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Havelock Tourism And Travel Guide
27° C / 80.6° F
November to February
3 to 5 Days
Veer Savarkar International Airport (65 kms)
Havelock is part of a tiny cluster of islands to the east of Port Blair. The islands are mostly uninhabited with Havelock being one of the few that is not. Being distant from most technological advances, the island lives in harmony with nature. Havelock is known for its attempts toward eco-friendly tourism. Its success is evident from all the animals, plants, fishes and birds that live in such close proximity to human settlements. The Beaches are well maintained, its residents are pleasant and the island can offer you all the basic requirements while keeping extravagant services at bay. Already fascinated by tourism in Havelock? Here's a travel guide to plan your next trip there.
How To Reach
The best way to reach Havelock is via Port Blair. Port Blair is connected to Mainland India by a number of flights and Ships. Flights leave the mainland from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Visakhapatnam on a daily basis and are the easiest way to travel. Ships are a cheaper and more adventurous way to get to Port Blair, but they take longer and involve a great deal of planning. Ships leave from the harbours of Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam on a weekly basis depending on weather conditions. Once you reach Port Blair it is important to secure the Restricted Area Permit, without which you won’t even be allowed to book tickets to get to Havelock. Once in Port Blair there are two ways to travel.
By Air: This is perhaps the most exciting way to travel, because the tourism department recently introduced a sea-plane to transport tourists to Havelock. The plane can take 8 people at a time and makes two trips a day. It does not work on Sundays. It takes off from Port Blair on land and lands on the waters of Havelock. The plane ride offers a spectacular aerial view of the island and the sea as it flies low enough to catch a good view and does not travel too fast. The whole journey lasts about half an hour and is worth every second.
By Sea: A number of government and private ferry’s wait at the jetty to take passengers to Havelock and nearby islands. The government ferries usually carry a large group of people and leave Port Blair at least twice a day. The Private ferries are equipped with air conditioning and other facilities to ensure a luxurious experience. They are also much faster. The most popular vehicles for travelling to Havelock are organized by Makruzz and Green Ocean both of which have a travel time of one and a half hours.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Being surrounded by water the temperatures are always moderate and the average temperature remains pretty much the same throughout the year. Yet there are noticeable seasonal changes, especially with the onset of the monsoon. So Havelock has three perceptible seasons.
Summer (March to May): The short summer sees the highest temperature, with temperatures sometimes touching 32 degree Celsius. However the water remains cool throughout the day and is very encouraging in the heat to pursue all the available water sports.
Monsoon (May to September): Although the official monsoon season does not last long, you can expect showers till the end of September and sometimes they are accompanied by storms. These months are not suitable for water sports as the currents are strong and there is poor visibility under water. But the islands are not completely closed to tourism. Government ferries usually operate every day except when the climate is really bad, and since it is off season for tourism you may find places to stay at discounted prices. Moreover, it is always fun to have the whole beach to yourself and to watch the monsoon clouds cover the island in a romantic grey.
Winter (November to February): The most popular time of the year, winter is a combination of all good things. The water is calm and there is great visibility under water so it is a great time for scuba diving, snorkelling and sea walking. The day time temperature is just right and the nights are cool. The winter is therefore the most crowded time of the year so it is important to make early bookings on activities and stay.
Things To Do
Sight-Seeing: The island is blessed with many stunning beaches, a lagoon and thick mangrove forests that make picturesque locations for picnics, trekking and photography. The most popular beaches are the elephant beach, Radhanagar beach, Vijaynagar Beach and Kalapathar. There are interesting trek routes within the forest that will give you a taste of the islands terrestrial life. There are a multitude of rare birds that visit the island, making the place a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling: Havelock has some of the best diving sites in the region. Its elaborate coral reefs and colourful aquatic life at a depth of less than 10 metres make it perfect for such underwater activities. There are a number of spots close to the beaches that are perfect for snorkelling, meaning that swimming is not a basic requirement for the activity. The main underwater attractions, besides the corals, are turtles, eels, seahorses, dolphins and if luck permits sharks.
Sea-walking: Another popular underwater activity is walking among marine beings while wearing a helmet. The site for sea walking is a little off the coast of elephant beach, and like scuba diving a PADI certified trainer will give you basic instructions and training in shallow waters before they take you to the site.
Boating and Kayaking: for those who don’t want to plunge into the water but still want to experience the beauty of the water and all its life forms, boating is an excellent idea. On the shore of elephant beach and in Havelock jetty you will find a number of boats that can be hired to explore the sea. Trips can be made to sites with corals or to prominent diving spots like the aquarium. Kayaking is also a thrilling experience, and as you row through the mangrove forests you will discover a completely different and stunning side to the island.
Though most of the fruits and vegetables found here are imported, the island does have a couple of home grown tropical fruits like its delicious bananas. The specialty here obviously lies in sea food. They have quite a few delicacies made out of prawns, lobsters, crabs and a variety of fishes. Havelock has a couple of expensive restaurants and many cheaper family run spaces to eat, offering a good range of prices to choose from. Although fish constitutes a major portion of the diet, you will find plenty of vegetarian food being served here as well.