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Picnics, Parakeets & Pools – Our Activities at Barefoot, Havelock

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Barefoot at Havelock isn’t just a luxury property on Havelock Island. It is also has a deep respect for the nature that surrounds it. A swath of reserve forest lies between the accommodation and Radhanagar Beach and this is home to many of the resort’s activities. Join us as we experience some of the coolest activities at Barefoot, Havelock

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Barefoot, Havelock

Havelock Island used to be a backpacker secret but the secret is out and many more travellers are starting to discover it’s beauty. Developing along with the visitors, Barefoot at Havelock has evolved from simple beach huts on a banana plantation to a luxury eco resort that caters to a more affluent clientele.

Check out this blog post for our full review of Batefoot, Havelock

The Night Walk

Our first activity started after dark. After handing out torches, our naturalist guide, the excellent Reuben, led us to the edge of the reserve wood. The night air was warm and flies skittered across our torch beams. With senses on high alert (there are snakes on Havelock and I am pretty paranoid about them) we started making our way along the path into the woods.

Almost immediately, Mr Fluskey spotted a large huntsman spider a little way into the brush. Then, something shifted and we saw the first of many crabs. Turns out, the forest is a home to thousands of crabs as they search for a sheltered nights sleep.

In all, we spend about two hours exploring and discovering hermit crabs, robber crabs (which seem similar but are bigger), ghost crabs that are the same colour as the champagne coloured sand on the beach, and some cool insects.

Breakfast with The Birds


Heading back into the reserve forest felt so different with the sun up and the birds singing. No longer jumping at every leaf shifting felt like a whole new experience. This time, instead of torches, we were armed with cameras and binoculars. For this tour, we were joined by a mum and her son, who was about six years old. He took some coaxing but when he found what everyone was talking about, he was adorably excited.

Now, many birdwatchers can be identified by their HUGE camera lenses, and it became clear why. Our phones, both of which claim to have excellent zooms simply couldn’t cope. Luckily, our guide Reuben had kindly brought his camera and immense lens so I could look at the photos. His kind that he remembered how blind I am from the night before and made allowances. We walked slowly through the forest, stopping to scope out the birds high up in the trees. It was all rather calming. We spotted:

  • Bright green parakeets
  • Emerald doves
  • A white-bellied seagull
  • Green imperial pigeons
  • Two kingfishers

Now, I grew up at the seaside in the UK (Brighton to be precise) and seagulls are a menace. Giant bullies of a bird, they live on my parents roof and steal chips from unsuspecting tourists at the beach. It was so weird to have someone who was thrilled to see a seagull. Similarly, the excitement over the Green imperial pigeons made me laugh every time. Yes, I know they aren’t the same as the grey scourge of cities across Europe but I have never met anyone over the age of four that has said the word “pigeon” with an excited glint in their eyes. My favourite spot was the kingfisher, it was close enough for me to make out through the binoculars, was really beautiful and is such an Indian icon.

Breakfast Time

We were guided to two separate tables, set for breakfast. The young guy on the tour was a bit crestfallen when he realised the birds weren’t going to come and join him for the meal. He was hoping to live his best Dr Doolittle, Tiki Room life. We were given the Swimming Elephant menu to choose from and I was thrilled to see masala dosa. This is siced potato, wrapped in a thing, crispy gram flour and rice pancake. It was served with three tasty chutneys, with the coconut being my favourite. Mr Fluskey opted for more Western option but he was disappointed when his scrambled egg went cold quickly in the sea breeze. The whole thing was served with an abundance of fruit, far more than we could get through. This was a lovely way to start the day.

Picnic at a Special Spot

Still rather full from breakfast, we made our a little further along the beach for our special picnic. I wasn’t sure what to expect but we found another table, set up, facing the waves. This spot is really special to Barefoot. The owner even renewed his wedding vows here. Under a small canopy of trees, with a beautiful view of the beach, it is a magical location to relax.

We were given the Swimming Elephant menu again, along with the bar menu so of course, lunchtime cocktails had to happen. Being so close to the sea, seafood had to happen as well!

We ordered some giant prawns and a little seafood selection that included local catch of the day, squid and yet more prawns. We got some fries to go with them and it came with salad too. Again, we definitely overordered but it was all cooked well and full of flavour. It must be said, the fries were great too. We spend a happy hour picking through our lunch and enjoying the solitude of the beachside spot.

Elephant Beach

The Trek

Elephant Beach used to be a hidden gem on Havelock island. Intrepid travellers took the 45 minute trek through the woods to reach its pristine white sand and turquoise waters. It has now been discovered and boats run from the other side of the island all morning. However, Barefoot can arrange an escorted walk which will let you arrive before the crowds. The trek is very manageable, even for us unfitties.

Our Time at Elephant Beach

We had the blissful scene all to ourselves for about 10 minutes. We wandered around enjoying the peace and marvelling at the incredible water full of fish. However, minutes later, boat after boat started to arrive, disgorging hoards of people, all intent on having that very same experience. Huge water inflatables thronged the beach and jet skis tore through the waves.

Yes, we did have a turn on the jet ski and it was lots of fun, but the whole thing served as a reminder not to believe everything we see Instagram.…and that it’s worth waking up early to do the trek if you want that moment all to yourself. We also took a quick snorkel around the reef right on the beach. The fish were plentiful but the coral was suffering a lot of bleaching. I think we ever make it back, we will invest in a deeper reef snorkel or dive trip.

Dinner in the Wilderness

The Set Up

Another special dining experience you can take is the Dinner in the Wilderness. Another variation of this is the same kind of set up by the beach. Either way, an array of candles and multi-coloured lanterns are laid out to create a romantic space, perfect for a date night.

Our Dinner

The food served is once again from the Swimming Elephant. Mr Fluskey was thrilled as it allowed him to have the delicious prawn, cashew and tender coconut curry that was so very, very good! For startes we had some fantastic spiced prawns, and more local grilled fish. Both of these were fresh and bursting with flavour, the prawns in particular. For mains, I opted for the chicken malai, tender chicken simmered in a sauce full of nut paste, mild spices and cream. I think I had eaten too much that day as it felt so rich and I couldn’t finish the dish….it may have been down to scoffing the garlic naan and prawns too though.

Rock Pooling

If you remember crouching in the edge of the rocks, plastic bucket and mini net in hand then you might think you know what rock pooling is. Well, on the Andaman Islands it looks a little different. This is essentially reef exploration without putting you face underwater. The earthquake of 2005 which caused the dreadful tsunami, raised a reef up to near the surface and it is an ideal home for young sea creatures.

A Natural Aquarium

We slowly waded through the water and eagle-eyed Prathamesh pointed out the coolest sea life. Reefs are like nurseries for the sea. Tiny fish spend their teenage years here before venturing out o the wider ocean. If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you get it. In fact, if you have seen Finding Nemo then you would be as excited as we were to see the clown fish, living skittishly in the anemones. We also caught glimpses of a cool nudibranch (pronounced noo-dee-brank), a little shell-less mollusc. We also saw several sea cucumbers, a a lurking lion fish and loadsof colourful clams. Sadly we had to leave to catch the ferry or I would have happily spent another hour peering into the water at the cool fish around us.

Other Activities

Here are some of the other things on offer that we didn’t have a chance to try:

  • Scuba and Snorkelling – This is offered by Barefoot Scuba that are associated but not the same compny as the hotel. The reps can be found at the lobby every night just after sunset and can book deep snorkelling, scuba fun dives, scuba courses and free diving.
  • Tree Walk – Exploring the property, you will learn all about how Barefoot was replanted with the trees that are native to the area after many years a banana plantation.
  • Kayaking -This can be organised during the day or for sunrise. This is especially exciting when it is a new moon as you might be able to see the natural bioluminescence that exists in these waters.
  • Game Fishing – You can try your hand at catching a biggun!
  • Paddle Boarding -Stand up paddle boarding is a relaxed and fun way to traverse the ocean. You stand on a large stabilised board (it looks like a surf board) and sedately glide across the surface of the water (at least, that’s the plan).
  • Body Boarding – Taking a body board, or boogy board, you surf the waves into the beach.
  • Trail Biking – Tearing up the island on muddy trails by bike is an eciting way to eplore the interior.
  • A Boat Ride – You can charter a boat for a relaxing sunset cruise.

Final Thoughts on Our Activities at Barefoot, Havelock

It was amazing to get up close and personal with the flora and fauna of Barefoot and the Andamans. It is such a shame we didn’t have more time so we could see even more. If you are visiting then these activities give invaluable information and a greater appreciation of the location you are immersed in. Thank you for such a brilliant time, and especially to the naturalist guides who were patient, fun and so knowledgeable. You were superstars!

Rosie xx

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