The Essence of Kerala Tour

11 Day – Private tour with air-conditioned car and driver
From £1145 low season & £1395 high season
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

The Essence of Kerala Tour is an 11 day private tour showcasing the must see highlights of Kerala. Your Kerala tour starts from the colonial port city of Cochin exploring the heritage quarters of Fort Cochin & Mattancherry, then heads inland to discover the tea plantations in mountainous Munnar and Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, before heading back towards the coast for the palm-fringed Kerala backwaters and the inviting Kovalam beach.

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you. If you would like we can also arrange your flights for a fully ATOL protected holiday. Contact the team for more information on 01792 315499 or email info@aitholidays.com

Highlights of the Essence of Kerala Tour

Private House Boat, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
  • Cochin sunset cruise
  • Sightseeing tour of Cochin
  • Kathakali dance performance
  • Western Ghats stunning mountain scenery
  • Munnar tea plantation walk and tea museum visit
  • Trek in Periyar National Park
  • Lake Periyar bamboo rafting
  • Sunset cruise on Vembanad Lake
  • Overnight Kerala Backwaters stay on a private houseboat
  • Day of leisure on Kovalam Beach

Essence of Kerala Tour Itinerary

Essence of Kerala Tour

Upon arrival at Cochin International Airport, you’ll be welcomed by your Authentic India Tours representatives who will transfer you to your hotel, located in the city’s historic district, Fort Cochin.

The port city of Cochin (also known as Kochi) offers a captivating mix of cultures and is a wonderful place to explore.

In the evening, enjoy a boat trip past Cochin’s island shores. As the sun sets, you’ll see the famous cantilevered fishing nets. It’s fascinating to watch the fishermen skilfully dip the hammock-like nets into the water, silhouetted against the orange and pink sky.

Accommodation: Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin

 

Today, you get to explore Cochin, a melting pot of cultures, religions and nationalities. You’ll see St Francis Church, which is the oldest European church in India, as well as the lavish 16th century Jewish Synagogue. Then you can explore the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace due to its colonial influences. It also houses colourfully painted murals depicting the ancient Indian poem Ramayana.

The afternoon is at leisure, so you may wish to wander around the quaint cobbled streets which house a number of interesting antique shops.

This evening it’s time to experience a traditional Kathakali performance, a Kerala classical dance famed for its colourful costumes and athletic movements.

Accommodation: Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin
Meals included: Breakfast

The second destination on your Kerala tour is Munnar, a hill station perched high in the Western Ghats mountain range. Its cool, refreshing climate made it a popular summer retreat for colonial settlers generations ago. On the drive to Munnar you’ll be surrounded by a carpet of greenery with emerald green tea plantations and sandalwood forests, while the aromatic spice plantations gently infuse the air with the scent of cinnamon and cardamom.

This evening, either stay at the Ambady Estate where you can take a stroll around the plantation and learn about the history, cultivation and processing of the spices or stay at the modern Fragrant Nature Hotel which offers stunning views over the neighbouring countryside.

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 – 5 hours, 150 kms
Accommodation: Ambady Estate or Fragrant Nature Hotel, Munnar
Meals included: Breakfast

Today be prepared for stunning views and scenery. In the morning you can enjoy a Lockhart tea trail experience. Lockhart tea estate is situated 8 kms from Munnar town and will take about 30 minutes to reach

Depending  on what you choose, you can take part in walks lasting from 30 minutes to 4 hours. As you explore this area, you’ll be rewarded by breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. There may also be an opportunity to interact with the ladies picking tea leaves.

A scenic drive or a visit to Munnar and its busy market can easily be arranged if you prefer.

Later you can visit a tea museum and tea factory, where you’ll gain a fascinating insight into the region’s tea production, from crop-picking to flavour adjustment.

Accommodation: Ambady Estate or Fragrant Nature Hotel, Munnar
Meals included: Breakfast

This morning your Kerala tour takes you to Periyar National Park, home to one of India’s best kept wildlife sanctuaries. As you are driven down winding mountain roads, you’ll be greeted with the sight of undulating emerald tea plantations and misty forests.

This afternoon there’s time to explore the spice town of Periyar or relax by the pool at your hotel. Then, in the evening learn more about the spices grown in this region with a fascinating visit to a local spice garden. For the animal lovers among you, there is also an optional visit to see elephants.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours, 92 kms
Accommodation: Cardamom County, Periyar
Meals included: Breakfast

If you are interested in heritage you may wish to add an extra night to visit Madurai. It takes approximately 4 hrs from Munnar to Madurai and from Madurai to Periyar the following day but you will experience the contrasting state of Tamil Nadu, amazing scenery and the ancient monuments of Madurai.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places in South India to spot wildlife, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of elephants, Sambar deer and Indian bison.

Its an early start to head to Lake Periyar, where you can try bamboo rafting and have a go navigating a raft. Then grab your binoculars and camera and spend time in the Reserve where the’re is an abundance of wildlife to discover.

There will be time this afternoon to discover the local town or hotel facilities, and then in the evening perhaps try the local cuisine in the hotel or take part in one of the hotel activities.

Accommodation: Cardamom County, Periyar
Meals included: Breakfast

Today you leave the biodiverse mountain region of the Western Ghats and travel towards the picturesque village of Kumarakom, located on the South Eastern shore of Vembanad Lake.

Kumarakom is an oasis of calm, hidden in the Kerala backwaters, a network of canals, lakes and coconut groves. The calm waters, verdant surroundings and abundant wildlife makes it the perfect spot to unwind. In the evening you can enjoy a range of (free) activities organised by the hotel including a sunset cruise on Vembanad Lake, where you will see birds gliding across the calm surface of the lake.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 hours 30 mins, 125 kms
Accommodation: Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom
Meals included: Breakfast

Spend a laid back morning going on a gentle stroll around the lake, relaxing by the pool, or indulging in any of the other activities that your hotel has to offer, such as yoga classes or bird watching.

After that it’s time for a once in a lifetime experience – an overnight stay on a luxury houseboat. You’ll board your private houseboat from the hotel’s jetty, then just sit back and relax as an expert driver navigates you across Vembanad Lake and down the narrow canals of the backwaters. As you drift along the water, keep an eye out for electric-blue kingfishers, snake birds and herons and take in glimpses of village life on the backwaters.

An on-board cook will cater for your every need, serving up Keralan delicacies, dishes infused with spices, aromatic curry leaves and fresh coconut. You’ll be lulled to sleep by the sound of the water and the gentle rocking of the boat.

Approximate travel time and distance: 1 hours, 38 kms
Accommodation: Private Houseboat, Alleppey
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning the cruise continues to Alleppey, known as the ‘Venice of the East’ due to its network of narrow canals. After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll disembark from your houseboat at Alleppey Boat Jetty where you’ll be met by your driver and continue on to Kovalam, the last stop in your Kerala tour.

It normally takes about 4-5 hours to travel to Kovalam. If you prefer we can arrange accommodation at Marari beach and the transfer is less than an hour.

At Kovalam for two nights you’ll be staying at the Travancore Heritage, a superior beach resort with stunning views overlooking the Arabian Sea. Alternatively at Marari Beach we recommend the Marari Beach Resort or the Xandari Pearl Hotel

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 – 5 hours, 180 kms
Accommodation: Travancore Heritage, Kovalam
Meals included: Breakfast

 

The last couple of days of your Kerala adventure gives you the opportunity to while away sun kissed hours on the beach, interspersed with refreshing dips in the ocean.

The hotel’s Ayurvedic centre offers relaxation therapies and massages to help you completely unwind before the journey home.

There will also be time to indulge in some retail therapy. Visit Kovalam town to search the shops for some Indian handicrafts, unique jewellery or colourful clothes. And why not end the day at one of the restaurants overlooking the sea, sampling the freshly caught fish of the day.

Accommodation: Travancore Heritage, Kovalam
Meals included: Breakfast

On the last day of your Essence of Kerala Tour, you will be collected by your Authentic India Tours driver, who will transfer you to Trivandrum International Airport for your return flight.

Approximate travel time and distance: 30 minutes, 20 kms
Meals included: Breakfast

If you wish to return from Cochin International Airport this is a longer transfer of about 6 hours which can easily be arranged. Alterntively you can take an internal flight.

Sights to enjoy on the Essence of Kerala Tour

Chinese Fishing Nets, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Jewish Synagogue, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Street Vendor, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Shopping in Jew Street, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Kathakali Performance, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Dhobi Khana, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Fishing Boats, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica Church, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala
Tea Plantation Workers, Munnar, Kerala
Tea plantations, Munnar, Kerala
Stunning Western Ghats, Munnar, Kerala
Cardamon Selection, Periyar, Kerala
Periyar National Park, Periyar, Kerala
Bamboo Rafting, Periyar National Park, Periyar, Kerala
Cardamom Plantation Worker, Periyar, Kerala
Evening Chai on Boat, Kumarakom, Kerala
Woman Transporting Water, Kumarakom, Kerala
Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala
Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala
House Boat, Kumarakom, Kerala
Private House Boat, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
Tranquil Backwaters, Kumarakom, Kerala
Village Life, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala
Fishermen, Kovalam, Kerala
Kovalam Beach, Kovalam, Kerala

Chinese Fishing Nets, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Jewish Synagogue, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Street Vendor, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Shopping in Jew Street, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Kathakali Performance, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Dhobi Khana, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Fishing Boats, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Santa Cruz Basilica Church, Cochin (Kochi), Kerala

Tea Plantation Workers, Munnar, Kerala

Tea plantations, Munnar, Kerala

Stunning Western Ghats, Munnar, Kerala

Cardamon Selection, Periyar, Kerala

Periyar National Park, Kerala

Bamboo Rafting, Periyar National Park, Kerala

Cardamom Plantation Worker, Periyar, Kerala

Evening Chai, Kumarakom, Kerala

Woman Transporting Water, Kumarakom, Kerala

Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala

Serene Lake Vernadamen, Kumarakom, Kerala

Ayurveda Medicines, Kumarakom

House Boat, Kumarakom, Kerala

Private House Boat, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala

Tranquil Backwaters, Kumarakom, Kerala

Village Life, Kerala Backwaters, Kerala

Fishermen, Kovalam, Kerala

Kovalam Beach, Kovalam, Kerala

Places on the Essence of Kerala Tour

Pricing and Inclusions

The price guide for this 11 day Kerala tour is

  • £1145 in low season (May – September inclusive)
  • £1395 in high season (October – April inclusive)

The prices do not include flights.

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. Prices will vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more. Some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times which is normally from mid December to mid January.

Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with your personal itinerary and accurate quote.

Included within this Kerala tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All internal transfers and sightseeing tours using an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Accommodation for 10 nights on twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Houseboat on full board; Bed & Breakfast elsewhere
  • Sunset cruise by private motorboat along the Cochin harbour
  • Tickets for Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • English speaking guide for sightseeing tour of Cochin
  • Guided day trek in Letchmi Hills, Munnar
  • Spice plantation tour in Periyar
  • Tickets for boating on Lake Periyar
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

Price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance and visa
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this Kerala tour is just an example to help inspire you.

This tour can be combined with a range of options such as a stay in Marari Beach, a tour of the Golden Triangle or a visit to some of the World Heritage Sites in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. For more information please email info@aitholidays.com or call our India specialists on 01792 315499.

ABTA and ATOL Protected Kerala Tour Package

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.