Backwaters of Kerala

Photo by Ana Schechter / iStock Photo

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South India Extension: The Malabar Coast

Cochin and a Cruise Along the Backwaters of Kerala

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $2395  
Length: 4 days
Arrive: Delhi, India
Depart: Chennai (Madras), Mumbai (Bombay), or Delhi, India
Lodging: 2 nights in a deluxe hotel, 1 night aboard private houseboat
Meals: Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Walking tours, river cruising, and cultural exploration

Visa Requirements

A visa is required for U.S. citizens visiting India. Your visa must be obtained prior to arrival.

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

Roam the narrow lanes of Cochin, set along the Arabian Sea and a favorite port of call in the spice trade for two thousand years. Then, in enchanting tropical Kerala, watch the pageant of traditional riverside life as you journey through tranquil waterways and overnight aboard a beautiful private houseboat (and enjoy the good life as your on-board chef serves you a selection of savory Keralan cuisine!).

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Delhi / Cochin

Morning transfer from your hotel to the Delhi airport for the flight to Cochin, an intriguing old city set along the Arabian Sea, and an important stop along the historic spice trade attracting a mix of Arab, Christian, and Jewish settlers and traders from the Middle East. In the afternoon, enjoy a walk through the old lanes of Fort Cochin, a quiet European enclave that still contains some fine old British mansions and a few Dutch cottages, and sunset on a harbor cruise...L

Day 2

Europeans arrived in Cochin in the early 15th century and were welcomed by the Rajas of Cochin who were keen to expand the spice trade. By 1800, Cochin was part of the British Madras Presidency. In your full day of guided explorations today (with lunch at a local restaurant), visit Mattancherry Palace, locally known as the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and given as a gift to the Rajas of Cochin, a synagogue, and the spice market, and walk along the Fort Cochin waterfront to see the traditional Chinese fishing nets and fishermen's stalls selling their fresh catch. In the evening, witness the Kathakali dance performance, the elaborate and ancient dance-drama native to Kerala, which is traditionally presented in temple courtyards...BL

Day 3
Kerala Backwaters Cruise

Head to the romantic port town of Alleppey (known now as Alappuzha), once one of the best known seaports of the Malabar Coast (1.5 hr drive). On arrival, board a private houseboat that is your overnight accommodation as well as your vehicle for a relaxing cruise through the tranquil “backwaters” of Kerala, a beautiful region sandwiched between the sea and the hills of Cochin. A journey through this quiet region reveals the picturesque rural life of Kerala people working their fields with water buffaloes, fishing with nets from traditional longboats, and washing their clothes at the water's edge. You may even see some school boats (no school buses here) transporting uniformed children. The natural setting ranges from brilliant green paddy fields to tropical canopies dense with banana trees and coconut palms. As you glide along the waters, you can catch a view through the trees of the small farms, homes, churches, and mosques that dot the canals and lakes. Lunch and dinner are on board, a selection of savory Keralan cuisine served by your on-board chef. Overnight on board…BLD

Day 4
Kerala Backwaters Cruise / Cochin Airport / Depart

After breakfast, disembark at Alleppey for the transfer to Cochin Airport. After lunch at the airport, depart on return flight to Delhi...BL

Extension Cost

Prices valid through September 30, 2016
$2395 per person, double occupancy
Solo Traveler: $3455
Single supplement: $1055 (for a single room in a group of 2 or more people)
Internal airfare: $795 (subject to change)

Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
more on pricing

Extension Cost Includes:

  • Services of local English-speaking guide
  • Accommodations
  • Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Activities as indicated and entrance fees for activities listed
  • Ground transportation and transfers as indicated

Extension Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare; hotel nights in Delhi or any other additional hotel nights that may be needed before or after your extension; airport departure taxes; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; gratuities to local guides, drivers, and transfer agents; pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations; visa fees (if applicable); travel insurance; any other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, sodas, laundry, etc.).

Brunton Boatyard

Brunton Boatyard

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Cochin, India

Set by the water's edge in Fort Cochin, the Brunton Boatyard is a 19th century shipyard that was converted into a charming 22-room hotel that ...
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Traditional Houseboat

Traditional Houseboat

Day 3 (1 night), Alleppey, India

The beautiful houseboats of Kerala, called kettuvallams, were once used to transport rice, spices, and other goods to the port of Cochin. ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.