The best snorkeling locations in Andaman & Nicobar

Comprising over 800 islands and islets, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are sandwiched between the Bay of Bengal to the west and the Andaman Sea to the east.

Clark anemonefish at Elephant Beach, Havelock
Several anemonefish species are easily spotted in the Andaman Islands. In this picture, a Clark anemonefish at Elephant Beach.

With only around 30 inhabited islands, much of the archipelago is still wild and unspoiled.

Visitors to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands concentrate on the few islands open to visitors, which are easily accessed and offer a choice of accommodation.

Nemo Beach, Havelock island
A large part of the island’s coast is lined by mangroves. Here, the water entrance at Nemo Beach.

The best snorkeling spots in Port Blair and South Andaman

Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is located on South Andaman Island. Its airport is the main gateway to the archipelago.

You won’t find good snorkeling from the city’s shores, which are subject to bad underwater visibility. To snorkel from Port Blair, take the short ferry ride to North Bay Island from Aberdeen Jetty. Many colorful fish live around the coral heads facing the main beach.

Emperor angelfish at Elephant Beach, Havelock Island
A diversity of angelfish inhabits the island’s reefs, including the Emperor angelfish (here, at Elephant Beach, Havelock).

If you have more time, Jolly Bouy Island is a dream destination for a beach and snorkeling day. Located in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, its seabed is better preserved than anywhere else in the region.

The best snorkeling spots on Havelock Island

Havelock Island, also known as Sawaraj Dweep, is the most visited island in the archipelago. Of its three main beaches, Radhanagar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, and Elephant Beach, the latter has the best snorkeling.

Juvenile orbicular batfish at Nemo Beach
The mangrove areas allow for observing specific species, such as this juvenile Orbicular batfish noted at Nemo Beach.

Elephant Beach can be reached with boat tours, or via a 1.2 mile/2 kilometer hike through the jungle. As the beach is most of the time crowded, don’t stay in its central part but go explore the reefs to the left and right of the swimming area.

Nemo Beach, 800 meters south of Havelock Jetty, is another famous snorkeling location on the island. This well-named site is ideal for spotting anemonefish: 5 different species abound on its shallow reefs – see the species list on the spot’s page.

Ocellaris anemonefish at Nemo Beach, Havelock Island
Ocellaris anemonefish at Nemo Beach, Havelock Island.

Decent snorkeling is also found at Tribe Gate (accessible from Govind Nagar Beach, opposite Ocean Tribe Scuba) and Turtle Bay, in the southern extension of Elephant Beach.

The best snorkeling spots on Neil Island

Neil Island is the Andaman’s second most popular tourist destination after Havelock. Known officially as Saheed Dweep, this only 4-mile-long island features a limited number of snorkeling options.

Small corals at Havelock Island
On Havelock Island, most of the reefs are damaged, but you may find some nice small coral heads in places.

The island’s main snorkeling site is Bharatpur Beach, nestled on Neil’s north coast. The best coral, which attracts a diversity of reef fish, is found on the west (left) side of the jetty.

Laxmanpur Beach, at the north-western tip of Neil, is also suitable for snorkeling, but the snorkel entry from the shallow flat is rather tricky. On the south coast, you can try snorkeling in the cove opposite Silver Sand Beach Resort Neil. The area is shallow, however, and has almost no coral.

School of Twospot snappers at Havelock Island
A school of Twospot snappers at Havelock Island.

What will I see while snorkeling in Andaman & Nicobar?

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands relative geographical isolation enabled the development of rich marine biodiversity, including species that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Unfortunately, the increased coastal tourism negatively affects the coral reefs of the most visited islands, including Havelock and Neil. Most of their shallow reefs are badly damaged.

Moon wrasse at Elephant Beach
The Moon wrasse is easy to spot at any location. Here, at Elephant Beach.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands reefs host 180 species of coral and are teeming with multicolored fish. Surgeonfish, butterflyfish (including the restricted-ranged Andaman butterflyfish and the Indian vagabond butterflyfish), angelfish, triggerfish, and Moorish idols are easily seen at shallow depths.

Yellow-lipped sea krait can be encountered during the warmest hours of the day in all snorkeling locations.

Yellow-lipped sea krait at Elephant Beach
While snorkeling the Andaman Islands, you will likely encounter Yellow-lipped sea kraits.

Anemonefish fans will be delighted by snorkeling in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Many species of anemonefish live on the archipelago’s reefs, including widely distributed species such as the Ocellaris anemonefish, and others with more restricted ranges (and less often seen), such as the Sebae anemonefish and the Saddle anemonefish.

Some of the archipelago’s snorkeling spots are known for frequent encounters with manta rays, blacktip sharks, and sea turtles. Don’t go snorkeling at unlisted spots without asking for local advice, as some areas of the islands, including Havelock, are inhabited by crocodiles.

Giant clam at Nemo Beach
A Giant clam at Nemo Beach.

When to go snorkeling Andaman & Nicobar?

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are best visited during the dry season, which runs from November to March. The water temperature, averaging 82.4°F/28°C in the shore waters, makes snorkeling very comfortable.

The rest of the year, the archipelagos are hit by the monsoon, which brings heavy rainfall. Underwater visibility, not always good in the dry season, is further reduced, and snorkeling is often impossible.

550+ spots have been featured on Snorkeling Report with the help of people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find sites and enjoy the underwater world!


Where to spot them?

Discover on which snorkeling spots you are most likely to see your favorite species