This exclusive itinerary – that we like to call eco luxury experience – has been carefully crafted by Conscious Journeys’ experts in each destination for a particularly local and one-of-a-kind experience. In designing this itinerary, we worked in close collaboration with local hotel owners, who are passionate about their localities, which they call home. In this way this tour become a life-time experience which allow you to discover secret spots, traditional art, culture, activities, and cuisines of each destination. This itinerary has been designed through personal experience, first-hand knowledge, and trusted recommendations from a local’s perspective, offering you unique holidays in Kerala that go well beyond the typical touristic itinerary. We have curated signature experiences in all destinations while “staying” in unique eco-luxury and heritage properties that will allow you to experience a true sense of dwelling in a close contact with nature. The selected eco-resorts are respectfully nested in the environment with a warm attention to every detail, typical of Kerala hospitality. Therefore, with our carefully curated selection of exclusive properties and activities throughout Kerala, this tour will offer you a unique and exclusive holiday. Our resort and lodges are more than a place where to sleep…But very special locations where you can live unique experiences!
This tour has been designed to give you the chance to have a glimpse of all the best of Kerala’s attractions within 8 days. Kerala attracts tourists for various reasons: culture, pristine forests and beaches, backwaters, and canals. This tour provides you the ambience of highlands, rivers, backwaters and beaches, and the cultural tradition of some of the most important cities of South India such as Cochin. Discovering cultural traditions, nature and wildlife, and community interactions will be the most important aspects on which this itinerary has been built on. All throughout the itinerary, the trip focuses on its people, culture, and wilderness. The cultural heritage of Kerala will be disclosed to you especially through the experience of traditional performing arts such as Kathakali and others. You will have the chance to discover these traditional and disappearing arts in Cochin, while in Munnar you will have a glimpse on some of the most famous and stenographic tea plantations in the world, with the chance to taste this unique product. This tour will start and end in Cochin, also called as the Gateway to Kerala and its awe-inspiring scenic views makes it a perfect tourist destination. Kochi is small place in Kerala which is also known as God’s Own Country and famous for its green pastures with beautiful landscapes. From here you will have the chance to visit the amazing tea plantations in Munnar, having the chance to taste one of the world’s most famous teas.From here, the tour will continue in Periyar national park, one of the most beautiful in India, located in Theddaky, then you will visit Kumarakom and its beautiful rainforests and famous backwaters, right before ending your journey with 2 days of relaxation on the wonderful Marari Beach.
1° DAY: ARRIVAL IN COCHIN
Arrival in Cochin and meet with our representative at the terminal, then transfer to the hotel for check-in. Fort Cochin is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer – its natural harbor and historical sites. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer – its natural harbor and historical sites. In the evening if you want you can go for a free walk around, then check in at a beautiful beachfront heritage resort in Fort Cochin for overnight stay.
Overnight in Fort Cochin
2° DAY: VISIT COCHIN
After breakfast, visit of Fort Kochin. Fort Cochin is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer – its natural harbor and historical sites. Later join our guide for a half day guided tour of Fort Cochin exploring the Jew town, Synagogue, Spice Markets, Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, Chinese Fishing nets (Jewish Synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays; Dutch Palace is closed on Fridays). Return to the hotel by afternoon. Rest of the time free for shopping, cycling or just shopping. In the evening attend cultural and Kathakali show in a local center. Here you can Experience the wonders of Kerala’s Art Forms. The Kerala Kathakali Center, is dedicated to safeguarding and celebrating the rich heritage of ancient art and culture in India. Kathakali is a traditional performing art distinguished by the elaborately colourful make-up and costumes of the traditional male actor-dancers; The traditional themes of the Kathakali are folk stories, religious legends and spiritual ideas from the Hindu epics and the Puranas.
Overnight in Fort Cochin (B)
3° DAY: VISIT MUNNAR
Fort Cochin – Munnar
After breakfast, depart for an overland journey to Munnar (about 4 hrs). Enjoy a full day trip through Munnar and explore various sites such as the famous Nursery Garden, Photo Point, and Jungle Honeybee Nest. During this day, you will have the chance to explore the famous tea plantations in Munnar. Enjoy this breathtaking landscape, and interact with local farmers, with the possibility to taste one of the most famous teas in the world. In the afternoon, back to your eco-resort.
Overnight in Munnar (B,D).
4° DAY: TRANSFER TO PERYAR
Munnar – Peryar
After breakfast transfer to Periyar- (3 hrs drive). Arrive and proceed to Hotel in Periyar. The Peryar Tiger Reserve, sprawled over an area of 777 Sq.km, is one of the 27 tiger reserves in India and it is considered an example of nature’s bounty, with great scenic charm, rich bio diversity and providing veritable visitor satisfaction. People oriented and park centred community-based ecotourism is the hallmark of Periyar Tiger Reserve. These programmes are conducted by local people responsible for the surveillance of the vulnerable parts of the reserve. Spend some time to relax and walk around, or spend your time in the beautifully curated garden of the selected resort.
Overnight in Peryar. (B, L, D)
5° DAY: EXPLORE THE TIGER RESERVE
After breakfast go for nature walk (max 5 person in a group). Different nature trails traversing diverse habitats form the trekking routes, generally 4 to 5 km. in length. This is an interpretive programme offering excellent opportunity to watch birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The trails often pass through evergreen and moist deciduous forests interspersed with marshy grasslands. The programme starts at 7.00 am and lasts for about 3 hours. A maximum of 5 persons can go for trekking at a time along each nature trail, accompanied by a trained tribal guide. The Nature walk is the right programme to feel nature, hear her whispers and smell her flowers, as well as having the opportunity to admire the majestic biodiversity of Kerala.
Overnight in Peryar. (B, L, D)
6° DAY: COMMUNITY INTERACTION KUMARAKOM
Fort Cochin – Kumarakom
After breakfast transfer to Kumarakom (1hr drive). Kumarakom is close to the Vembanad lake and offers exotic sightseeing, boating and fishing experiences. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most important attractions of the place. Cruising along the Vembanad Lake one can get glimpses of the numerous migratory birds like the egret, darter, heron and teal. Proceed to the hotel close to a river channel in an old Kerala style Heritage house for check in. Today you will experience a daily responsible tourism initiative, called “Village life experience”. It is a half-day tour package, to give you an authentic experience of village life. This is a good example of an itinerary linking the community-based tourism products and services, as envisaged by the Responsible Tourism programme (Government of Kerala). View the village life while on boat cruise.
Overnight in Kumarakom. (B, L, D)
7° DAY: HOUSEBOAT ALLEPPEY
Kumarakom – Alleppey
Morning relaxation in Kumarakom. Check out and proceed to Jetty to board the houseboat. Backwater Cruise. All meals on board. View the village life while on boat cruise. Day and sunset cruise on the houseboat exploring the paddy fields and villages life along the backwaters. Small stop over to explore the coconut plantations, toddy tapping etc will be provided on request. The boat will anchor after sunset cruise. Overnight on the Houseboat. (B/L/D)
8° DAY: RELAX AT THE MARARI BEACH
Alleppey – Mararikulam
In the morning, transfer to Mararikulam (30 mins drive). Check-in at the hotel, and possibility to spend a day of relax at the Marari beach or at the hotel’s spa.
Overnight in Mararikulam. (B/L/D)
9° DAY: MARARI BEACH
Free day to relax at the Marari beach or at the hotel’s spa.
Overnight in Mararikulam. (B/L/D)
10 °DAY: DEPARTURE FROM COCHIN
Mararikulam – Cochin
In the morning, transfer to Cochin airport and departure with your international flight.
All the itinerary has been designed in order to promote direct or indirect benefits for local communities, environment and cultural heritages. We have selected luxury eco-resort which are built in natural materials that blend perfectly with the natural context they are inserted in. All the eco lodges and eco resorts, are sensible to social and environmental issues, following general principles and practices of responsible tourism, and this will provide a glimpse of the issues of these natural environments caused by the globalization. Here, you will join in community-based tourism initiatives started by local organizations. In Kumarakom, you will experience a responsible tourism initiative called “Village life experience” organized by the Nodal Agency for Responsible Tourism Kerala of the Government. Among the four destinations where RT (Responsible Tourism) is initiated in the State, Kumarakom is considered to be the most successful example of an itinerary linking the community-based tourism products and services. Moreover, your contribution of 70 euros will support development projects in favour of one of the most marginalised tribal communities of India. Tribal communities are still at the margin of Indian society and for this reason two are the main projects financed: 1) to conserve biological and cultural diversity 2) to promote the formal education of children belonging to Kattunayakan community of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. At Mararikulam, you will have an overview of the majestic biodiversity of Kerala, guided by the naturalist of the Marari Beach resort. This is a special opportunity to learn more about the complex ecosystems that define the unique ecology of the Malabar coasts, with its 97 catalogued species of butterflies, 350 species of endemic plants, 3 varieties of turtles, 10 types of frogs and around 80 species of birds that you will encounter (depending on the season).
Kerala, despite being a famous tourist destination, is a very orthodox and conservative state, therefore it is advised that you following carefully a code conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid to show affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people. Smoking also is considered an offence (punishable under law!). Even though this may come as a surprise to many, Kerala has a strict ban on smoking in public places. If you smoke remember to do it only in your room if it is allowed by the rules of your own hotel.
You are also advised to follow a certain dress code. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended to be careful about what clothes you wear while traveling to India. The first reason is to prevent you from hurting the sentiments of the local people and second, to protect you from the varied weather conditions prevailing in seasons. One more thing to keep in mind is mosquitoes…it is advised to keep your arms and legs covered because it provides protection (however, don’t forget to bring with you mosquito nets and repellents, especially for backwaters cruises). It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset. A conscious approach to travel requires a considerable capacity and willingness to adapt and adjust to the local environment and culture. If you wish to travel with us we request you to be open enough to experience local culture, religious and traditions without bias and pre-conceived ideas you might have before the departure and which belong to our Western cultural way of thinking. Exploring with fresh eyes, with patience and openness, you will be able to access the real essence of South Indian cultural heritages through the places and people you are going to meet; if you are ready to do this effort you will really enjoy the beauty of a completely different cultural tradition, the extraordinary of the nature, the solemnity of temples, the holiness of the waters of countless rivers and oceans that flow through this magic land.
HOTEL CATEGORIES: LUXURY HERITAGE RESORT AND ECO-RESORT
For this experience, we have selected special heritage and eco resort, that represent the best choice for each destination. All the selected facilities aim to let you discover the essence of the place where you will stay and to experience the real Kerala culture and hospitality. Also, all the structures have been selected carefully according to criteria of social and environmental impacts.
In particular, for each destination we have selected the following resorts:
Cochin: Amritara Poovath Beach Heritage
Amritara The Poovath Beachfront Heritage in Kochi, India is a truly amazing place where to stay: Housed in a renovated Dutch colonial building, Poovath is located on the white sands of Fort Kochi Beach. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, it features an outdoor pool and a restaurant. Fitted with wooden flooring, air-conditioned rooms at the hotel feature large windows with sea or garden views, this hotel represents a special place where you can enjoy all comforts while you are living in the cultural and historical heart of Fort Cochin.
Munnar: Windermere Estate
Windermere Estate oozes charm with a gentle quietness. Add beautiful vistas, especially at sunrise and sunset, and languid days sipping jungle tea for the perfect slow down! The Estate is surrounded by large acres of private plantations of coffee and cardamom with beautiful views of high mountains, tea estates and forests. Within the Estate are meticulously tended gardens and a collection of indigenous trees and plants typical to the area. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the 60-acre estate’s soaring evergreen forests, highlighting cardamom cultivation and processing.
Peryar: Windermere River House
As the name suggests, the grounds of the property extend to the banks of the Periyar river. The evergreen Neriamangalam forests and rubber plantations flank other sides of the house, which is set just off the Cochin-Munnar highway. The Windermere Riverhouse. It is an epitome of calmness and serenity. Once you arrive in this picturesque location, a sense of relaxation envelops you knowing that you have made the right choice for your holiday. Windermere as a place of retreat began as an extension of a home and this ethos has been carried on with the continuous attempt to stay small and personal. Providing guests an honest, refreshing experience of the region.
Kumarakom: Coconut Lagoon
Coconut lagoon is located upon the Vembanad lake, one of India’s largest inland lakes with its own distinctive ecology that supports a plethora of natural life. There’s only one way to get to Coconut Lagoon: over the water. From the private jetty about a kilometre upstream, the boat ride over the lake’s gentle swells, past lazy coconut palms and houses, to the resort. If you are a bird lover then Coconut Lagoon is a perfect destination for bird spotting, due to the extraordinary variety of birds. It will not be far-fetched to say that the guest cottages at the coconut lagoon are individual works of art. They were built from the remnants of old mansions – tharavads, that were once the family homes of the nobility of the land. They were brought here in sections and painstakingly reassembled by skilled craftspeople so that you could experience first-hand what it is to live in these ancient and celebrated houses of yore. Here you can find a unique piece of pristine ‘forest’ dedicated to nature, while keeping with a time-honoured tradition.
Kumarakom: Spice Coast Cruise (house boat)
The Spice Coast Cruises give you a taste of a unique way of life that was extant in these parts. You get to journey upon a ‘Kettuvalam’, a traditional houseboat, that was once used to carry cargoes of rice and spices up and down these same waterways for centuries. The service and food onboard also faithfully capture a dying tradition of the backwaters for you to sample first hand. ese old boats, called Kettuvalloms, and went to work on them as would a craftsman. With some imaginative tweaks to these vessels, they have been converted into stately floating homes to cruise the placid waters of the vast and captivating Vembanad lake. Made from natural materials, these spice boats are powered with solar energy and vegetable oils to reduce their impact upon the lake. The crew of these boats are simple fisherfolk, men who know these waters from their early years. However, they do more than just pilot these behemoths, alternating between navigating the waterways, preparing meals for the guests onboard and generally keeping things ‘shipshape’. Their smiling faces speak of a culture that is famed for its accommodating and amiable ways. This is indeed spontaneous hospitality, or what we term ‘hospitality from the heart’.
Marari: Marari Beach Resort
Marari Beach Resort hotel near Alleppey is the ultimate Indian coastal hideaway; relax under a palm tree or take advantage of an excellent activities programme. This special eco-luxury Resort in, is a tribute to the fisherfolk of this region who populate its spirit in obvious and subtle ways. Its cottages echo their dwellings in style and character while our cuisine reflects the culinary subtleties of these people whose sensibilities and culture have been influenced by the charms and challenges of the oceans. For nature lovers of every shade, know that Marari is a rare showcase of diversity. The naturalists of the resort will tell you about the complex ecosystems that define the unique ecology of the Malabar coasts, with its 97 catalogued species of butterflies, 350 species of endemic plants, 3 varieties of turtles, 10 types of frogs and around 80 species of birds that you will encounter (depending on the season).
Private vehicles o mini-buses with AC according to the number of participants for all the itinerary. Are included in the tour the boat ride in cruise in Kumarakom and the Houseboat overnight cruise from Kumarakom.
The climate in Kerala is essentially tropical. Even though Kerala experiences pleasant weather throughout the year, October to March is considered to be the best time to visit Kerala. These months are usually the peak season. The monsoons (rainy season) arrive in June and continue till the end of September. Usually people used to avoid these months due to heavy rains, but visiting Kerala during monsoons is considered as an experience in itself. Monsoons are also an ideal time to go for Ayurvedic treatments. April and May are the hot months with a very high humidity, preceding monsoons; however May is a great occasion to visit Kerala because of its famous elephant festival of the Trissur Pooram!