Barefoot at Havelock is a pared-down eco-hideaway, tucked behind two kilometres of untrodden white sands and 100-foot high mahua trees.
Barefoot offers 18 cottages, hidden among seven acres of grounds, their hardwood walls and conical thatch roofs blending into the tropical foliage.
The cottages are simple but offer modern plumbing, air-con or ceiling fans, and an exhilarating closeness to nature. The barefoot philosophy means a minimal footprint, so only indigenous materials are used, rainwater is harvested and most staff are local.
Havelock Island, in the Bay of Bengal, is three and a half hours by boat from Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands. Port Blair is easily accessible by air from mainland India. Fly to Chennai (Madras) or Kolkata (Calcutta) in India and then take a domestic flight to Port Blair. From the Airport, transfer to the port to catch a daily afternoon ferry to Havelock Island pier. From there, it's a 30-minute taxi ride to the resort. You can choose from government ferries or slightly pricier catamarans. We prefer the catamarans as they are faster and more comfortable than the ferries. Getting around the island can be achieved by Tuk Tuk or local bus.
Cottages and villas are constructed from natural, regenerable materials and raised on stilts. They range from simple air-conditioned Nicobari Cottages, or more contemporary, air-conditioned Andaman Villas. There is also a fan-cooled Duplex Cottage, good for families, with a mezzanine-level bedroom and bathroom, and an upper-level day room that's open to the rainforest on three sides. More stylish still is the fan-cooled Nicobari Villa.
- Scuba diving. Reefs are full of colourful fish, turtles, sting rays and dolphins. Barefoot have a professional dive centre offering PADI courses and recreational dive trips off Beach No 3.
- Snorkelling — Beach No 7 has sea-grass beds or head though the mahua forest to Barefoot Cove’s pretty reef and lagoon. Alternatively, take a dunghi (long-tail boat) to the deserted Elephant Beach, with its unspoiled reef.
- Join Rajan the elephant for an early morning beach walk.
- Go fishing.
- Go kayaking from the dive centre and explore the island’s surrounding mangrove creeks and shallow reefs.
- Ayurvedic treatments and yoga are available most of the year.
- Take a nature hike.
- Island-hop. Button Islands’ Marine National Park has spectacular snorkelling; overnight trips include remote Long Island (with barbecue) or Barren Island, India’s only active volcano.
Why we like it
Paradise found. A total switch off from every day life in a simple but stunning environment.