Barren Island, Andaman – Guide to India’s Only Active Volcano
Visiting the Barren Island in the far-off Andaman Sea is like visiting the sleeping Buddha island from the movie ‘Life of Pi’. Just like in the sleeping Buddha island, this Barren Island is inhabited and no one is allowed to set foot on this island for safety purposes. If you are someone seeking an offbeat experience in your Andaman and Nicobar tour Package, then a day excursion to the Barren Islands is just a perfect experience for you.
As the name suggests, Barren Island is an inhabited island tucked away in the Andaman Sea. What sets this island apart is the fact that it is the only active volcano in India, located 135 km away from Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman archipelago.
The Barren Island Volcano rises dramatically from the depths of the ocean and can be spotted from far away. Going near this island is like solving a mystery that lies within the fiery heart that simmers within. Being the only active volcano in India, the raw and untamed natural beauty of this Island makes it one of the best places to visit in the Andaman Islands.
Reasons to Visit the Barren Island
The unique biodiversity and the barren landscape of this active volcano set the hearts of the explorers racing to explore the unknown. It ignites a sense of curiosity that can only be satisfied by taking a day trip to the Barren Island Volcano. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious traveler seeking the extraordinary, Barren Island’s magnetic appeal is undeniable.
So, prepare to step into a realm where the elemental forces of earth sculpt a landscape both barren and beautiful, where the very ground beneath you pulses with life’s fiery core. Here are a few reasons for you to visit Barren Island:
- Watch a Living Volcano: The Barren Island volcano is India’s only active volcano, giving you a chance to watch it up close from your boat. Watch the smoke and ash of the volcano rise up in the sky, which is an unparalleled experience that allows you to witness the raw power of nature in action.
- Unspoiled Beauty: Despite its name, Barren Island’s virgin landscapes are strikingly beautiful in their own right. The barren and rugged terrain, contrasted by the azure waters of the surrounding sea, creates a unique visual spectacle that’s unlike any other. The absence of human habitation allows visitors to connect with nature on an intimate level, making it an ideal destination for those seeking solace.
- Marine Life: Barren Island’s isolation from the bustling world offers an unparalleled sense of tranquility. The waters around Barren Island are teeming with marine life, thanks to the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Snorkeling and diving here reveal a vibrant underwater world, with colorful corals, exotic fish, and even the chance to spot rays and sharks.
- Photographer’s Paradise: Photographers will find endless inspiration on Barren Island. The island’s otherworldly landscapes, coupled with the dramatic play of light and shadow, provide countless opportunities for capturing breathtaking images.
- Scientific Interest: Scientists and geology enthusiasts can find Barren Island to be a living laboratory. Observing volcanic activity and studying its impact on the environment offers valuable insights into the Earth’s geological processes.
- Rare Fauna: While human habitation is absent, the island is not devoid of life. Barren Island is home to a population of goats that have adapted to the challenging conditions, showcasing nature’s resilience in the face of adversity.
How to Explore Barren Island
If you want to explore Barren Island, there are majorly 2 ways – By Seaplane or by taking an Andaman Cruise/ Boat Ride from Port Blair or Havelock Island, which lies on the mainland of Andaman.
- Seaplane: Flying over the pristine blue ocean and the lush islands of the Andaman archipelago will treat with bird-eye views of the Barren Island. The seaplane ride itself will be an experience to cherish along with the breathtaking vistas of the volcanic formations and surrounding seascape.
- Boat Ride: As you approach the island, the raw beauty of this place is evidently visible. The boat ride allows you to absorb the tranquility of the open sea, interrupted only by the occasional sighting of marine life, including playful dolphins that might accompany your journey. The rugged, ashy slopes of the volcano stand juxtaposed against the vibrant hues of the ocean, creating a captivating visual contrast.
Upon reaching the island, your boat will anchor at a safe distance from the shores due to the volcanic activity. From here, you can marvel at the smoldering crater and the distinct geological formations that have been shaped by millennia of volcanic influence.
Both seaplane and boat ride options provide an unforgettable approach to Barren Island, but it’s essential to adhere to safety guidelines and follow the travel tips and instructions of your tour operators. Due to the island’s volcanic activity, access to the shoreline is restricted for safety reasons. Thus, observing the island from a safe distance is crucial to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
How Will Your Day Excursion to Barren Island Look Like?
- Your Excursion Day to Barren Islands will start early at around 4-5 am.
- Most of the operators serve packed breakfast and lunch on this day.
- Get ready and board your transfers from your stay that will take you to the port of Port Blair or Havelock Island (depending on your stay).
- From here, you will board your boat for the day to Barren Island.
- Glide through the azure blue ocean for 3-4 hours before you reach Barren Island.
- Get a chance to watch the first sunrise over the ocean as you will be traveling to the far east areas of the Indian Territory.
- After reaching the shore of Barren Island, your boat will be anchored safely for you to admire the rugged terrain and the crater of this active volcano.
- If you have permits you can indulge in a few watersports here like Snorkelling and Scuba Diving.
- The marine life here thrives with the coral reefs, underwater volcanic formations, and a myriad of colorful fish that provide a mesmerizing underwater experience.
- After spending enough time around this island, you will start your return journey in the afternoon.
- You will reach the respective ports of Port Blair or Havelock Islands, from where you will head back to your hotel.
This is what a day excursion to Barren Island will look like. Carry a bag of many memories that you will make on this day excursion as you will witness the raw beauty of nature and get the thrill of exploration. Your heart and mind are sure to be enriched by this once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the captivating Barren Island.
Frequently Asked Questions About Barren Island
1. Is it possible to visit Barren Island as a tourist?
Yes, it is possible to visit Barren Island as a tourist. But to do so, you will have to obtain permits from the Forest Department. You must also keep in mind that visiting Barren Island is a unique offbeat experience, but tourists must abide by the safety rules and regulations here, as this is a site of an active volcano. Several tour operators offer day trips to Barren Island, allowing visitors to witness its unique volcanic landscape and experience its natural beauty.
2. How far is Barren Island from the main islands of Andaman?
Barren Island is approximately 135 km from Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This island is accessible only by a seaplane or a boat ride. The boat ride to reach Barren Island takes around 3 to 4 hours, offering scenic views of the Andaman Sea and the surrounding islands along the way.
3. Is it safe to visit Barren Island considering its active volcano?
Yes, it is safe to visit Barren Island, despite it being an active volcano. The tour operators that will take you to Barren Island will ensure that visitors maintain a safe distance from the volcanic activity. The boat anchors at a safe location, allowing tourists to marvel at the volcano’s formations without being exposed to any immediate danger. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines and instructions provided by the tour operators.
4. What is Barren Island in Andaman known for?
Barren Island is known for being India’s only active volcano. Its rugged landscapes, coupled with the smoldering crater of the volcano, create a unique and captivating sight. The island’s remote location, rich marine life, and the opportunity to witness volcanic activity make it a sought-after destination for adventurers and nature enthusiasts visiting the Andaman Islands.