Flying into Port Blair from Chennai, request for a window seat on the right hand side. About 20 minutes before you land, you will notice that you are flying over the large isolated 'anvil-shaped' North Sentinel Island - dark dense green foliage carpets the terrain, fringed by deserted beaches. Feels uninhabited? This is the home of the Sentinelese tribe, the world's most mysterious people and arguably the only community of people to remain consciously cut-off from the outside world. Hostile? Yes!
Ross Island, Port Blair - former capital of the British East India Company and the Crown until it was abandoned after an earthquake in 1941. The forest has reclaimed the island and its buildings - letting banyan trees grow into and out of walls, foundations and roofs, like a little Angkor Wat. Explore and imagine how the British lived-it up here - they had captive power, tennis courts, churches, a bakery, ballroom, swimming pool and even a little market.
The Anthropological Museum - the closest that you will get to see and learn about the 6 indigenous tribes of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. See surprisingly well preserved and presented displays of the lifestyles of the Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Sentinelese, and Onge tribes of the Andamans. And be fascinated by the Shompen and Nicobari tribes of the Nicobari Islands.
Spending the day sunning yourself on Beach No. 7, Havelock Island. Ubiquitously named after a long-gone timber logging camp, this is Asia's best beach according to Time Magazine. Its two miles of a gradual crescent shaped cove with pristine white soft sand fronted by a warm, gradually sloping sandy seafloor that has no rocks, gentle waves, and perfect for swimming with the family. In the background, a blanket of tropical coastal rainforest as far as the eye can see - no manmade construction, no beach umbrellas and sunbeds, no touts, no tourists!
Swimming with Rajan - the resident pachyderm of Barefoot at Havelock, the only eco-lodge on Beach No. 7. Rajan is a 58-year old tusker and one of the last remaining ocean-swimming elephants of the islands. Go swimming with him of the beach in the water, be photographed with him underwater, and be amazed by how gracefully he swims using his trunk as a snorkel!
Learn to scuba dive with Barefoot Scuba or carry your ID to dive. The diving in the Andaman Islands is out of this world and undiscovered, with immaculate soft and hard coral unspoilt by human activity. So far there are over 15 dive sites, some of which were first discovered by the illustrious Jacques Cousteau. The diverse range of marine wildlife includes five species of shark, huge manta ray, dugong and barracuda.
Go on a snorkelling safari to South Button Island, a marine preserve, with gin-clear water, some of the best snorkelling and a beautiful 360 degree sloping reef in the middle of the ocean. Then be pampered to some delicious freshly caught fish as you lunch on an uninhabited island.
Take a 2-3 night kayaking and camping trip with Barefoot Eco-tours as you kayak across pristine islands, camp on virgin beaches, go crocodile spotting at night, and snorkel over unknown reefs. All the way, you have a support team of Karens - former Burmese poachers turned protectors of the islands.
Eat fresh and delicious sea-food at one of many shacks on Havelock Islands beaches or markets. Mingle with the locals, invite them to a cuppa of lal chai (black tea), and swap stories with other travellers.
Rent a bike and drive on Havelock Island winding roads fringed by banana and betelnut plantations and eye-aching green paddy fields. Or traverse the fabulous road upto Mount Harriet National Park in Port Blair.
Get twitching! There are over 300 identified bird species in the islands, of which 14 are endemic (found nowhere else in the world). There are plenty of known bird hotspots on the islands. You can spot 7 endemics sitting in the private balcony of your cottage at Barefoot at Havelock
Relax and do nothing in the privacy of a Nicobari Cottage or Andaman Villa at Barefoot at Havelock. If you have to move, then either climb the steps to the hilltop pavilion for a session of scenic yoga or succumb to an ayurvedic massage at the wellness bungalow.