From 3rd August 2021 Tourism activities re-open in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In view of the steady decline in cases of COVID-19 in Andaman Nicobar Islands an order has been issued by the Director of Tourism Department today regarding reopening of all Tourism activities in South Andaman and North Middle Andaman District from today.
The tourists are allowed to visit Baratang/North & Middle Andaman subject to compulsory RAT testing for Andaman Trunk Road commuters which will be carried out at Forest check post on the spot / same day on payment of applicable charges
A negative RT PCR report has to be presented by all passengers on arrival.
General Guidelines defined for traveling to Andaman Islands during COVID :
What are the guidelines for testing for tourists coming to Andaman after August 03 2021?
On arrival at Port Blair :
1. The tourists need to carry COVID-19 negative test report from mainland based 1CMR approved lab using Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR). However, the sample for RTPCR test should have been taken within 48 hours prior to starting the journey from the origin station. (For e.g. if the tourist takes a flight from Delhi at 0600 hrs. on 1st September, 2021, the sample for RTPCR test should have been taken not before 0600 hrs. on 30th August, 2021).
2. The tourists/visitors on arrival at Port Blair airport have to undergo mandatory Covid-19 screening with RTPCR test free of cost. Thereafter the tourists/visitors are allowed to move to their respective hotels. However, they will have to be under quarantine at Port Blair in their hotel rooms until the result of RTPCR tests are received. In case of RTPCR positive test results, the tourists/visitors shall remain in
institutional quarantine in hotels notified by the Hoteliers Association in consent with the A&N Administration, on rates as specified or to the designated hospital/ Covid-19 care centre on case-to-case basis.
3. Tourists may also have to undergo random Rapid Antigen Test conducted from time to time on payment basis as prescribed by A8N Administration.
What if the tourists test positive after arriving at the Andaman Islands?
If the tourists tests positive during their stay in the Islands, he/she will need to undergo institutional isolation as per existing health protocols. The
cost of such isolation for govt. facility will be paid by the tourists as fixed by the administration from time to time.
If the patient wants to stay at hotels, he/she can stay in the hotels if all the conditions below are met:
a) Patients are not symptomatic and not more than 60 years old.
b) Request/ undertaking is made by patient in writing.
c)lf allowed by doctors.
Hotels will make necessary arrangements to designate a part of their rooms for institutional isolation for this purpose.
Ever since provisions around permit for the Andamans eased in 2018, the travel scene in the island has been in full swing. Veer Savarkar International airport in Port Blair connects Andaman archipelago to all major cities of India. The airport is roughly at a distance of 5 kilometres from the city centre. Far from the mainland yet closer to the capital city, Havelock Island lies roughly 70 kilometres from Port Blair. Although one might discover a different side of Havelock Island in almost every season, to experience Havelock Island at its best, most travellers flock to the island from October to April.
Owing to its geographical position, Havelock Island remains a detached island, meaning that there are no roads that connect it to other islands, making sea route the only viable mode of transport. The sea voyage to the island takes less than 2 hours. As of 2019, SeaPlane does not operate on the island and travellers have the option to choose between government/private ferries. Island transfers are different from land transfers. Rule number one has to be, always book your tickets beforehand to avoid any last-minute shenanigans.
The lifeline of Andaman Islands, Government Ferry is the most pocket-friendly, and the easiest available means how to reach Havelock Island. The trip takes nearly 2.5 hours and works around a fixed schedule. The ferries depart at ?6 A.M (2.5-hour voyage), 11 A.M (4-hour journey via Neil Island) and 2 P.M (2.5-hour voyage). All ferries leave from the Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair, a small, bustling wharf with shallow waters. While availing government ferries, remember to book the tickets as early as possible. The tickets usually sell-out pretty fast as it is commonly used by locals for their inter-island transport and is therefore subject to availability. Once you have boarded the ferry, take a walk outside your cabin and savour the crisp blow of air and cerulean waters around you.
Another way to go about the journey from Port Blair to Havelock Island is via private ferries. Ideal for travellers, these ferries offer luxury travel at a standard price and assures a comfortable experience. A tad expensive than the government-operated ferries, cruises travel faster and take relatively less time. The most reliable operators for cruise boats are Makruzz and Green Ocean and deliver a premium in-cabin experience. While Makruzz takes 90 minutes to reach Havelock Island, Green Ocean takes 120 minutes to make the journey. They run on time, are tidy, well organized, and have staff on board to assist you in case of emergency. The availability depends upon the season you're visiting in, i.e. low in peak seasons and high availability during the off-season. Either you can book tickets via the ground offices of the respective operators, or online through their portal. We would still recommend booking well in advance to ensure a hassle-free experience.
Helicopters are undeniably an extravagant, yet another means to travel from the capital city to Havelock island. Initially commenced by Jal Hans, the first flight of the 10-seater helicopter was from Port Blair to Havelock. The panoramic aerial view of the islands is enthralling, and the journey in itself is exhilarating. The services though open for both tourists and Islanders, are quite hard to avail. Owing to the set priority list, tourists often find themselves at the bottom of the waiting list.
There are certain things to keep in mind -
1. Avoid travelling in turbulent weather. Due to bad weather conditions, ferry often gets cancelled by the authorities.
2. Remember to carry valid ID proof. While checking-into the ferry, an ID card is a must.
3. Ferry timings often change owing to the weather, so it is advisable to keep an eye on the chart.
4. Book well in advance. Availability is dynamic, and tickets often sell out.
Getting around on an island is different from traversing a city. The local transport in Havelock Island is relatively simple and easy to use. The villages have their own beaches, those beaches have numbers assigned to their names, and the roads are set straight without any traffic. There is hardly any scope to lose your directions, but when it does happen, locals are happy to help.
Taxis - Tourists can rent taxis from Havelock jetty for interisland travel. These tend to work best for travellers who travel in a schedule and are up for saving time more than money. However, be wary of the drivers that are bound to overcharge you, where you might have to bargain your way out. If you book a package for Andaman excursion, taxis will be taken care of along with the rest of the transport.
Bike rentals - Renting a bike on an island and riding into the sunset is what travel goals exude. An easy and cost-effective local means of transport in Havelock Island is by renting a motorcycle, scooter or a bicycle. Travellers usually hire them on an everyday basis for a minimal amount and set off to explore the island on their own. Monsoon seasons are risky, and we would not recommend renting a bike then, as the roads become slippery, which can prove dangerous.
Auto rickshaws - Tuk-tuks or auto rickshaws are probably India's favourite mode of local transport. They are cost-effective and readily available. You can hail them during the day on one of the main roads or at the marketplace. A short trip might cost you around INR 50 to 200, and a long ride, say Radhanagar Beach might cost you around INR 700 to 1000. The prices are standardized, though that does not stop travellers from bargaining.
Public Transport - Backpackers or budget travellers can also opt for shared jeeps and government buses to commute within the island.
Walking, however, remains one of the most common means of transport. It is the best way to explore a destination, and there is no denying that. If your energy and time permits you, we suggest you tie your shoelaces and go for a long walk to the beach.
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