Andaman Islands are a paradisiacal archipelago and a tourist hot-spot – especially for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The Islands have a lot more to offer than just picture-perfect sunsets and beaches – the variety and popularity of their water sports stand testament to that. With so many impressive sights, attractions, and things to do in Havelock Island, it is easily the top destination of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Havelock Island is the largest of the many Islands that comprise the Island chain off the eastern side of Great Andaman of the Andaman Islands. It’s an extremely popular tourist destination with picture perfect sceneries and thrilling activities. Havelock Island has some of the best beaches in Asia – such as Radhanagar Beach and Elephant Beach – and lush green interiors. This dense forest is home to many a wild animal with bird-watching, among other activities, being a big highlight.
Accessible by frequent ferry rides from Port Blair (90 minutes journey) Havelock Island is popular for the scenery and variety of activities it offers – catering to all kinds of travelers.
Trek to Elephant beach
A 20 minutes boat ride away from Havelock Island Jetty, Elephant beach is a must-visit for all. It has powder white sand with crystal waters in which corals start at a depth of less than a meter.
Elephant Beach can be accessed by boat or a trek through the dense forest. The latter is significantly lighter on the pocket. A well marked trail winds through nature in its raw form for 2 km, ending at Elephant Beach. The trek is not only great for a traveller on a budget, but also for those looking for a challenge. Due to the terrain, the short trek is considered moderately easy and a basic level of fitness is required.
Monsoon rains tends to leave the forests damp and slippery. This makes trekking in the area much tougher and slightly dangerous as well. Thus it is best to avoid trekking here in or just after the monsoon. If embarking on the trek, appropriate footwear and protective gear (hats, insect repellent, sunscreen) should be carried. A walking stick is also advisable to assist moving undergrowth to make the walk easier and to prod any stray dogs away. Also be wary of the big lizards around the trail.
The dense tropical rainforests is a perfect trek for those craving a challenge, breathtaking surroundings, and an experience.
Go for a Sea Walk!
Plunge into the blue waters to witness firsthand the magnificent marine life of Andaman Island during this unique under-water walk. Being able to stand between and interact with the aquatic flora and fauna, tread carefully between the corals, and say hello to any curious fish nibbling at your hands.
Adventurers walk along the sea bed (6-7 m depth) and wearing a special helmet with a transparent visor that allows breathing and looking to take place unhampered (the oxygen tank is on the pontoon). The experience includes getting photographed with the unperturbed fish, unique coral and delicate fauna.
Sea walking can be done in various locations but a huge advantage of doing the underwater Sea Walk at Elephant beach is that Havelock Island’s crystal waters facilitate the optimum experience.
The sensation of the Underwater Sea Walk can be likened to that of walking on the moon – although, with a significantly better view. A certified guide and instructor accompanies all trips and to ensure safety of all those who are participating. The underwater sea walk can be done all year round. Though the spawning season (September to November) offers innumerable fish and coral teeming with biomass. Underwater sea walking is an ideal experience even for those with no swimming or scuba skills, but who want to see the world from a fish-point-of-view.
Scuba Dive at Havelock Island
Scuba diving allows divers to swim with the fishes, weave in and out of ancient bedrock structures, and see a myriad of aquatic life centimetres away. What better location to embark on a dive than the Andaman Islands – home to over 30 different species of aquatic animals? For both beginners and experienced divers, each trip to the bottom of the sea offers a whole new experience from night diving to exploring wrecks.
Havelock Island offers one of the best dive sites in the Andaman Islands. Getting to Havelock Island from Port Blair can be done by frequent boats that ferry travelers to and fro. Elephant beach is located on the North-eastern part of Havelock Island (one of the many Islands that comprise of the Island chain off Great Andaman). It’s a popular tourist destination known for its pristine sands, crystal waters, and sea waves. Accessible by boat and foot, it’s a short 10 km from the market. Scuba diving at Havelock Island presents the opportunity to swim among the varied aquatic life – from pipe fish and crabs to eagle rays. The colorful reef bursts with life as the many fish and juvenile shrimp busy themselves with their daily routine. The depth goes down to 12 m with snappers and barracuda habiting the deeper waters.
Apart from Elephant beach, Havelock Island offers many, many scuba diving sites. Each unique with respect to the sights it offers, difficulty level and depth reached. The most popular sites are The Wall (intermediate level, sights include critters, reef fish, hunting pelagic, schools of snappers), Seduction Point (famous for rocks with stag horn corals), Barracuda city (interaction with sea turtles can take place, intermediate level), Mac Point (all levels, swimming with dugongs can take place), Aquarium (beginner level, popular for the colourful schools of fishes) and Lighthouse (all levels, night diving).
Snorkel at Elephant beach
Snorkeling can be done by swimmers and non-swimmers and requires minimal equipment. It’s done mainly in the shallow waters where the vivid coral-structures and amazing marine life can be viewed.
Havelock Island offers many (more than 50) snorkeling spots and most popular is Elephant Beach. Many smaller Islands around Havelock that are just a few minutes by boat are also famous and provide a variety of different experiences and sights. Elephant beach is definitely one of the most well known snorkeling locations and a huge crowd pleaser.
Located on the North-eastern part of Havelock Island, it’s known for its pristine sands, crystal waters, and sea waves. Accessible by boat and foot, it’s a short 10 km from the market. The waters of Elephant Beach are inhabited by a myriad of aquatic species – from the Hog fish and Red Hind to the Leafy Sea Dragon.
Snorkeling is the perfect activity for those wanting to explore the world that exists below the surface of the water, but are looking for something less intense and time consuming than scuba diving!
Kayaking in midst of Mangrove Forests
Havelock Island, like many other spots in the Andamans, is quickly becoming a popular kayaking destination. November and December are the perfect months to grab paddles and a kayak and head out to the lush mangroves and the backwaters surrounding the Islands
Mangroves are biodiversity hotspots – supporting the life of an incredible number of species – from birds and animals to plants. Inaccessible by foot, these mangroves can be explored by kayak, manoeuvring through aerial roots called pneumatophores.
Havelock Island provides plenty of kayaking opportunities with many Kayak Tours located here. Kayaking is the perfect way for non-swimmers to enjoy what these rich lands have to offer.
Visit One of the Top beaches in the World
Radhanagar Beach, also known as Beach Number 7, is located on the western coast of Havelock Island. Named “Asia’s Best Beach” (2004) and “World’s 7th Best Beach” by Time Magazine, Radhanagar Beach is backed by dense native forest with perfectly spiralled waves greeting the sparkling white sandy shores. Despite its soaring popularity, Radhanagar beach is surprisingly isolated and secluded.
The beach is easily accessible – only 12 km from the Havelock Island jetty. It can be reached from Port Blair by government-operated ferries and private cruises. The late afternoon offers pleasant weather, perfect for the ideal sunset viewing! Taking a refreshing dip in the tranquil waters or one of the many water sports available – Radhanagar Beach has something for everyone!
A site for world-class sport fishing and angling; the Andaman Islands are the last frontier for true big game sport fishing. The Islands have dense rainforests, mangroves, and deep drop-offs making the conditions ideal for activities like saltwater angling.
Examples of fish that inhabit the area in and around Havelock Island – and are frequently caught – are Black Marlin, Yellow fin Tuna, Dogtooth Tuna, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, and Dorado. Most boats for hire are of various sizes and have equipment for trolling, popping and jigging. Impressively, the fishing community’s firm catch-and-release policy works and helps to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to test themselves against the magnificent fishes.
The most optimal months for game fishing in and around Havelock Island are February and March. The peak season is from November until Mid April. The second week of May brings in the monsoon season.
Rent a Bike and Explore the Havelock Island
Havelock Island is relatively small (only 92.2 km2) with wide roads and plenty of lanes weaving in and out of the surrounding trees. With few diversions set up, Havelock Island is easy to navigate by road. A bike (two-wheeler) is strongly recommended over a car due to availability and convenience in travelling (parking options, ability to take on the narrower lanes). Given the distances and routes that travellers would take on the Island, bikes are the best mode of transport.
There are many bike rental companies and garages dotted around the Island that make the rental process a lot easier. Booking a two-wheeler should be done in advance so the bike(s) can be delivered to a specified location. Renting charges are on a 24 hours basis (from the time of availing it). Supporting documents may also be required (e.g. passport, PAN card, or any other proof of identity) at the time of renting.
There are a few things to keep in mind when renting a bike in Havelock Island. Helmets must be worn and a valid two-wheeler driving license must be held by the rider – the traffic police are known to be rather strict at enforcing local laws. Drinking and driving is a serious offence and punishable by law. In practice, a security deposit is always taken when renting a bike. Petrol is not available very easily around Havelock Island so it’s advisable to fill petrol at one of the few gas stations before 7 pm.
Overall, renting a bike is the best way to go about an exploration of Havelock Island as it offers the perfect blend of being able to enjoy the scenic surroundings and covering distances!
Go Island Hopping on Charter Boat
“Island hopping” refers to the practice of visiting one Island after another. This ensures travellers get exposed to a large number and variety of Islands – even those that are relatively far away from the major commercialised hubs. Boats are rented – usually on a daily basis – and can be “bare” or come with a crew based on the traveller’s preference.
The main Islands that people tend to visit on such expeditions are Neil Island, Inglis Island, and the North Andaman Island clusters. Travellers can pick which Islands to visit based on the activities they want to do (snorkeling, bird watching, scuba diving, relaxing on the beach, or water sports) and the time they have at hand so therefore the distance that can be covered. The Islands are visited for relatively short periods of time but it’s ensured that all activities are covered – quality over quantity!
Neil Island is a small Island (13.7 km²) in southern Andamans. The Island is famous for its scuba diving with an immense amount to offer divers of all experience levels. The most popular sites are Margherita’s Mischief (suitable for all level, calm and crystal waters, sights include Pufferfish, Dugongs, Blue-spotted stingrays, and Yellow Snappers), K Rock (perfect for all levels, a huge volcanic rock that is home to Butterflyfish, Sweetlips, Soldierfish, and Snappers), Bus Stop (suitable for all levels, has a sandy bottom with small reefs).
The serene Inglis Island is only 57 km from Port Blair and is famous for the peace and quiet that it offers. Dense jungles and crystal waters lapping at the powder sand, the Island has everything to offer. Isolated and unknown to most, tourists can pack some snacks and get on a ferry to Inglis Island from Havelock Island. The rocky Island is known for its game fishing. Snorkelling and scuba diving among the brilliant coral reef and myriad marine species that inhabit them that is an experience not to be missed. Treks can also be done in the jungles, but it is advised to be cautious about the animals that reside there.
Overall, Island hopping on a chartered boat is the ideal way to experience all that the Andaman & Nicobar Islands have to offer – especially within a limited period of time!