The Caves at Baratang Island
Hi friends, hope you are enjoying the travel posts this month. Today, I am going to share our experience of visiting the Limestone Caves at Baratang Island in Middle Andaman. This is one experience you should definitely gift your children if visiting the Andaman Islands. And, I am damn sure your kids will have a wonderful time during the Baratang excursion.
You may also want to read – Andaman Trip Itinerary (9N/10D)!
If I will only talk about the caves at Baratang, that would sound quite boring to you. Because here the journey to the destination is more exciting than the destination itself. The Baratang excursion to reach the limestone caves is what makes the whole experience enriching for kids as well as adults.
This journey starts from Port Blair passing through the thick jungles in a convoy of vehicles and crossing the strait on a vehicle ferry to finally taking the speed boat which sails through the mangrove creeks & drops you near the limestone caves from where one needs to walk through the fields to finally reach the caves.
Baratang Island connects the South Andaman to the Middle Andaman. And it is known for it’s natural wonders and the thick tropical & mangrove forests.
Sadly, there is very little information available online especially for tourists traveling with young children & senior citizens. Hence, I will try to share as much useful information as I could in this post based on our experience and some research.
How to reach the Caves at Baratang Island?
First, you need to decide whether you want to do a full day tour or stay overnight at Baratang. Or, if you want to go further to the North Andaman.
Since we had planned to explore Diglipur in North Andaman, we decided to visit the caves on our way back. Check option 3 below.
Basically, there are 4 options-
- Option 1- The easiest one is to book a full day tour from some trusted travel agent. It starts at 4 am from Port Blair & ends around 5 pm when they drop you back to your hotel. I will not recommend this if you are traveling with young children since it will get too tiring for everyone. You can consider this option if your kids are 5+ in age. Check out the route below-
Port Blair -> Jirkatang check post -> Jarwah Reserve Forest -> Middle Strait Jetty -> Baratang Island -> Baratang Jetty -> Limestone Caves at Baratang
- Option 2- is to book a personal cab & stay overnight at Baratang Island. And return back to Port Blair on the next day. Recommended. But it will be costly. Also, it will depend on hotel availability since there are only a few hotels in Baratang.
- Option 3- if you are going further north, visit the caves while returning back. You will need to stay overnight either at Mayabunder/Rangat/Baratang on your way back from North Andaman. Recommended. But since it’s a long journey, it may get tiring for kids.
Port Blair -> Jirkatang check post -> Jarwah Reserve Forest -> Middle Strait Jetty -> Baratang Island -> Rangat -> Mayabunder -> Diglipur
- Option 4- is to visit the caves en route to North Andaman & make an overnight halt at Rangat/Mayabunder. And, again stop overnight at Rangat/Baratang while returning back. Recommended if you have some extra days in hand. In case you are covering only the Middle & North Andaman then this will suit the itinerary best.
The total distance from Port Blair to Diglipur is about 300 Km which can take up to 12-14 hrs if you are traveling with kids.
We did a mistake by covering South, Middle & North Andaman in 10 days. It got too hectic by the end of the trip. It would have been better if we’d planned 2 separate trips. One for South Andaman and another for Middle & North Andaman.
You may also want to read – The Best Beach to Visit with Kids in Havelock Island!
Things you must know before visiting the Limestone Caves at Baratang Island
- All tours start from Port Blair.
- All the vehicles need to stop at Jirakatang check post to get a permit to enter the Jarwah reserve forest. (You don’t need to worry about the permit, your driver/tour agent will arrange that for you).
Port Blair to Jirkatang check post – 42 Km
- If you plan to travel by a private cab, you can book a hotel near to Jirakatang check post. We had booked Ixzire Resort which is 30 mins from Port Blair. By booking this hotel we saved some time in the morning.
Ixzire Resort to Jirkatang check post – 20 Km
- The Jarwah reserve forest starts from Jirakatang check post & stretches up to 49km & ends at the Middle Strait Jetty.
- All the vehicles leave in convoy from Jirakatang check post. Each convoy has a bus in the front with 1-2 armed policemen inside. This experience of passing through the dense forest was quite exhilarating.
- There are 4 convoys throughout the day (6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 2.30 pm).
- If you miss the convoy, you can’t enter the Jarwah reserve forest. So, take note of these times & plan your visit accordingly. No person or vehicle is allowed to stop once inside the reserve.
- Jarwah are the tribal people of Baratang Island who are completely cut off from the outer world.
- Taking pictures or interacting with Jarwah tribe is not allowed & is a punishable offense. Though interacting with tribal people was not allowed, we were hoping to catch a glimpse & we did. But we made sure not to take their pics or startle them with our actions. They are humans just like us living in a different habitat.
- Once you reach the Middle Strait Jetty, you need to wait for the vehicle ferry to cross a strait & reach the Baratang Island. It takes only 15 mins to cross the strait.
- Once you are on the other side of the Jetty, you need to take a speed boat from there that will take you through the mangrove creek to Nayadera jetty. This is truly a mesmerizing journey of 45 mins through the dense tropical forest.
- After getting down at the Nayadera jetty, you need to walk for 300 meters on a wooden bridge.
- Once you cross the bridge, you need to walk further 300 meters through the fields and a small village to finally reach the limestone caves.
The cave is not very big and the entrance is quite compact. But, once you are inside you feel the adrenaline rush looking at all the mesmerizing limestone formations.
Caves have always fascinated us. Although the whole journey seems tiresome the memories you take away from this journey makes the whole experience worthwhile.
And, when you come out after exploring the cave, do try the refreshing lemon water villagers sell just outside the cave.
If you are traveling with kids or elderly (60+ age), please keep their requirements in mind. Don’t push them to try their limits & keep ample time in hand. Always have a Plan B ready in case the actual plan goes down. In short, be flexible!
You may also want to read – 7 Best Family Adventure Trips to plan with Kids!
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That’s all for today, see you tomorrow!