South-east of India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal are the stuff of picture postcards. Although the archipelago comprises more than 300 islands, only over a dozen are open to tourists, with the capital located in Port Blair. This is your jumping-off point to the islands. Most of the Nicobar islands are off limits, since they are inhabited by ancient tribes that are not used to outsiders.
The star of the Andamans is Havelock Island’s Radhanagar beach, simply known as Beach Number 7. It is one of India’s most beautiful beaches, with azure blue waters and fine sand shores; great for watersports such as scuba diving and snorkelling. Step into its steamy tropical rainforest, where you can stay at the rustic wood-and-rattan bungalows (below) of eco-friendly resort Barefoot at Havelock.
2. Elephant Beach
Elephant Beach, also located on Havelock Island, is another serene shore that offers exciting snorkelling. You could also get a close glimpse of the coral reefs and marine life through Experience Andamans’ Sea Walk; you’ll be equipped with a special helmet that allows you to breathe normally while underwater. A more interesting way to reach Elephant Beach from Port Blair is to eschew the boat ride and hike for half an hour through lush forest.
3. Vijaynagar Beach
Locally referred to as Beach Number 5, Vijaynagar beach is a delight for its shallow and clean waters, which makes it the ideal spot for lazy swims. The beach itself is ringed by coconut palm trees, giving it a tropical beauty. Most of Havelock Island’s resorts and hotels are clustered around this area, making it popular among vacationers.