Andaman Islands

Andaman Islands

The Andaman Islands offer everything you could desire from a liveaboard dive cruise in a remote and relatively untouched area.

The Andaman Islands are part of a submerged island chain running from Sumatra to the bay of Bengal in India. The Andaman islands are a collection of hundreds of deserted Islands. They have pristine beaches and diving that is as impressive as it is untouched.
Tourism only opened in the Andaman Islands from 1993 and is limited, with restrictions to allow environmental and eco-tourism only. This is enforced to protect the area for future generations. The liveaboard vessels are usually foreign owned and arrive at Port Blair from other counties.

The islands themselves, which became a World Heritage site in 2002, have a live volcano, and there are local tribes of hunter-gatherers. Fishing is a significant source of nourishment with traditional methods being used. Surfing is also an up and coming sport of the region and growing in popularity due to the perfect conditions on many of the islands.

Often the Nicobar Islands are mentioned in conjunction with the Andaman islands, but there is no tourism allowed here. The islands do not let outsiders in as an attempt to protect the indigenous tribes resident there from disease and other modern issues.

Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below

Andaman Islands - 1 LIVEABOARDS

From $266 / day

Diva Andaman

Diva Andaman Liveaboard in Myanmar and Thailand is a 35 metres sailing schooner. That visits Thailand, Myanmar and India. Only 14 guests join each trip in the double and twin cabins. Food is gourmet style, and there is a wine cellar onboard, each guest will get a free bottle of champagne on the cruise. The outdoor deck area is spacious and has shade, and the top deck has ample seating and relaxing area. Kayaks, snorkelling and island visits are available between dives.

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Diving in The Andaman Islands

The Andaman islands have been explored by Jaques Cousteau many years ago but have only recently become a dive destination for recreational divers, with limited cruises each year to the stunning coral reefs of this isolated location.

The islands became a union territory in 1956, and only a few are inhabited year around. The beaches are deserted, and elephants swim in the clear turquoise waters that are home to stunning reefs and coral gardens. Reef life is varied and plentiful, and dugongs frequent the seagrass of the shallow water.

Best Places to Dive in The Andaman Islands

There are more than 800km of coastline in the archipelago of 570 plus islands, so there is no shortage of dive sites here. The marine park of Mahatma Gandhi still has untouched sites and some fascinating cultures.

Havelock is one of the top destinations in the Andaman islands with sites such as Jacksons Bar where sharks, eagle rays and even manta rays are found among the soft purple corals and macro life.

At the area of Little Andaman, Dugongs are regularly seen and are the state animal of this territory.

Jacksons Bar and Narcondam have drift diving with manta rays, and Johnnys gorge offers dolphin sightings. The black volcanic sands of Barren island are home to much marine life including whale sharks.

Other than Havelock dives are completed at Neils Island and the remote but amazing Barren Island and South Button Islands where both active and dormant volcanos are found.

Best Dive Sites in The Andaman Islands

Barren Island

Located on the edge of the Indo Burmese tectonic plate this island is in an active volcanic region with black sand that is teeming with colourful life. Known for its larger pelagic marine life, the walls are covered with reef fish. Topography varies from walls that descend to over 700m in the south and gentle sloping reefs on the north. Hammerheads, manta rays, Silvertips, grey and white tip reef sharks can all be seen here along with trevally, tuna and barracudas.

South Button Island

Remote and pristine with an extinct volcano resulting in a healthy reef. The topography is rocky ridges with steep slopes and healthy reefs. There are shallow waters in the north and east where some fantastic macro life can be found, but heading down the slope to the deeper waters can result in hammerhead sightings. One of the big attractions here are the year-long sightings of the Manta rays and Mobula which can be found in both deep and shallow waters right up to the beach. Schools of up to 50 mobula can be seen at any one time. Massive dogtooth tuna, Napoleon wrasse and giant grouper are here along with schools of snappers, fusiliers and trevally.

Johnny’s Gorge

Only suitable for advanced divers this is one of the best dive sites in the Andaman islands named after a local who discovered it many years ago. The topography is two coral reefs which are separated by a shallow plane, a small site with some fantastic reef life. There are regular visits from dolphins here with large schools of barracuda, giant groupers, snappers and eagle rays. Shark sightings are what makes this site every divers favourite in the islands, and resting on the sandy bottom, there are often sightings of white tip reef sharks.

Dixon's Pinnacle

Dixon's Pinnacle was also named after its discoverer a local instructor and Johnny’s brother, and it is a very popular choice for experienced divers.  The giant rock pinnacles rise from the seabed at 30m and are coated in corals and barrel sponges. Here you can find batfish and trevally, stingrays, napoleon wrasse, moray eels and white-tip reef sharks. Junior emperors are often seen with their distinctive, colourful markings. Look for turtles, and in the cleaning stations, manta rays are often seen.

Join a liveaboard cruise to the remote and relatively unexplored Andaman Islands where the dive sites offer great variety and visibility to all levels of guests. For more information about Andaman Island Dive Sites, please click on the photo.

Andaman Islands dive sites

Andaman Islands Scuba Diving Highlights

Common sightings - Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Dugongs, Moray eels, batfish, trevally

Special sightings - Whale sharks, seahorses, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks

Topography - volcanic sand, walls, finger reefs, coral gardens, wrecks

Visibility - 10 to 40m

General information - Divers of all levels are able to join a liveaboard cruise to this area.

Onboard options - beach visits, snorkelling

Best Time to Go

The liveaboard cruises in India and the Andaman Islands have a season from late December until the beginning of May. At this time the air temperature is pretty consistent between 27 and 30 C with cooler nights. Days can be sunny, and the sea conditions are calm with excellent visibility.

The middle of May will bring the start of the Monsoon season with June to September as the wettest months.

The Sea temperature is between 26 and 28 C, so a 3mm shorty wetsuit is usually sufficient for most guests.

Currents here vary with the dive site from strong to un-noticeable.

It is considered the best time to dive between February and March.

Manta Rays and Whale sharks have been known to frequent the waters during the high season

How to Get There

The liveaboard cruises to the Andaman Islands depart from Port Blair which is the main port for this area in India. The easiest way to reach the port is via a local flight from Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai which have daily flights. It is advised to book the flights in advance as they can be busy. Another option if you wish to take some time is to go via a ferry which takes three days from Chennai.

Country Information

Currency

Visa

Local time vs GMT

Language

Airports

Religion

What to pack

Average temperature

Food and drink

Indian Rupee (INR).

Visas are required for most nationalities.

+ 5:30 hours

Hindi and Bengali some English is spoken.

Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ).

Hindu, Christianity and Muslim.

Beach apparel, cover up, smart casual in the evenings or restaurants, raincoat.

25 to 32 C daytime, 21 to 23 C evenings

Seafood with north and south Indian cuisine and vegetarian food is widely available.