We spent 7 days in one of Pristine Beach's Super Deluxe rooms from Feb. 24 to March 3, 2014. We took the big A/C bus up and back from Port Blair (Rs400/person each way). It took 9-1/2 hrs, and was interesting and comfortable enough with two short ferry rides, breakfast and lunch stops (and a few naps). There had been a ferry accident at Havelock several months ago so all boat rentals were shut down until the gov't certified everyone, so we were a little concerned about not getting to snorkel which was our major motivation for heading up-island. To our relief, there is great snorkelling just up and around the corners from the beach (about a five-minute walk away), and fantastic snorkelling around Craegy Island, about a 20-minute swim (with fins) off the same beach. We were almost always the only people on the beach. The biggest crowd we ever saw was seven of us snorkelling and/or sun bathing one day. We'd brought our own snorkels and masks (Rs1000 for two sets, bought in Chennai from the sports stores near the cricket field), and rented fins from Alex at Pristine. The snorkelling made the trip - large areas of unbleached coral and amazing varieties and numbers of fish!
The breakfasts in the breakfast hut were OK - fruit was sometimes in short supply and bread for toast was basic, but the veg omelettes, coffee and tea were excellent. The food in the restaurant was uniformly excellent, we loved the fresh roties, fresh fish, and (me) the cold beer!
Alex the owner was great. He was always around at breakfast and dinner if anyone needed any help or had questions. He arranged for tickets, banking, tuk-tuks, etc., and let us use his internet connection (it's very slow - we just used it for essential emails). Alex also took us along on a few extra trips (no charge) - one to an organic farm up the road when he needed to grind up some lentils, and another excursion up the beach at night to see a big Olive Ridley turtle lay eggs in the dark. After the turtle swam off, Alex and a couple of gov't employees dug up the eggs and they went into a hatchery on the same beach. Another traveller told us that doing this gave something like a 98% survival rate for the baby turtles.
Other things: there are a couple of other day trips available like climbing Saddle Peak (six hours, so needs a really early start), some caves and mud volcanoes, but we were happy just to swim, read and walk up the road to pick up some chocolate at the little roadside stores. There is another budget guest house (Turtle Resort) nearby where we could eat, but we never felt the need to go there since everyone at Pristine Beach and the people we knew from Turtle congregated in the restaurant to eat and talk each night.
Other, other things: There were no issues with salt water crocodiles. Apparently they only become a possibility along the beaches near Pristine during the monsoons when the creeks fill up and salt water mixes into the fresh water. The tiny little sand flies can be kept at bay by using neem oil (available at one of the little roadside shops 10 minutes up the road), and by walking on the wet part of the beach (sand flies apparently like the dry areas).
Overall, if you like tranquility, no crowds and incredible snorkelling, this is a good spot for you. If you want shops and restaurants, you're out of luck unless you bicycle or take a local bus or tuk-tuk into town.
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