Havelock Island is officially known as Swaraj Island, and is one of the largest islands in Ritchie’s Archipelago. The archipelago is named after an 18th-century British marine surveyor, John Ritchie, who spent nearly two decades charting and documenting the Andaman’s and surrounding regions. Radhanagar beach is one of the many beaches lining Havelock, the others popular ones being Elephant Beach, Kalapatthar Beach, Govind Nagar Beach and Vijaynagar Beach.
How to reach Havelock Island ?
Havelock Island can be easily reached from Port Blair by ferries and private cruises. Both government-operated passenger vessels and luxury cruises can be booked online as well as offline, however, it’s always a good option to book your tickets in advance through online channels. There are also helicopter services operated between Port Blair and Havelock Islands by Civil Aviation Department of Andaman and Nicobar Administration.
I used the services of a Private ferry operator called Markuzz to reach Havelock from Port Blair. But the options are plenty – Green Ocean, Sea Link and ITT Majestic are popular ferry operators on this route. It is important to bear in mind that the schedule of these ferries and even the helicopter service is contingent on the weather conditions. The best time to visit is between October and May, because the weather is stable during this time.
There are many villages in Havelock Island, and a local bus connects the jetty with these villages, usually on an hourly scheme. If you want to explore the lives of locals and experience the culture you can use these bus services for getting around the lesser touristic parts of the island. You can also hire a private vehicle, although it will be little expensive as compared to the government bus services.
Where to Stay in Havelock Island?
Options for accommodation range from expensive resorts to affordable camping sites on the beach. There are plenty of hotels and resorts at the Havelock Island suiting travelers with all kinds of budgets. More information can be sought from the Tourism Department that put up kiosks during the tourist season at Radhanagar beach, or through online travel booking sites.
List of Beaches in Havelock Island
Radhanagar Beach is one of the most visited places in Havelock and is quite popular among the young honeymoon couples from the mainland India. I have written about this beach in detail, and you can check it out here.
Vijaynagar Beach lies on the east coast of Havelock Island, and has some rocky sections. The beach is dotted with lush mahua trees that not only provide aesthetical value but also quite a lot of shade.
If you love snorkeling, Elephant Beach will surely delight you. It has beautiful coral reef formations and offers wonderful opportunity to observe underwater marine life. You can easily reach Elephant beach by cruise from the jetty in about 50 minutes. If you wish to go by road, go up to the Forest Camp in a vehicle, and by walk to the Elephant beach, which takes around an hour.
This beach is beautiful, however tourism infrastructure in not quite developed here. This has been changing in recent years however, as more and more visitors include this beach their itinerary.
Things to do in Havelock Island
There are plethora of things to do in Havelock Island. Some of the popular activities include Scooba diving, snorkeling, elephant ride, bird watching, game fishing, kayaking, and swimming.
My Scuba diving experience in Havelock Island
Havelock Island presents an incredible opportunity for scuba diving, with a spell binding marine world waiting to be explored. The ideal scuba diving season in Havelock Island is from October to May. There are many certified Scuba Diving operators in Havelock Island to choose from. You can either book their services online or directly at their offices. You can either go for a 1-on-1 instructor or in small groups. And the best part is that you can do Scuba diving with an instructor even if you don’t know swimming. If you are quite serious about pursuing this activity from a career perspective, there are options to do certification course as well.
Snorkeling is preferred by some travelers who are too apprehensive about scuba diving. Often snorkelers and Scuba divers travel in the same group organized by these operators, and both activities are conducted at the same spot, usually some designated venues in the sea. I opted for Scuba diving and it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. I was scared initially, especially when they gave me forms to fill that said these operators are not legally responsible if I die. But luckily, I did not die, and I had the best moment of my life. It’s a different world altogether underwater— sea lions, fishes shaped like unicorns and butterflies, sea cows, and a jungle of seagrasses. You are never the same person again after doing Scuba Diving.