Andaman Islands: Best beaches in India

Reasons to visit

One of the core reasons of visiting the Andamans Islands was to see the Cellular Jail, which has a great significance in India’s freedom struggle. Several freedom fighters including two of the most prominent ones (Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his elder brother Ganesh Damodar Savarkar) were imprisoned in the Cellular Jail. Having read Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s book “Mazi Janmathep” (“My Transportation for Life“), seeing the piece of history where he spent 10 years in complete isolation, torturous and inhumane conditions was a long standing wish. Andaman Islands were occupied by the Japanese and the Indian National Army during the World War II.

In addition to the historical significance Andaman Islands offer majestic beaches, flora and fauna, activities such as snorkeling, sea walking and scuba diving and great food. Additionally you don’t see too many visitors like Goa on the Andaman beaches.

Important considerations

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Network connectivityLimited to poor. Internet slow.
Need for cashAt many places due to limited connectivity
By air1. Flights take 2 – 3 hours and are available from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam
2. Booking early is light on pockets
By sea1. Sailing of ships is dependent on weather, schedules are published a month ahead
2. Ships take 50 – 70 hours to reach Andamans
3. Ships are not cruise liners and be aware of motion sickness
4. No entertainment options on the deck
5. Prefer if you have plenty of time on hand and want a one off experience
Inter island travel1. Mostly through ferries and limited frequencies
2. Sailing dependent on weather conditions and schedules are published a month ahead
3. Ticket booking at the jetty, not online
4. Need an agent to help with ferry ticket booking
5. Alternate options are Makruzz and Green Ocean
Travel within the island1. Hired vehicle (availability is limited and it is a good idea to arrange through a travel agent)
2. At islands like Havelock you can rent two wheelers (Activa / motorbike) on hourly/ daily basis
Language1. Hindi is spoken and understood widely.
2. No problems with English as well
Medical facilities1. Ensure to carry stock of medicines due to remoteness of this region.
2. Major facilities in Port Blair including government and private hospitals and diagnostic centers.
3. At the islands the availability is quite limited.
Food1. Wide variety available.
2. Good for sea-food lovers but vegetarian food is available
ClimateHot and humid tropical climate. Monsoon rains arrive here first.
ClothingPrefer clothing appropriate for swimming and hot and humid climate.
Peak season1. Usually mid December to mid January, expect hotels to be expensive by up to 50%+
2. Special rates for some nights e.g. 31 December
Good time to visit1. November to March (if you want to enjoy tranquility then possibly it is a good idea to avoid peak period)
2. Monsoon period is economical but the activities (e.g. scuba, snorkeling etc.) may not be available.
3. Sailing of ferries is subject to weather which can limit mobility in monsoon.
4. One may need flexible schedule to travel in monsoon
Travel agentsMany are available: you can try
(1) Barefoot Holidays
(2) Experience Andamans
AirportVeer Savarkar Airport Port Blair
CapitalPort Blair
Important places to be covered1) Port Blair
2) Havelock Island
3) Ross Island
4) Jollybuoy Island
5) Ross and Smith Island
6) Baratang Island
7) Rangat Island
8) Diglipur
9) Little Andamans
10) Neil Island
Number of islands~ 570 of which 37 are inhabited

** My experiences based on travel before the COVID-19 pandemic.