Baratang Island is a gateway to North & Middle Andaman District of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This District is quite unexplored from the tourism point of view. This is one of best part of your trip to Andaman Islands because of its virgin beauty and natural wonders. In Baratang Island you can see Mud Volcano, mangrove and tropical forests, Limestone Caves, Parrot Island and one nice deserted beach at Baludera. Other offbeat beaches are also accessible from Baratang such as Merk Bay Beach in North Passage Island, Lalaji Bay Beach etc.
Andaman Trunk Road to Rangat and Mayabunder goes through this island. Limestone cave can be explored with the permission of Forest Department at Baratang and proper local guidance.
The Middle strait jetty is infested with salt water crocodiles. The boat guards will say, not to put hands underwater during your boat ride to the starting point of the trek to Baratang Island Limestone Caves. Though any incidence of crocodile attacks in Baratang has not been heard, however its advisable to go as per local guide suggestions.
What to See and Do
Lime Stone Caves at Batarang:
From Baratang island (Nilambur Jetty) Lime Stone Caves are half and hour boat ride through a wide creek which leads to Nayadera Jetty and further one and half km. walk through tropical forest. Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed at the bottom of the sea. It is formed by the compression over millions of years of the gradual deposits of many ingredients such as marine life, shells, skeletons and corals.
There is a board-walk winding its way through mangroves from the main creek to Nayadera Jetty for a distance of about 240 mtrs. Tourists either may directly reach by boat or walk through the board walk to reach Nayadera jetty. The boat ride that connects the location of these caves with Baratang jetty is magnificent. It passes through a narrow mangrove creek and that is an experience in itself.
There are massive sedimentary limestone formations, some of which are hanging from the top, some growing from the ground. These caves are constantly evolving in shape and size. As you go inside the caves, you can actually see different patterns that are made by limestone.
Some caves are so dense, deep and dark inside that you need to light a torch to be able to see anything. Also it may get slippery inside the caves so it is advisable to come in floaters or shoes. It should be, on your must visit list, when you come to Baratang.
Mud Volcano at Baratang
Mud Volcano is approachable by road from Nilambur jetty. One has to reach up to Jarawa creek by vehicle. From Jarawa Crek Mud volcano is at a walkable distance of 250-300 meters. A mud volcano is created by natural gases emitted by decaying organic matter underground. As the mud is pushed upwards by the gas, it deposits and hardens above the ground. As more mud oozes out and spills over the edge it grows in size, gradually forming a miniature volcano with rich, creamy mud crater at the top.
Parrot Island, Baratang
This is a small uninhabited island located near Baratang Jetty. What makes it attractive for tourists is the mystery that this island holds which calls thousands of parrots every evening. To reach here, one has to take a fiber boat from Baratang Jetty and cross through a creek. It is better to visit in the evenings if you want to see parrots. Each evening, thousands of parrots flock together and roost here. They leave this island next morning. In the mean time they trim the island and leave it perfectly pruned. As the sun sets, the quite sea and the silence turns into a roosting ground for many parakeets. The birds that come to Parrot island are called parakeets as they are varied groups. Watch the birds come and roost, and fly inside and outside the island. You cannot leave from there without wondering ‘why only Parrot Island?’
Where To Stay
There is no proper stay arrangement. Tourist can visit from Portblair.
How To Get Around
Baratang is 100 kms away from Port Blair. One has to travel by road and cross a creek on a vehicle ferry at Middle Strait to reach Baratang. Government, private buses and other transport are available.