Things to do in Andaman Islands

For anyone who’s ever fantasized about running away to a remote island, the Andaman Islands are the stuff of dreams. A chain of more than 300 islands (some sources cite as many as 572) strung between India and Thailand, they seem almost too perfect to be real, with unspoiled beaches, clear water, coconut trees, and tropical mangroves. Many of the archipelago’s islands are uninhabited or off-limits in order to protect the tribes who live there. But one, Havelock Island, became more accessible this March, when Taj Exotica Resort & Spa — the Andamans’ first five-star resort — opened on Radhanagar Beach. Spread out over 30 acres, the property comprises 75 luxurious villas inspired by the huts of the indigenous Jarawa tribe, three restaurants serving local specialties and global cuisine, and the tranquil Jiva spa. It joins Havelock’s other main draw, the charming boutique hotel Jalakara, which opened in late 2015 with just three rooms, three suites, and a private villa on an old banana and betel nut plantation. Days here are spent swimming and diving amid the coral, kayaking in the mangroves, hiking in the forest, and relaxing on the beach. For now, the Andamans remain far less developed than the Maldives, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. Go before that changes. —Laura Itzkowitz