Nearly 184 Islands, 189 rocks and 65 Islets, scattered across 600 kilometres make up the group known as the Andaman Islands. Five main groups of islands, separated by narrow straits comprise the majority of the landmass, and they are collectively known as the “Great Andamans”. North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang and Rutland, or the “Great Andamans” are skirted by a gentle crescent of smaller islands. Many of these smaller landmasses are volcanic, and include the popular Little Andaman, North Sentinel, Narcondam and the Barren islands. Tourists should be aware that not all the islands are open for visitors, and those who wish to go further a-field to some of the smaller islands should check if they are home to a native aboriginal population, and therefore protected, with the local tourism information office.
ClimateThe tropical climate experienced in the Andaman Islands, provides a monsoon season from May to mid – December, and calmer weather from January to April. October also provides sunny, hot weather, and average temperatures for the islands range between 22.5 and 29.9 degrees Centigrade.
Diving the AndamansThe Andaman Islands are a haven for tropical marine life, with reefs and wrecks a-plenty! Over 316 coral species under 78 genres have been identified and recorded in the area, and the marine life evident provides some of the best examples of Indian Ocean aquatic species.
General Advise and Information
- All visitors to the Andaman Islands require a permit that will allow them to stay for a maximum of 30 days. With authorised permission, this can also be extended by another 15 days.
- Permits are available from the Port Blair Airport Immigration Counter, and are free of charge on production of a passport and valid Indian Visa.
- Indian Nationals do not require a permit to visit the Andamans
- Thin, light cotton clothing is by far the most affective way of staying cool in this hot and humid country.
- Clothes made from synthetic materials are best avoided.
- Sturdy boots are essential for those planning trekking.
- The protected areas of the Andamans are designed not just to protect the indigenous aboriginal people, but also tourists as well. Don’t try to venture into protected territory.
- Photography in/of the protected areas is also banned.
- Keep all important documents (passport, drivers licence etc) with you at all times, but in a separate place from your money. This will prevent you from advertising the fact that you have money on you, every time you need to provide some identification (hiring a car, going through customs etc).
- Always consult the local lifeguard before entering the ocean. Only swim in designated areas that have already been declared safe.
- Never stay on the beach or in a forest at night on your own. A variety of wildlife is found on the islands, and a small number of them may find you highly appetising.
- Never light a fire in any of the islands forests
- National Parks are spectacular and captivating, but make sure you have the correct permit before you visit one.
- English is widely used, except for in the tribal areas, where some language difficulties may arise without a translator.