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.
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.
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.