What does HAVELOCK mean? Havelock island of the Andaman and Nicobar islands is named after Sir Henry Havelock, but I feel it means ‘heaven locked’ somewhere in the Andaman Sea. Havelock is a scenic paradise, pristine sandy beaches, abundant coral reefs and lush green forests. Havelock which is now named as Swaraj Dweep can be covered in 3 nights.
How to reach Havelock is also adventurous. Havelock is well connected by inter-island ferries from other main centres of Andaman, Port Blair and Neil Island. We took the Makruzz Catamaran Ferry from Port Blair to Havelock. While Government ferries do connect these islands through the year, I recommend private ships which are much faster, cleaner and comfortable. Makruzz and Green Ocean are 2 operators, the former one being the better choice. There are three class of seats, go with the Deluxe one (the middle one )as it is upstairs. TRAVEL TIP — Before booking the ferry, do check the flight schedules of reaching Port Blair, if you plan to directly go to Havelock, as the ferry only runs on specific timings and also keeping in mind the distance to the jetty, the Phoenix Bay jetty. The ferry takes about 90 minutes to reach.
When you get down the ferry the blue water of the sea and the cool breeze is so welcoming to the eye, body and soul. Havelock to me was love at first sight. Both my kids are beach bums, the first thing they said after reaching was lets hit the beach. We had booked the Seashell hotel on the Vijay Nagar beach. Our resort provided an excellent view of the clear emerald waters and coconut trees studded beach.
Two-wheelers and four-wheelers are easily available on rent throughout. We rented one as soon as we got out of the hotel. Petrol is available at petrol pumps as well as some of the shops in the market. The main market of Havelok is in Govind Nagar where there are banks, ATMs small and big eateries, shops. Out of the 5 main beaches in Havelock, 3 lie on the east coast in a single line whereas Radha Nagar & Elephant beach are located towards the western ends of the island. TRAVEL TIP– One has to be very careful as to when to leave for the beach as the entry to the beach gets closed in the early evening around 5 pm [we visited early October].
We decided to go to Kaalapathar beach, had the least idea that time that it is on one corner of the island and would take a good time to reach there. The beach gets its name from the surrounding village, which is Kalapathar Village and the black rocks that adorn the white silky coastline there.
We were a little late to spend much time there but the sunset was beautiful. The shore was strewn with trees that were uprooted, and it gives a beautiful spot for a perfect photograph. Families can spend some peaceful time there while children can enjoy sand digging there. There were few sellers selling fruits, coconut water and things for kids. On our way back it got dark and we stopped at Anju Coco restaurant for dinner. It is a great place with good food quality and comfortable ambience.
The beaches in Havelock are all numbered, so our next day early visit was to the beach no 7, Radhanagar beach which has been named as the best beach in Asia. The approach road towards the beach is hilly, bumpy and little narrow, and would take a good time of drive if you stay at the east coast. There are only 2 good resorts that lead to Radhanagar beach, Taj Exotica and Barefoot.TIP– My personnel suggestion is to stay on the east coast if you are travelling first time to Havelock.
Radhanagar beach is really serene, pristine stretch of sand with turquoise water in the backdrop of tall trees is a treat for the eyes.
There is a lot of parking space and small shops are lined up on both sides of the road. There are also proper changing rooms on the side of the entrance. There are no water sports at Radhanagar beach although you can swim. It is advisable not to venture too far into the wild, near the mangroves or the bushes. There is anice secluded tourist hotspot called Neil’s cove, try and get there. The expanse of the beach takes your breath away. Beautiful or any other adjective is an understatement for the beauty of Radhanagar beach.
Also, it is very well maintained by the authorities unlike many commercial beaches in Goa. We had a great time at the beach but seriously time comes to a standstill and what one can hear is just the rustling of the waves, no wonder beach is the most romantic place in the world. Post the amazing time at Radhanaga, do have lunch at the Barefoot resort, it’s really good. So, the plan was to go to Elephant beach after beach no 7 but we got late as the time for the last boat was missed by us.Elephant beach is the most commercialized beach of Havelock where various water sports are present. It is famous as an elephant (who is now old and retired) used to swim to this beach along with its mahout each day. The beach can be reached in 2 ways; one by taking a boat and the other by trekking. If you choose to trek, a path to the beach starts from the road to Radha Nagar beach which you could ask a local for directions. But nevertheless , we changed back at our resort, had coffee and were off to Full Moon Cafe for dinner. Full Moon Cafe is on the main strip of restaurants and shops. We had been there earlier in the day to make our bookings at Dive India. Seafood was really good, and also quite a good menu for both veg and non-vegetarians and also a couple of cats just loitering around.
It is really different and peaceful when you just look at the sky at night, filled with stars. Husband and I had a glass of wine while sitting outside in our balcony at night.
Our next morning was booked, as me and my son were to go for snorkelling and husband wanted to see deep down the sea so had booked deep-sea diving.The experience is out of the world.His was of longer duration so, I and kids spent time on Govind nagar beach and some time at a cafe. Do try Fat Martin Cafe.
Well, post the rendezvous with the corals it was time to say goodbye to Havelock. We had booked the last Makruzz ferry of the day back to Port Blair. As we reached a little early and the ferry was delayed by half an hour we decided to have lunch at Dakshin by Barefoot which is just next to the jetty.
The varied colour of the ocean as the sun rises or sets on the island is must watch and appreciated. We left Havelock thinking we should have booked it for a couple of days more to imbibe the essence of Havelock fully…but there is always the next time….Enjoy