What Are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands?

Here at Deepblu we talk about islands a lot. They are, as we all know, surrounded by water, and we are, as you all know, a scuba company. There are some, however, that we shouldn’t visit.

For instance, if you’ve been anywhere besides under a rock recently, you’ll know that you probably shouldn’t visit North Sentinel Island.

That said, there are places in the region which are well open to visitors. Over at Planet Deepblu we have plenty of opportunities on the Andaman Sea that will end in a good time instead of, well, what happened to that guy on North Sentinel. The islands are technically part of India, but have their own sort of vibe going on. With over six hundred in the archipelago, unique cultures, foods, and ways to simultaneously learn and relax can take a lifetime to fully explore, even though only nine islands are open to the public, all in the Andamans. Furthermore, tourism in the region is fairly new. As such, you have a chance to be an ambassador to isolated people by being a kind, conservation-minded tourist from the outside world. There are some lovely options when exploring the chain.

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park

The clear, calm waters of the marine park. Photo by Nilanjan Pathak under use via CC BY-SA 4.0

While heavily damaged in areas by the 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis, this unique marine park, spanning fifteen islands, is on the recovery and opens doors to ecosystems unique to the region. Established in 1983, the park’s goal is to maintain an area for protected corals to thrive while also providing a safe nesting ground for turtles.

Port Blair

A street scene in Port Blair. Photo by Jpatokal under use via CC BY-SA 4.0

You’re bound to hit this one because, well, it’s the only way in and out of the Andaman Islands. Full of tourist attractions and a prime spot to start a dive holiday, this town of roughly 100,000 people has a lot to offer before you head out into the wild. As the capital of the Andamans, it has drawn folks from all over India and the world with its lushness and pace of life. When in the city make sure to check out the history, with the Cellular Jail, Japanese Bunkers, and Anthropological Museum being hotspots for visitors. The Samudrika Naval Museum is a great choice for those of us with a more seafaring view of things.

South Button Island National Park

Shallow water reefs make for excellent scuba opportunities here in a lush coral landscape. While it may get a bit crowded at times, it’s not without reason. The island is a great place to see barracuda, rays, and other breathtaking species. Off in the distance, if you’re lucky, you might even spot a blue whale.

Long Island

If you’re looking for a real escape, this is a place where you can truly lose the world for as long as you’d like. Unlike the other island we think of when we think “Long Island,” this small beachy patch is great for those with a thirst for adventure. Mangroves, caves, and corals are here to explore in depth, and offer pretty much the only thing to do. There are a few small shops and restaurants, but get ready to adjust to the island, because it won’t catch up to what you’re used to.

All-in-all, the Andaman and Nicobar islands are a unique thing to visit, so go in with an open mind and realize that you’re relatively new to them. Tread lightly, take care, and make sure to learn a thing or two. It’s a journey you’ll never forget.

– Todd Allen Williams, Senior Editor

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