Scuba Diving in Andaman: Best Time, Dive Sites, Cost

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The clear waters of Andaman Island host incredible marine life and state-of-the-art equipment and expertise. Over the years, scuba diving in the Andaman Islands has seen tourists flocking from different parts of the world, and this tradition never ceases to provide anything short of an awestruck experience. Indonesia, Micronesia, and the Cayman Islands are some of the internationally acclaimed sites for scuba diving sites; however, they are a little heavy on the pocket which is where scuba diving in the Andaman Islands is a preferred option.  Here are more insights on the same.  

Best Time For Scuba Diving in Andaman

January - May presents an ideal scuba diving scenario. The waters are warm, tides are low, and the marina has colorful plankton. The temperatures range between 24°C and 37°C. June to August sees short yet sudden downpours and, ideally, not the best time for scuba diving. The climate is humid with precipitation. During September – November, the shore has beautiful corals lined up powered by strong winds, which is not the best time as the winds cause the seas to rage. Overall, the waters are all, and the cluster of beaches add to the majesty.

Why Go Scuba Diving in Andaman Islands?

Diving in Andaman offers a captivating and unique underwater experience that attracts enthusiasts from around the world. Several compelling reasons make Andaman an ideal destination for diving:
  • Breathtaking Marine Life: The Andaman Islands boast an incredibly diverse marine ecosystem, featuring vibrant coral reefs and a multitude of fish species. Divers can witness the beauty of colorful coral formations, schools of fish, and a variety of underwater creatures.
  • Clear Visibility: The crystal-clear waters surrounding Andaman provide excellent visibility, allowing divers to explore the underwater world with clarity. The visibility often exceeds 20 meters, providing an immersive and awe-inspiring experience.
  • Thriving Coral Reefs: Andaman is renowned for its healthy and thriving coral reefs, offering a rich tapestry of coral varieties. Divers can encounter stunning coral gardens, swim-throughs, and underwater landscapes teeming with marine life.
  • Unique Dive Sites: The Andaman Islands feature numerous dive sites with diverse topographies, including underwater caves, canyons, and interesting rock formations. Each site offers a distinct experience, catering to both beginners and experienced divers.
  • Wreck Diving: The region is home to intriguing shipwrecks, such as the historic British vessel SS Inchmichael. Wreck diving enthusiasts can explore these submerged relics, adding a sense of history to their underwater adventures.
  • Professional Dive Operators: Andaman has well-established dive centers with experienced instructors and guides. These professionals ensure a safe and enjoyable diving experience, catering to both novice and advanced divers.
  • Adventure and Relaxation: Besides diving, Andaman provides a picturesque setting with pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and a tranquil atmosphere. Divers can combine their underwater adventures with relaxation and exploration of the islands.

Top Dive Sites in Andaman

There are around 10 islands with 40 places to Dive in Andaman. The top destinations for scuba diving in Andaman include Havelock, Neil Island, Port Blair, and North Bay Island.

Boat Dive Vs Shore Dive

There are two types of dives in Andaman: Boat dives and Shore dives.

Shore Diving

Location: Shore diving takes place directly from the coastline, allowing divers to enter the water from the shore itself.
Accessibility: It is generally more accessible and convenient as divers can reach the dive site without the need for a boat.
Depth: Shore dives often explore shallower depths, making them suitable for beginners or those looking for a relaxed diving experience.
Experience: Ideal for those who prefer a more independent and flexible diving experience, with the ability to explore the underwater world at their own pace.

Time Division of Shore Diving

Training time: 15 to 25 minutes
Underwater time: 30 minutes
Miscellaneous: 60 to 80 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Boat Diving

Location: Boat diving involves reaching dive sites by boat, which can take participants to more remote or specific locations.
Accessibility: Requires a boat journey to the dive site, offering access to a wider range of locations and diverse underwater environments.
Depth: Boat dives can explore deeper depths, providing opportunities for advanced divers to experience greater underwater landscapes.
Experience: Suited for those seeking a guided experience, boat diving often involves professional instructors and divemasters who lead and supervise the dive.

Time Division of the Deep Boat Dive Scuba Session:

Training time: 20 to 30 minutes
Boat Sailing time: 15 + 15 minutes
Underwater time: 40 to 45 minutes
Miscellaneous: 60 to 80 minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours

Important Points to Note Before Diving:

Age Limit: Above 10 years
Restrictions: No major surgery should've taken place in a year before diving, Time gap between flight and diving must be atleast 24 hours. Individuals with heart problems, Sinus or blood pressure fluctuations cannot dive. 
Preference: Choose based on personal preference – whether you prefer the ease of shore diving or the exploration potential of boat diving.
Dive Sites: Consider the specific dive sites you wish to explore, as some locations may be more accessible by boat.
Skill Level: Shore diving may be preferable for beginners, while boat diving can cater to both novice and experienced divers.
Both shore diving and boat diving offer unique advantages, allowing divers to tailor their experience based on individual preferences and exploration goals.

A. Scuba Diving in Havelock Island

Havelock Island is an ideal place in South Andaman to go diving. You can reach here from Port Blair on a catamaran ferry that takes 90 minutes or government ferries that take 2.5 hours.  According to Barefoot Scuba divemaster Steve Barreto, there are 25 dive sites within Havelock. Please note that non-certified divers can only go up to 12 meters in Andaman and must be accompanied by a certified diver.

Dive Sites in Havelock Island

Several renowned diving centers operate in Havelock. These institutes provide a range of courses certified by PADI and SSI as well as scuba diving experiences catering to beginners, intermediate divers, and professional levels. Moreover, they offer discovery dives for those looking to get a taste of scuba diving.

Nemo Reef in Havelock is the perfect spot for a great diving experience in Andaman, whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver.

The area has lots of colorful marine life and coral, making your dive interesting. Vibrant fish'll surround you throughout your dive, and the clear water and gentle currents make it a safe and easy experience.

If you're into water sports other than scuba diving, Elephant Beach is a great choice. You can easily reach there by boat or a short hike.
Dive Depth: Dive sites around Havelock vary, with some shallow reefs starting at 5m and deeper sites plunging beyond 30m.
Visibility: Divers can generally enjoy visibility ranging from 15m to 30m, depending on the season.
Water Temperature: The water remains warm year-round, averaging between 28°C to 30°C.
Dive Costs: Individual dives typically range from INR 3,500 to 5,000, while courses can cost anywhere between INR 18,000 to INR 35,000, depending on their depth and complexity.
Charges for a boat: If they take you on a boat for dive, it costs around INR 5500

1. Night Diving at Lighthouse

Night Diving
Night Diving at Lighthouse is known to be one of the most thrilling experiences in Andaman. Although it is known for diving by PADI/ SSI certified divers, but it is considered ideal for all. Among the various underwater beings that you can encounter, the most common ones are Humpback Parrot Fish, Lobsters, Lionfish, Octopus, Fusiliers and more.
Depth: 6 - 18 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)

2. Easy Dive at Aquarium


The aquarium is shallow water, a low current spot which is mostly strewn about with hard corals. Mostly frequented by beginners, the spot is equally popular.
Depth: 10 - 12 metres
Suitable for: Beginners

3. Dugongs at Mac Point

Mac Point

Dugong is an underwater animal that is mostly found in Australia and Eastern America. But you can spot this rare creature here in Andaman at the Mac Point.
Depth: 10 - 14 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)

4. Sea Turtles at Barracuda City

Sea Turtles

Barracuda is one of the most unexplored diving spots in the Andaman. Here you can spot the sea turtles and swim amidst the colorful corals and vibrant fish. Some of the common creatures include Blue-spotted stingrays, Coralfish, Surgeonfish, and more.
Depth: 25 - 30 metres
Suitable for: Intermediates and Experts

5. Staghorn Corals at Seduction Point

Staghorn Corals

Seduction Point is one of the most popular diving points in Andaman. It is a huge rock with several sea organisms and staghorn corals attached to it. A lot of people come here to see this rock.

Other Dive sites in Havelock Island for Beginners

6. Elephant Beach: A popular spot for snorkelers and divers alike, Elephant Beach showcases a vibrant coral reef just a short swim from the shoreline. It's teeming with marine life, including parrotfish, butterflyfish, and hawkbill turtles.

7. Johnny's Gorge: Regarded as one of the premier dive sites in Havelock, Johnny's Gorge is home to massive coral boulders and offers sightings of reef sharks, giant groupers, and even manta rays on occasion.

8. The Wall: This dive site drops vertically down and is decorated with soft corals, gorgonians, and various nudibranchs. Divers can often spot schooling bannerfish, trevally, and fusiliers against the blue.

9: Turtle Bay: True to its name, Turtle Bay is home to many sea turtles, along with a good number of corals and rays visible in the sandy bottom, making it perfect for those who want to witness them in their natural environment. The dive site is suitable for beginners, with a maximum depth of 14 meters, providing a decent overall diving experience.

10: Mac Point: Accessible by boat, Mac Point is rich in hard corals and small schools of fish. The iconic Dugong, also known as the sea cow and the symbol of Andaman, can be easily spotted in this area.

Other Dive sites in Havelock Island for Intermediates & Experts

11: The Wall: An enormous underwater rock known as The Wall plunges down to 56 meters, offering a unique perspective of the underwater world. Covered with soft corals and teeming with marine life, The Wall is an excellent choice for those seeking an extraordinary diving experience in Andaman.

12: Pilot Reef: Pilot Reef stretches as a long underwater canyon, reaching depths of almost 24 meters. It features a variety of hard corals and is home to unique fish species, including Leopard and Whitenip Sharks, making it a recommended spot for experienced divers.

13: Minvera Lidge: Minvera Bridge is a large formation of hard corals in clear waters, hosting an average number of sea creatures, including sharks. While suitable for experienced divers, the site provides a unique glimpse into the underwater kingdom and the excitement that accompanies it.

Some more points include:
  • Purple Haze
  • M4
  • Jonnys George
  • Whitehouse Rock
  • S.S. Inchkett
  • Dicksons Pinnacle
  • Red Pillar
  • MV Mars
  • Broken Ledge
  • Jacksons Bar
  • The Slope

B. Scuba Diving in Neil Island

Neil Island is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in Andaman. The tiny island can be completely explored in two a two-hour stroll along the coastline. Besides abundant natural beauty on land, it also boasts flourishing underwater sea life. Neil Island is known for spotting Dugong. You can reach here on an early morning boat from Port Blair. Among the top organizers are India Scuba Explorers. Smaller and less touristy than Havelock, it boasts pristine beaches and mesmerizing dive spots that guarantee divers an unforgettable experience.

Dive Sites in Neil Island

Neil Island has several reputable diving operators. These diving schools offer PADI and SSI courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels and fun dives for certified divers.
Dive Depth: Dive sites around Neil Island typically range from shallow sites of 5m to deeper sites going down to 30m.
Visibility: Divers can expect clear waters with visibility often ranging between 20m to 30m, though this can vary based on the season.
Water Temperature: The water temperatures hover between 27°C to 30°C, making diving pleasant throughout the year.
Dive Costs: Fun dives usually start from INR 3,500 to 4,500 per dive, with course costs varying based on the level and duration, typically between INR 16,000 to INR 30,000.

1. Margherita’s Mischief


Ironically, Margherita’s Mischief is one of the quietest diving spots on Neil Island with a smooth and soft current. Boasting crystal clear water, the most common creatures here are Batfish, Pufferfish, Blue-spotted stingrays, Yellow Snappers, Angelfish, Soldierfish, and more.
Depth: 7 - 16 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)

2. Volcanic Rock at K Rock

Underwater Diving

Contrary to its name, K Rock is also one of the low current and safe places to dive at. The volcanic rock lies on the seabed, and the most common fish to be found here are Butterflyfish, Snappers, Soldierfish, Sweetlips, and more.
Depth: 12 - 19 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)

3. Sloping Seabed at Bus Stop


Located on the Western end of Neil Islands, Bus Stop has some of the best underwater wildlife and also the most colourful. It has a sandy bottom and is sprinkled with tiny reefs.
Depth: 14 - 20 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)

4. Junction


Junction is situated at the junction between Neil Island and Havelock Island and is known as an adventurous diving spot. Especially visited by the experts, the common fish that can be spotted here include Marlin, Lionfish, Reef Sharks, Trevally Barracudas etc.
Depth: 22 - 30 metres
Suitable for: All (Beginners to Experts)
Some more points include:
  • Lighthouse
  • Rocky's
  • Nursery/ One Bottle
  • Margerita
  • Aquarium/ Neil Garden
  • Manta Point/Robin's Bay
  • Busy Burro

C.  Diving in Port Blair

Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
Port Blair is the most convenient and the most common diving spot in Andaman as most tourists tend to stay here and the airport is also situated here. Among popular organizers are Dive Manta and Sinclairs Bayview Hotel etc.

Dive Sites in Port Blair

1. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (Wandoor): This national park, located close to Port Blair, offers some of the best diving spots in Andamans. It comprises 15 islands and offers a variety of dive sites. With diverse marine life, divers can spot anemones, clownfish, turtles, and more.

2. Chidiya Tapu: Just 25 km away from Port Blair, Chidiya Tapu is not only famous for its sunsets but also for its scuba diving. The underwater realm here is populated with hard and soft corals, reef fish, and even a few pelagic species.

3. Corbyn’s Cove Beach: A popular beach for tourists in Port Blair, this site offers a serene environment for diving. The dive site is suitable for beginners and offers a glimpse into the vibrant marine life of Andaman waters.

Other great places to dive in Port Blair:
  • Rutland Island
  • Snake Island
Several operators and diving schools in Port Blair offer courses and fun dives. Some diving schools operate directly from Port Blair, while others might arrange for a short commute to nearby diving destinations.
Dive Depth: Ranges typically from 10m to 30m depending on the dive site.
Visibility: On average, divers can expect visibility between 15m to 30m.
Water Temperature: As with other parts of Andaman, expect temperatures between 27°C to 30°C.
Dive Costs: The pricing in Port Blair is competitive, with fun dives starting from INR 3,500 and courses being in the range of INR 15,000 to INR 28,000.

D. Other Spots

There are also other spots scattered here and there where you can try scuba diving. Have a look:

1. North Island, Cinque Island


Cinque Island is the most sought after place in Andaman that can only be visited on chartered boats. Other than corals and fish, you can also find varied sponges here. What’s more? You can also find sharks and black corals here.

2. Bala Reef, Little Andaman


A kaleidoscope of colours and vibrant sea life, Bala Reef is a popular diving spot that is located on Little Andaman. Here you can discover varied corals and other mesmerising creatures. You can reach here in ferries from Phoenix Bay and Haddo Wharf in Port Blair.

3. Corruption Rock


Boasting a plethora of canyons, gullies, channels, ridges, fish, and corals, Corruption Point is situated on Rutland Island and Chidiya Tapu. Here, you can also spot dolphins, tuna, and shipwrecks.

4. Underwater World of Barren Island

 As an active volcano in Asia, Barren Island stands out as one of India's most distinctive diving destinations. Due to its restricted access for tourists, the surrounding waters remain untouched, teeming with a diverse array of fish and other marine life. Diving near Barren Island provides the chance to encounter silver garden eels, dolphins, white-tip reef sharks, turtles, and, if fortunate, massive manta rays with impressive spans of up to 6 meters. The vibrant reefs host schools of barracuda, travelly, dogtooth tuna, and similar species, creating a lively underwater spectacle. Typically lasting 12 hours, the journey involves a boat trip to the island, commencing around 3 AM.

5. North Bay Island, Near Port Blair

Renowned for its picturesque coral reefs and thriving marine life, North Bay offers a diverse range of fish species/
Diving near North Bay allows one to encounter vibrant coral gardens, schools of tropical fish, and fascinating underwater formations.  The journey to North Bay is convenient, given its proximity to Port Blair, making it an accessible and rewarding addition to your diving itinerary.

Cost of Scuba Diving in Andaman Islands

The expense of scuba diving in Andaman varies significantly based on the chosen island and the selected vendor. Additional costs may accrue for locations accessible only by boat, as vendors typically levy extra transportation charges. Considering these factors, Elephant Beach emerges as a prime diving location in Andaman, while Nemo Reef stands out as a more budget-friendly option in Havelock Island.

Havelock Island:
the diving starts at 1500 for a shore dive, and PADI's one-day course costs around INR 4500 (You can take one dive under the course and do the remaining course of 3 more dives anywhere within one year to complete the certification)
If they take you on a boat for a dive, it costs around INR 5500
Neil Island: Known for the chances of spotting (Dugong), the cost can range from INR 3,500 to 4,500 per dive to INR 13,000 to 30,000 for experts and PADI courses.
North Bay: Scuba in North Bay also costs around INR 4000
(Scuba doesn't happen at Ross Island)

Scuba Diving in Andaman for non-certified amateurs begins at INR 1500 per dive. Shore dives in Havelock around Nemo Reef are the most popular. You can also opt for Discover Scuba Dive, which gives you a certificate and is counted as the first dive if you plan to pursue a PADI certification in the next year.

It requires 4 to 5 successful open dives to get a certification, and the cost estimates are between INR 18.000 – INR 28,000. For those who want to get your scuba diving gear, you will shell out over INR 70,000, including BCD, dive computer, and scuba regulator; of which the regulator's quality ensures a safe and unforgettable memory. Other accessories are wetsuits, watches, dive bags, masks, snorkels, and fins.

Best Dive Schools in Andamans

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), and Scuba Schools International (SSI)  are some of the internationally acclaimed diving institutions. Their certifications vary depending on the difficulty level - Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, Master Scuba Diver, Divemaster, Adaptive Support Diver, Adventure Diver. SSI and PADI are the recognised diving schools in Andamans.  Most of them are on Havelock Island and Neil Island. The smaller diving schools tutor shallow dives that are perfect for novice divers.

Here are some Diving Schools in Andamans that will help you in your underwater endeavors: 
1. Barefoot Scuba (Havelock)
Address: Beach No.3, Govind Nagar, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Phone: 09566088560
Timings: 7:30 AM – 7:30 PM

2. DIVEIndia Scuba & Resorts Pvt. Ltd (Havelock and Neil Island)
Address: Lemon Grass Beach Resort, Govind Nagar, Beach # 5, Swaraj Dweep (Havelock, Havelock island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Hours: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone: 077188 41966

Address: Dancing Dugong Resort, 100 Meters from Jetty, Neil Kendra, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744104
Timings: 8:00 AM - 6:00PM
Phone: 077188 41966

3. Best Scuba Diving in Andaman Dive Resort  (Havelock)
Address: Sea Shell Resort, Beach # 2, Govind Nagar, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Hours: 6:00 AM - 7:30 PM
Phone: 095319 45340

4. Ocean Dive Centre (Havelock)
Address: SH4, Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Timings: 6:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Phone: 094742 99413

5. Ocean School Andaman (Havelock)
Address: Swaraj Dweep, Vijay Nagar, 5, Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Hours: 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Phone: 099332 45566

6.Lacadives at Chidiyatapu (Port Blair)
Address: NH4, Chidiyatapu, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744105
Hours: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone: 096196 90898

7. SCUBA INDIA (Port Blair)
Address: Swaraj Dweep Island (HAVELOCK, 2, Govind Nagar, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744211
Hours: 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone: 076950 03828

8. India Scuba Explorers (Neil Island)
Address: Neil Island, Beach No.1, near Tango Beach Resort, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744104
Hours: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone: 094742 89006
There are 3 phases of learning:
Phase 1:
Being Knowledge development - Underwater signals and other diving procedures
Phase 2: Confined water dives - Setting up the scuba gear, entering and exiting the water, buoyancy control, primary underwater navigation
Phase 3: Open Water Dives - four jumps with the instructor, usually over two days.

Can non swimmers do Scuba Diving in Andaman?

In short, Yes, non-swimmers can participate in introductory scuba diving experiences in Andaman with proper training and supervision from certified diving instructors.

While knowing how to swim is generally beneficial and adds an extra layer of safety to your diving experience, it is not an absolute requirement for scuba diving in the Andaman Islands. Scuba diving involves using specialized equipment, including a buoyancy control device (BCD) and a regulator, which allows individuals to breathe underwater without relying on swimming skills.

Introductory scuba diving programs, like Discover Scuba Diving, cater to beginners with minimal diving or swimming experience. Participants receive thorough training from certified instructors, practicing skills in confined water before venturing into the open sea. While swimming expertise is not mandatory, comfort in the water and basic safety adherence are important. Guided introductory dives with professional instructors offer a supervised and controlled environment for those interested in scuba diving without strong swimming abilities.

Scuba Diving in the Andaman Islands is an enriching activity. It relaxes sore muscles and gives an adrenaline rush to the tired work souls. Andamans is the best place to experience this without burning a hole in your pocket. With swimming as the base for diving, Andaman offers expertise from professionals and fetches you a diving certification that is internationally accredited and has lifelong validity. Come to this Indian Archipelago for a phenomenal holiday!

This post was published by Prithika Maria

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FAQs on Andaman

How much does it cost for scuba diving in Andaman?

Apart from enjoying the beaches, scuba diving is the most popular activity on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Scuba diving in Andaman costs between INR 3500 and 6500 depending on the season. Scuba diving rates in Andaman vary depending on the level of training chosen.

Which month is best for scuba diving in Andaman?

November - May

Is Andaman safe for scuba diving?

Yes, first-time scuba divers are perfectly safe in Andaman.

Which island is scuba diving in Andaman?

The majority of the scuba diving in the Andaman Islands takes place in the south, from Havelock Island or Neil Island. While diving here, you can expect to encounter gorgeous slope reefs, steep cliffs, sandy bottoms, coral gardens, and spectacular pinnacles.

Is it necessary to know swimming to go Scuba diving in Andaman islands?

In short, Yes, non-swimmers can participate in introductory scuba diving experiences in Andaman with proper training and supervision from certified diving instructors.

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