Scuba Diving in Andaman Overview
Scuba diving in Andaman takes you into the translucent waters of the Indian Ocean, where you'll see gorgeous marine life and healthy, natural coral reefs. The many islands and soft sandy beaches make it a perfect tropical destination for scuba diving beginners or those looking to upgrade their certification or do some Fun Dives. Diving in Port Blair and diving in Havelock Island are the most popular, but there are also other smaller islands where a dive is a wonderful experience. The extensive marine ecosystem makes this one of the best spots for scuba diving in India.
Coral in Andaman
Scuba diving in Andaman takes place in the gorgeous Andaman Islands that are renowned throughout the world because of their pristine forests and sandy shores. However, thanks to the diverse and exotic marine life, they've also become one of the world's top scuba diving destinations.
The water around the islands is home to a gorgeous variety of fish species including humphead parrotfish, white-banded shrimp, peacock mantis, manta ray, clownfish, etc. Additionally, there are also immense colonies of corals that flourish on the sea bed which include some rare corals such as black coral, fire corals, gorgonians, etc.
How deep can I go while scuba diving in Andaman?
When you go scuba diving in Andaman, you have around 40-50 minutes before your oxygen runs out. This is more than enough time to enjoy a long dive experience, but the maximum depth will depend on your certification level and experience.
If you are doing a Try Dive/Discover Dive or PADI Scuba Diver course, then the deepest you'll go is up to 40 feet. For the PADI Open Water Diver, you get to dive as deep as 60 feet, and for the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, you can go as deep as 100 feet.
While scuba diving in Andaman, even the most shallow dive can be fun because you will get to see spectacular marine life and enjoy the tropical weather and beautiful surroundings.
What are the packages available for scuba diving in Andaman?
The packages start with Try Dive or Discover Scuba Dive. These are for absolute beginners who aren't sure if they want to commit to a full-time scuba diving course yet. These are single day trips that will teach you the basics of scuba diving in Andaman and offer you a taste of the experience.
Some packages offer pool training sessions to instil confidence in the divers. You will also undergo a briefing and learn essential scuba skills in shallow waters or in a pool. These packages are the perfect way to experiment with the world of scuba diving.
Once you decide to do more scuba diving, you can start with the scuba diving courses in Andamans. This starts with the basic PADI/SSI Scuba Diver course. The training for this is provided through manual, video, and in person. You'll recieve a full briefing, get to practice the skills in a pool or in shallow water, and then go for your dives. This is a 2 day scuba diving course that offers 2 open water dives, as deep as 40 feet. Upon successfully completing the course, you're awarded with the PADI Scuba Diver certification.
However, if you have an extra day, it is recommended that you go for the PADI Open Water Diver course. This is a 3 day course which offers 4 open water dives up to a depth of 60 feet. This course is more extensive than PADI Scuba Diver course and is perfect for those who are serious about scuba diving. It teaches you the skills you need to become truly confident under water.
The next course is the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course. This course takes you as deep as 100 feet with 5 open water dives, 2 of which are specialized navigation and deep dives, and the remaining three being electives of your choice. With this certification, you are eligible to dive without an instructor, although you always have to take a dive buddy.
And finally, there are Fun Dives for divers who are already certified and just want to explore the exotic waters of the Andaman islands.
Cost of scuba diving in Andaman
For scuba diving in the Andaman, the prices range from INR 3500 to INR 6000 for Try Dives. For Discover Scuba Diving in Andaman, the price ranges from INR 5000 to INR 10,000. The price for these day trips depend on the location of the dive site, equipment provided, type of dive (shore or boat) and if meals are included or not.
If you want to truly make the most of your scuba experience and have the budget, it is strongly advised that you book a boat dive. This means that you will head out into open water with your diving instructor and crew in a boat, and do your dive in a spot chosen by your instructor. When you go farther away from the shore, the coral reefs and marine life are much more exciting and beautiful.
If you are just looking for a taste of the scuba experience, do not want to spend much, or don't have time, the shore dive will be the right choice. However do be warned that the sea life is smaller and the shore dive spots tend to be crowded. Scuba diving in Havelock is better for shore dives because the marine life is better here than on the mainland, but in peak season, it may still be crowded.
For scuba diving courses in Andamans, the price starts from INR 19000 to INR 23000 for the PADI Scuba Diver course. For PADI Open Water Diver course, the cost ranges between INR 22,000 to INR 30,000 and the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course ranges from INR 20,000 to INR 28,000.
Some of the factors that affect the scuba diving prices in Andamans are: insurance, meals that are provided, the number of dives and type of dives (shore or boat), and if pool training is provided.
Things to do in Andaman
When you’re not scuba diving in Andaman, there’s plenty of exciting things to do. Explore pristine beaches and enjoy a chilled out day on the golden sands, or go for a relaxed swim on your own. If you're looking for more active options, you could consider the following activities:
- Ocean treks
- Kayaking in Andaman
- Snorkelling in Andaman
- Try other water activities like glass-bottom boats, sea walks, etc. Ask us for our packages.
- Get detailed information about other adventure activities in Havelock Island here.
- You can also check out glass bottom boats, sea walks, kayaking, and more in Port Blair. Find out information about adventures in Port Blair here.
Read our blog about Things to Do in Andaman for inspiration.
Top places to stay in Andaman
Whether you are scuba diving in Andaman or visiting for a beach escape, you should find a comfortable place to stay. Choose from a range of accommodation options, from budget huts to luxurious air-conditioned cottages.
In most months of the year, the afternoons can get balmy and warm, so you'll be glad of the cool relief of the air-conditioning. Seasoned travellers or budget backpackers may be able to manage without an AC during winter months even in the afternoons, but do consider the weather before making a decision.
Look for accommodation that is located on the beaches, so you can stay close to the sea at all times.
In Havelock, accommodation options are slightly more expensive but are worth it because you'll be away from the traffic and city life of Port Blair. On Havelock Island, you'll feel like you're truly living in a tropical paradise.
What is the best time to go scuba diving in Andaman
The best time for diving in Andaman is from December/January to May/mid-June, when the sea is calm and the visibility is good. Towards April and May, the weather warms up, making your experience a tropical dream.
The best time for scuba diving in Andaman is when the weather is warm and pleasant, and temperatures are betwee 24-37 degree Celsius, like in summer. For those who prefer slightly lower temperatures but enjoy sunny days and mild water during the scuba, go in winter when the days are breezy and temperatures hover between 20-30 degree Celsius.
Avoid going during the monsoon months of late June, July and August, unless you’re an experienced diver who won’t be deterred by some rough water. You can also head out after the monsoons, but you’ll be risking a few showers and altered plans due to rougher water.
What should I carry for my diving trip
For scuba diving in Andaman, all you really need is comfortable swimwear, a towel, and a bottle of sunscreen; the operator will provide the rest of the equipment you need. Read our blog Scuba 101 to understand what equipment you’ll be given.
If you're going on a boat dive, carry light, long-sleeved clothing, a pair of sunglasses and a cap for the sunny boat rides out to your dive spot. You will need your towel between dives, especially if the weather gets a big windy.
Most operators will provide you with drinking water, and if your package includes it, a snack, a meal, and tea or coffee. Do check with your operator while booking.
What is the best place to go scuba diving in Andaman?
Most people choose to go scuba diving in Havelock Island. It's a great experience and while it is quiet and peaceful, it is not too far away from Port Blair to be inaccessible. The region is blessed with a teeming shoreline, full of hard and soft corals in a wide array of colours. It has a subtle current and is home to many different species of sea animals, including rare and migratory animals like reef sharks (not man-eating) and dugongs.
Night-time scuba diving in Havelock Island is also an extremely fun activity as you get to explore the dark crevices of the sea in the dark of the night. Do note, only certified divers can go for night dives.
What is the best place to go scuba diving in Havelock Island?
There are multiple dive spots to go scuba diving in Havelock, the most popular diving region in the Andamans, the best of which include:
What is the best place to go scuba diving in Neil Island?
Located close to the Havelock Island, Neil Island features some of the most unique dive spots in India, the best of which include:
- Margherita’s Mischief: This beginner-friendly spot is a large sandy patch, dotted with dozens of boulders, that runs at a depth of 20-50ft below sea level. It’s an enthralling dive for all divers as you get to manoeuvre through the boulders along with pufferfish, stingrays, angelfish, and more. The visibility is splendid, and the currents are easy to manage.
- K-Rock: This unique spot is made from an irregular volcanic rock that houses a wide array of marine life in its overhangs and crevices. Perched upon a flat, sandy patch, the K-Rock is excellent spot to find butterflyfish, soldierfish, and snappers that you won’t find in many other spots in the Andamans.
- Jetty Channel Marker: This spot makes for a great learning spot for many beginners, given its easy depth and low current. There is a large concrete pillar that has fallen here, and is now teeming with marine life including parrotfish, pufferfish, manta rays, and more.
- Bus Stop: Located on the western end of the region, this dive spot has a sandy slope that ranges from 45-65ft deep. This is the best place to find big schools of eels swarming around the small coral reef.
Junction: This spot falls between the Neil and Havelock Islands, and is shaped like a long, pointed finger. It is covered in beautiful corals that are home to sting rays, starfish, lionfish, and majestic reef sharks and marlins. This dive spot, however, is reserved for intermediate-level divers.
What is the best place to go scuba diving in North Bay Island?
North Bay Island is a small island near Ross Islands with a pristine white sand coastline, tropical forests along the shore, and a teeming underwater world to explore. The waters here are crystal clear, allowing you to see the colourful corals lining up against the coast. You will find a variety of marine animals here that reside in the maze of corals.
What is the best place to go scuba diving in Port Blair?
Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands, is a hub for many adventure activities and tourist attractions. Along with a bunch of places to explore on land, there are some spots beneath the waves that are worth a visit:
- Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park: This national park consists of about 20 small islands, each with varying flora, fauna, and marine life. You’re most likely to find large numbers of sea turtles and corals here, which are the subjects of the area’s rigorous conservation projects.
- Corruption Rock: This massive rock has its base about 100 ft below sea level and peeks well over the surface of the water. Covered in bustling corals, this dive spot is popular among marine biologists and scholars studying marine life as the rock is well-frequented by sea turtles, parrotfish, trevallies, barracudas, eagle rays, and many more.
- Rutland Island: Rutland Island has welcoming, shallow waters that make for some of the best locations for newbies to learn scuba diving. The area is covered in corals that are home to a variety of small, shallow water fish like sea turtles, eagle rays, pipe fish, and more.
- Snake Island: Contrary to its name, Snake Island does not house any dangerous snakes in its waters. It’s simply a unique location with a wide network of rocky and sandy water channels that are a hotspot for marine life to thrive. It has rich marine biodiversity that is still being actively researched and is a popular spot among scholars and marine biologists – not to mention curious divers that are always looking for a new adventure!
What is the best place to go scuba diving in Barren Island?
Home to the only active volcano in South Asia, the Barren Island has enthralling dive spots covered in volcanic rock. The unique topography of this island makes it one of the best dive spots in the entire world, and the clear visibility adds onto its desirability. Here are some of the best dive spots in this region:
Purple Haze: Reserved for experienced divers that can handle strong currents, this has to be among the best, most unique and mesmerising dive spots any diver can visit. Starting off with a dive to a underwater cave that is shrouded in fluorescent corals that softly glow in the dark depths of the sea. The other end of the cave features a sea of purple corals that are the favourite of manta rays, sea turtles, marlins, and other sea animals.
Manta Point: Another spot for experienced divers only, this region receives strong currents that manta rays love to ride. You will find dozens and dozens of manta rays that visit the reef here to be cleaned by smaller fish. You will also swim along with needle fish and other smaller reef fish.
Auditorium: A beginner-friendly spot, Auditorium features a rocky column-like formation and step-like stones that are every diver’s favourite spot for epic photos. There also is a coral-covered overhang that blocks light from entering the waters, giving you a good chance to practise diving in the dark. You’ll see sea fans softly swaying in the low currents here and also get a chance to swim with manta rays and many schools of small fish.
Washing Machine: As the name suggests, this area has a strong downward current that can pose a challenge even for experienced divers. This area has a unique formation of corals, feather stars, and gorgonian fans that grow perpendicular to the current and spread wide in against the flow of the water. Manta rays can be seen emerging from the depths of the downward currents.
Coral Paradise: A low-current spot perfect for beginners (to scuba AND snorkelling), Coral Paradise displays its stunning beauty at a shallow depth of about 25ft. This reef front is packed with cabbage and salad corals in a rainbow of colours, with floors covered in brown and blue staghorn corals. This rich ecosystem is home to a large number of small fish that can be seen swarming through the corals.