What makes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands a special place to visit? Is it the stunning beaches or the never-ending deep blue sea? Is it the lush forests or the brilliant weather? The answer, of course, is all of these. The Andamans boast beautiful sandy beaches and verdant forests that make you feel relaxed and one with nature. But it also has some secret gems, Barren Island being one of them. A Barren Island tour is a must-do thing if you wish to enjoy the archipelago at its finest.
Ever since it has become active, the Barren Island volcano attracts people from all across the world, especially, geo tourists and adventure seekers who wish to snorkel dive close to the volcano.
What makes a Barren Island tour so special?
Barren Island is part of a chain of volcanic islands from Myanmar to Sumatra; it is the only active volcano in the entire chain (and in South Asia) making it an attractive destination for those seeking to witness an active volcano. The volcano was first known to have erupted in the 1700s and was dormant for a long time after that before erupting again in the 1900s. Over the years, it has become a popular travel destination in the Andamans. But tourists don’t flock to Barren Island just to watch the volcano. Snorkelling, game fishing, and scuba diving are very popular water activities that attract tourists.
Barren Island boasts a very rich marine life. You are assured of spotting many fantastic sea creatures like white-tip reef sharks, turtles, tuna, marlins, and manta rays. The soft and hard coral formations surrounding diving spots like Purple Haze and Barren Garden are some of the most uniquely coloured and majestic corals you’ll find in the Andamans. Also, just so you know the sand underwater is black because of the volcanic activity.
Charter boat trip to Barren Island
The entire trip to the volcanic island is adventurous including a Barren Island tour by charter boat. You can enjoy a sailing trip while you make your way to the island. Imagine how much fun would it be to travel on a private boat on a bright morning: the sea breeze brushing against your face and the azure sea travelling to the horizon and even beyond. This is one journey that promises never to be boring.
You can also expect fantastic service throughout your Barren Island tour including meals and beverages, and a guide to share their knowledge about the various islands you’ll pass by.
How to reach Barren Island
Charter boats are the only way to make a Barren Island tour if you want to get into the water. There are no charters on Barren Island, but you can take one from either Port Blair or Havelock Island. Also, Barren Island is an uninhabited Island; hence, regular passenger ferries do not go to the island. You wouldn’t find any diving, fishing, or snorkelling centres on the island. Charter boat services at both Havelock and Port Blair will provide you with fishing, snorkelling or diving instructors.
Barren Island is at a remote location, so it may take you some time to travel to and from the island. From Port Blair, the distance is covered within 4-5 hours, while from Havelock Island, you can make it to the Barren Island volcano in 2-3 hours.
However, you must know that while the distance from Havelock Island seems less, the island is accessible only from Port Blair via ferry that takes 2-3 hours again. So, it would be better for you to travel to Barren Island from Havelock if you have plans to stay on the island. This should not be a problem as Havelock is one of the famous destinations in the Andamans and has many beautiful beaches and diving sites for diving and snorkelling.
Barren Island Tour: Cost of visiting the island
Since charter boats are private and will take you on a day-long journey, the cost will be higher than any other means of travelling in the Andamans. The complete cost of booking boat charters in Barren Island is around INR 130,000 - 150,000. This includes everything from meals and beverages to guides and gear (for fishing or snorkelling). If you want to fish, you will also have to pay a fishing permit of around INR 500.
Apart from the above, all tourists need a permit to visit the Barren Island volcano. You may have to pay around INR 1000 if you are an Indian national. Foreign nationals have to pay INR 3500 for a Barren Island tour. This holds if you want to engage in any water activity.
Fun things to do in your Barren Island Tour
Your Barren Island tour promises to be lots of fun. Apart from just the sailing part, where you can enjoy all the majesty of the beautiful sea, you can do a bunch of activities at Barren Island. Here are some of them:
Snorkelling in Barren Island: Snorkelling is a very popular activity on Barren Island. What makes it popular is that you don’t need to know how to swim to dive to snorkel. You can float in the water and enjoy a panoramic view of the underwater world. Since the marine life is rich at Barren Island, you’ll be able to spot many reef sharks and manta rays.
Fishing in Barren Island: Fishing is another popular activity at Barren Island. You can catch a bunch of giant fish like marlins and tuna. Your charter boat will come with a guide who’ll help use the fishing gear and even guide you to the right spots for fishing.
Barren Island Tour: FAQ
1. How can you go to Barren Island?
Answer: The only way to go for a Barren Island tour is by charter boat.
2. Do people live on Barren Island?
Answer: No, Barren Island is an uninhabited island. Except for a few goats, rodents, and birds, no one else lives on the island as the living conditions are very harsh.
3. When is the best time to visit the Barren Island volcano?
Answer: The best time to visit Barren Island is between November to February.
4. How much does it cost to visit Barren Island?
Answer: A charter boat trip to Barren Island can cost you around INR 130,000 to INR 150,000.
5. What kind of activities can you do on Barren Island?
Answer: Game fishing, snorkelling, and scuba diving are some of the most activities that you can do on Barren Island.