Unconditionally Kerala

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  • Hand-picked Tours & Activities

Secure Site

  • 14 Days
  • 710 Kms
  • Cochin International Airport
  • Cochin International Airport

Tour Intensity

Activity

Best Season

Tour Overview

If there is a place God calls as his own, we would describe it as lush, green, tropical, rich in natural diversity, culture and traditions. A paradise where time slows down so you can enjoy nature’s abundance, its intricacy and its virtue. Let’s adventure in God’s Own Country – Kerala; on a perfect fusion of the active outdoors, relaxation and cultural immersion. And that’s why we call this the “Unconditionally Kerala Multi-Sport Adventure”.

On this Unventured Kerala exploration, we’ve thrown in moderately active adventures as a half-day or full-day hikes, some days of biking, canoeing and wildlife safaris. We’ve thrown in a good measure of relaxation ayurvedic massages, lake cruises, pool time and beach time giving you time to unwind between the active schedule. For the curious traveller in you, we’ve got a host of experiences like cooking sessions, local village explorations, city walks, cultural show, shopping, historical monuments, rich stories and interactions with the locals & artisans. At Unventured, we believe that travel can be truly enriching when you come with an open mind and are keen to soak in the cultural and social contrasts of people and their way of life.

Come, join us on this adventure where the landscape around you reshapes itself from historical towns to exotic wildlife, to tranquil backwaters as we journey deep within the unknown of Kerala.

Who can do this tour?

Low – Medium Intensity: This 14-day drive based adventure that has a good mix of active adventures and soft experiential adventures. The activities are not intense but challenging, it’s not too fast and yet paced for you to get some time to unwind and relax. Best of all its truly local, authentic and very immersive experience. Ideal for people with an interest in exploring the diversity of Kerala at a slower pace, with some relaxation yet engaging in activities.

This tour will allow the travellers to soak in the local culture and heritage, its cuisine through experiential activities, interactions with local communities. It is a perfect combination of culture, nature, and activities combined with the exploration of local lives and cuisines.

Physically, this is not an intensive tour.

Itinerary

This uniquely active adventure of Kerala starts in the old port town of Fort Kochi. Famed for its many species of endemic birds, it is a bird watcher’s paradise. We then head North into the hills of Valparai and Munnar, synonymous for its tea plantations, forests that are home to some unique and endemic flora and fauna, beautiful hiking trails leading to breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. This is a nature lovers paradise and one of the best places for day hiking and trekking in southern India. Following our active adventures in the hills we keep to the hills and descend down to the forests and spice plantations surrounding Periyar national park to indulge in some plantation walks and a wild safari spotting elephants and other wild animals. We then kick-up our boots for a bit of tranquility and relaxation by the backwaters in Kumarakom and Alleppey. Short day biking through villages and farms, insights into local way of life, cooking sessions and other culturally immersive experiences keep us active and yearning for more. We’ll finally make our way back to a beach resort in Fort Kochi which will be our last place on this tour. This old port town is a treasure trove of local markets, art shops, rich history, local communities, cultural performances and stories of traders and colonisers. We’ll spend our last few days in the old port town learning about the people and their way of life and some shopping indulgence before heading back home.

Day 1 : Arrive at Cochin

Land in Cochin and meet your Unventured tour host who will take you on this unforgettable experience for the next 14 days. We drive to Fort Kochi, check-in to your accommodation for the day. Following some rest, you will be briefed about the upcoming tour in the evening. Spend the evening at leisure resting up or exploring the bylanes of Fort Kochi.

Drive Distance: 50 Kms (Airport to Fort Kochi)
Accommodation Type: Heritage Resort

Highlights:

● Meet and greet
● Tour briefing and planning
● Relaxed evening with local food

Day 2: Bird Watching in Thattekad Bird Sanctuary

Post breakfast we drive out of the city through the countryside to Thattekad. Post lunch we head out to for an afternoon bird-watching session. Thattekad is home to over 150 species of birds, some endemic to Southern India and several migratory birds too. A local naturalist guide will help spot, identify and share insights about the many birds in his region and their behaviour. Overnight stay in Thattekad.

Drive Distance: 74 Kms
Accommodation Type: Countryside Resort

Highlights:

● Bird watching session
● Drive through countryside
● Stay at a Countryside resort

DAY 3: Valparai: Tea plantations, Waterfalls and wildlife

We start the day early with another bird-watching session in the morning. We return back for some traditional Keralan breakfast, refresh and check out. We now head further up into the hills of Valparai, located near the border and a part of Tamil Nadu state. En route, we stop at Athirapally waterfalls and appreciate the largest waterfall in the state of Kerala. The drive to Valparai will take us through a dense jungle ascending up to the tea plantations in Valparai. Our stay for the night is an old plantation bungalow surrounded by tea estates. We spend the evening at leisure exploring the old colonial bungalow, and have interesting conversations with the Unventure tour host, learning about plantation life. Overnight stay in Valparai.

Drive Distance: 166 KMs (Thattekad to Valparai)
Accommodation Type: Plantation Bungalow

Highlights

● Early morning birding session
● Visit Athirapally Waterfalls
● Plantation bungalow stay

DAY 4: Hiking the Hills of Valparai

We wake up early to the view of the encapsulating tea plantations. Post a scrumptious breakfast we head out for a hike in the Shola forests. It’s a great opportunity to spot wildlife and birds, and also enjoy beautiful landscapes with unending views of forest patches and tea plantations. We enjoy a picnic lunch and continue our hike with breaks to see people plucking tea leaves and learn how this labour intensive commodity supports local communities. Overnight stay in Valparai.

Drive Distance: 15 -20 KMs
Accommodation Type: Plantation Bungalow

Highlights:

● Trek in the shola forests
● Picnic lunch
● Tea plucking and local communities

DAY 5 : Munnar - Mountains and Landscapes

We drive down the valley from Valparai through a beautiful forest patch past the monkeys by the road as we drive up to the Kannan Devan Hills, Munnar also referred to as the queen of hills in Southern India. Check in to your hotel for lunch prepared with locally sourced produce. Post lunch we head out for a visit to a local tea museum to have a first-hand experience of how to process “chai” from scratch, and also the many varieties of tea. Overnight stay in Munnar.

Drive Distance: 155 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Forest drive
● Tea factory visit

DAY 6 :Trekking in Munnar

Wake up to a sunrise in the mountains and begin our half day trek in Munnar. After a delicious breakfast, we go on a trek in the high grasslands of Munnar to beautiful viewpoints overlooking the tea plantations below. We’ll learn about the tribes and communities of this region with insights into the local way of life. Trek through dense forests to experience magnificent waterfalls hidden behind the mountain ranges. We’ll spend the evening relaxing and enjoying the comfort of our resort. Overnight stay in Munnar.

Drive Distance: 50 – 60 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Day trek
● View from vantage points

DAY 7 : Spice Plantations and Wildlife in Periyar

We start the day with a morning drive through one of the most scenic routes in Kerala as we leave behind our property in Munnar and head towards Periyar. With roads overlooking cardamom estates, and mountains we drive through forest roads and spice plantations. Check in to your plantation resort and post an afternoon siesta, we head out on a spice plantation walk learning about the spices, their method of processing and savoring some spices. You’ll have a deeper insight into spices on this trail. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Drive Distance: 95 KMs
Accommodation Type: Plantation resort

Highlights:

● Scenic drive from Munnar to Periyar
● A private spice plantation tour
● Stay at a plantation resort

DAY 8 : Kumarakom - Tranquil Backwaters and pool time

Wake up early morning to head for a wildlife safari through the world renowned Periyar National Park and wildlife sanctuary. The area is particularly famous for its mammals, exotic birds and flora. Post our adventurous safari, we head back to our hotel and drive towards the tranquil backwaters of Kumarakom lake for some much needed rest. Check-in to your hotel and spend the evening relaxing by the backwaters.
Overnight stay in Kumarakom.

Drive Distance: 120 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Early morning wildlife safari
● Drive to Kumarakom
● Relaxing by the backwaters

DAY 9 : Alleppey - Countryside Villages, Canoeing and traditional food

Today we will take a day cruise through the renowned backwaters of Vembanad lake on a luxurious houseboat. Sail along the longest lake in India as you enjoy a freshly cooked seafood lunch onboard while sipping on long drinks amidst the serene backwaters. We dock and check into a boutique homestay by the backwaters later in the day. We spend the evening relaxing on hammocks as boats go back and forth along the canals. Time permitting we’ll head out to a local toddy shop to try the local hooch along with a few lip smacking delicacies that are touted as the best local dishes of the region. Overnight stay in Alleppey.

Drive Distance: 35 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Day cruise on Vembanad lake
● indulge in local hooch and cuisines
● Stay at a heritage homestay by the backwaters

DAY 10 : Biking in Alleppey and a day of indulgence

Wake up to a sunrise canoe ride along the backwaters as you explore the quaint and tiny canals that lead to traditional Keralan homes. Post breakfast we spend the day exploring Alleppey’s countryside on bicycles. We’ll even head to the local market and pick fresh produce for your afternoon cooking session. We head back to the resort for a guided cooking session and delicious local lunch prepared by you! Post lunch, you can choose to indulge in an optional Ayurvedic spa session of your choice or choose to sit back and relax by the backwaters. Overnight stay in Alleppey.

Drive Distance: 10 -15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Sunrise canoe ride through backwater canals
● Authentic Keralan cooking session
● Optional Ayurvedic spa

DAY 11 : Mararikulam - Beach time and unwinding

After a relaxed start to the morning, we drive to Mararikulam beach . Check in to your luxurious property by the beach and spend the day at leisure, jump into the pool, take a spa massage or sunbathe by the beach. Overnight stay in Mararikulam.

Drive Distance: 15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Beach Resort

Highlights:

● Beach time and relaxation
● Stay at a luxurious beach resort

DAY 12 : Fort Kochi - Colonial Town, Markets and bazaars

Post a delicious breakfast, we bid adieu to the town of Mararikulam and start our drive towards the ancient town of Fort Kochi, passing through small fishing villages overlooking the Arabian sea. Check in to your hotel for a delicious traditional Keralan Lunch. Post lunch we explore the 16th Century Portuguese town of Mattancherry where your tour host will guide you on a visual journey of colonization, trade wars and the establishment of different foreign communities in Kerala. Overnight stay in Fort Kochi.

Drive Distance: 45 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Coastline drive
● Explore Mattancherry
● Stay at a heritage hotel

DAY 13 : Fort Kochi - Art performance and shopping

Dive into the history of Fort Kochi and relish in the colonial architecture while your tour host guides you through the historical and colonial influence this quaint seaside port town had to endure. Take a walk around the spice markets and explore the different foreign communities, mainly Dutch and Jewish, that still reside within the bylanes. Post lunch, your evening will be filled with authentic Indian folklore art and cultural experience where we will enjoy an enthralling performance of the Indian classical dance form Kathakali. If you wish to, you can attend a makeup session where you will witness the artists transforming themselves into magnificent dancers. Overnight stay in Fort Kochi.

Drive Distance: 10 -15 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

● Explore Fort Kochi and old spice markets
● Leisure time and shopping
● A Kathakali performance

DAY 14 : Homeward bound

Post breakfast, depending on your flight schedule we check out and will head toward Kochi International Airport for your onward flights. Some of you may be planning some further travel adventures in this beautiful land. Speak to us at Unventured about what other travels in South India could await you!

Drive Distance: 45 KMs (Fort Kochi to Cochin Airport)
Accommodation Type: NA

Tour Inclusions

Our “Unconditionally Kerala” tour is a blend of rich culture, traditions, colonial history, exotic wildlife, local cuisines and captivating views spread across some of the popular tourist destinations of Kerala. This is a truly offbeat and active adventure exploring Kerala, with a balanced combination of trekking in the hills, learning about local communities, biking in the countryside, walking tour of old colonial towns, trying traditional food, canoeing through the backwaters and enjoying rich cultural experiences. An end to end experience enjoyed in the company of like-minded travellers, without overwhelming yourself.

PREPAREDNESS – PHYSICAL & MENTAL

Unconditionally Kerala adventure is a good blend of food, active outdoors, nature, culture, history and real-world experiences of Kerala, giving you a unique insight into the local way of life. Information with regard to preparedness, safety, do’s and don’ts, currency and introductions to the region will be via detailed emails well before the tour begins. This tour is graded Medium Intensity.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in Heritage Hotels and Homestays with good, hygienic rooms, (with attached bathrooms) offered on a twin-sharing basis.

Transport: We will have a dedicated AC private vehicle at your service through the entire term of the tour. All transfers from the Airport to the hotel will be in comfortable cars or vans.

Inclusions

  • Internal transfers to the Airport and hotels
  • Accommodation on all days on twin share basis
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on all days (except the first and last day) First day- Lunch and Dinner, last day- Breakfast
  • Day long Houseboat experience in Alleppey
  • All entry fee to museums and places of interest
  • All guided walking tour experiences
  • Private AC vehicle for the Group/Individual through all days of the tour
  • Kathakali performance at the theatre in Fort Kochi
  • An English speaking NOLS Certified Unventured Guide

Exclusions

  • Flights to and from home destination
  • Meals those not mentioned in the Inclusion
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa Charges/Travel Insurance
  • Those not mentioned in the “Inclusions” section
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