Located 30 km southwards of the Andaman Islands, Neil Island is a tiny gem. It has several allures and thus is known as one of the best Islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Some of such attractions in Neil Island are impressive bio-diversity, unexplored coral reefs, lush tropical forests and clean white sandy beaches. Known as the ‘Vegetable Bowl’ of Andamans, it has some wonderful beaches, ideal for leisure as well as adventure. It can be called a less-commercialized version of Havelock Island. Ramnagar, Sitapur, Laxmanpur, and Bharatpur are some of the popular beaches here, named after characters of the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. This is a tiny island and can be covered by walking around for around two hours.
Activities at Neil Island
Visitors to the island have a lot of things to do at Neil Island. In the same manner as Havelock, the beaches here are numbered too. Between number 1 to 5, beach number 1 is known to be the most beautiful and offering snorkeling opportunities. One can also visit the splendid sunset point. A natural bridge rock formation adorns the beach no.2 but can only be seen during low tides. Beach no.5 is known for its captivating sunrises as it faces eastwards. Rocks and corals make swimming during low-tide, a difficult activity. Following are the activities here:
Scuba Diving - Andamans are known for owning one of the world’s richest coral reef ecosystem. The abundant marine life at Neil Island are still unexplored. The underwater marine life and coral reefs is found in different diving sites here. Laxmanpur beach I and Jetty area are popular dive spots. Diving can be done between December and May.
Snorkeling- Neil Island is one of the best places in Andaman for snorkeling and swimming. Sitapur beach is an ideal option for the same. Snorkeling can be done here in the shallow areas of the coral reef sans any equipment.
Cycling - Cycling is one of the best things to do in Neil Island. The tiny island has a flat terrain and thus can easily be covered on a cycle. Explore the village area and interact with the locals.
Water Sports - Water sports at Neil Island includes glass bottom boat ride for coral viewing, scuba diving, and Jet-Ski rides etc.
Game Fishing - Fishing can also be done here. In Ritchie's archipelago, it offers the best of catches.
Other attractions - Neil Kendra, Lakshmanpur Beach - I & II, Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur Beach, Natural Rock Formation, Sir Hugh Rose Island
How to reach
Two government ferries are available to Neil Island from the Phoenix Bay Jetty in Port Blair on a daily basis. Once a day, private Makruzz catamaran also goes from Port Blair and Havelock Island. Thrice a week, a ferry boat goes to Port Blair from Long Island, making stops at Havelock and Neil. It is best to check the schedules and rates before booking a ticket. In peak season, make the bookings well in advance. If you want to book a government ferry, advance booking is possible only four days prior. Foreign tourists, require copes of Visa, passport and permit for booking the ticket.