Get a taste of the Indian tropics on a compact seven-day trip to India’s southwestern coast. Stroll Kerala’s sandy shores, glide through its backwaters along quiet canals on a houseboat, explore villages and farms, and savour some of the country’s most incredible flavours. Venture into a part of India that’s truly off the beaten path amid the cool, luxuriant greens of this tropical paradise.

Trip highlights

Visit Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Program, Meet with a representative of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), which has collaborated with National Geographic over the past two decades. Learn about ATREE's conservation work, then travel by boat to a clam sanctuary to meet some of the fishermen.

Itinerary - 7 Days

Day 1 Kochi

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 Kochi/Thekkady

Visit the Dutch Palace and Jewish Quarter of Kochi. After, travel to Thekkady, the spice capital of India, and visit spice and tea Plantation for a walk with a local expert to understand the medicinal value of Spices and the process of manufacturing of Tea.

Day 3 Thekkady

This morning, enjoy a boat ride on Periyar Lake to view bird and other wildlife of Periyar National Park. After, visit a local family home for a cooking demonstration and lunch. Relax this afternoon or opt to take a nature walk, before a Kalaripayatt (Kerala traditional martial art) performance at a local theatre.

Day 4 Thekkady/Kumarakom

Continue to Kumarakom on Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. Explore the rural backwaters and take a country boat to Manjira village, meeting local people and learning about coconut farming and rural life. Watch a toddy tapping demonstration and enjoy a taste of coconut water, fresh from the tree.

Day 5 Kumarakom

This morning, meet with a representative of the Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Program 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 that National Geographic has collaborated with on many conservation projects across India over the past decade. Continue 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 ways of collecting and processing clams are models for the management of lake resources. Continue to explore Allepey, a golden streak of land surrounded by rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals, by private houseboat. Relax on the deck and enjoy the scenery, watching daily life take place along the water.

Day 6 Kumarakom/Kochi

Drive back to Kochi and take a walk in old Fort Kochi, including the fish market. This evening, attend the popular classical dance-drama of Kerala called "Kathakali," which combines literature, music, painting, acting, and dance.

Day 7 Kochi

Depart at any time.

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