When your boat arrives at the jetty on Havelock Island (also known as Swaraj Dweep), this emerald-green forested island appears to be floating in an aquamarine sea. As you travel around the island, you’ll be amazed at the variety of natural beauty on display in the dense jungles and pristine beaches. Known by many tourists as the most popular of the Andaman Islands, the Havelock Islanders are very proud of their focus on maintaining a good balance between their eco-tourism industry while preserving their natural resources for the future. A vacation on Swaraj Dweep offers visitors a unique immersive eco-experience showcasing the best of the Andaman Islands.
Water lovers will be in heaven – every sport imaginable is available here on Havelock Island. World-class scuba and snorkeling sites, guided night kayak paddles through the mangrove forests, game fishing charters, glass bottom boat tours, sea walking for the non-scuba adventurers, jet-skis and swimming top the list of ‘fun in the sun’ activities. As the largest island in Ritchie’s Archipelago, Havelock offers a small but enjoyable nighttime bar scene with live music along the eastern side of the island, and many of the larger hotels and resorts also have bars and nightlife activities for visitors.
It’s all about the seafood on Havelock Island for many visitors, with most restaurants offering the freshest catch cooked to order and tasty small plates while you wait. Most of the larger hotels and resorts have their own restaurants, but some of the best food comes from the shacks and beach stalls nearest to the beaches, and it’s always a good idea to watch where the locals gather to discover island favorites. You will find a wide variety of delicious options in the villages and along the beaches near the jetty, offering Indian cuisine (mostly northern and Bengali), as well as Continental, vegetarian, Chinese, and even Italian options – there are actually a few great pizzerias on the island. Visitor favorites like chilled beer, mixed drinks, tropical fruit concoctions, ice cream and freshly opened coconuts with a straw are easy to find around the island.
The Havelock islanders are very proud of their beautiful beaches, and during your stay on the island you will completely understand why. With wide stretches of sugary sand, colorful coral reefs and a dense tree canopy along the beach strands, these beaches will take your breath away with their beauty. Award-winning Radhanagar Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. Elephant Beach no longer has a steady stream of elephants in the surf, but it is the best place on the island to go for a wide variety of watersports – many boats for hire at the jetty will take you there and back again along the northern coast. The beaches of Kalapathar and Vijaynagar are much less crowded and perfect for relaxing, with amazing views of the ever-changing photographic glories of sunrise and sunset. Visit secluded Govindnagar beach for unforgettable shots of the striking mangrove-filled shoreline set against the turquoise waters.
Havelock Island offers something for everyone in accommodations while visiting – from high-class resorts with guests-only beaches and infinity pools, to private homes and tiny beach bungalows without air conditioning – you will find the perfect place to call “home base” for your vacation style. Some of the resorts and hotels have swimming pools, shuttle service to the bars, on-site restaurants and other amenities available. Most hotels will help to arrange day trips, boat rides, bike rentals and other activities for you, or suggest some lesser-known adventures for you to enjoy. The majority of accommodations are located on or near the beaches and the two main roads, although a few of the resorts are tucked away up in the hills and have more of a rainforest- jungle vibe (but the beaches are still close enough to walk or bike down to visit).
Most of the best views are along the coast where the beaches are, and hired guides are available to take you into the rainforest on treks and hikes, or through the jungle to reach Elephant Beach by land. Boat tours are also available for viewing the extensive coral reefs offshore and taking a ride around the coastline is spectacular, especially near northernmost Lighthouse Point. Havelock Island has two main roads that connect all the villages, and most of the larger resorts and hotels offer ‘pick up and drop off’ services to most of the local attractions, restaurants and bars. For fun, catch the local bus at the jetty and take a ride around the island – you can see all the sights and marvel at how much virgin rainforest still covers the island beyond the villages and fields. There are numerous car, scooter and bicycle rentals available on the island for exploring and getting from beach to beach, or village to village to visit the local bazaars and markets.