Havelock Island: Life is a beach

Havelock Island, one of the largest islands belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In December 2018, it was renamed as Swaraj Island as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Premium scuba diving and snorkeling are the highlights of the gorgeous Havelock Island. This island boasts some of the most well defined spots of attraction with a perfect mixture of tropical jungle and white sand beaches.

There is no urban population in Havelock Island, most of the residents are dependent on tourism for livelihood. Very low population density, makes sure you get as close to the nature as possible.

Please read my earlier blog posts on Andaman Islands (1) Reasons to visit Andaman Islands (2) Port Blair and (3) Port Blair to Havelock Island – about reaching Havelock Island from Port Blair. In this blog post I am covering accommodation, local transportation, food and the beaches in Havelock Island.

Accommodation

There are multiple options for accommodation, with varying budgets. If you are looking for tranquility and isolation then go for an accommodation near the beach number 7, the famous Radhanagar Beach. Some of the options near Radhanagar beach are Barefoot at Havelock, TSG Blue Resort, and Taj Exotica Resort and Spa. The beach is approachable from these resorts.

The other options that one can possibly look at are Munjoh Ocean Resort, Seashell Havelock, Symphony Palms Beach Resort, Dolphin Resort (a government run property) and Barefoot Scuba Resort (at beach number 3).

Barefoot at Havelock

During our visit we stayed at Barefoot at Havelock. It was a wonderful experience. The resort is very close to the Radhanagar beach, just about a 100 meters walk. On to the beach and we had the beach for ourselves.

One of the things to note about Andaman Islands is that, the sunset happens around 5 PM, being on the eastern side. The same is the situation with sunrise, happening early around 5 AM.

Being close to the beach meant that we had to just get up and we were at the beach without worrying about the transport. Barefoot at Havelock is surrounded by thick forest. The resort has airconditioned Andaman villa, Nicobari cottages, Nicobari villa, tented airconditioned cottages, and duplex cottages. We had chosen the Andaman Villa for our 3 night accommodation.

Barefoot at Havelock, didn’t provide room services, no internet, news paper or television. All the cottages are made of timber, bamboo, grass and other natural elements. Almost no use of cement. We wanted to enjoy the nature, disconnect ourselves from the virtual world and spend time together as a family so this was a perfect setting for us. They have a big open dining area and also a full service bar. A library with a good collection of books is available in the reception area.

At the night time, there are no heavy lights and we had to use the electric torches provided by the resort. Wonderful thing. Since the resort is surrounded by thick forests you may occasionally witness insects or a spider etc. The resort provided mosquito nets in the room. Overall it was a wonderful experience to stay at Barefoot at Havelock.

Food

At a majority of the hotels and resorts you can opt out for packages that include breakfast and dinner. A number of standalone restaurants are available near the Govind Nagar beach, but if you are staying at Radhanagar beach you will need local transport to reach there.

Variety of non-vegetarian food including fresh catch from the ocean was on offer. Most of the resorts have full service bars offering all types of beverages. We ate our lunches at the restaurant at Barefoot at Havelock and had our candle light dinners in the open area. One can get a dedicated arrangement of candle light dinner at an additional cost. The vegetarian food was delicious.

Local transport

Local transport options are limited on the Island due to limited number of vehicles. From the jetty you get taxis to take you to the hotel. Two wheelers are available on hourly or daily rental basis. Last minute availability of a vehicle cannot be assumed, it is better to include cost of the local transport in your package.

Beaches

Radhanagar beach

There are several beaches in the Havelock Island. The most well known beach is Radhanagar beach (beach no. 7). Radhanagar has been given the title of the best beach in Asia and the 7th best beach in the world by Time Magazine in 2004. The beach is also included in the Top 25 beaches in Asia by TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards in 2016.

Just walk over to the beach with pristine golden sands, calm blue clear waters, beautiful sunset and sunrise! What else do you want for your holidays! The other important thing is that the beach is not at all crowded. At the time of the sunrise you will find hardly anyone at the beach. The beach is surrounded by dense tropical forest with tall trees. Since we were just a few steps away from the beach we spent most of the time swimming in the sea in the morning and afternoon, watching the sunset and sunrise and strolling around. Eat, swim, rest, and enjoy the nature – the time should simply stop!

On the third night of our stay we went for a walk by the beach in the night. The resort staff told us that many people had lost their way in the dense forest in the night and had to be rescued. They sent a member of the staff with us to show us the way. Pitch dark on the beach and the forest, moonlit sky, the gentle sound of waves, and fading lights of a ship moving in the distant sea. We enjoyed that experience !!

Other beaches

There are several other beaches in the Havelock Island.

Elephant beach is the place do to all water sports activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, sea walking and glass bottom boat rides. This beach too is surrounded by thick forest. Facilities for tourists such as changing rooms and food kiosks are available. Several dive shops also near by.

Kalapathar beach has white sand, blue green waters along with black rocks surrounded by lush green forest, Kalapathar beach is an amazing place. The road to this beach itself is a treat for the traveler. Some fruit stalls along side the road.

Govindnagar beach is close to market. Several restaurants and resorts near this beach. You will see a lot of hustle bustle around this place.

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