Lockdown Details: As of 15/07/2019
Current Status: Entry with ePass
Diving Status: Happily Diving
If you are looking for information about travelling to SCUBA dive in Pondicherry during the COVID19 period, you are at the right place! Here’s the low-down on the latest Pondicherry COVID19 travel rules and suggestions relating to your visit.
- This blog will be updated regularly as per government rules and notifications
- We cannot take responsibility if you are unable to travel because of this blog.
- We recommend cross-referencing this information before travelling.
Two major things to consider when trying to arrive at Pondicherry are ePasses and transportation.
As of now, ePasses are mandatory to enter Pondicherry. You may also need an ePass from the state of the origin We can provide you with any documentation required for you to apply for the e-pass, based on the dive program you will do with us. That said, while obtaining an ePass is a relatively easy and straightforward process, we cannot guarantee a positive outcome. Hence, it’s best to book your tickets and hotels once you receive the passes.
Select the reason for visit as “Others” and be ready with:
- ID Proof (Aadhaar Card, Diver’s Licence or Voter ID)
- Vehicle Registration Number
- Reason for Visit Documentation (given by us)
At present, COVID19 screening is not required, although check the rules regularly for any changes.
Usually, you can travel to Pondicherry by bus, train or flight. As of now, your only mode of public transportation is through a combination of flight and car, but the rules are always changing. So please check your state’s lockdown Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for all public transportation services. How to reach Pondicherry by flight, you ask?
- Pre-book a taxi for Chennai Airport to Pondicherry **Pondicherry airport is currently closed**
- Alternatively, ask us for help in booking a taxi.
- Get the taxi’s registration number to apply for the ePass.
- Once received the ePass, book a flight to Chennai **Remember to check if the airport is operational**
We pick Chennai as it is only 3 hours from Pondicherry, which makes the cab fare comparatively cost-effective as well. Also, for now, we can assist in finding a taxi for your pick-up from Pondicherry airport, bus or train station (when reopened). Furthermore, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has a great page dedicated to travel queries so make sure to check that out as well!
Choose the most feasible option. It can be your own car or bike. Considering the COVID19 situation, this may be the safest way of travelling.
After Reaching Pondicherry
Upon reaching Pondicherry, the present government rule is that you self-quarantine for 15 days. Due to this, we recommend that you combine a few dive courses together, plan to dive for at least a week or two and head back to your city. This way everything will be well worth your money and time. You can also use this self-isolation period to your advantage by getting a head-start on your SCUBA diving course theory digitally!
Now, to do all of that, you’d need a comfortable, reliable and a hygienic place of stay. So here’s a list of highly reputed hotels we have partnered with, that are open, easily accessible and sanitary during the COVID19 period:
A La Villa Creole
Contact :- Mr. Rajesh – (+91) 9790393834
Villa Monte Carlo
Contact :- Mr. Prabhu (+91) 8610245179
Contact :- Mr. Vikram – (+91) 9894827026
Contact :- Mr. Velmurugan – (+91) 9626255500
You may choose your own hotels, but the above list of accommodation provides a hygienic stay and using Temple Adventures as reference gives you very good discounts! Two in one stone! 😀
Eateries/ Food Supplies
A full stomach is the key to happiness, in this case, a full stomach and SCUBA diving are key to happiness! 😀 There’s only so many times you can eat at the hotel you’re staying, so if you wish to eat out or buy some groceries, here are the options:
- Swiggy (food and groceries)
- Zomato (only food)
At present, the operating time is 7 am to 8 pm. Keep in mind that the delivery times change according to the government rules. Online shopping platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc also deliver goods to Pondicherry, which will be convenient if your visit is long!
For those signing up for Zero to Hero dive programme or expecting to stay in Pondicherry for more than a month for their SCUBA courses, you may benefit from renting a house/ room for that period. Some landlords require you to stay for a minimum of 3 + months, but some are also flexible. E-mail us for further assistance.
We suggest you try to find a place within 5 km from the dive centre. This is highly suitable if your primary method of transportation is walking or bicycling. Also, staying close helps you to reach the dive centre on time, especially during busy and early-start days! You can go beyond these limits if you have a motorized vehicle.
Moving Around after Quarantine
After successfully finishing your mandatory quarantine period, drop into Temple Adventures to start your courses. You will surely spend the majority of your time on SCUBA course activities like ocean diving, pool training, theory etc. Now the fun part begins! 😀 While we recommend that you avoid stepping out unnecessarily during your visit, for your safety and ours, we totally understand that you may wish to sight-see, go to restaurants etc. If doing so, there are a few general steps to follow before going around, even though Pondicherry is a comparatively low-risk location:
- Social distancing of at least 6 feet should be followed.
- Use of face covers/ masks is compulsory
- Only up to 5 people can walk together.
- Spitting is prohibited.
- Installation of Arogya Setu App is advised.
- Monitoring of health and reporting COVID19 like illness is vital.
- Roaming after 9 pm is not advisable.
- Plan the activities and call to confirm in advance.
- Avoid crowds.
The Pondicherry government recommend people to practise the above as well as a specific set of rules depending on the place of visit. Additionally, read our Diving during COVID19 blog to understand all the measures taken to minimize risks.
Dear travellers, should you need any help planning your trip, simply give us a call and we will figure it out together. It’s safe to assume that Temple Adventures care for your well-being and would like to make sure your journey goes as smooth and stress-free as possible!