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Stretching along India’s southwestern coast, Kerala is home to beautiful beaches and backwaters, verdant jungles and tea-covered hills. This compact trip offers a chance to experience a part of India that’s truly off the beaten path. Paddle a canoe along lush canals, explore historic forts and palaces, sample flavorful cuisine, and more.
See the colonial architecture of
Fort Kochi and watch a kathakali
Paddle a canoe on Kerala’s waterways.
Sample southern Indian cuisine
during a stay at a family home.
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — Kochi (Cochin)
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
Day 2 — Kochi (Cochin)
Embark on a walking tour of Fort Kochi, including the Dutch Palace, which was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century; Saint Francis Church, the oldest European church in India; and Santa Cruz Basilica. Mingle with shoppers and vendors at the lively fish market. Then meet with a local expert learning the medicinal and culinary uses of spices and their importance in the life of Kerala and all of India. This evening, experience a performance of kathakali, a classical dance form that combines literature, music, acting, and elaborate costumes. (1B)
Day 3 — Kochi/Kumarakom
Discover the impressive architecture and beautiful grounds of Tripunithura Hill Palace. Built in 1865, the palace houses the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, though it was originally the administrative office for local royalty. Continue to Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest lake. Paddle a canoe along narrow canals and take a walking tour through rice fields to the delightful village of Chempu. (1B, 1D)
Day 4 — Alleppey/Kerala Backwaters
This morning we travel to Alleppey, a golden expanse of land surrounded by rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals. Board a traditional houseboat and spend the day cruising the serene backwaters of Kerala. Sunbathe on the deck and enjoy the passing landscapes, spotting birds and floating plants and observing scenes of daily life along the water. Later, arrive at our homestay in Alleppey and enjoy a cooking demonstration of southern Indian cuisine, followed by dinner with a local family. (1B, 1L, 1D)
Days 5 & 6 — Cherai Beach/Vypīn Island
On Vembanad Lake, meet with a representative of the Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Programme to learn about the ongoing work by local communities to conserve the lake and surrounding wetlands. This project was created by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an organization National Geographic has collaborated with on many conservation projects across India over the past decade. After learning about the program, travel by boat to a fish sanctuary established by traditional fishermen through the program. Meet with some of the fishermen and see firsthand how their traditional way of collecting and processing clams are models for the management of lake resources. Continue to Cherai Beach and enjoy free time to explore the village and experience the beaches and scenic backwaters of Vypīn Island. Opt to visit a spa or go for a bike ride. (2B)
Our newest line of trips, offered in partnership with G Adventures, blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $649
Arrival transfer, transport between destinations and to/from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. Optional activities such as spa visits and bicycling are at an additional cost.
Accommodations Comfortable, mid-range hotels (5 nights), family homestay (1 night)
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.