The major tourist attractions of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are clustered in the South Andamans. Since Port Blair which is the entry and exit point also happens to be located here, it is easy to chalk up a five to six day itinerary to get an overview of the place, including some of the best beaches and diving centers.
The capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port Blair, is the entry point to this group of islands located in the Bay of Bengal. Keep two to three days to see Port Blair and its nearby attractions. Cellular Jail, now a National Monument of India, has been converted into a museum and there is a light and sound show (avail online booking at http://www.and.nic.in/etourist/) held in the evening. In between, you can squeeze in the Samudrika Museum, Corby’s Cove beach, Chatham Saw Mill, etc. On the second day, head for Wandoor beach (do pay attention to the warnings about crocodiles in the area) and Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (closed on Mondays). Limited boat rides from the Park jetty take visitors to the Jolly Buoy and Redskin islands (permits required); the glass-bottom boats allow you to catch a glimpse of the underwater flora and fauna. Time permitting, you may stop at the Sippighat Farm lying between Port Blair and Wandoor. If you are keen to see the corals, head for North Bay Beach on the third day. Besides, snorkelling, you may try the Sea Walk (even non-swimmers can avail this facility). Head for the Sagarika Emporium in Port Blair for a spot of souvenir shopping.
This tiny island appears to float like a ship in the middle of blue sea. Ross Island was the capital of the islands between 1858 and 1941. Explore the ruins from the colonial period scattered here and end the trip with the light and sound show in the evening. Except Wednesday, ferries run between Aberdeen Bazar in Port Blair and Ross Island. Tickets available on first come first serve basis from Directorate of Tourism reception from 8.30 am to 3.00 pm on the same day; ticket covers entry to Ross Island, boat charges and light and sound entry. There can be a rush for tickets during the peak tourist season. However, you may book tickets online (http://www.and.nic.in/etourist/).
Located about 100km from Port Blair in South Andamans, Baratang Island can be visited on a day trip, by starting in the wee hours, and travelling a part of the way on a vehicle ferry at Middle Strait. The island is known for its beaches, mangrove creeks, mud-volcanoes and limestone caves. With permission, you may visit the limestone caves, a short boat ride away.
Government and private ferry services as well as a helicopter service connect this ‘beach special’ island with Port Blair. Sandwiched between the turquoise sea and the green forests, the golden beaches of Havelock and its wealth of corals are a huge attraction in South Andamans. You will also find a variety of water sports, snorkelling and diving opportunities, etc. Some of the popular beaches here are Radhanagar, Vijaynagar, Elephant Beach, Kalapathar, etc.
Government and private ferries from Port Blair’s Phoenix Bay jetty plies to Neil Island. Ferries also connect Havelock with Neil. Called the ‘vegetable bowl’ of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Neil is known for its white sand beaches (named after the various characters of the Ramayana), corals and tropical forests. Don’t miss the natural rock formation in Lakshmanpur Beach during low tide. With permission, you may also pay a visit the wildlife sanctuary and turtle nesting ground of Chhota Neil.