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Diving in the Andaman Islands

Travel to the faraway Andaman Islands to see an untouched side of India with its turquoise blue waters, stunning coral reefs, dancing manta rays and swimming elephants.

Diving in the Andaman Islands

Quick facts

Most of the scuba diving at the Andaman Islands takes place in the south from Havelock Island or Neil Island. Alternatively, book yourself onto a liveaboard diving vessel that will take you to far flung, less visited areas like the volcanic Barren Island. The diving season usually starts in October or November and extends until May. Outside these times, the islands are hit by the monsoon which brings rain and wind.

Water temperature at the Andaman Islands is tropical, ranging from 80-84˚F (27-29˚C). Some sites experience currents including down currents and some sites are mostly calm with predictable drifts. Diving experience would be handy at Barren Island, especially considering some dive sites have names like Washing Machine.

Expect to see beautiful sloping reefs, steep walls, sandy bottoms, coral gardens and great pinnacles while diving here. Visibility is usually good and can extend up to 130ft (40m). Many sites are still undiscovered and you might be lucky to see a place never dived before. Some highlights include Dixon’s Pinnacle, walls and channels off Havelock Island, and various manta ray cleaning stations around Barren Island.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 446Per trip
USD 767Per trip

What to see

Closer to Havelock Island and Neil Island, expect to see reefs littered with colorful reef fish and more interesting ones like pufferfish, scorpionfish, pipefish and also moray eels, octopus and the occasional sea snake. Redtoothed triggerfish and batfish like to hang around drop-offs and along walls together with schools of snapper and large bumphead parrotfish. Green sea turtles are also often seen in these waters. Pinnacles have more action with hunting fish like whitetip sharks, barracuda, trevally and groupers. Sandy bottoms often host large stingrays.

At Barren Island, the diving is pretty spectacular with a few sites frequently visited by manta rays and passing eagle rays. A very unique experience could be had on Elephant Island near Havelock Island. There are dive sites off the island but more importantly, during a surface interval, you might have a once in a lifetime chance to swim with an elephant.


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The Andaman Islands are part of India although its location in the Bay of Bengal is closer to Myanmar and Sumatra, Indonesia. These islands are part of the Andaman Archipelago and most of them fall under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory. The islands are tectonic in nature and were formed by a collision of the Indo-Australian Plate with the Eurasian Plate. Earthquakes still occur in the Andaman Islands with the most recent in 2010.

There are a total of 572 islands that form the Andaman Islands and they cover an area of 2,474 square miles (6,408 sq km). Only a few of the islands are open to visitors and the four main ones include North Andaman Island, Little Andaman, Middle Andaman Island and South Andaman Island. The highest point on the islands, Saddle Peak, is on North Andaman Island and rises up 2,402ft (732m). The islands have a population of 343,125 people which mostly consist of Indians. The indigenous population has shrunk to only 1,000 people.

Studies have revealed that the Andaman Islands have been inhibited since the Paleolithic age and ancient tribes like the Sentinelese people still live there to this day along with other small indigenous tribes. For a long time during British rule over the 18th to 20th century, the Andaman Islands was a penal colony and this only came to an end when India gained independence in 1947.

Today, the Andaman Islands are a tourist destination and travelers come here to surf, snorkel and scuba dive. Nine nature parks have been established to protect the forests, mangroves and reefs from over exploitation and these include the Mahatma Ghandi Marine National Park, Diglipur National Park and Wandoor National Park.

Other attractions

Explore the mangrove areas which have saltwater crocodiles or take off on foot for a bit of hiking. Relax on beaches or go island hopping and snorkel in turquoise waters. You can also join game fishing trips or for a bit of luxury hop onto a sea plane for a spectacular view.

Getting there

Fly to the Veer Sarvarkar Airport in Port Blair from Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and other places in India. Airlines that fly to Port Blair include Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir, and Jet Airways. From Port Blair, hop onto ferries to get to the other islands.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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