triangular-shaped Neil is the most southerly inhabited island of Ritchie's
archipelago, a couple of hours' ferry ride northeast of
Port Blair. The source of much of the
capital's Fish, fruit and vegetables, its fertile centre, ringed by a
curtain of stately tropical trees, comprises vivid patches of green paddy
dotted with small farmsteads and banana plantations. The beaches are
mediocre by the Andaman's standards, but worth a day or two en route to or
Boats leave Port Blair four times each week for Neil i.e. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; depart 6:30 am, continuing on to Havelock and Rangat. From the jetty, a two -minute walk brings one to the ANIIDC to Yatri Niwas (aka Hornbill's Nest'), a dozen or so clean, carpeted rooms with sit-outs, ranged around a central courtyard and restaurant. His is the only accommodation on the island, so book ahead before one leaves for Port Blair.
Neil boasts three beaches, all of them within easy cycling
distance of the small bazaar just up the lane from the hotel. One can rent
cycles from one or other of the stallholders.
Neill Kendra Neill Kendra, a gently curving bay of white sand, straddles the jetty, scattered with picturesque wooden fishing boats.
Lakshmangar A more secluded option, Lakshmangar, lies 2-km north: head right at the hotel and follow the road for around twenty minutes until it dwindles into a surfaced track, then turn right, Wrapped around the headland, the beach is a broad spur of white shell sand with shallow water offering good Snorkelling
Sitapur Beach Exposed to the open sea and thus prone to higher tides, Sitapur beach, 6-km south at the tip of the island, is less appealing, but the ride across Neill's central paddy land is pleasant.