We were among the very first operators to offer group tours to Kerala, way back in the early 1990s, and continue to devise the most innovative and compelling itineraries on the market – as this tour vividly demonstrates. Designed for the active traveller looking to experience not merely the main sights, but some authentic, offbeat ones as well, it takes you from the coast to the mountains and back via a birding safari by kayak on the Periyar River, an ascent of the region’s second highest peak, a couple of nights at remote tea plantation only accessible for 4WD, and a wildlife trek in the forests of the interior led by a tribal tracker.
You’ll also get to enjoy the state’s more conventional tourist experiences, such as a rice boat cruise in the backwaters and a sunset jaunt around Cochin harbour. And as with all our Group Tours, accommodation is never less than luxurious, and superb value for money.
Day 1 Cochin
Greeted on arrival in Cochin and escorted to The Killians Boutique Hotel or similar for two nights. Take sunset cruise in the harbour, a signature Kerala experience for views of the Marine Drive as well as the landmark Chinese fishing nets, which provide a spectacular photo opportunity at dusk.
Day 2 Cochin
Tour historic Fort Cochin in a three wheeled auto rickshaw in the morning. Explore the colonial streets and take in the Dutch Palace with its murals of the Ramayana and St Francis, the oldest church in India. Visit the Kumbalangi village, in the afternoon, where you will have the change to interact with fisherman as they demonstrate local techniques used to harvest prawns, crabs, oysters and small fish.
Day 3 Cochin, Thattekad
Today the tour heads a couple of hours inland to Thattekad, a famous bird sanctuary on the Periyar River, visiting the Elephant stables at Kodanad en route. Check-in to the Hornbill Camp for an overnight stay. The afternoon is at leisure with opportunities to go on a birding walk or take a kayak trip across the river.
Day 4 Thattekad, Munnar
Drive to Munnar (4 - 5 hours) for a three-night stay at the Fragrant Nature Resort or similar. Remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the surroundings or take one of the many walks available in the area.
Day 5 Munnar
Take a four-hour hike with a naturalist and guide through tea estates and villages. Visit the tea factory which is reputed to be amongst the highest in the world that produces tea using orthodox processes from the times of the British Raj.
Day 6 Munnar
A full day moderate trek to Meesapulimala, one of the highest peaks in southern India, with picnic lunch.
Day 7 Munnar, Periyar
Take the scenic road through the Western Ghats towards Periyar National Park. Stay at the Cardamon County resort or similar, for two nights. A late afternoon tour of a spice garden offers an interesting insight into how cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and other spices are grown, cultivated and processed.
Day 8 Periyar
Explore some of the richest forest tracks of Periyar National Park on a full day of hiking and bamboo rafting inside the park.
Day 9 Periyar, Riceboat
Travel to the bustling canal side town of Alleppey. Check-in to a rice boat for an overnight cruise on the picturesque backwaters and Vembanad lake.
Day 10 Varkala
Drive to the southern coastal town of Varkala in the morning. Check-in to The Taj Gateway Hotel or similar, for two nights. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 11 Varkala
Day at leisure: Sightseeing and cycling trips can be arranged locally for a supplement.
Day 12 Varkala, Trivandrum
Transfer to Trivandrum airport for your onward flight.
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This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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