Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is located in Wandoor, 29 km from Port Blair.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park consists of 15 islands namely; Alexandra, Red Skin, Boat, Hobday, Tarmugli, Grub, Chester, Snob, Bell, Pluto, Malay, Jolly Boys, Riflemen, Twins and parts of Rutland Island and covers an area of 281.5 sq km. The Marine National Park is highly diversified in terms of white sandy beaches, vegetation, and marine life. You can spot a variety of coral reefs, colourful and exotic fishes, turtles, shells, molluscs, starfish and crocodiles.You can also see a variety of birds including White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Parakeets, Andaman Teal, Heron, Terns, Waders and Swifts in the tropical rainforests of the national park. The time required to spot the birds is usually longer and special permission can be obtained from the Chief Wildlife Warden of the forest department of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, under whose administration the park falls.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park Gate
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, came into existence on 24th May 1983, under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The aim was to preserve the marine life such as corals and the nesting sea turtles common in the area.The Marine National Park was closed in 2004 due to the tsunami that struck and damaged the place but it was reopened to the tourists again. Jolly Boys and Red Skin Islands are two of the most popular islands of the Mahatma Gandhi National Park and the only islands that can be accessed by the tourists. There are various adventure sports like, deep-sea diving, snorkelling, and scuba diving organised for the tourists. Besides the adventure sports, sun bathing on the sandy beaches is another very popular tourist activity.
Must See, Popular, Visiting Time
There are regular buses to and from Port Blair to Wandoor from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, and it's a 45 minutes drive by bus or taxi. The entry timing for Jolly Boys is 9:00 am and entry in Red Skin Islands starts at 10:00 am. Tourists are only allowed to spend 2 ½ hours in both the islands.
Closed On - Mondays.
To enter the park, you need entry permit. The Forest Department permit costs Rs. 50/person and is issued 1 day prior from the IP&T office in Port Blair. Normally only 150 permits are issued each day on first come first serve basis, but in high season the number of permits are sometimes increased by Forest department.
Apart from the park permit, one needs ticket for the boat ride to Red skin island which is for Rs. 800/person and includes a small boat ride in glass bottom dingy, snorkeling and return.
Plastic bottles and bags are not permitted in the park and one need to deposit money for each bottle carried. The security deposit is Rs. 100 for up to 3 bottles. On completion of the trip, you are expected to show the required number of bottles to the forest official to claim your deposit.
Jute bags are available in the forest office for hire.
Boat operators approved by forest department seems to be the only means to get around. One may explore hiring smaller dingies for moving around the park. Apart from boats in Wandoor jetty which take you in the park, local powered boats are also available at Wandoor beach which take you around for snorkeling in glass bottom boats.