Andaman Islands - General Info

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The Andaman Islands lie about 450nm northwest of Phuket in the Bay of Bengal. They are a popular destination for boats from Thailand, especially those on their way to the Red Sea. Many yachts stop here on their way to Sri Lanka or India and onto the Maldives etc., however it is an isolated spot with very little ashore. Go prepared to be self-sufficient and the only boat in the anchorage most days.

The best time to visit these islands is between December and February when the weather is most stable. In February and March there is very little wind so expect to be motoring for three days out of five.

Cruiser Highlights:

Beautiful isolation; pristine white beaches; underwater attractions; an active volcano; uninhabited islands. An annual yachting rally was established in 2018 – Sail the Andamans Rally – to encourage yachting tourism in the islands. The rally takes place in February/March and includes some organised events as well as free cruising around the islands.

Entrance Notes and Cautions:

  • The WGS84 datum is out by half a mile in this area and, due to the 2004 Tsunami the correction factor is 0.092° S 0.106° E. Depths in the middle and south islands are 2m deeper.
  • Eyeball navigation is essential!
  • Fishing is strictly prohibited.
  • You are not allowed to dive from your own boat, only with registered dive companies.
  • Care should be taken if snorkeling or diving here as tourists have been mauled by crocodiles in recent years. Request local advice before swimming.
  • There are strict daily limits on the amount of alcohol you may buy.

Yachts visiting the area have reported, “extreme bureaucracy” including having to report in via the radio each day. Whilst the bureaucracy can be tiresome it can be minimized by respecting the authorities you deal with. It is possible to obtain clearance within 24 hours but showing any disrespect or argument can extend that period by days. 


11° 41.31’N, 092° 42.72’E (Preferred Port Blair anchorage)

Last updated:  February 2023

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  1. May 24, 2023 at 5:03 PM
    profile photo
    Sue Richards says:

    Reported by motor yacht “Frantic Pace”:

    The Frantic Pace just completed a 70 day visit to the Andaman Nicobar Islands. Although there were some initial problems – mostly related to the fact that we were the first boat to arrive in the Andamans (for a long time) – R. Rathnam of Andaman Holidays quickly resolved the issues and the remainder of our stay was unimpeded. The new SOP that has been passed allows for yachts to remain in the Andamans for the length of the Captains Visa. Also, many more islands have been approved for anchorage, swimming, snorkeling and fishing. There is no longer a requirement to report your position twice daily. We circumnavigated the Andamans this trip exploring the west coast, and the north passage, stopping at many islands to anchor and enjoy the pristine environment, never seeing another foreign vessel. Barren Island was again belching plumes of ash into the air. This was our third trip to the Andamans and there were some major improvements, officials were welcoming and clearly supportive of our visit. Also the town of Port Blair was significantly cleaner, with new restaurants composed of venues unusual in PB. The Top of the Town had great food complete with video get, bumper cars, trampolines and other activities. Fuel was easy to obtain and available in additional locations than just Port Blair. This was by far our best trip. Yes the paperwork is still annoyingly burdensome, but Rathnam makes the process tolerable. Also, India has now banned all satellite phone usage. Only 4 or 5 yachts made it this year, but the Andamans are well worth the trip.

  2. April 22, 2019 at 12:33 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    We spent 2 weeks in the Andamans in Feb 2019. Pros and Cons. It is a very beautiful group of islands, but the bureaucracy means you are highly restricted in where you are allowed to go and where you are allowed to land. eg you can anchor off the Cinque islands or the Button islands but you are not allowed to go ashore.
    This means you seem to end up at Havelock Island where Beach no 7 is a beautiful beach and anchorage but it would be good to be able to visit more broadly. The islands are highly forested which means trips ashore are limited if no paths. Diving with the local dive shops suffer from the problem that the authorities are not giving permission for the local dive companies to use fishing boats as dive boats, and so they can’t get to the good sites, and are limited to the bleached coral around Havelock.
    We dived with a local dive master further out and the diving was excellent. Bureaucracy is painful, with twice daily check-in/check-out, multiple visits on board (customs, immigration, coastguard) so allow 2 days. It’s a pity but basically the authorities don’t understand a yachting holiday. Rathnam of Andaman Holidays did a good job and was very helpful. Costs add up so it is quite expensive not to be allowed to visit so many of the islands. So pros and cons

  3. June 5, 2018 at 12:56 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    After spending a beautiful month in the Andamans in March 2018 I would like to share a bit of advice. Don’t be put off by paperwork or fees, it can be done on a budget and the paperwork is not easy but is part of the India experience which makes it what it is.

    The first challenge is the Visa. Bangkok can be an option despite the fact that they no longer issue visas to non-residents, I know of 3 boats that got their visas there but only with help of an agent and the fact that they organized a rally this year specifically to help with the administration side I believe.

    Other options that I can confirm are embassy’s in Burma, Cambodia and Laos.

    As to so-called expensive fees, don’t be put off, I can confirm paying only 2049 rupees ($30.55 US !). What they call port fees are calculated based on tonnage. My boat Unu mondo weighing in at 6T got away cheap, for bigger yachts maybe cheat a little if needed… One 50 footers weighing 43T I believe paid over $700 including agent fees.

    As to the agent as having done it myself without an agent, I understand why 90% seem to do it with. It took us a record-breaking 6 days to check-in to Port Blair(with all the paperwork & copies ready in advance), arrived a Wednesday afternoon, Friday was a bank holiday, weekend, etc. We left Tuesday morning without the national park permit we planned to request, that would have been another day or two. So the Agent can help a lot!

    Nobody cruising the Andamans really seems to know where exactly you can go and what the defined rules are, so that part can be worrying and always good to have the agent for that as he will have the latest info and will smooth things out on departure. Rules vary depending on who you ask: customs, immigration or forest department.

    We were probably the last Sailing yacht this year, although a motor yacht from Thailand was still in the anchorage when we left, they endured a 15 official enquiry issued by the fisheries department that decided that you needed a permit to fish in the Andamans. We were told by port management to hide fishing equipment to not get in trouble too.

    India, what an experience! Pristine islands, fish every day for lunch & dinner, deer, crocs and beautiful people. Wish we could have stayed longer. Hope all this helps

  4. April 13, 2017 at 3:22 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Visited Andamans sailing from Phuket in March 2017. Took advice from this site and used services of Rathnam from Andaman Holidays. He provided an absolutely perfect service, we were checked in in 2 hours of our arrival. All we needed to do is prepare ahead all the paperwork based on detailed instructions and files provided by him.
    During the stay service was quick and efficient with any of our requests and questions reacted to immediately. Check out was even quicker.
    Would recommend him to anyone sailing to Andamans.

  5. April 20, 2016 at 12:50 PM
    Sue Richards says:

    Posted on behalf of SY Solstice:
    Andaman Holidays Agency in Port Blair is a very reputable and honest business. Although we did not use an agent for checking in, it took us almost three days to complete the process. I think this is unusual but that is what happened to us. Also, we were trying to get online visas for Sri Lanka and were not able to complete the process with the Internet. The Andaman Islands has the slowest, most unreliable Internet of any country we have visited. We sat inside Andaman Holiday’s office for three days and tried to complete the online Sri Lankan Visa Forms without success. R. Rathnam and his secretary, Sushma, provided us with the name of an agent in Sri Lanka and emailed all the necessary forms for them to get the visa as a third party”. We offered to pay them for this service but the agency would accept no money.

    As of March 2016, Andaman Holidays charges about $200 US (12,000) Indian Rupees to handle all the clearance procedures. Additionally, they will take care of any other matters including spares in transit, tour packages, hotel reservations, air charter, air tickets, etc. They have a taxi driver named VJ that is honest and reliable. In March 2016, he charged 250 Indian rupees per hour for his services.

    For yachts using their dinghy to access the public dock, there is a “yacht boy” that takes your dinghy and looks after it. He seems to be at the dock from early morning until you arrive in the late afternoon. He charges 200 Indian Rupees per day for this service.

    Here are the details for the Andaman Holiday Agency: [email protected] or [email protected] Mobile +91 99320 89595. The complete address is: E-237 Pongy Kyuang, (Behind Anand Offset Press), Port Blair. Pin-744 101. Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India Phone: +91 3192 239595. Tele-Fax: +91 3192 234924

    One can find them on Facebook at

    Hope this helps,
    Donald Turbeville
    S/Y Solstice

  6. November 4, 2015 at 12:58 PM
    Sue Richards says:

    Posted on behalf of James Coolbaugh, SY Asylum (USA):
    As we are interested sailing from Thailand to the Andaman Islands, we contacted Emotion Travel in Phuket, which other posts have recommended, to inquire about an Indian visa. We were told by the owner that the law has changed recently, and that her agency can now only issue visas to persons with Thai residency or work permits. The Indian embassy in Bangkok refers visa questions to Looks like the visa has to be applied for in person in Bangkok.

  7. March 11, 2015 at 10:57 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Over the past 10 years i have visited the Anadamans many times.I have always used an agent as it is the best and quickest way to complete formalities. I always use Rathnam at Andaman Holidays as his service is the best on the Island, fast efficient gets my fuel on time clearance on time and all my cruising needs. Vijay the taxi driver is the best I call him he is there gets all the stores that I need and has helped me immensely. The Islands are fantastic the people are fantastic and so is the food. Enjoy your stay there.
    M.Y Mari Timo

  8. June 30, 2014 at 12:24 PM
    Sue Richards says:

    Posted on behalf of SY INTI
    After visiting the Andamans would like to add the following.

    Was easy to check in /out if organised, all officials were courteous and diligent. We used an agent, Island Travels,(+913192233358 [email protected] ) for $200 USD in and out. Ashraf who has excellent English, met us at the pier, filled in our forms and had us checked in inside one afternoon and checked out in less than an hour. He took care of forestry dept for us and we just paid him what was owed, and also lent us a phone simcard which we added credit to and found very useful.
    We never saw taxi driver Ravi. We didn’t like what Vijay charged, so we used an excellent, honest and much cheaper tuk tuk driver, Baba,(+919933298669) who knows every shop in Port Blair and speaks English. Initially you would have to ring him and he will meet you at the pier. Vijay is very insistent otherwise.

    A fantastic but no longer remote destination.

    Regards Connie and Graeme SY INTI