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Barefoot at Havelock Islands
Barefoot at Havelock Islands The Andaman Islands - India's secret paradise, stunning beaches, pristine coral reefs, Tolkienesque forests, active volcanoes, swimming elephants, elusive dugongs and big, big fish all in one place. And this pared-down eco-hideaway, tucked behind 2km of untrodden white sands and 100-foot high Mahua trees, is the place to see them.

Venture out to kayak through mangrove creeks, walk with Rajan the 'swimming' elephant, snorkel or dive the reefs, camp on a deserted island; stay in and there's yoga, bird watching, hammocks - and a blissful beach.

Accomodation
The Barefoot Group currently runs two resorts on Havelock:

» Barefoot at Havelock, Jungle Resort on Beach No. 7
If a white sandy beach fringed by a forest of enormous Mahua trees is where you would like to spend your time when you are not diving around Havelock then Barefoot at Havelock, Jungle Resort is the place for you. Nestled in the forest that fringes what Time magazine voted the 'Best beach in Asia', this resort and its environs offer a one-of-a-kind holiday experience in Havelock. The resort is a picturesque 20-min drive from Barefoot Scuba, and transport will be arranged for divers upon request.

» Café del Mar on Beach No. 3
The sea-facing cottages at Café del Mar are ideal for divers and travelers looking for comfort and convenience. Located in the same premises as the dive centre, Café del Mar offers its guests a convenient base from which to explore not just the snorkeling and dive sites around Havelock, but also the village market, the elephant training camp and the forest trails beyond Beach No. 5. A vibrant location, playing host to travelers from all over the world, Café del Mar has 6 sea-facing, duplex cottages. The wood and bamboo structures, with their palm leaf roofs, face the sea through a small grove of coconut trees. The airy bedroom (double or twin-beds) on the upper floor leads out to a private balcony which is the perfect place to relax after a day of diving.

Location Map Havelock Islands The interiors are simple, with ceiling fans, electric lights and power outlets (220V) provided. The bathroom on the lower level is equipped with a western-style toilet, shower and wash-basin with running water. The sit-out, below the balcony, is the ideal place to hang your hammock.

Our location
The Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands stretches over a length of more than 700kms from North to South, floating in the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, east of India. This sprinkling of green and gold consists of 572 islands, islets and rock formations that emerge from the sea in homage to the tropical sun. About 50 km east of the South Andamans are a group of 9 emerald islands that form Ritchie's Archipelago. Of these islands, Havelock is the largest. Barefoot Scuba is located at the Café del Mar resort on Beach No.3 on the island of Havelock.

Activities at Barefoot
Scuba Diving (Dec - May): The Andaman Islands are one of the last frontiers for scuba diving, their waters pristine and unmapped. Corals abound with colourful reef fish, sea turtles, barracuda, tuna, sting rays and the occasional dugong. Barefoot Scuba has a full professional dive centre at Beach No. 3, with PADI courses and recreational dive trips around Havelock and - with advance notice - further afield.

Snorkeling: Tropical fish, bright corals and the elusive dugong. Try the sea-grass beds at the southern end of Beach No. 7; or head-up through the Mahua forest to the pretty reef and lagoon of Barefoot Cove; or take a dinghy (long-tail boat) and a packed lunch to get dropped off on deserted Elephant Beach, with its unspoiled reef.

Swimming with Rajan: For many the highlight is meeting Rajan, one of the amazing ocean-swimming elephants of the Andamans, who now lives at the resort after a life of hard labour. Join him for a swim in the waters at Beach No. 7 (you can be photographed with him underwater); or catch him early in the morning and help him get his breakfast.

Kayaking in Havelock Islands. Ayurvedic treatments: 2 therapists (2 male) practise in a bamboo and thatch pavilion looking onto the forest and lily pond.

Kayaking: Hire a kayak and explore the mangrove creeks or shallow reefs around the island.

Fishing: Take the dinghy and a hook-and-line, and go catch your dinner - or, better still, go out on a moonlit night.

Nature walks: a steep but rewarding walk, led by the resident field guide, takes you among birds, butterflies and orchids to the hill overlooking the cove.

Bird watching: With eight endemic species in and around the resort, Bird watching trips are very popular.

Island Hopping Trips: Book a trip to the Button Islands Marine National Park for spectacular snorkeling, with an overnight barbecue and option to camp on remote Long Island.

Other Excursions: Book yourself on an overnight trip to Barren Island, India's only active volcano; or go on longer eco-tours to conservation bases scattered across the Andaman Islands.

Travel planning
Getting to Havelock requires first getting to Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman Islands, and then taking a ferry from Port Blair to Havelock.Port Blair, the capital city of the Andamans, is connected to Chennai and Kolkata by both air and sea. The most convenient and quickest way to get to the islands is to fly. Ships also ply between the mainland and Port Blair, with departures from Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and Chennai. Tickets for the ships do need to be booked in advance and the 3-day journey can be arduous given the basic amenities on board.

Although the ship is an option for travelers on a low budget and without time constraints, we recommend flying into the Andamans. Barren Island volcano. With the advent of low-cost airlines flying into Port Blair, ticket prices have reduced significantly, and the short durations, greater convenience and comfort of the flights compared to the ships justifies spending the extra money. Also, spending 3 days on a ship means that you get 2 days less diving!!

Once you have landed in Port Blair, Havelock is a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride away. There are two ferries that ply between Port Blair and Havelock on a daily basis. The morning ferry leaves Port Blair at 0630 hrs and the afternoon ferry leaves at 1400 hrs. All incoming flights arrive in Port Blair in time for travelers to catch the afternoon ferry, allowing you to reach Havelock on the same day. Havelock has one jetty at Beach No.1, and Barefoot Scuba at Beach No.3 is a 10 minutes auto-rickshaw ride away.

Barefoot offers to meet its guests at the Port Blair airport transfer them to the Phoenix Bay jetty from which the ferries depart, organise ferry tickets to Havelock, and transfers from the Havelock jetty to the resorts. Private transfers to Havelock on Bare foot's motor-launch are also available upon request.

Visas and Permits
Overseas visitors require an Indian visa to visit the Andaman Islands (as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are part of the Indian State. Aside from this, a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is also required to enter the Andaman Islands. Whereas Indian embassies abroad can technically issue the RAP along with the Indian visa, this could prolong the visa process.

We recommend not mentioning your visit to the Andaman Islands in your Visa application in order to save time and instead getting your permits upon arrival into the Andaman Islands. These permits are provided to all non-Indians upon entry at the airport in Port Blair. The process is free of cost, takes no more than 20 minutes and available to all comers. The permits are valid for a period of 30 days from the date of entry.

Overseas visitors holding a valid entry permit into the Andaman Islands are allowed to visit and stay at municipal areas of Port Blair, Havelock, Long Island, Neil Island, the Islands of South Andaman and Middle Andaman (excluding tribal reserved area - 5 km away from Constance bay to Luis Inlet bay - western coast tribal reserve), Baratang, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, North Passage Island, Little Andaman (excluding tribal reserve) and all islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park except Boat Island, Hobday Island, Twins Islands, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto Island. Tourists can also visit Jolly Buoy Island, S. Cinque Island, Redskin Island, Mount Harriet, Madhuban, Ross Island, Narcondam Island, Interview Island, Brother & Sister Islands and Barren Island during the day. (Visit to Barren Island is restricted on board the vessel with no landing ashore).