This tour explores the stunning rich and verdant green landscape of Kerala. We experience charms of an old trading port; take a houseboat cruise on its backwaters; stay at a colonial hill station and hike through tea plantations with dramatic views; go elephant-spotting and spend relaxing downtime by the beach.
Best time to go
The itinerary begins with a two-night stay in Kochi with a sightseeing tour exploring its long heritage and some outstanding architecture. We then travel via the elephant sanctuary at Kodanad (where we can see elephants enjoying a swim) to Kothamangalam and further on to the hill station of Munnar. High in the forested Western Ghats we hike through tea plantations and enjoy some spectacular views before our visit to the spice-growing centre of Thekkady and to nearby Periyar National Park for a chance to see elephants and other wildlife.
We return to the coast for a memorable houseboat cruise through Kerala’s famous backwaters, a lush green water world of great beauty, before the tour concludes with a two-night stay at the enchanting seaside resort of Varkala.
Please note: You can use this itinerary as a guide to fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places visited, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have.
Arrival in Kochi. Arrive at Kochi international airport. After a traditional welcome ‘Swagat’ transfer to the hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore the city. Overnight Hotel
Sightseeing in Kochi. Today after breakfast visit Mattancherry Palace, Jewish Synagogue and St Francis church. In the evening make an optional visit to see a display of Kathakali dance. Overnight Hotel
Kochi – Kothamangalam via Kodanad (75 km/02 hrs.). Drive to Kothamangalam; en-route visiting Kodanad, home to an elephant rescue centre where one can see baby elephants being washed in Periyar River. An elephant ride can also be enjoyed here. Overnight Hotel
Kothamangalam – Munnar (80 km/2-3 hrs.). In the morning drive to Munnar, located in the Western Ghats, approximately 1,600 metres above sea level. Rest of day free in this famous and serene hill station. Overnight Hotel
Munnar Hiking Day. After an early breakfast drive to the tiny village of Nagarmudi from where the trek in the company of a local guide starts and goes over Seven Malai Hills. In the evening return to the hotel. Overnight Hotel
Munnar – Thekkady (110 km/4-5 hrs.). In the morning drive through beautiful lush countryside across the top of the hills to Thekkady close to Periyar National Park, one of India’s most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries. Visit spice garden in the afternoon. Rest of the day is free. Overnight Hotel
Thekkady (Periyar National Park). Take an early morning jungle walk in Periyar National Park to admire the abundant bird life including the gorgeous kingfishers, storks and hornbills before returning to the hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon take an optional boat trip on the Periyar Lake. Overnight Hotel
Thekkady – Alleppey (160 km/4-5 hrs.). After breakfast drive to Alleppey. Also known as Alappuzha, the town is a principal centre for backwater cruises in Kerala. Board houseboats and begin cruise. Overnight Houseboat
Alleppey – Backwaters (Gaaby World). After a relaxing breakfast on the houseboats disembark and drive along the scenic Malabar coast to Gaaby World, a community home-stay right in the heart of the picturesque Kuttanad district in the middle of backwaters. Enjoy various optional activities in the afternoon. Overnight Home-stay
Backwaters – Varkala (120 km/3-4 hrs.). In the morning we leave Backwaters behind and drive to Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet that lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. Overnight Hotel
Varkala. Today there is a free day to explore Varkala. Visit Papanasam Beach, Janardhana Swami Temple and Anjengo Fort, or relax on the beach. Overnight Hotel
Tour concludes. Today, after checking out from the hotel, transfer to international airport of Trivandrum for onward journey to respective destinations.
Flexibility Guaranteed! Using the above itinerary as a guide you can fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have. On receiving your enquiry we will respond with prices and work with you to create a truly personalised holiday experience that is in your budget and personal style.
Suitable for families with young children
Highest Point (Max altitude)
Fairly easy 5-6 hours of activity per day. May include some uphill sections, reasonable fitness recommended.
With a dedicated focus on active, experiential tours and exciting new destinations, ACTIVE INDIA specialises in active, outdoor adventures, cultural discovery and wildlife tours across India for families, small groups and independent travellers.
Enjoy complete flexibility in planning and booking your tours with Active India for a truly personalised India holiday that fits your budget and requirements.