Still undiscovered by most tourists, Little Andaman has a reputation for being a true surfer’s paradise, with very little commercialization and lots of local charm – life here is slow and laid-back, with rustic accommodations, fresh Indian food and friendly islanders. When visitors arrive at Hut Bay, most rent a scooter, fill it up with gas and motor around the relatively flat island with their backpacks and gear. The jetty, villages, beaches, and other places of interest are conveniently situated along the main road that hugs the eastern coastline from the southern lighthouse up to the northern beaches. There are waterfalls and coral lagoons to explore, perfectly breaking waves to surf, and water-loving elephants to ride. Remember that the north and west sides of the island have been designated as the tribal reserve of the aboriginal Onge tribe and are off-limits to visitors and locals.
Watersports and surfing are the biggest attractions on Little Andaman, with the wave breaks bringing surfers here from all over the world. Hiking the rainforest, scuba and snorkeling on the coral reefs, swimming and game fishing are other enjoyable adventures. The Indian government sponsors jungle safari rides on your own gentle elephant, or you can trek with a local guide the few miles inland to reach the White Surf or the more remote Whisper Wave waterfalls. Visitors are welcome to ride through the red oil palm plantations to learn more about this main island industry, or spend the day exploring the southern part of the island at the John Richardson beach and nature preserve. Climb the nearby Little Andaman lighthouse for a birds’ eye view of the surrounding jungle, the coral reefs along the coastline and the open ocean looking south towards the Nicobar Island chain across the 10 Degree Channel.
There are several places to eat on Little Andaman, but no true ‘restaurants’ as you might find on the more populated islands. Your resort host may offer meals in addition to the room rate with an on-site dining area, and there are usually at least one or two food establishments in the villages. A favorite breakfast meal for the surfers before heading out to the beach is fresh fruit juice and coconut-banana pancakes. Island food is classic Indian cuisine – lots of rice, fresh fruits and vegetables served with seasoned chicken, fish, and shellfish. Beer and wine are available for sale in the local stores and marketplaces like Indira Bazaar, and there are many small stalls that sell bottled water, snacks and other backpacking staples for trekkers.
One of the most beautiful beaches on Little Andaman is at Kalapathar, where a volcanic rock formation creates a shallow lagoon pool perfect for swimming and exploring the sea caves and cliffs at low tide. The tourist-accessible beaches on Little Andaman are located on the eastern side of the island along the main road that runs north and south and are perfect for surfing, swimming, diving and snorkeling. Surf camps, board rentals, and other watersports are popping up at Butler Bay beach, and local guides can take experienced surfers to more remote beaches by boat for catching those perfect waves. Ask about off-shore game fishing at the boats anchored near the jetty at Hut Bay Beach, or plan to spend time at Richardson Beach nature preserve exploring the coral reefs on the southern corner of the island near the lighthouse. Some of the beaches like Netaji Nagar, Ganga and Chattan are so quiet and secluded that local cows graze at the treeline and only dolphins and dugongs may be sharing the water with you.
You will find there are no hotels or luxury resorts on remote and beautiful Little Andaman Island. However, there are two comfortable government guest houses near Hut Bay beach along the island’s main road that have air conditioned rooms and small televisions, but no meals are provided. Along the main road north from Ganga Beach to Kalapathar and Butler Bay you will also find privately owned ‘resorts’ which are a group of huts or small cottages for rent that offer small single or double beds, mosquito nets and an overhead fan, some with in-room toilet and sink, some with shared facilities outdoors. Most of the accommodations have direct trails through the forest or across the main road to the nearest beach access. Home-cooked meals by the owner or manager are usually offered at these ‘resorts’, either in a communal dining area or a separate restaurant-style building. A few small huts near the beaches are true surfer shacks for the adventurous traveler, with bamboo walls and thatched roof within a few yards of the high tide.
Each of the beaches on Little Andaman face east, so plan to enjoy dawn from a different vantage point each morning, and go back in the evening to watch the Milky Way rise over the horizon. As you explore the shoreline and the villages you’ll see that the 2004 earthquake and tsunami were especially destructive to Little Andaman Island. Even though the beaches are the main attraction on Little Andaman, spend part of your visit exploring the other sights in the interior of the island. Locals enjoy swimming and fishing in the Ramkrishnapur Dam in the highlands above the palm oil and coconut plantations. The beautiful White Surf waterfall and lagoon are easier to access by scooter than the more remote Whisper Wave waterfall, which is situated deep in the rainforest and sometimes closed during monsoon season, so an experienced guide is recommended for safety’s sake. The Little Andaman lighthouse at the southern tip of the island is adjacent to a deserted Onge tribal settlement area on a dirt trail, so a rented jeep ride is the best way to get from the main road to the lighthouse.