Get a taste of the Indian tropics on a compact seven-day trip to India’s southwestern coast. Stroll Kerala’s beaches, paddle a canoe through its backwaters along quiet canals, explore southern palaces, and savor some of the country’s most incredible flavors. Venture into a part of India that’s truly off the beaten path amid the cool, luxuriant greens of this tropical paradise.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.
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)
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)
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. (1B, 1L, 1D)
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 Vypin Island. Opt to visit a spa or go for a bike ride. (2B)
Depart any time. (1B)
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