4 Luxurious Indian Islands (many people don’t know exist)

India has a luxurious side to it. I know it’s got a stereotyped “dirty loud India” side as well, but the Indian islands that surround the country rival any of the top islands of the world. I sadly have been to NONE of them yet which is a real shame. Reason being, whenever we have the time to go it seems we need a visa run and we have to leave India, so some of these require long flights but since they are Indian they don’t count as leaving. It just hasn’t worked out yet.

These are the most luxurious Indian islands… that you didn’t know existed!

 1. Lakshadweep


A photo posted by Gods Own Country Kerala (@godsowncountrykerala) on

When I think of this island, I think of the cheap scuba certificate I could get in the Laccadive sea, but when Pinterest users look they see this usually with the wrong place captioned:

Lakshadweep (meaning one hundred thousand islands) is off the coast of Kerala to the West of India and made up of 36 small islands. Kavaratti is the most popular and has more development on it. Kadmat is where you want to get your scuba on; it has the prettiest water in India! This is mostly visited by Indian tourists as it’s still pretty secret around the world. Other popular islands here are Agatti and Bangaram.

Tips: Get here from Kochi easily and dress modest for the Muslim crowd. Avoid July through September for monsoon. Technically no alcohol is allowed and tourists need to get a permit to visit.

2. Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


A photo posted by junnybox (@junnybox) on

The Andaman’s are probably the most popular set of islands for foreign tourists to go to while in India. These are in the Andaman Sea to the East side of India. From the beginning of literature these islands have been discussed by explorers, and some wrote they were full of cannibals.  They were known as “black waters” of the Indian Ocean and were full of prisoners! Now they are full of 5-star hotels and tourists. This is another great place to get your scuba certificates.

The Islands have had a fight to stay alive while Tsunamis and earthquakes literally tear the small islands into pieces and hit the large ones hard. They have recently been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. You may have heard about the Nicobar Islands, as some theorists believe the missing Malaysia airlines flight landed here.

Tip: beware of swimming. Nearby to Havelock Island is a reservation for saltwater crocodiles and I know of someone who was with a friend who was tragically killed swimming outside a fancy resort. In the last 25 years, there have been 24 deaths from crocodile attacks. There are apparently not enough signs up warning tourists, although I haven’t been to see for myself. Even swimming in open ocean away from rivers and mangroves is not always safe. Also, keep in mind there are some tribal areas here and you will need permits to visit.

3. St. Mary’s Islands


A photo posted by Rudranil Das (@rdas_photography) on

St Mary’s islands are a set of four, located off Udupi, Karnataka. These “coconut islands” are in the Arabian sea (west side of India). Here you’ll see giant columns of lava stone because of the split off of Madagascar, way back when… well, you know. I seriously struggle in science, but I do know that the lava situation here is incredible rare.

Tips: there are guards to make sure you don’t swim anywhere dangerous, but in case they are on tea break, use good judgment near rocks. You’ll go here by boat for a day trip (this is your only option).

4. Netrani Island.


A photo posted by Sukanya Raju (@sudotkanya) on

Also called Pigeon Island, this is off the coast of Karnataka in the Arabian Sea about 20 km from Murudeshwara to the west of India. This is a major scuba destination for tourists in Goa and Kerala. During monsoon, you can’t go to this island. Any island that is shaped like a heart is worth a visit!

Tip: Don’t try to go here alone. The Indian Navy uses the island adjacent for target practice.


So there we have the luxury Indian islands… with beaches of white sand you didn’t think was possible in India! I am determined to visit at least one of these beauties while I live here! Have you been to one?



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Christine | GRRRLJOURNEYER April 20, 2016 at 7:23 am - Reply

    I was thinking about Andaman Islands, especially for scuba diving, but wasn’t sure with getting there and the resorts/permits stuff if it would be beyond my budget. This was good to read.. omg, especially the saltwater crocs part! Lakshwandeep is a name that’s always sounded interesting but I never knew much about it. Good share!

    • Rachel Jones April 20, 2016 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Yeah that’s why I haven’t been as well – when I have that much time and money, I need to cover my visa run situation with it.

  2. Tim UrbanDuniya April 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I had heard of the first two, not the second two. Really want to visit all of them- and kick myself that I didn’t go there while I lived in India!

    • Rachel Jones April 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      I feel ya, I can’t believe I haven’t made it to at least 1 yet!

  3. Valerie May 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I probably wouldn’t have gone to the Andaman Islands if I had known about the crocodiles beforehand, but I absolutely LOVED it! Beautiful beaches, amazing coral reefs, and a laid-back lifestyle (especially for India). You mentioned five star hotels (I personally didn’t see anything too lavish), but there are also fabulous (and cheap) little beach huts along what they call “Beach 5”. I stayed at a place called Coconut Grove which is very popular among Israeli backpackers.
    As far as the crocodiles, I was pretty freaked out when I heard about the girl that was killed. I did hear she was in a lagoon not the sea. There are lots of people who seem to be paid to hang out in the danger areas and warn you of where not swim. When swimming in the ocean I had to tell myself that it was the same thing as shark attacks in my hometown in California (it’s just the risk you take) and to not be afraid! It is certainly worrisome that 24 people have been killed in the last 25 years….did not know that at the time….maybe that was for the best. Lol!

    • Rachel Jones May 5, 2016 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the hotel tip! :) It’s a friend of mine’s girlfriend who was killed, and they were in the open sea not a lagoon, but salt water crocs tend to hang near river mouths. these crocs get lost from the reserve on the other island.

    • claire January 24, 2017 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      Rachel – just want I was looking for! Thanks for putting this together! @ Valerie – I’m keen to check out Andaman Islands! Would you say its at all touristy yet? Want to get away from the crowds! Also would you say the tourism is geared towards mainstream tourists (including families) or more of a hippie crowd? Sorry super specific questions!

  4. Valerie May 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    So maybe Lakshadweep next time!

  5. Nomadic Foot June 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    i was only aware of Andaman and Lakshawdeep but two more you explained seems so beautiful and visit worthy and now on my bucket list. thank you for sharing…

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