Everything you need to know before you snorkel in Andaman.
Better than swimming and much more affordable than Scuba, Snorkeling is a sport that takes you to the magnificent underwater world without the need for any complex setup or apparatus.
What makes the experience great is that you don't have to prepare anything in advance, you can just grab the gear, go dive into the water, and feel the weight of your body fade away.
Andaman Islands offer some of the best places to snorkel so you can easily explore the world of sea-dwellers. The highly-populated ecosystem of shoreline in the isles is home to a wide variety of corals, both hard & soft that houses a plethora of beautiful fish species to gaze at.
The preserved coastal belts surrounded by long stretches of diverse ecosystem is a wonderful sight to experience and we recommend it everyone, who comes on a vacation to Andaman.
Andaman has more than 20 great locations to experience the underwater kingdom in various islands. A good place to snorkel would be the one that has a balance of both safety and beauty. Here are some factors you should consider before beginning your adventure.
Any place that offers these is a great place to go for a dip. So here are the top 5 places for snorkeling in Andaman:
Havelock is famous for it's dreamy beaches and crystal clear blue water and therefore stands at the top with the best place for water sports in Andaman.
Although there are several beaches that count as great, the Elephant beach in Havelock, Andaman offers the most perfect conditions for a memorable snorkeling experience.
The vibrant undamaged reefs comes packed with a wide variety of fishes and sea creatures that gives out a feeling of amazement and awe.
The waters here are crystal clear, allowing for maximum underwater visibility one could expect and is perfectly shallow with just the right amount of current, so you can easily float near the sea surface and enjoy your experience without any difficulties.
The best about snorkeling in Elephant Beach is that most of the trips to Andaman include Havelock, and therefore you can save you time and money.
Elephant Beach can be easily reached by chartering a boat or you can join a group and trek through the forest to reach the place.
For prebooked activities, a guide is always available to assist through the whole trip ensuring maximum comfort and safety. The scuba diving equipments and training is provided by the vendor in addition to underwater assistance and return from the beach to the hotel.
Alternatively, snorkelers can also bring their own equipment and enjoy long hours of water dives. Make sure to leave the beach before 4 P.M, as the beach and return boats are no longer available after that.
North Bay is a small island located near Port Blair and is the perfect place for all types of water sports including snorkeling. The island is so small that the reason people visit here is to have some fun and adventure in the water.
The waters here are clean and perfectly shallow allowing a clear view of the underwater world without any blurs.
In terms of sea life, the place boasts one of the most rich and diverse coral population in the isles, preserved under the care of Andaman administration. The fringing reefs are home to a wide variety of fishes and sea dwellers including lobsters and shrimps who present a wonderful facade around the snorkeler.
To reach North Bay, you'll have to take a ferry from the marine Jetty at the Aberdeen area. A tour guide will assist you every step of the way to make sure the experience is fluid and hassle-free. A usual snorkeling package already covers all the ticketing and transportation charges. Snorkeling equipment and other necessities are provided by the vendor, so all you have to do is dive and explore.
Alternately, you can book the ferry on your own and make a trip to the island with your own equipment and snorkel there for long hours.
Jolly Buoy is yet another great place to snorkel in Andaman for both experienced and novice enthusiasts. The island is pretty small and has numerous water sport centers offering snorkeling at an affordable rate.
The waters surrounding Jolly Buoy is clear enough for a perfect inside view underwater. The water is stable and the currents are stable near the shoreline which doesn't mix the underlying sand to mix with the water, allows it to stay clear.
The marine life is well preserved and abundant. The shoreline is filled with large hoards of corals including blue, red and sponge, that house a wide variety of some of the most unique fishes in Andamans, including the fairly rare clown and zebra fish.
All trips to the island has to be made via a ferry or boat which leaves from the Wandoor Jetty and reaches there in half and hour.
A standard snorkeling package includes all tickets, ferries, permits and snorkeling equipment so you can enjoy your impeccable experience without any second thoughts.
For those who'd like to travel there by themselves, a special permit to snorkel is needed which is issued by the forest department, so make sure to take care of that before planning your trip. Furthermore, for ferry ticketing, a photo with identity and residence proof is required.
Another thing to note is that, to preserve the coral population, Jolly Buoy is open only for 6 months, from April to November (subject to change), after which the Red Skin Island is open for tourists.
Red Skin island is the twin sister of Jolly Buoy and is easily reachable by a boat. The island is small and is only open for tourists for 6 months, when Jolly Buoy is closed.
The location is ecstatic and surrounded by nature from all sides that opens up to a magnanimous beach.
The shorelines are clean and complimented with clean blue waters with above average visibility that allows for decent underwater sight.
The coral population is dense and populated with abundant marine life of all shapes and species. The diversity of corals here are unmatched by any other location in Andamans which makes this spot really great for snorkelers.
To reach the island one has to take a ferry from the Wandoor beach and take forest permits to snorkel near the shore.
Neil Island is yet another beautiful place surrounded by forests and populated by dense tropical trees.
The island features one of the most well preserved coral population in the isles making it famous among divers and snorkelers.
The snorkeling is usually done at the Laxmanpur Beach, located at 12 kms from the jetty and can be easily reached by taking a bus or booking a cab.
The water visibility is low when compared to other spots on the lists but is easily balanced by just the perfect amount of water current and waves, making it a calm place to go for long hours of snorkeling.
The shoreline is wide and boasts wide variety of coral strips that house vibrant fishes, lobsters, clams and other sea creatures, waiting to be explored.
Overall a fairly decent place to dive and snorkel if you don't mind ab bit of lower visibility.
Snorkeling is affordable in most parts of the isles and can be easily booked by contacting the right vendors.
The pricing greatly depends on the transportation, as boat and ferry charges can easily pile up. It is always suggested to snorkel at a place you have already planned on visiting.
If you are experienced, you can bring your own equipment to snorkel for long hours, but make sure to get all the right permits and book ferry tickets before visiting.
Which island is the best for Snorkeling?
Havelock Island, Elephant Best place to snorkel in Andaman, closely followed by North Bay Island.
The shoreline of both the islands are rich in marine life, the visibility is great and have an abundance of experienced vendors so you can easily compare the pricing and book a trip that best suits you.
What is the best time to do it?
The best month to snorkel would definitely be from May to June. The best time is from 8 A.M to 4:30 P.M, after that the light starts getting dim, so it's better not to dive after it.
During these months, the weather is perfect, the water temperatures are optimal and the corals have started blooming making the marine life dense, so you'll have a wonderful experience.
Is there an age limit for Snorkeling in the islands?
Yes, Children above 10 years of age and people below 60 can easily enjoy snorkeling, given an experienced snorkeler is present there to assist.
People who are not allowed to Snorkel in the isles include:
What is the usual cost for Snorkeling in Andaman?
The average costs is Rs. 500/- and can go anywhere from 700/- to 1500/- in several spots that require additional permits and boats.
Is it necessary to know swimming to Snorkel?
No, It is not necessary to know swimming to snorkel in Andaman. You will be given a small 15 minute training of do's and dont's and a fellow snorkeler will assist you underwater to ensure safety.
Although, knowing swimming can help you get better control of your body.