The ultimate guide to the Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar!
Havelock island: India's best kept secret
Havelock island owns some of Asia's most surreal and heavenly beaches. Think of it as a tropical paradise not too far from home, for all my Indian readers. This island is one of the most remote spots on this planet. The entire island is just 40 kms. This blissful island filled with ravishing beauty is a part of Ritchie's archipelago, in India's Andaman islands. The island's forested interior is home to birdlife such as white-headed mynas and woodpeckers. Although, the best Mangroves cover the Nicobar region of the Andamans but one can experience their enchanting beauty in Havelock as well.
HOW TO REACH HAVELOCK?
After landing in Port Blair, the capital of Andaman, you'll have to take a ferry from Port Blair to Havelock. Geographically, Port Blair and Havelock are separated by water. This rules out road transportation. Thus ferry services are the most convenient, fastest and economical way to go from Port Blair to Havelock. I would suggest making all your bookings in advance, especially during these times of a pandemic (Covid-19). There are two cruise boat options available at the moment, MAK Logistics and Green Ocean Seaways, Makruzz and The Green Ocean respectively. The timings of each vary, usually there is a difference of two hours between the schedule of both these ferries.
*I would like to drop a piece of advice here: MAKE YOUR FERRY BOOKINGS BEFORE CONFIRMING YOUR HOTEL/RESORT BOOKINGS- THE FERRY OPERATORS HAVE STRICT REFUND AND CANCELLATION POLICIES. ALSO MAKE SURE YOU BOOK YOUR FERRY ACCORDING TO YOUR FLIGHT TIMINGS.
Makruzz timings from Port Blair to Havelock are 7:15 am, 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. The green ocean timings from Port Blair to Havelock are 6:15 am, 6:30 am, 12:00 pm and 12:30 pm. My suggestion would be that you take the Makruzz, if it fits best with your flight timings, because it is faster and much more comfortable than Green ocean. In Makruzz, all seats offer the sea view whereas it is not the case in Green ocean.
Do not be fooled by the economy, luxury and royal division of the seats because all are almost the same and offer the same ocean view.
Here is another suggestion- if possible, try taking the evening ferry on your way back to Port Blair to witness the most gorgeous sunset ;)
THINGS YOU NEED WHILE BOARDING THE FERRY:
1) A negative RT-PCR report, not older than 48 hours. (Get the test done a day and a half prior to your ferry/flight)
2) The tickets, of course. Make sure to keep 2 photocopies/ print outs. The soft copies are not considered to be valid. Yea, I know its annoying.
3) A valid ID proof along with a photocopy of the same.
4) If you are not an Indian then you need to carry your passport with you at all times.
Here are the links of the two sites from where you can make your ferry bookings-:
https://www.makruzz.com/cms/booking - Can book Makruzz here directly. (I would prefer using this one, their refund policies are much better, but you'll have to be a little diplomatic while negotiating the refund)
https://www.go2andaman.com/ - Can book both Makruzz and Green ocean with this link.
THE STORY OF HAVELOCK
Havelock Island derived its name from a British General Henry Havelock who was based in India when Britishers colonized Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Once home to the aboriginal tribes who spoke Aka-Bale language and who are extinct now, Havelock, today is inhabited mostly Bengali, who came from East Pakistan around 1954, and Myanmar immigrants. Havelock is one of the few places that the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory of India has permitted and encouraged development of tourism, with a focus on promoting eco-tourism. Havelock Island avoided much of the devastation by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its resulting tsunami and there were no documented casualties.
BEACHES IN HAVELOCK-top 4 beaches in Havelock one must visit
This divine island, a tropical paradise for all the ocean lovers, is famed for its crystal clear and turquoise waters, white sands, breath-taking palm trees, lush green forests, enriched coral reefs, mesmerizing marine life, clear skies and fresh breeze. There are 7 beaches in Havelock.
It is absolutely true that salty hair days are the best and can cure anything! When you simply walk barefoot on the soft sand, bask in the sun while the waves hit the coast, lay in a hammock under the shade of a palm leaf, sip on some fresh coconut water or just watch the sunset or sunrise by the beach, you feel at peace!
Here is a list of top 4 beaches you must pay a visit to when you are wandering around the streets of this pristine island-:
1) Vijayanagar Beach (sunrise) - If you are not a crowd lover and are seeking solace in a calm and quiet place, Vijayanagar beach is the best place for you. This is one of the most soothing and one of the most surreal beaches in all of Asia. It is not as popular as the rest of the beaches in Havelock and that is why it is considered to be a hidden gem. Most of the Vijayanagar beach is a part of various resorts' private properties, so if you book an accommodation at the Vijayanagar beach, you are in for some of the most peaceful days of your life. This beachy is known for its shallow waters and low tides, ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
2) Radhanagar Beach (sunset) - If you thought that this place couldn't get anymore cherubic, you are absolutely wrong. The proof- Radhanagar beach. This is one of the most spectacular beaches in the whole world awarded as Asia’s Best Beach by Time Magazine in 2004. The oceanic blue waves hitting the white sands of the Radhanagar beach is the most amazing phenomenon one can experience. It is often compared to the gorgeous beaches of Western Australia. It is extensively famous for its sunset. During the daytime, it isn't as crowded but as soon as the clock strikes 4:30 pm, people start to grab their sunbeds to gaze at the ethereal sunset. People watch the sun disappear into the ocean. It looks unreal. Definitely worth a visit! Don't forget to carry your camera and tripod with you because here you can get some real Instagram-worthy shots
3) Neil's cove (sunset) - A part of the Radhanagar beach stretch, Neil’s Cove is known for a small lagoon, you can drive up there on your rented two-wheeler. It’s the ideal place for solo travelers and thrill seekers. Don't forget your camera and gear because every shot you take is worthy of going viral. You’ll also find some fine snorkeling spots in the calm sea. Be cautious while snorkeling in the cove as the salt-water crocodiles have been spotted there many times so it is recommend for swimming.
4) Kalapathar Beach (sunrise) - If you drive up North along the Vijayanagar beach, you'll reach another of the white sandy beaches in Havelock, Kalapathar beach. It is known for the various tree branches and logs that lie over the sands of this beach. You can easily get a few Instagramable pictures here. It is also famed for its snorkeling sites, so I would recommend carrying your snorkel kits with you. Do carry some Sunscreen in order to avoid a sunburn because the sun can get real scorching. If you love catching sunsets and sunrises, I suggest to catch a sunrise at this beach, you won't regret leaving your bed early! :)
Other than these four beaches, there is the Elephant beach, known for the water sports and the Govind Nagar beach.
*If you are short on time, prioritize your itinerary in such a way that you are able to cover the top four beaches I mentioned above. Even if you aren't able to visit the Elephant beach and the Govind Nagar beach, You won't be missing out on much.
THINGS TO DO IN HAVELOCK
Havelock is a tiny island, just 40 Kms. One would think what would one do on such a small island except lazying around on its various beaches. Well, there are tons of stuff you can engage yourself with on this alluring island. Some of which I have mentioned below-:
1) Go kayaking- Get into your Hawaiian feels, wear a tropical tiara and hop on a kayak, either solo or with someone and take a tour around the luscious mangroves. There are two types of kayaking that one can indulge in at Havelock, The one during the day and the one at night. Do both! During the day, explore the bewitching mangrove forest trails through the backwaters and at night go for the bioluminescent Kayaking. You can even dip your hand into the water to see the micro organisms. Both types have their own kind of beauty and adventure. Even if you don't know swimming, kayaking is absolutely safe because the waters are extremely shallow and you wear a life jacket.
2) Snorkel- Grab your snorkel and your fins and just dive into the ocean to spot some really charming sea creatures, some of which are even visible to naked eye :0 because the water is extremely clear. Some of the fine snorkeling spots in Havelock include Vijayanagar beach, Kalapathar beach and Neil's cove. You can even ask your resort to rent you a snorkeling kit so that you can get a glimpse of the sea life at their private beach. At the moment, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Resorts and hotels have stopped renting out the snorkel kits so I would advise you to carry your own.
3) Go diving- The turquoise crystal waters are perfect for a peek into the underwater world. Visit a PADI diving school to organize a scuba diving trip to see the Andaman’s rare marine life and enchanting coral reef. Even if you don't know how to swim, you can go diving because they provide with a half an hour training prior to the diving and one professional diver will always be with you under the water. There are two types of dives, a short dive and a boat dive, I suggest to not waste your money and time on the short dive and go for the boat dive. You can spot a lot many exquisite species of sea creatures and alluring corals in the ocean.
4) Arrange for a beach picnic- Put on your favorite picnic outfit, arrange a picnic basket with some healthy and delicious snacks and drinks and go onto a calm beach, pick a comfy spot and lay your mat! Spend a lazy afternoon at the beach getting tanned or simply reading your favorite author. Not to mention, you can also get some real aesthetic shots for your Instagram page. You can even ask the resort you are staying at to arrange a day picnic for you by the beach.
5) Rent a bike/ scooter- If you just feel like wandering around island and exploring its natural beauty, you can rent a bicycle or a scooter. There is no better way to feel the island breeze than going on a ride on a two-wheeler. Breathe in the fresh air scented with the forest fragrance. You can even go on a trek. There are various trails in the jungle, they aren't very dense so you won't really require a guide. To name a few, Kalapathar Forest Trek
Considering the flat trail running adjacent to the coast, this easy trek is everything beautiful. One is advised not to walk for more than 2 hours on this trail as it may lead you into the restricted areas of the forests. Chaar Naarial Trek, only for the experienced trekkers, this one needs permission from the Police station, as it is illegal to venture into reserved forests. The trail is hidden far away in the village and one cannot do this without the support of a local dinghy/boatman from the village. Make sure to carry a mosquito repellent with you along with all other trekking essentials.
6) Sunset cruise and fishing- What's better day to give your day a delightful and romantic end than getting a glimpse of the beautiful sun disappearing into the ocean from the middle of the sea in a cruise?! Go on a dreamy sunset cruise. Havelock is believed to have one of the most tranquil and dreamy sunsets in Asia. You can even go fishing, for that you'll have to make the arrangements with your hotel.
WHERE TO STAY IN HAVELOCK?!
There are a ton of resorts in Havelock now with absolutely gorgeous sea views. Whether you’re a beach baby or an eco-friendly traveler, Havelock has got all kinds of options for you and your pocket size. Here is a list of the 4 top picks on the island for a comfortable stay!
1) Barefoot at Havelock
Barefoot is an eco-friendly idyllic retreat set up exclusively amidst pristine tropical forests at Havelock Island in Andamans. Barefoot at Havelock Jungle Resort is a place meticulously designed to offer stay amid the natural extravaganza. Bordered by sun kissed sandy beaches, azure crystalline lagoons, dazzling corals and spectacular & dreamy starlit skies.
There are 19 well-appointed and spacious wood and thatch villas and cottages with en-suite bathrooms making it one of the best accommodation options in Havelock Island. Plethora of bird species can be witnessed here and thus resort is an apt place for bird watchers as well.
They offer water sports such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking and fishing. There is also an elephant beach trek. Experience all of it barefoot at the Barefoot resort!
Let's talk about food! Mhmmmm, dine under the starlight while the waves lapping at the shore serenades you. Indulge in the dishes inspired by local cuisine and curated with fresh produce. Relax and rejuvenate at the spa at our resort on Radhanagar Beach.
LOCATION: Barefoot at Havelock
Beach N0. 7, Radhanagar Village, Havelock Island,
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211, India
PER NIGHT: ₹11,500 + Taxes
BOOK HERE: Lets get barefoot!
2) Taj exotica
If you want your Instagram pictures to shout luxury and opulence then this is the ideal stay for you. Hands down, Taj is the most luxurious resort in Havelock. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa is for the people who prefer to spend their holidays in an extravagant fashion. From private infinity pools to spacious rooms laced with ultra-modern facilities, Taj Exotica Resort boasts lavishness in every single aspect. If yo9u are someone who believes that a good breakfast is the key to a good day, well, Taj won't disappoint you! This property is famed for its continental breakfast buffet. It is popular among tourists because it lies on the Radhanagar beach, one of the best beaches on the island.
LOCATION: Radha Nagar Beach Number 7
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
PER NIGHT: ₹28,200 + Taxes
BOOK HERE: Book your luxe vacay here!
3) Seashell resort
With seamless services and excellent facilities on offer, Sea Shell is among the most sought after hotels in Havelock. This beach facing paradise is designed keeping a high-end luxury traveler in mind. This property hosts some of the most romantic candle light beach dinners! It offers some of the most comfortable and cozy accommodations on the island. There are a ton of activities offered by the resort for both, the thrill seekers and also for the ones who look forward to a leisure filled day! This property also witnesses the best sunrises. What's a more tranquil way of beginning your day than watching the sun rise from the horizon of the sea!
LOCATION: Beach No-02, Govind Nagar, Havelock
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
PER NIGHT: ₹12,500 + Taxes
BOOK HERE: Book your luxe vacay here!
4) Silver sand beach resort
Seeking solace amidst the hustle bustle of the island?! Silver sand offers a private beach area and quiet accommodations in the form stunning villas suitable for all. Whether you are travelling with your significant other, friends or family, Silver sand will satisfy you with their hospitable and cozy environment. Fenced with the oldest stretch of white sand beach and interspersed with swaying palms, clear blue sky and the gurgle of the sea, Silver sand Beach Resort is the ideal beach resort. Its lovely opaque emerald waters are surrounded by primeval jungle and mangrove forest, and snow-white beaches that melt under flame-and-purple sunsets.
LOCATION: No. 5, Vijay Nagar Beach Havelock Island
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
PER NIGHT: ₹7,499 + Taxes
BOOK HERE: Book your beachy days here!
GETTING AROUND HAVELOCK
It is absolutely impossible to get lost on this island! Everything is just by the road and the locals are all very helpful. It also helps that Havelock’s beaches and villages are categorized with the help of numbers, so you can easily find your way back to the resort you are staying at! The various kinds of transport you can use to commute while on the island are-:
1) Rent a bike/ scooter- The easiest local transport in Havelock Island is by renting a scooter. You can hire them on a daily basis at approximately ₹500-800 per day. Make sure to fill up the tanks well during the day because fuel Stations shut by 5 pm. It is advised to avoid riding a bike during monsoons as roads can get slippery.
2) Tourist taxis- Tourist taxis can be rented from Havelock jetty, there will be drivers waiting at the jetty, please be aware that they might be overpriced, especially now because of the pandemic, so you will have to bargain. I would recommend to ask a known person to arrange a taxi for you, that ways you can be all set without spending much from your pocket!
3) Auto rickshaws: Auto rickshaws are also available and cost around INR 50 to 200 for short rides & 700-1000 for a trip to Radhanagar Beach.
Where to eat in Havelock?!
Here are some of the cafes and restaurants where you can dine at-:
Something Different- Beach No. 2 Behind 'Havelock Power House Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Bo no va- Beach Number 2, Govind Nagar Beach, Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Full moon cafe- Havelock no. 3, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Anju coco- Beach No. 5 , Vijay Nagar, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Nemo cafe- Beach No.2,Havelock Island Beach Resort, Govind Nagar Beach Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Wi-fi and internet- Some resorts and cafes provide free wi-fi service but it can be a very annoying connection. In Havelock, the internet connections have been made available in all hotels but they are still pretty slow.
Like the rest of the island in Andaman, the Indian Rupee is the currency used. Havelock has two ATM’s. It would be better to carry cash everywhere and not depend on cards much cause of the network issues.
Hi-land Supermarket (Kunju’s supermarket) is the largest one-stop-shop at the market in Village No. 3. Basic supplies can be bought in the bazaar stores – do not forget your tube of insect and mosquito repellent. One can even buy a hammock in this market.
Like elsewhere in India, knowing Hindi and English will get you by in Havelock. Some of the other languages spoken here are Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil.
Food in Havelock is more expensive than Port Blair. A basic meal for 2 would cost around ₹400 and at a luxury resort about ₹1,400. A candlelight dinner for two costs about ₹7,000- 8,000.