If you have ever seen a picture of the Andamans, you’ll know that it is a paradise on Earth. The beautiful azure sea and the white sandy beaches are a perfect match for a relaxing yet fun trip. The archipelago is also home to one of Asia’s top beaches – the Radhanagar beach, which is popular among tourists from all across the world. What Andamans is most famous for, however, is water sports. It has some of the best spots for both snorkelling and scuba diving.
Speaking of water sports, do you know that at the Andamans, you can even snorkel or dive near a volcano? The Barren Island is a volcanic island that is very popular for many water activities like sailing, snorkelling, fishing, and scuba diving.
Why you should visit Barren Island Volcano
Barren Island is not just a volcano, it is an active volcano. It is the only active volcano in the whole of South Asia. Doesn’t that make you want to book your tickets to see the island right now? It is not every day and, especially, not everywhere that you can witness an active volcano. What could make your visit extra special is the range of water activities you can do just by the volcano. Many people go sailing to Barren Island Volcano on a charter boat or cruise to get a glimpse of the majestic island. However, if you want to explore water activities, you should go by charter boat.
The marine life around Barren Island is very rich. You’ll be able to spot many different kinds of sea creatures as easily as just popping your head out from the boat. Among the most famous marine life, you’ll spot reef and white-tip sharks, manta rays, turtles, marlins, tuna, dorado, scorpion fish, and much colourful fish like angelfish, butterflyfish, fusiliers, etc.
Explore Game Fishing in Barren Island
Game fishing is one of the most popular and fun water activities on Barren Island. It attracts a lot of fishing enthusiasts from across the work. Even if you have never fished before, you can try it for the first time at Barren Island. The rich underwater terrain attracts many giant fish like Black Marlins, Blue Marlins, Yellow Fin Tuna, Dog Tooth Tuna, dorado, and sailfish.
The best part of this is that you don’t even have to wait for the entire day to catch one fish. The quantity of fish is very high around these parts due to less human activity. Also, the charter boat on which you will go fishing in Barren will come with a local guide who would be able to guide you to the best spots for fishing. Who knows, you might even catch a trophy among much giant fish.
Charter boats to Barren Island: how to reach the island
If you are interested in water activities then the only way to go to Barren Island is by a private charter boat. Barren Island is uninhabited, and no one is allowed to land on the island. Also, regular passenger ferries will not stop midway to let you engage in any activity. As such, you can only get a boat charter to Barren Island.
Charter boats to Barren Island are available only from Port Blair or Havelock Island. From Port Blair, it may take around 4-5 hours to reach the island, while from Havelock you can reach Barren Island in 2-3 hours. However, you can go to Havelock only from Port Blair, which takes another 2-3 hours. So, you should go to Barren Island from Havelock only if you want to spend some time in the latter.
Cost of visiting Barren Island
As mentioned earlier, trips to Barren Island volcano can be made only by charter boats. Boat charters to Barren Island are more expensive than ferries. The entire trip may cost you around INR130,000-150,000. The package will include everything from meals to beverages on board the boat. It will also include all fishing and snorkelling gear along with a guide. Given the price of booking a charter boat, it does make sense to take the trip with friends and family. Each boat can accommodate up to 8 people.
Apart from the cost of getting a boat charter to Barren Island, you may also have to pay for a tourist permit to go to the Island. Indian nationals have to pay around INR 1000 for the trip while foreign nationals have to pay INR 3500.
Top things to do in Barren Island
Barren Island volcano is a place where you can have a lot of fun. It is most popular for water activities like fishing, snorkelling, and scuba diving.
Game fishing in Barren Island: The volcanic island is a very famous destination for game fishing. The marine ecosystem attracts a myriad of giant game fish, which makes it a great spot to go fishing. Your local guide will also show you the best spots where you can catch plenty of fish.
Snorkelling: If you like water sports, snorkelling in Barren Island is one of the best things you’ll do in the Andamans. In snorkelling, you can float on the water to enjoy a panoramic view of the underwater world without having to dive inside. Since only advanced-level scuba divers can dive in Barren Island, most people opt to snorkel to watch the majestic underwater creatures like reef sharks and manta rays.
Scuba diving: You’d have to be an experienced diver to be able to dive at Barren Island. Given the unique terrain created by the volcanic impact, only those who have advanced level certification in scuba diving are allowed to scuba dive on Barren Island. But if you do dive, you can check out Purple Haze and Barren Garden which are known for their colourful and stunning corals.
When is the best time to visit Barren Island?
The best time to visit Barren Island volcano is from November to February. During this period, the weather on the island is pleasant and there are hardly any storms. You can also try your luck around late October and March. From May onwards, however, the weather becomes very hot and humid. There are also chances of rains and storms disrupting your plans. Boat charters to Barren Island are also cancelled if the weather shows signs of rain, so it is better to avoid the summer season.