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Barren Island, Havelock Island

  • Barren Island in the Andaman Archipelago is the only confirmed active volcano in the entirety of Southern Asia. Home to a number of wonders, Andaman Islands have in their boundary a great treasure in the form of this erupting beauty. Lying on a chain of active volcanoes that run from Sumatra in Indonesia to Myanmar, the Barren Island is located about 140 km from the capital town of Port Blair and is a must visit place during your trip to Andaman.

    Located on the meeting of the Indian and Burmese tectonic plates, the island is actually almost as old as 2 million years. Formed because of the eruptions of the past, the first ever recorded eruption here dates back to 1787 AD. The Barren Volcano, as it is called, had its last large-scale eruption about a 150 years ago. After about 26 years of being calm, the latest eruption happened in 2017 first, and then again in the year 2018, making it one of the best places to visit in Andaman. People from all over the world are traveling to this place to see the red streak of lava flowing from the top of a 2 km wide caldera of the volcano.

    Although the place had been discovered way back in time, lack of research and permits for the same, thereof, has made the Barren Island a mysterious place. Not much is known about what really transpires on the ground in Barren Island, because of the aforementioned reason, and because the island is uninhabited. There is little vegetation on the island, with about a few birds, a small population of goats, bats (flying foxes), and some species of rats and other rodents who have learned to adapt to the harsh conditions of the island.

    Because of such remoteness and close to zero activities on the ground and in the waters, the place is still in its most pristine conditions. And that is why, the areas around the island, especially the waters are known to be great spots for scuba diving in Andaman. If you are wondering what one can find on one of these dives, you can look for the crystal clear visibility, Manta Rays, interesting basalt formations, topography of the past lava flows and fast-growing coral gardens. You can get organizers for Scuba Diving based in Havelock Island, who will bring you out here on their ships for you to explore what can easily be called one of the world’s best diving spots.

    Apart from this, the land on the island is a thing of beauty in itself. With an occasional sighting of the goats that live here, you will find black sand beaches in every direction as far as your eye goes. Underwater, this black sand has helped in preparing, nurturing and maintaining the beauty of the corals, sponges, and sea anemones. Standing on the deck of the boat, as you will look at the amazing island, the experience is something that will erupt like a happy shower inside you. Here is a guide that will tell you all you need to know about this heavenly attraction of the Andamans.

    Click here to check out the best cruise packages in Andaman for your next trip.


    How to Reach Barren Island 


    Because of the remoteness and being in the middle of the sea, the only ways to reach Barren Island is to either go by sea on a boat or by taking a seaplane. The nearest island inhabited island to Barren Island is Havelock, and that is where you can avail the service of a boat to get here. Located at a distance of about 4 to 5 hours from Havelock.

    by boat, you can say that getting here is not as easy as it seems. With the government ferries now prohibited from going to the island, there are few private players who do take small groups to the island on ferries, take about 3 rounds of the periphery and return. The total trip takes about 8 to 10 hours to complete with ample amount of time to spot the beauty and inhabitants of the island. These have fixed dates for departures and can cost anywhere between INR 15,000 to 20,000.

    by seaplane from Port Blair, you will get a 50% concession and an aerial view of the Island. If you are lucky, you might even see the mountain fuming from the top.

    Planning a trip to Andaman? Don't forget to check out the best things to do in Andaman which will make your trip memorable.

    Best Time to Visit


    The best time to visit barren island depends on the purpose of visit to this totally lifeless yet mysteriously beautiful island. For a visit for sightseeing, you can enjoy ferries and boats that take you there all year round, with the only exception being in the times when the seas are not calm. Because the island is a little far away and cut off from the main archipelago, the factor of calm or troubling seas does come into play a lot.

    If you are coming to Barren Island for Scuba Diving, the best time is considered to be the months between November and February. You will get clear weather, a brilliant amount of visibility, and quite an active sea life.

    Check out the best hotels in Andaman which will offer you a wonderful stay during your trip.

    Frequently Asked Questions


    1. How do I get to Barren Island?

    The Barren Island is located about 140 km from Port Blair and the nearest inhabited island to it is Havelock. The only two ways to arrive here is either by boat or by a seaplane, with the former available from Havelock and the latter taking you to Barren Island from Port Blair.

    2. Is barren island an active volcano?

    Yes. Barren Island is located on the junction of Indian and Burmese Tectonic plates. It is also located on a chain of volcanoes that runs from Sumatra to Burma. Also, the Barren Volcano is not just the only active volcano in India but is also the only active volcano in entire Southern Asia.

    3. How many times has barren island erupted?

    The exact number of eruptions cannot be discerned as the volcano is calculated to be about as old as 1.8 million years. However, in the recorded history, the volcano has erupted for a total 10 times, with the first one happening in the year 1787.

    4. What type of volcano is Barren Island?

    Barren Island is an active type of Stratovolcano. It has an active polygenetic cinder cone with a caldera that is as wide as about 2 km. The walls of the caldera are as high as 250 m to 350 m, with one side opening to the sea. This opening was created due to a major blast sometime in history.

    5. Is barren island the only active volcano in India?

    Yes, Barren Island is home to not just the only active volcano in India but is also the only active volcano in South Asia. 

    6. When did Barren Island volcano erupt last?

    The last news of an eruption on Barren Island came out in the month of October of the year 2018, giving rise to a steady outflow of lava from the top, making for a great opportunity of tourism in the area.

    7. Can we visit Barren Island?

    If you want to know whether you can set foot on the island, the answer is no. This is because the government does not issue permits for even researchers to go there, let alone civilians. However, you can take a ferry to the island which will take 3 rounds of the perimeter and bring you back, or take a seaplane for an amazing aerial view.

    8. Where is Barren Island located?

    Barren Island is located on the easternmost fringes of the Andaman Archipelago and is situated at a distance of about 140 km from the capital of Andaman, Port Blair.

    9. What can we expect while visiting Barren Island?

    One can expect a lot depending on the purpose of the visit. If you are on a boat or ferry, you will see a most probably smoking mountain with small hills around, some vegetation, black sandy beaches and occasional sightings of the goats who live here. While flying overhead, you will see a wide caldera, most probably a smoking top, and a mesmerizing island. If you are visiting here for Scuba Diving, you will see natural formations of lava flow underwater, manta rays, corals and anemones.

    10. Is barren Island dangerous to visit?

    Yes, absolutely. Do not forget that this place is home to an active volcano and is as dangerous as it gets. You can watch from a safe distance in your boat, but it is definitely not a good choice to set foot on the island.

    Andaman is famous for its water sports. Check out the best snorkeling experiences in Andaman and take the adventure to the next level.

Attractions

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Neil Island

A tiny island located to the south of Andaman is Neil Island, brimming with less explore marine diversity, coral reefs, long beaches and bewitching greenery. Being one of the tourist destinations in Andaman, Neil is so happy to become the host with revealing all that it has. A romantically silent island unlike the hustle of Havelock Island, Neil Island is termed as the vegetable bowl of Andaman. A perfect place to simply relax and chill is the beaches here and the deserted shores are favourite to those who love to relax in utmost peace.

In two hours, one can explore the island by walking around. It got the name Neil after the British Brigadier General James Neill who stubbornly dealt with the rebels during the 1857 Mutiny. The rich cultivation of paddy is found in Neil Island that belongs to the Ritchies’ Archipelago between Havelock Island and Rose Island. 

Highlights: One of the major highlights of Neil Island is Neil Kendra, a beautiful curving bay full of white sand and holding the major jetty of the island made attracting by disarraying numerous colourful wooden fishing boats. Known to be the heart of the island, Neil Kendra has Bharatpur Beach on its left and Laxmanpur Beach on the right. The richest collection of marine lives and coral reefs have given Neil Island the peculiarity of being one of the most thrilling scuba diving sites on the island. In addition to diving, Neil Island is home to those who love snorkeling, swimming, birding, cycling etc.

Activities: Glass bottom ride and snorkelling are the major activities available on Neil Island though there are enough opportunities to do diving and other prime adventure activities.

Distance from Port Blair: The island belongs to the South Andaman district is located about 36 km northeast from Port Blair.

Accommodations: Neil Island hotels and resorts in Neil Island.

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Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach in Andaman has ranked 8th among the top ten beautiful beaches in the world based on travellers reviews and rating available on multiple sources and Radhanagar Beach deserves it for many reasons. One of the most ravishing beauty in Andaman with a lot of tourists visiting it every year, Radhanagar Beach is the gem of Havelock Island. 500 meters away from the beach, one can see only the expansive blue water and the lush green tropical forests but when you reach the beach, the sights are apparently awe-inspiring.

 Radhanagar is commonly called as Beach No.7 and this is one of the closest beach located near to Havelock Island ferry tier. The silky beach is kids friendly as well so that families are found in plenty on the beach to spend their vacation or a short holiday. There is nothing to be worried as the coast guards are roaming around always and the number of people here will be a pleasant sight to see. Andaman honeymoon packages itinerary always includes Havelock Island.

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, boating, parasailing etc are some of the most commonly seen activities on the beach and among them Scuba Diving is the best as it offers the clear interaction with the wide range of marine animals and coral reefs around living in harmony. 

The turquoise water gives a rejuvenating experience while you swim across or do snorkelling and since the number of tourists are relatively higher, the Government opens more opportunities for them to spend an ample time on the beach. As it is a superb place adventure lovers also would covet, the fame it has achieved international importance in no time. You must book a tour including  Andaman snorkelling, to make your holiday much more special.

Distance from Port Blair: From Port Blair it will take more than three hours to reach Radhanagar Beach as it is located about 72 kms away from the capital city.

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Elephant Beach

Settled on the sands of Havelock Island, Elephant Beach is a reveling beauty well presented by the long coral reefs and the shining shoreline. A peaceful beach with pure serenity and silent ambiance will offer the visitors a soothing melody and that would be the perfect time to relax, to walk around with your love or just to do sunbathing. 

Among the different beach on Havelock Island, Elephant Beach has a special significance because of its friendly atmosphere and not so crowded shoreline. In addition to the adventurous activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, tourists find time to do boating and similar activities on the beach. 

The clear water, the calm waves, the cool breeze and the magnificent sights on the shore have their own impacts on the number of people visiting the beach. You must check other islands of Andaman consisting of great beaches and make your tour marvelous by visiting them.

Highlights: The long array of private boats, fishing boats, and buoys extend a riveting beauty to the beach. Moreover, it is a kid-friendly beach as well so that families are found here aplenty. The huge shoreline is the key factor behind the countless visitors appears on the beach every day. 

During monsoon also, tourists would love to come to Elephant Beach. People have reported that at times, the wild elephants from the nearby forests come to the beach and stroll along the white sandy bed.

Activities: An ideal place for snorkeling and scuba diving is Elephant Beach though boating and other fun, water-based activities are also done by the visitors often. Tourists have experienced the best sea walking as well on Elephant Beach.

Distance from Port Blair: Elephant Beach is located on the famous Havelock Island. It is lying about 69 km away from the capital city of Andaman, Port Blair. One can reach the beach via boat from Havelock jetty after reaching there from Port Blair by road or by boat.

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Vijaynagar Beach

Known as Beach No.5 is Vijaynagar Beach in the north east part of Havelock Island. Very remote from the crowded locations on Havelock Island, Vijaynagar Beach is close to heart for those who love to spend time in utmost calmness. The regular touch of the sapphire blue water on the pearl like sandy beach makes no noise and it is one of the reasons why tourists chosen it as the perfect space for romantic couples and families. Don't forget to check the resorts for couples in Andaman.

The beauty of the beach has been praised so much by those who visited it. It is always better to come here freely, just to roam around, or to float on the shallow water, or to read under the large shade given by the huge trees on the shore or to do sunbathing. The collection of Mahua trees and palms is the significant ornament making the beach a splendid place to sit back and relax as much as time one wants to. This is one of the magnificent attractions in Andaman.

Highlights: A photographer's paradise is Vijaynagar Beach; especially the sunrise views from the beach is incomparably magnificent. When the sun’s fresh rays spread all over the wide sea, the entire atmosphere starts blushing in all possible colours and there is no better sight from the beach would satiate a photographic mind. The native birds appear during the fresh mornings add effective colours to the sunrise pictures.

Activity: The beach is recognized for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. Adventure activities are not yet a fashion on this inevitable part of Havelock Island.

Distance from Port Blair: Vijaynagar Beach is located at a distance of about 38 kms from Port Blair but from Havelock jetty the beach is lying 9 kms away only.