To get to the Andamans Islands, foreign nationals will first need to fly into mainland India. The best points of entry would be either Chennai or Kolkata as they are connected by several daily flights as well as by ship on fixed schedules to Port Blair, the capital city of the Andamans Islands. Indian Nationals or residents of India can simply fly into Port Blair via either Chennai or Kolkata. Flight fares to Port Blair from the mainland are cheaper when booked well ahead. Ships to Port Blair ply only on fixed schedules from Chennai, Kolkata, and Visakhapatnam and tickets must be purchased well in advance. The journey (3 days) can be monotonous as the ships have minimal facilities and are not luxurious to say the least. You can view detailed information on making your way to the Andaman Islands in our How to get there section.
Three regular ferries ply between Port Blair and Havelock every day. Travellers can choose between the slower, cheaper government ferry and the faster, more expensive new catamaran depending on their arrival time in Port Blair as well as their budget.
Please note however that getting tickets on the ferry can be very hard and tiresome with long queues. It can be extremely difficult to procure tickets last minute and hence we urge you to allow us to organise your ferry tickets for you in advance through our meet and greet services for resort guests.
You can view complete information on the ferry services between Port Blair and Havelock as well as view the various ferry timings by clicking here.
Do note that the timings mentioned can be changed by the administration at short notice and we would request you to recheck the timings a few days before arrival. All sailings are subject to weather conditions.
To view the meet and greet packages we offer to resort guests click here.
In the Andamans, the main tourist season is between November and mid-May and the absolute peak season being December to March.
The months of June, July, August and September are considered as the rainy season. Rain peaks in June and July and one could get pleasant weather in August and September with a little luck. Do note that the Barefoot at Havelock resort is closed in the month of July and re-opens for a brand new season on the 1st of August each year.
As the Andamans are tropical islands, it is difficult to predict the rains and hence tourists should be prepared for light showers even in the months of November or December.
For guests visiting these islands primarily for water sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling, February to March is considered the best time to visit as the wind dies down leaving the seas absolutely calm and flat. Visibility is also at its very best during this time making water sports truly enjoyable.
If you are looking for a holiday that is only about the sun, sand and the sea or relaxation, rejuvenation and water sports, then it is recommended that you head straight for Havelock Island and skip Port Blair altogether. (Do note however that on the return leg, as the ferry timings and the flight timings do not correlate, all tourists must spend the last night in Port Blair)
- Please note on arrival if the guest lands latest by 1230 hrs then they can take the last ferry (government ferry) at 1400 hrs and head straight to Havelock.
- Please note we would want to bring to your notice that there is morning government ferry from Havelock - Port Blair at 0900hrs and reaches Port Blair at 1130hrs. Hence if your flight departs Port Blair after 1330hrs you guests will be able to board your flight by the morning government ferry.
However for those holiday makers looking to also get a feel of the islands and visit important tourist attractions, it is worth spending a day or 2 in Port Blair taking in the various attractions like Cellular Jail, Ross Island, Viper Island etc as well as exploring the areas easily accessible from Port Blair like Wandoor.
You can view all the various day trips possible from Port Blair by clicking here.
Travellers seeking adventure and willing to rough it out can visit islands like Baratang, Neil and Long Island. However the facilities here are very basic with resorts either being Government guest houses or backpacker shacks. The Andamans are enjoyable for every kind of tourist and on these Islands you can practise the art of doing absolutely nothing or fill your day with an array of activities.
Listed below are a few important considerations when planning a trip to the Emerald Isles.
- All foreign passports must be valid of a minimum duration of 6 months.
- All foreign nationals must have a valid Indian Visa to enter Port Blair.
- Ferry timings from Havelock to Port Blair do not correlate with flight timings to mainland India, all tourists therefore must spend the last night in Port Blair. There is unfortunately no way around this.
- All foreign nationals must ensure that their India Visa does NOT have a stamp that reads “Not valid for restricted areas” on it as these Islands fall under restricted zone laws. Should your visa have such a stamp, please contact the issuing visa authority before you travel and have a new visa issued to you as you will be denied entry to the Andaman Islands if you were to arrive with this stamp.
- On arrival, all foreign nationals are issued a Restricted Area Permit free of cost at the airport or port. The procedure is simple and takes about 20 minutes. The permit will allow you to stay for a period of 30 days only. This validity can be further extended in Port Blair or Havelock closer to the date of expiry by an additional 15 days provided you have proof of a return ticket. No further extensions are possible.
- Foreign nationals wishing to stay longer must fly to mainland India and back to the islands again.
- Although on Indian Standard Time, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have an early sunrise and sunset. Sunrise here is usually between 0500hrs and 0530hrs and the sunset is at 1730hrs. It gets light very early here and dark very soon, so to make the best of the day it is advised to rise early.
- Ferries from Port Blair to other islands are very regular; however there are occasions when bad weather or mechanical trouble can cause them to be cancelled.
Indian passport holders do not require a permit to visit and stay in the populated areas of Andaman Islands, including Havelock Island. However Indians are not allowed entry to the Nicobar chain of Islands.
All foreign nationals require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) over and above an Indian Visa to enter the Andaman Islands. The Indian Visa is to be obtained in your country of residence prior to arrival in India. All foreign nationals must ensure that their India Visa does NOT have a stamp that reads “Not valid for restricted areas” on it as these Islands fall under restricted zone laws. Should your visa have such a stamp, please contact the issuing visa authority before you travel and have a new visa issued to you as you will be denied entry to the Andaman Islands.
On arrival, all foreign nationals are issued a Restricted Area Permit free of cost at the airport or port. The procedure is simple and takes about 20 minutes. The permit will allow you to stay for a period of 30 days only. This validity can be further extended in Port Blair or Havelock closer to the date of expiry by an additional 15 days provided you have proof of a return ticket. No further extensions are possible.
Foreigners holding a valid entry permit into the Andaman Islands are allowed to visit and stay at municipal areas of Port Blair, Havelock, Long island, Neil island, the islands of South Andaman and Middle Andaman (excluding tribal reserved area – 5kms away from Constance bay to Luis Inlet bay – western coast tribal reserve), Baratang, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, North Passage Island, Little Andaman (excluding tribal reserve) and all islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park except Boat Island, Hobday island, Twins islands, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto island. Tourists can also visit Jolly Buoy island, South Cinque island, Redskin island, Mount Harriet, Madhuban, Ross island, Narcondam island, Interview island, Brother & Sister islands and Barren island during the day. (Visit to Barren island is restricted on board the vessel with no landing ashore).
Do note that the Restricted Access Permit is issued on arrival and is a process by the Immigration department and no one can assist you in getting the same. In case of any complications, you will need to sort it out with the Immigration authorities.
Port Blair is busy town that almost does not resemble an island. In fact it does not have a beach within city limits. Although one can drive out from Port Blair to some nice beaches, most travellers in Port Blair visit the monuments and historical attractions.
A detailed list of the various places of importance in and around the capital city of Port Blair can be seen here.
The whole of India has standard 220volts with sockets that are a mix of three-pin (round pins) and two-pin (round pins). To avoid trouble we suggest guests bring at least one travel adapter with them.
Water is an important depleting resource on the Islands. The Barefoot at Havelock resort however is blessed with its own natural spring that provides the resort with all the water it needs. However guests are requested not to waste water and take steps to conserve this resource as far as possible.
The resort also harvests rain water and has a reverse osmosis plant for the production of safe and pure drinking water for its guests. This water is available free to resort guests so as to reduce the amount of plastic waste on the island from the purchase of packaged mineral water.
Being an island, seafood is of course on the top of the list. Of the various varieties of fish available, trevally, barracuda, king fish, snappers, crabs, prawns, lobsters and shrimps are the most popular. However most of the fish caught is exported and as a result seafood demand exceeds its supply making it slightly more expensive than one would expect on an island.
Apart from seafood, North Indian, South Indian and Continental fare too are available and vegetarians will have no problem at all.
Almost all festivals celebrated on mainland India are celebrated with the same amount of pomp in the Andaman Islands. A few important ones are Diwali, Christmas, Eid and Easter. However owing to the Bengali population on these islands, the festival of 'Durga Pooja' is a special one and reigns as the king of all festivals here.
The Andaman Islands is a very relaxed place with simple rules. Act with respect and decorum, dress appropriately (especially away from the beach), and always ask permission before taking photographs of the local population.
A beach destination does not mean that the locals are used to seeing women in revealing swim wear. Please be sensitive to the traditions of the locals and cover up when in areas where locals are present like jetty areas and village markets.
Having said that, we would like to stress that the Andamans is a remote place and although the people are casual, one should not expect the kind of comfort or the level of service that is expected of a hotel/resort in mainland India.
The currency of India and the Andaman Islands too is the Indian Rupee. For current exchange rates click here.
Port Blair has numerous ATM's and Havelock Island has 2 ATM's (AXIS & SBI). Most other islands do not have ATM’s at all. Please carry sufficient cash with you to pay your bills.
It is possible to change all major currencies in India; however in the Andamans it is currently possible only in Port Blair. You are advised to go through official banks or authorized money changers. Please do note that the rates in Port Blair for changing of foreign currency will not be as good as on mainland India.
It is currently not possible to change foreign currency on any of the other islands, including Havelock.
Credit Cards (MasterCard and Visa) are not widely accepted in the Andamans, except for larger hotels and resorts and some diving facilities. You will most likely be hit with a surcharge of about 3% and both your passport and your credit card will get photocopied to submit to the bank as all transactions are done offline. Do note that most establishments do not accept American Express cards and debit cards are not accepted at all on all islands with the exception of Port Blair.
The Barefoot at Havelock resort as well its dive centre Barefoot Scuba does accept credit cards both Mater card and Visa. A 3% surcharge is however applicable. Please note that American Express credit cards and debit cards in general are not accepted at all.
The Andaman Islands, like other parts of the Andaman Sea enjoy a tropical climate throughout the year. The average minimum temperature is around 23°C and it seldom goes much above 30°C. Humidity is relatively high at about 70% to 90%, however with a gentle breeze blowing most the time it is still quite pleasant. One can expect some rainfall towards the end of May before the monsoon season, June and July. There is some rain on and off right through to November, which has a charm of its own and keep the islands lush and green. Click here to see the current weather forecasts for the Andaman Islands Whole Year Weather forecast.
Average Precipitation - Number of years on Record: 123 years of rainfall YEAR Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Cm 293 4 2 1 6 36 48 40 40 46 29 22 15 The southwest monsoon showers are over by September and the weather presents an interesting mix of rain and sun. The island is lush, beautiful and arguably at its most vibrant in October and November. However, there remains the potential of rain in end November or early December as the Northeast winds blow briefly through the islands. The weather is normally very nice in December and January. Although sunny, it is still pleasant and night time temperatures are cool. In fact a light jacket or full sleeve shirt may be required in the evenings. In February and March the weather begins turning gradually warmer and the sea and sky both are at their bluest and clearest in the period. Summer comes with April and continues through the first half of May, with daytime temperatures reaching 36 centigrade, but cooler in the shade. The Southwest Monsoon normally arrives in the second half of May and continues through June and July and eases off after August/September.
There is no specific dress code in the Islands, however tourists are advised to be sensitive to the local culture and avoid wearing bathing suits while away from the beach areas especially in and around the village markets. There are no nude beaches in the Andaman Islands and nude sun bathing/swimming is not recommended at all, even if you believe that no one is watching you. This unnecessary ‘skin show’ is not just disrespectful to the local culture but also invites stares and possible lewd comments.
At all tourist resorts shorts and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable. This is also appropriate at night, though "smart casual" is preferred and more appropriate in some resorts. Carry flip flops for your comfort and when going for excursions always carry a towel and extra change of clothes. Sticking to cool cottons helps avoid a heat rash that is common in tropical regions.
In the evening mosquitoes do come. Wearing something light with long sleeves and light trousers is recommended. Carry a good mosquito repellent at all times. The mosquito menace is only there during dusk and then reduces considerably.
Travellers are expected to dress conservatively when visiting temples, shrines and mosques. It is advised that tourists cover their shoulders and wear dresses or trousers below the knee level and remember to take off their shoes before entering.
Due to the fact that the islands are remote and have a low population, health services are fairly poor on most islands including Havelock. Port Blair has the best equipped hospital in the Andamans, although it is not comparable with the excellent health care available on the mainland.
Tourists are advised to bring the medication they need as not all medicines are freely available on the islands. Although most islands have a small pharmacy, foreign nationals will be unfamiliar with the names of the Indian drugs and not all drugs may be available at that given time.
India is officially a country that poses a malarial risk. However on Havelock, till date there are no reported cases at all. Malaria is however present in most other islands including Port Blair and the Wandoor area. Travellers are advised to check with their doctors and decide if any anti malarial medication should be taken prior to entering the islands as a precaution. We also advise that vaccinations are kept current and check prior to your visit.
For divers, it is noteworthy that currently there is no recompression chamber on the islands. Although there are plans for one to be opened in the near future, it is yet to become a reality. Hence all dives are planned and executed keeping conservative dive profiles.
Sensible preventive measures like keeping well hydrated, wearing a good sun block, consuming only safe drinking water, wearing breathable fabrics like cotton will ensure that you stay cool and prevent the heat from getting to you.
Should you injure yourself, please attend to it immediately by consulting a doctor and/or take antibiotics as well as apply an antiseptic cream regularly. Given the high humidity levels, it is easy for infections to set in.
The Andamans does not have any religious stance and the population here is a good mix of various religions. The Hindu festivals tend to be celebrated with more pomp and festivities here, however during Christmas time you will see bright colourful stars, little golden bells, pretty little angels and various other X-Mas decorations available all over the village markets. Processions complete with Santa and his followers too are not uncommon.
India in itself has a very mixed religious history and a reputation for religious tolerance. Hinduism is by far the most popular religion in the islands followed by Christianity and then Islam. Other religions actively practised in India include Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.
The whole of India falls under the same time zone so the local time is GMT + 5½ hours throughout the country, year round. However, as the Andamans are geographically closer to Thailand than India, life in the Andamans begins a little earlier in the day. The sunrise is usually at about 05:30 am and the sun sets early here at 5:00 pm. To get the most of your holiday it is recommended that you get an early start.
Although the Indian postal services on mainland India have a dependable reputation both for domestic as well as international postage services, the same cannot be said for the Andaman Islands. Many travellers have had problems with their parcels and postcards not reaching their destination. Tourists are hence advised to avoid sending or receiving post/parcels while in the Andamans and it is recommended to wait until they are back on the mainland where services can be relied upon.
On almost all islands, International dialling is available from most major hotels (in Port Blair only) and ISD booths are available in the markets as well.
To make an international call, dial 001 + the country code + the area code + the phone number you are trying to reach.. Services tend to be very reliable and inexpensive. However during the monsoon season it is not uncommon for fixed lines in the market areas to be down or of bad call quality.
Excellent mobile connectivity is available in Port Blair and in some parts of Havelock however as you travel to the other Islands, you may find that it is either completely absent or present but not excellent. Networks currently available here are BSNL, Airtel, Reliance and Vodafone.
Owing to the dense foliage there are pockets where no mobile signal is available. Beach No.7 where Barefoot at Havelock is located is one such pocket. Here, BSNL connections work well but none of the other mobile giants will. Certain pockets in the resort have excellent connectivity whereas certain areas have no network at all. During the monsoon, signals from the tower can be very weak and sometimes making or receiving a call is not possible via mobile. However if you venture toward a clearing or towards the beach you cellular phone will begin to pick up signal. For those who plan to take a holiday on these islands and stay connected to work with their Blackberry phones, it may come as a disappointment that the popular BB does not work in the Andaman Islands with the exception of Port Blair.
Internet is available on Havelock and Port Blair. While connectivity in Port Blair is fairly good with fast connections, on Havelock the internet is reputed to be very slow as most are on dial up connections. Large downloads are almost impossible. Some resorts offer satellite internet which is faster however much more expensive. Many islands have no internet facilities at all. Do note that the Barefoot at Havelock resort does not offer internet services to resort guests.
The Andamans although geographically close to the destination of Thailand, is nothing like it when it comes to shopping. Owing to the fact that tourism is still fairly new to these islands, you will not see any shopping malls or duty free shops. This is definitely not a bargain shopper’s paradise nor is it a fashion capital like Milan.
Locally produced handicrafts and souvenirs are available in Aberdeen Bazaar, Port Blair as well as in “Sagarika” - an outlet of the Cottage Industries. In Havelock there is a jewellery shops that deal with hand-made coconut jewellery and coconut decorative art in the No.3 Village market that is worth checking out for take home gifts. The majority of the shops here sell clothes and bags that are brought in from the mainland.
Barefoot at Havelock Resort has its own little souvenir shop within the resort right beside the check in /reception area. This little boutique is stocked with some funky Andaman Island T shirts for adults as well as children, resort wear, hand-made jewellery, crockery and beautiful handmade paper items.
There is no real organised crime on the islands. As in almost all countries and tourist areas, pick-pocketing can happen, so watching your valuables in these areas would be wise. Simple precautions will go a long way in your safety, so don’t leave your bag or camera equipment and mobile phones unattended and do not flash wads of money around.
Many hotels (including Barefoot at Havelock) offer safety deposit lockers in the rooms or offer to keep your valuables in their locker safely. In both cases please ensure that you make a list of the items you are storing and the count the money well before handing it over. It is highly advisable that if requesting the resort to safeguard your valuable in their locker, you ensure that a person from the management cross checks your list before you hand the items over to avoid misunderstandings at a later stage.
If you do encounter any problems, there is a police station on all islands where a complaint can be lodged or help can be sought. Locals too are generally helpful.
Bicycles can be rented from the market area in Port Blair as well as Havelock; however on other islands it is currently not possible. Charges are on a per day basis. These bicycles are very basic models so don't expect high quality geared bikes or mountain terrain bikes that you can do stunts on.
You can easily rent a motorbike for the duration of your stay as well. You can choose between the non-geared and the geared motorbikes and scooters. The shops that rent these motorbikes usually have signs posted in front and will require you to have a license that you can show them before taking the bike on rent. Charges vary and are on a per day basis. Fuel is additional and can be procured in the market area. There are no petrol pumps on Havelock, so don’t look for one. Petrol reaches the island in cans from the mainland and the general stores are the ones that sell it by the litre.
Please remember to carry your license with you at all times as you could be stopped by police personnel for a sudden check. Wearing a helmet is mandatory (not enough to just carry one) and comes with the bike rental. Police stop tourists that do not have a helmet on and if you are caught a fine will be imposed on you.
Cars cannot be rented for self driving purposes anywhere in the Andamans, although taxi services are available for short distances as well as day hire.
The Barefoot at Havelock resort does not rent bicycles to resort guests, however has a few non geared motor bikes for rent on a per day basis at Rs.450 per day inclusive of 1 litre of petrol. Fuel is as always additional and can be filled at the resort itself. Although the resort does not own its own taxis, we do have tie ups with a few local cab operators and anytime you want a taxi to go to the other side of the Island or for the day, simply speak with the reception staff. Do however note that as there are not too many taxis on the island, the wait for your vehicle to arrive could be between 10 and 20 minutes.
Thanks to the dense rain forest canopy, the islands harbour over 3,000 species of plants including mangroves, epiphytes, palms, woody limbers, timbers and a wide variety of tropical fruits. The marine fauna is diverse showcasing a wide variety of tropical fish and coral. In view of the diversity and uniqueness of the fauna and flora and the fragile nature of the eco-system here, 96 sanctuaries spread and nine National Parks spread have been notified on these islands
According to the island's environmental team, most are bio-diversity hotspots, with more than a quarter of the flora and fauna endemic (only found in Andamans). Four of the world's seven species of sea turtles nest on these beaches including the endangered leatherback turtle and the sea grass supports rare dugongs. Also found are giant monitor lizards and salt water crocodiles which inhabit the extensive mangrove swamps.
While travelling to these islands, be a responsible traveller- sensitive to issues related to the physical environment, the wonderful beaches, fascinating rain forests and marine life.
Click here to read more on the wonderful flora and fauna that these islands have to offer
It is true that till date untouched and endangered tribes do exist in these beautiful isles and add to their mysterious nature. It is prohibited and against the law as well to enter the tribal reserves, make contact with or photograph the tribes. Should anyone offer you a trip to meet the tribals here, please refrain from doing so. Respect the fact that these tribes wish to be left alone and adhere to the law. You can however visit the Anthropological Museum in Port Blair where you can see a display of their tools and weapons as well as photographs depicting their lives and culture.
The indigenous tribes are distinguished in two groups: the Onge, Sentinelese, Jarawa and Andamanese of Negroid descent living on the Andaman Islands and the Shompen and Nicobarese of Mongoloid descent living in the Nicobar Islands.
The Sentinelese are the least studied tribe still living in isolation on the North Sentinel Island. Their number is estimated currently at 250. Living in complete isolation for many centuries, the Sentinelese are not clothed while the Jarawa use only adornments of bark and shell, like necklaces, arm bands, waist bands, etc.
Most of the tribes are on the verge of extinction. This sad destiny will most likely hit the Andamanese tribe first since their numbers in some cases are as low as thirty. Due to consistent emphasis of the government on progress and its encouragement to the mainlanders to settle in these islands, the local tribes have sadly become a minority group in their own land.
The Andamans is a quiet destination and most travellers are of the early to bed and early to rise theory. Although many hotels in Port Blair as well as the Barefoot at Havelock resort offer a bar, the night life concept has not really caught on in these islands. You will not encounter loud music, disco lights, DJ’s or rave parties here on a regular basis.
An exception however is during Christmas and New Year, where on popular islands like Havelock and Neil you will find parties going late into the night, loud music and a lot of dancing.
The Barefoot at Havelock resort has a lovely lounge bar which is popular hangout for resort guests. A few foreign spirits as well as a wide choice of Indian spirits and wines like ’Sula’ are available here. The ambience is gorgeous and the fantastic music just adds that final touch of perfection.
The alcohol permits valid in Andaman allow alcohol to be purchased or sourced only from ANIIDO, which is the local supply arm of the administration. In compliance of these regulations, we can only purchase the liquor brands available from them. ANIDCO does not stock imported wines or liquor. Although we would like to stock up on your favourites, regretfully we can only serve Indian wines and IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor). The stock of brands keep changing based on the supply as approved by ANIIDCO.
Black Label, Black & White, Bacardi, Smirnoff and Kingfisher beer are some of the brands that are available easily. As far as wine is concerned, Indian brands like “Sula’ are available.
The Barefoot at Havelock resort has a lovely lounge bar which is popular hangout for resort guests. The ambience is gorgeous and the fantastic music just adds that final touch of perfection.
Most Islands (including Havelock) have a Primary Health Centre (PHC); however services here can be limited and poor when compared to the excellent health care that is available on the mainland. It is advisable to go to the nearest PHC first for immediate assistance/first aid and as soon as possible move to the G.B Pant hospital in Port Blair which is the best equipped hospital in the Andaman Islands.
Do note that the only means of transport from islands like Havelock to Port Blair is by the regular ferry services which has fixed sailings times and nothing can be arranged on a immediate basis unless it coincides with departure of a ferry.
At the G.B. Pant hospital in Port Blair, the treatment facilities are not exceptional and for any condition that could be serious, life threatening or needing special care, it is advised to fly to mainland India.
Although the tropical forests and dense foliage may lead you to easily believe that wild animals inhabit these forests, do not come here to see big cats like lions or tigers as they simply do not exist. The forests here are inhabited by animals like wild boar, spotted deer, civet cat as well as numerous species of birds and butterflies. The vast forest canopy is home to many different species of reptiles as well. Snakes both poisonous and harmless can be seen in the Andamans.
Monitor lizards too inhabit these islands and the mangrove creeks provide shelter to ‘salties’ or salt water crocodiles.
Tourists are advised to pay attention to sign boards posted on beaches as well as watch their step if walking through dense jungle or mangrove areas.