Little Andaman is an island in the Andaman Islands. Of the islands open to tourism it's one of the largest, yet it's remote location makes it the least visited. Those that do make the journey will stumble across pristine beaches, waterfalls, astonishingly cheap food, alcohol and accommodation, locals so friendly they feel like family, oil palm plantations and legendary waves that few surfers seem to make it to.
While most of the Andaman Islands escaped major damage from the 2004 tsunami, Little Andaman wasn't quite so lucky. Almost the entire island was ravaged, though it has since bounced back, and a few rudimentary hotels have been built.
Dugong Creek in the North and the South Bay area are tribal reserves for the Onge tribe and are off limits to tourists, although it's perfectly possible to enter the Nicobari reserves south of Hut Bay.
One of the least populated main islands, most of the inhabitants are Bengalis or Tamils in addition to a sizeable Nicobari overspill community to the south of Hut Bay.
Flora and fauna
Little Andaman is barely settled and most of the island is covered by thick jungle, fringed by stunning deserted beaches and reefs.
Warm and dry in winter, hot, rainy and sticky in summer.
Since the sinking of a ferry in the Andamans in 2014, ferry schedules to Little Andaman have changed from 2 ferries per day, to a system whereby the schedule is released seemingly without regularity from the main ferry office in Port Blair. It may be the case that a tourist visiting the office in the morning may be told there is no ferries to Little Andaman and they have none scheduled or no information, however by the afternoon a ferry may have been scheduled as if by magic. Tenacity is required. It may also be possible to show up at the ferry terminal - a different one to the booking office and buy the ticket at the time of departure as a certain number of tickets are held back for last minute travellers - expect to pay a premium on these tickets.
You can travel here with the basic permit that you received on arrival in Port Blair.
Local fishing boats can take you to other parts of the island from Hut Bay, otherwise, aside of motorbikes or scooters, your feet are your best friends as most of the island is thick jungle.
You can rent motorbikes for 300 RS (fixed price) and bicycles, as standard, check the condition of the bikes before rental - Blue View have a good relationship with a scooter rental company.
Buses, Rickshaws and Jeeps get you around the island. Almost anyone will pick you up and give you a lift for little-to-no money.
Things to see/do:
- Little Waterfall / Big Waterfall - Lighthouse - Beaches / Surf - There's excellent surf here and a surf instructor bookable through the hotel owners will show you the ropes if you're looking to learn. The waves can be big though so it's advisable to stick to the sandy beach opposite Blue View at first. - Butlers Bay Lagoon - Follow the cave in the main rock face through to an excellent cliff jumping spot. - The Dam - Pretty wild area covered in flowers where a reservoir fills in summer.
The enveloped areas offer a range of goods and services including discounted air tickets at the second village, 30 mins due north of Hut Bay.
Aside of Palm Grove Restaurant, run by the A&N Forestry Commission and serving excellent biryianis etc., basic food is available in Hut Bay - outside of this you will need to bring your own food and something to cook it on.
Most of the islands accommodation is focused on the main road in and out of Hut Bay.
Blue View is the be all and end all of accommodation on Little Andaman, and the best place I stayed in the whole of India. Run by the charming, friendly and accomodating "Baba", this charming row of three huts is cheap and the service excellent. Baba will sit and chat and join in with the frivolities of his guests and enter into interesting conversation, making him feel more like a host than just a hotel owner. Look out for Baloo and Bagheera, the cats he adopted while we were staying there. Close to a deserted beach.
Jina Resort in little Andamans is also a good place to stay on the island. It has professional service and a clean hygienic environment that makes one feel at home. The small huts are neatly built in a circle that enhance the cozy atmosphere. There is no other place like this one on the entire island. The food that is served brings the best of the west and east of India together. No other place compares to this one on the entire island. No other place on the island has such a welcoming atmosphere to all without discrimination. There are bikes to be rented and the best steam fish wrapped in banana leaf to be eaten.
Camping is prohibited on the islands beaches, although it is possible to sleep in the jungle fringe, especially around the far side of Butlers Bay if you have a good hammock and mosquito net.
Sandflies and mosquitos can be a problem on the island although reports of infestations in the usual guide books are exaggerated. There are signs warning of crocodiles in many places although they are rarely sighted in developed areas.
The sea can be rough and the rip-tides strong. Don't enter the water having consumed alcohol and keep a constant eye on the shoreline. Turn away for too long and you may find yourself much further from the shore than you imagined.
Ferries that ply the Port Blair - Little Andaman - Car Nicobar route run overnight can be booked at the office in Hut Bay no more than 4 days in advance.