Congratulations! We see that you’re at some stage of planning your trip to Havelock and we’re so happy for you. To help you prepare yourself to be absolutely mind blown we have a simple list of everything you must not miss on your visit to Havelock. Yes there are a lot of places to see and activities that you’ve been told are the ‘best’ but this is a list of the things that we also love doing the most on the island even today.
#1. Scuba Diving
Havelock is the holy grail of scuba diving destinations in India. It is known world over for its brilliant blue waters and vibrant coral reefs, just exploding with fish. May it be diving off the shore for a nervous first timer or a certified diver diving a spectacular deep dive site like Johnny’s Gorge, they have all gone home changed people. Most of us divers came to the island like you did, on a holiday…and we’re still here! If you haven’t seen Havelock underwater then you haven’t seen Havelock at all. All diving activities take place early morning to lunch time.
#2. Island hopping
One reason Havelock Island is so sheltered from the elements is because it is surrounded by beautiful uninhabited Islands which are also restricted. You are not allowed to set foot on these Islands and one of the only ways to see them up close and explore their reefs is by boat on a delightful Island hopping trip. This half-day excursion involves a boat ride around the Islands and through serene mangrove channels with two exclusive snorkeling stops, lunch and an interesting talk on the history, tribes and ecology of the Andamans.
#3. Snorkeling and freediving
You remember that documentary on discovery where you see a man holding his breath and diving down to the sea bed to spearfish? Well the practice of holding your breath and diving underwater without scuba equipment is what we call freediving and it is an old cultural tradition for Havelock locals. Freediving is an exhilarating hobby that most of us divers also take the time out to practice on our day off. Unlike scuba diving, it allows you a chance to be truly silent underwater and seem less intimidating to marine creatures you’re trying to observe. If you want to try your hand at basic freediving or learn how to snorkel on your own, you’re in luck because we have lessons with our in-house certified freediving instructor who will teach you proper and safe techniques to do the same.
#4. Elephant Beach Jungle Trek
The Elephant beach jungle trek is the best way to get a taste of the Island’s rich ecology. It is a forty five minute (2 km) walk through dense forest and beautiful mangroves that opens out to one of the most stunning beaches on the Island. The only two ways to get to this beach is to hike the trail for those who don’t mind a physical challenge (which we highly recommend) or take a ferry from the jetty. The highlights of this activity are looming ancient trees in the forest, peppered with birds and geckos and the surreal sight of dead white trees fallen on a spectacular white sand beach. Also this beach is a morning to noon activity as the beach shuts by 3pm for safety reasons.
#5. Radhanagar beach
Radhanagar beach has been voted one of the best beaches in Asia by multiple sources and it lives up to the hype. With its expansive coastline, medium intensity waves and the most breathtaking sunsets, it is the best beach to spend an afternoon or even the whole day. Remember to catch the sunset between 4:45 to 5:30 pm as the sun sets early in the Andamans. Again if you are looking for some peace, it is easy to walk five minutes away from the regular entrance and find a quiet spot to relax and swim.
#6. Kalapathar village
Kalapathar beach is on the sunrise side of the Island and offers beautiful views, especially at 4:30 am in the morning. Yes this beauty comes at the cost of your sleep. But there is more than just the sunset and beach to see at Kalapathar. Lovely winding roads that race alongside the ocean, lead you further than the commercial beach to Kalapathar village which is a more interesting place to explore. Here you will find an idyllic countryside with green fields and quaint little tea shops where you can strike a conversation with humble locals and maybe engage in a game of carrom. Starkly different from the tourist side of Havelock, this part is best explored on scooters and cycles.
#7. Night Kayaking
You must have all have heard the stories of those rare events where beaches glow in Mumbai, Chennai, Goa and more. Well in the Andamans, this can be seen all year round! The glow is caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton that emit light due to an internal chemical reaction that takes place when they are stressed. Kayaking through these waters is like floating through an eternal night sky with stars above as well as below you. It is one of the most surreal things you will ever experience and will probably have to pinch yourself after to make sure it wasn’t just a dream. This is absolutely safe and does not require prior experience or training, which is covered before the trip.