tsunami debris. Watch for dangerous wildlife (sea snakes, saltwater crocs, jellyfish) and underwater currents. Many Andaman beaches have crystal clear water and shallow sandy bottom perfect for swimming with wide sandy strands and shade trees at the edge of the beach.
South Andaman - Corbyn’s Cove, North Bay, Jolly Bouy Island, Wandoor Beach
Port Blair - Sports Complex in Port Blair has saltwater swimming pool, waterfall
Neil - Laxmanpur Beach, Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur Beach
Havelock - Radhanagar Beach, Elephant Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Kalapathar Beach
North Andaman - Kalipur, Ross and Smith Island, Elizabeth Bay
Middle Andaman - Baludera Beach, Amkunj Beach, Avis Island
Little Andaman - Butler Bay Beach, Kalapathar tidal pool, Netaji Nagar Beach
Long Island - Lalaji Bay Beach, Blue Planet Beach, Guitar Island, Merk Bay on North Passage Island
This intriguing watersport is a supervised underwater walk across sandy bottom to view the sea life in an air-supplied helmet. Suitable for ages 9+ and non-swimmers, the sea walk begins at the bottom of a ladder at a 15-25 feet depth in clear tropical waters and you will be very close to fish, coral, and other sea life during the sea walk. Guests can wear swim suits or clothes, your head is completely enclosed so your hair and face do not get wet and you can wear glasses or contacts.
South Andaman - North Bay Island, Port Blair, Wandoor
Havelock - Elephant Beach
Single and double experiences available with local guide who takes you through the mangroves, along the coastline, and features other local sights. Life vest, paddle and kayak included in pricing and the guide will give you detailed instructions and lessons before leaving the dock. There are guided tours during the day and also after dark to experience the bioluminescence in the waters. A great way to see the Andamans at eye level!
Havelock - reef tour, evening tour, pre-dawn tour
South Andaman - available at Watersports Complex
Middle Andaman - Baratang Island
There are numerous activities found mainly on the more popular beaches, near jetties and marine parks. Local boatmen/fishermen and their vessels are available to follow the coastline and visit other nearby islands, or take you offshore to have a private day away from the crowds. Some of the boats are older and made of wood or metal, or you can travel on the open sea in a modern speed boat with a powerful outboard motor and fiberglass hull.
Neil, Havelock, South Andaman - jet ski rides and rentals available
Havelock, South Andaman - pull-behind inflatable sofa ride, banana boat, parasail
Port Blair - parasail, paddleboat, water-skiing, sailboat rental at Watersports Complex
Middle Andaman - private boat trip to Interview Island
North Andaman - day trips to Ross and Smith Island, water scooters and speedboat rental at Kalipur Adventure Sports Complex
Best conditions for fishing run from October to the end of May. The Andamans are becoming famous for catch-and-release offshore fishing for barracuda, giant trevally, tuna, other large game fish. Depending on the charter, some equipment is provided, but most serious fishermen bring their own favorite saltwater gear as well. Day trips and multi-day excursions available for 6 – 12 guests, with some on-board amenities like meals and drinks included. Boats are 30 – 60 foot vessels with experienced crew and modern equipment. Some excursions available to fish off the more remote areas like Barren Island, Cinque and Rutland Islands, and open sea drop-offs.
South Andaman - from Port Blair day and overnight trips in surrounding waters
Havelock - half-day, full-day in waters around 8-10 nearby uninhabited islands
Apart from walking around the busier parts of the Andaman Islands to experience the markets, bazaars and other daily life, trekking and hiking can be physically demanding. Always check with hotel or resort and use local guides to arrange paperwork for you, as some national park areas may require purchase of permit from local governmental offices or require additional fees for cameras or foreign visitors. It is extremely important to carry more water and snacks than you think you will need to prevent dehydration, and never hike alone in the more remote national parks or near tribal reserves. The islands are true wilderness and rain forest, with abundant wildlife, so watch where you step, avoid swimming in streams, and bring plenty of insect repellent and sunscreen.
Neil - can easily hike around the whole island to reach beaches
Havelock - trek with guide through jungle to reach Elephant Beach
Little Andaman - trek with guide to two waterfalls or explore lighthouse at southern point
South Andaman - trek before dark from Chidiya Tapu to cliffs at Munda Pahad with guide, hike on Mount Harriet (2nd highest peak in Andamans)
Middle Andaman - can explore Yerrata Mangrove Park, traverse the Dhanih Nallah Walkway through mangroves, hike to the waterfalls at Panchavati Hills, guided trek to reach caves at Baratang Island
North Andaman - hire local guide to climb mountain trail to Saddle Peak, Ice Degree Peak (coldest spot on islands) and third unnamed peak, trek with a guide to Shyam Nagar mud volcanoes and to Alfred Caves
Long Island - can trek on own to cross island to Lalaji Bay Beach
The safaris are provided through an Indian government agency using elephants trained for logging and construction (visitors can also watch training exercises). These gentle animals are not dangerous, and each elephant has a ‘driver’ as well as a passenger seat, so this experience is suitable for any age. Arrangements for the safari must be made in person in Port Blair before arriving on Little Andaman, and the tour is weather-dependent and may be cancelled at the last minute for your safety.
Little Andaman - ride on guided elephant tour through jungle to White Surf waterfall and back again to forestry training camp