Barren Island

Barren Island


Destination: Barren Island, India’s Only Active Volcano

Distance from Port Blair: Approximated – 138 KM.
Transportation Options: By Chartered Boat
By Chartered Boat Cost: 75,000/-
Trip Duration: 10to 12 Hours
Major Attraction: opportunity to witness occasional volcanic eruptions
Activities: Game Fishing/Photography/
Caution: Unpredictable Volcanic Eruptions

Barren Island – India’s Only Active Volcano


Barren Island is located in the Andaman Sea, approximately 138 km (86 mi) northeast of Port Blair,
the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the only active volcano along the chain from Sumatra to Myanmar and the only active volcano in India. The island is a part of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and is known for being a submarine emergent volcano above the subduction zone of India and the Burmese plate.

The island has earned its name for being uninhabited by humans, with the exception of a small population of goats. Birds, bats, and a few rodent species are known to survive the harsh conditions of the island. The island is devoid of significant vegetation.

Barren Island is a restricted zone, and visitors need to obtain special permits to visit it. Landing on the island is strictly prohibited, and no night stay is allowed. Most visitors travel through ships and witness the enthralling feeling of the island without getting down on it. The island can be visited only by chartered boats with the approval of the forest department and necessary permits.

Visitors can engage in sports fishing activities and snorkeling during the trip. Advanced scuba divers can also visit Barren Island for diving, and guides are present throughout the excursion.

The island’s topography of past lava flows, fast-growing coral gardens, and interesting basalt formations make it a unique and fascinating destination. Visitors can access the island through a life-aboard ship or scuba operators based at Havelock Island. Day tours on private charters are also possible, and visitors can engage in fishing and scuba diving activities, which can last for 6-8 hours.

In summary, Barren Island is a unique destination, known for being the only active volcano in India, with a fascinating topography and fast-growing coral gardens. Visitors need to obtain special permits and hire private charters to visit the island, and landing on the island is prohibited.


Barren Island is a volcanic island located in the Andaman Sea, approximately 138 kilometers northeast of Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India. The island is unique as it is the only active volcano in India and the only active volcano in South Asia. It has a two-kilometer-wide caldera and rises about 354 meters above sea level. The island is a popular destination for tourists who are interested in observing its volcanic activity and the unique flora and fauna that have evolved there.

Despite being an active volcano, Barren Island is not considered to be dangerous. Its eruptions are typically small and are ranked at the lowest level of the Volcanic Explosivity Index. While the eruptions have caused a reduction in the number of bird species and their population, the island is still home to a number of unique species such as the Pied Imperial Pigeon.

Barren Island has a rich history of volcanic activity, with the first recorded eruption dating back to 1787. Since then, there have been several eruptions, including a significant one in 1991 that resulted in smoke billowing out for six months. However, all of these eruptions have been ranked at a level that is considered safe for tourists.

Visitors to Barren Island can take a shared trip that includes a permit, eight hours of cruising, breakfast, lunch, snacks, fishing experts, guides, hotel pickup, and all necessary assistance. The trip typically begins at 5:30 AM and ends by 4 PM, and visitors can also go fishing during the tour. The boat used for the trip is equipped with safety features such as life jackets, a fire extinguisher, a distance alert transmitter, a VHF communicator, and a first aid box.


Apart from Barren Island, there are two other known volcanic islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

Narcondam Island – This is a small volcanic island situated in the Andaman Sea, about 130 km northeast of Port Blair. The island has a dormant volcano and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique biodiversity. Narcondam Island is home to a critically endangered bird species called the Narcondam hornbill, which is found nowhere else in the world.

Baratang Island – This island is located about 150 km north of Port Blair and is known for its mud volcanoes. These are formed by the eruption of natural gases from deep within the earth, which push up mud and clay onto the surface. The mud volcanoes of Baratang Island are a popular tourist attraction and can be reached by a boat ride through the mangrove forests.

While both Narcondam and Baratang Islands have volcanic activity, they are considered to be dormant and do not pose any significant danger to human life.


The best time to visit Barren Island is during the winter months from November to February. During this time, the weather is relatively dry, and the sea is calm, making it easier to travel to the island and enjoy various activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. The temperature is also more pleasant during these months, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C, making it a comfortable time to explore the island and enjoy its natural beauty.

It’s important to note that the island is susceptible to cyclones and tropical storms, which typically occur between April and November. As a result, it’s recommended to avoid visiting the island during this period to ensure the safety of visitors.

Visitors should also be aware that the island is a restricted area and can only be visited with the permission of the Indian Coast Guard and other authorities. Tour operators typically arrange visits to Barren Island, and visitors must adhere to their guidelines and follow all safety precautions.


Barren Island is located in the Andaman Sea and can only be reached by boat. The island is situated approximately 138 km (86 mi) northeast of the territory’s capital, Port Blair. Here are the steps to reach Barren Island:

  • Get to Port Blair: Port Blair is the gateway to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You can reach Port Blair by air or by sea.
  • Obtain necessary permits: Barren Island is a restricted area and special permits are required to visit. You can obtain the necessary permits from the Forest Department in Port Blair.
  • Hire a private charter: Visitors are not allowed to land on Barren Island, but you can hire a private charter to take you on a cruise around the island. The Forest Department can help you in getting the necessary permits.
  • Travel by boat: The journey to Barren Island takes approximately 4-5 hours by boat. Visitors can take a chartered boat with the approval of the Forest Department and after getting the necessary permits.

It is important to note that visiting Barren Island is subject to weather conditions, government regulations, and payload on the day of sailing. Visitors should also keep in mind that Barren Island is an active volcano, and it is essential to take all necessary safety


As Barren Island is an active volcano and uninhabited by humans, tourists are not allowed to land on the island. However, there are still a few things you can do during your visit to Barren Island:

Witness the eruption: If you’re lucky, you might get to witness the volcanic eruption from a safe distance. The sight of lava spewing out of the volcano is a thrilling experience.

Sports fishing: While on the way to Barren Island, you can also indulge in sports fishing activities. The waters around the island are known for their rich marine life.

Photography: The island’s unique landscape and the erupting volcano make it an excellent destination for photography enthusiasts.

Enjoy the scenic journey: The journey to Barren Island is itself an exciting experience. The clear waters, the blue sky, and the lush green islands around make the journey worth the effort.


Here are some travel tips for visiting Barren Island:

  • Check weather conditions: Before planning your trip, check the weather conditions and ensure that it’s safe to travel.
  • Get necessary permits: Visitors need to obtain necessary permits to visit Barren Island, which can be obtained through tour operators or the Forest Department.
  • Choose a reputable tour operator: Select a reputable tour operator who provides all necessary equipment and safety measures.
  • Pack appropriate clothing: Be sure to pack comfortable and appropriate clothing for the trip, including sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Carry necessary medication: If you have any medical conditions, carry your medication with you.
  • Follow safety guidelines: Listen carefully to your guide and follow all safety guidelines during the trip, including wearing life jackets and helmets.
  • Respect the environment: Do not litter or damage the fragile ecosystem of the island.
  • Be prepared for the journey: The journey to Barren Island can be long and bumpy, so be prepared for the rough sea conditions and pack necessary items such as motion sickness medication.

Asked Questions

Visiting Barren Island is generally safe as long as you follow the safety guidelines and precautions set by the tour operators. However, due to the unpredictability of volcanic activity, it is important to check the current situation and weather conditions before planning a trip.

Yes, you need a permit to visit Barren Island which can be obtained through a registered tour operator. The permit is issued by the Forest Department of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The best time to visit Barren Island is between November and February when the weather is pleasant and the sea is calm. However, it is important to check the weather conditions and volcanic activity before planning a trip.

You should pack light and comfortable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, insect repellent, a camera, and a waterproof bag for your belongings. It is also important to carry a valid ID proof and your permit for the trip.

No, swimming or snorkeling near Barren Island is not allowed due to the presence of active underwater volcanic vents which can cause sudden and dangerous changes in the water temperature and pH level.

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