The coastline of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has one of the best coral reefs and marine life in India. While planning my itinerary, I was looking forward to atleast one adventure activity in Andaman to get a peek into the thriving marine life within the clear emerald waters
I have summarized the adventure activities and the beach locations where it can be done. The costs are indicative and all of them can be booked on location and no prior booking is required. Infact, if you are in a large group then you can perhaps negotiate the rates slightly. There are showers, rest rooms, changing rooms and waiting areas in all beaches of these islands.
- North Bay is closed on Wednesday
- Jolly Buoy is closed on Monday
- Havelock and Neil operate on all days of the week
Glass Bottom Boat Ride
These are motorized forms of Dinghy Boats with seats on 2 sides and a over head tarpaulin cover. The boat is fitted with a rectangular magnifying glass at the base through which the riders can watch the marine life below. The boats float on the clear waters around the beaches providing a clear view on a bright sunny day when the sea is calm. This is the most recommended activity for all age groups. I went on a ride in all locations except North Bay where I opted for Dolphin ride and found the views in Jolly Buoy Island to be the best.
This is an unique experience of walking on the sea bed and does not require special suits. I was gently lowered onto the sea bed with a huge helmet on my head powered by an oxygen tube. There was a pop in the ear as I was going down into the sea similar to the tingling pain felt during flight take off and landing. I continuously sucked and breathed through my mouth to equalize the pressure.
The guide assisted me to get my bearings right as I walked on the sea bed around the corals with different kinds of fishes for company. All communication was through sign language since we could not hear each other under water. The next few minutes were sheer bliss, I was in a giant aquarium with a net all around.
The experience will stay with me for quite some time. Complimentary photographs are provided within the charges. Video recording is provided for an additional amount of Rs 500/-
Snorkeling is a fun activity floating on water with a giant pair of goggles that covers the eyes and nose and holding a tube in the mouth to enable breathing. After the initial few minutes of adjustment I loved the views below and lost track of time. I used a tube to float on the surface of water since I have basic swimming skills. In Neil Island you are taken far into the sea from the beach whereas in the other locations it is done closer to the beach. Make sure to select a certified and authorised guide for snorkeling if you are an amateur.
Scuba Diving is jumping off into the sea from a motor boat under guided supervision. Participants need to wear a special suit and carry the oxygen unit on them once they are in water. This also requires specialized breathing through the mouth and is akin to swimming with the fishes and getting close to corals and other marine life in the depth of the sea. I have not done this activity but have watched others diving and regaling their experiences. Make sure to dive with a certified and authorized dive instructor
Dolphin Boat Ride and Semi Submarine Ride
These rides are available in North Bay. I went on a Dolphin Boat ride and it was quite a forgettable experience with low value for money. Actually, the water in North Bay is not that clear and the marine life is not as thriving due to excessive tourism in the area.
- The Dolphin shaped boat has an under belly which is deep into the water. A powerful magnifying glass is fitted underneath through which the marine life can be witnessed. Riders sit around comfortable in this area looking through the glass to catch a glimpse of corals and colorful fishes
- The Semi Submarine has a lower deck immersed in water and hence the name. Riders watch the marine life through the windows adjacent to their seats.
Which is the Best Place for these Adventure Activities?
In my experience of having visited all 4 locations I would rank them as below. You can skip North Bay completely if you are visiting the other 3 islands. The under water views and experience in the other islands are far better.
- Ist Position – Jolly Buoy Island within Gandhi Marine National Park
- 2nd Position – Havelock Island Neil Island
- 3rd Position – North Bay Island
What is the best time to do these Adventure Activities?
The best time for adventure activities in November to March. It is also the best time to watch corals and fishes. The ideal day and location for these activities
- Clear Water devoid of sand
- Low or no waves
- Bright and Sunny weather with clear blue sky
Choosing the Best Adventure Activity
- Which is the best activity for old travelers? The best activity would be to take a glass bottom boat ride and then relax on the beach.
- Which is the best activity for young and teens? All activities are suitable for this age group as long as there is no fear of water
- Which is the best activity for couples? Sea Walking since you could get a video recorded of your time together
- Glass Bottom Boat Ride in Jolly Buoy
- Sea Walk in Elephant Beach, Havelock Island
- Snorkeling in Bharatpur Beach, Neil Island
- Swimming in all the beaches