Keralan backwaters, India.
Brand New!

The Ultimate Adventure in Kerala

9 nights
Easy

A magical adventure through mountains, tea plantations, tiger reserves, backwaters and dreamy coastline of India's stunning southern state

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

7 nights in boutique resorts and hotels, 1 night glamping and 1 night in a houseboat

Meals

9 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners

Transfers & Permits

All airport and local transfers, park permits and entry fees

Equipment

All of your cycling, kayaking and yoga equipment

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

Keralan backwaters, India.
Views over tea plantations and mountains in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India.
Kayaking on the Keralan Backwaters, India
Elephant bathing in the lake at Periyar National Park, Kerala, India.
Local on a traditional canoe in the Keralan Backwaters, India
Waterfall in Mamalakandam near Munnar, Kerala.
A Jungle Owlet at Thattekad, Kerala
Houseboat on the Keralan Backwaters, India

Spot elephants and tigers on a wild hike through the magnificent Periyar Tiger Reserve, guided by local tribespeople protecting the forest through tourism

Cycle through lowland tropical forests and hike through lush green tea plantations and dense cloud forests in the Western Ghats

Kayak and cruise through peaceful parts of the serene Keralan backwaters and spend a tranquil night sleeping on a classic houseboat

Stretch out with yoga sessions, taste sumptuous south Indian food, sip local teas and kick back on the beach by the glistening Arabian Sea

Key Information

Day 1

Welcome to Kerala

Famous fishing nets at Fort Kochi, Kerala, India.

Touch down in Cochin, the main gateway to Kerala, and meet your host at the airport. Transfer to Fort Kochi, the city's charming seaside quarter, where you can spend any spare time this afternoon strolling the quaint streets lined with chic cafés, shops, and the famous Chinese fishing nets and fish markets along the promenade. In the evening, meet your guides and fellow adventurers for a welcome dinner and a chat through the journey ahead.

Day 2

Cycle through rural Kerala

Cyclist in rural Kerala

Cycling

3-4hrs · 40km · 490m up · 270m down

Hiking

1hr · 3-4km · 55m up · 55m down

After an early breakfast and briefing, you will be transferred a little distance away from Kochi to avoid the morning city traffic and begin your cycling adventure. This is rural Kerala. You'll be heading down the narrow Canal Road towards the lowland forests at Thattekkad, enjoying some easy riding as you pass through villages surrounded by spice plantations and rice paddy fields. In the evening, take a walk around Thattekkad and its dense forests, home to nearly 300 species of birds, including the colourful Malabar Trogon, noisy woodpeckers, and boisterous Malabar Hornbills. Settle into your sumptuous glamping spot on the banks of the River Periyar with fabulous views of the lowland forests and the tranquil river scene.

Day 3

Into the hills of the Western Ghats

Cycling amidst tea plantations near Munnar, Kerala

Cycling

2hrs · 24km · 610m up · 95m down

Hiking

1hr · 3-4km · 45m up · 45m down

Driving

2.5hrs

Making the best of the cooler mornings in the lower part of Kerala, you'll set off on the saddle again through village roads along the banks of the Periyar River to the lowland forests at Urulanthanni. Stop at the Palaruvi waterfalls before a short transfer to Mamalakandam. There is another set of spectacular falls here in the middle of the forests that extend to the mountains of Munnar, which you'll take in before heading for a special visit to a local village community nestled in the forest. You'll have an unforgettable experience as you meet members of the community who are committed to maintaining their traditional lifestyles and a variety of ecologically sustainable practices. You'll enjoy a delicious traditional lunch using local ingredients and spices, with even the bamboo, which is ever-present in the forest, incorporated into the cooking methods. Bid farewell to your hosts from this memorable community and drive to the foothills of the Western Ghats to a beautifully located resort set amidst the lush green hills.

Day 4

Hike through tea plantations and forests

Views over tea plantations and mountains in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India.

Hiking

4-5hrs · 8km

Yoga

1hr

Waking up in this beautiful part of Kerala, enjoy breakfast and maybe a swim at your 5-star spot before heading to the Sivanmalay tea estate for a 4-hour hike through the tea plantations, foothills, and forests. Meet the tea pickers as they work their way up and down the rows of tea bushes, with the hills of Sivanmalay and Parvatimalay serving as a constant reminder of the local beliefs in the gods that these mountains have represented among the local tribal populations through the centuries. Elephant sightings during the hike are possible, especially during the migration from September through March, and even big cat sightings are possible in this part of Kerala. Tuck into a picnic lunch with an epic view of the Western Ghats before moving on to your next overnight spot, a highland farm resort set amidst a forest with cardamom plantations in the aptly named Cardamom Hills. Take an early evening hike along mountain trails to the top of the ridge for a spectacular view of the mountain ranges below. This is an ideal spot for a relaxing yoga experience while listening to the sounds of the forest. Later, gather around a campfire for a special barbecue laid on by your hosts from the farm resort.

Day 5

Hike the Western Ghat's cloud forests

Cloud forest view from top of the hill in the Western Ghats, Kerala.

Hiking

4hrs · 9kms · 440m up · 440m down

Driving

2hrs

Wake up in this lovely natural setting, tuck into breakfast, and head out for another amazing hike, this time through the heart of a cloud forest saved from destruction by local environmental activists in Kerala. Here, rare plants, endemic birds, and other mammals make this cloud forest their home, while elephants are common as they migrate through the forest paths all over the Western Ghats mountains. Watch out for rare birds and butterflies, and mammals like the Malabar giant squirrels or the Nilgiri langurs—primates playing in the canopy trees, surrounded by giant ferns and endemic flowers in this natural paradise. After a picnic lunch, continue your hike before bidding farewell to this part of the Western Ghats and heading to your next base on the fringes of the Periyar Tiger Reserve. After settling into the hotel, there is an option for a private Ayurveda massage or a stroll through the spice bazaar before dinner.

Day 6

Hike through the Periyar Tiger Reserve

Elephant family in Periyar national park walking near the forest India, Munnar

Hiking

7hrs · 14km · 200m up · 200m down

One of the few habitats remaining for wild tigers in India (and indeed, the world), Periyar National Park is part of Project Tiger, a wildlife conservation project designed to protect Royal Bengal Tigers from extinction. The park is also home to 65 different species of mammals, including herds of wild Asiatic elephants, sloth bears, Indian wild dogs, leopards, and Indian bison, plus over 330 species of birds, including the majestic Great Hornbill. Today you'll spend the day in the company of tribal trackers and local community members, beginning your journey through the narrow jungle tracks and moving deeper into the heart of the rainforest, looking out for signs of wildlife activity—the pug marks of the big cats, the claw marks on the trees, and the sights and sounds that come from being fully immersed in the national park. The trackers are part of the Forest Eco Development Team, conserving some of the densest forests in India as part of a programme that provides for their livelihood and serves as a healthy example of the positive influence tourism can have on forest protection. A full day hiking through this magical place in the company of its custodians is one of Asia's greatest wilderness experiences. Do note that tiger sightings are rare in the park, so come with low expectations on that front.

Day 7

Tranquil boat cruise on the backwaters

Houseboat on the Kerala Backwaters in South of India.

Driving

4hrs

Bidding farewell to the forested lands of Periyar, you'll transfer to the uniquely beautiful backwaters of Kerala, visiting a tea factory en route and sampling a cup of Kerala's quintessential export produced there. The drive down to Alleppey will give you unfiltered glimpses into life in Kerala, with contrasts of rural and urban, modern and traditional life merging beautifully in the landscape. As you near the backwaters in a region called Kuttanad, situated a few feet below sea level—the lowest in the country—you will see the scenery change to stretches of emerald green paddy fields. Upon reaching Alleppey, you'll board a comfortable kettuvalam—a traditional houseboat—to explore the famed interconnected network of rivers, canals, and lagoons known as the backwaters. Here, you will witness the vibrant rural life of the residents of Kuttanad, known as the Rice Bowl of India. Before roads reached the villages of this area, the rivers and canals connected the region to most major towns and cities, and kettuvalams were the primary means of travel for trade, weddings, and religious ceremonies. You will have a front-row seat to this must-see environment, enjoying the tranquillity and tucking into a traditional Keralan lunch served on banana leaves. You'll be heading away from the busy Alleppey area to a much quieter part of the backwaters for the majority of your time here. Stretch your legs with a light evening walk before spending a peaceful night aboard the houseboat docked at the shore.

Day 8

Kayak the backwaters and head for the beach

Kayaking the Kerala Backwaters in India

Kayaking

4hrs

Enjoy breakfast on deck as the day wakes up before hopping off the boat and into a kayak. Kayaking is arguably the best way to experience the backwaters, as you can manoeuvre the kayak through narrow canals and pull up close to the banks to chat with the friendly locals. You'll see children playing, residents doing their washing on the shore, and even encounter the fishmonger and grocer selling their wares from a small wooden canoe. Paddle past homes, schools, whitewashed churches, and woodwork temples nestled in the thick foliage of overhanging trees. Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the coconut groves before pushing on to the jetty at Kainakiri, where you'll hop out of the kayak and into the van, bidding farewell to the backwaters and heading straight for the beach on Kerala's coastline south of Cochin. Settle into your beach resort—home for the next two nights—and take a walk along the huge expanse of golden sand before dinner.

Day 9

Beach time at Marari

Golden sands along Marari Beach, Kerala, India.

On your last day of this adventure, chill amongst the sands of Marari Beach. The day is yours to do as you please—swim in the Arabian Sea, do some yoga on the beach, or treat yourself to a massage in the Ayurvedic spa at your beach resort.

Day 10

Until next time, Kerala

Sunset on the beach in Kerala, India.

Enjoy breakfast and some final beach time before bidding your host farewell as you are transferred to Cochin Airport in time for your onward flight.

Day 1

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Glamping · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Forest Villa · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5 – Day 6

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Houseboat · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Beach Cottage · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Beach Cottage · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Famous South Indian food Idli Vada, Medu Vada, dosa with Sambar, coconut chutney and tomato chutney.

Keralan food involves a variety of spices like pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves, among others, that grow abundantly in Kerala and are used together with coconut to create sublime dishes. Rice is the staple and is used in many forms you wouldn't expect, such as puttu (steamed funnel cakes). Parotta, a flaky layered flatbread, and kappa or tapioca also hold a special place in the heart of Keralans. Many meals are traditionally served on a banana leaf, with the hot food on the leaf releasing another layer of flavours. Expect a wide range of seasonal vegetables like gourds, leafy greens, and lentils, all of which are native to the land. Coconut naturally finds its way into almost every single dish in Keralan cuisine. While many meals will be vegan by nature, there will also be beef, pork, and seafood dishes on the menus. Kuttanadan duck is another speciality of the region.

Vegetarian and vegan food is available throughout the trip, and most dietary requirements can be catered for. Gluten-free diets can be catered for but are not always well understood in this region. Please let your host know in advance on your passenger information form.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel Killians in Kerala, India
Cochin

Your first night of the trip is spent at The Killians, a boutique hotel located in Fort Cochin. Named after Saint Killian, an Irish saint, the hotel boasts lovely architecture with a blend of Portuguese, Dutch, and Indian influences. You'll stay in a twin-share room with an ensuite bathroom.

Glamping on a riverbank

A dreamy night awaits on your first foray into rural Kerala. After cycling to the banks of the Periyar River, you'll bunk down in a luxury glamping spot called Amritara Riverside Luxury Tents. This beautiful collection of 17 elegant, spacious, and air-conditioned tents is in a fantastic location right on the riverside, surrounded by forest.

Outskirts of Munnar

You'll stay one night at The Leaf to kick off your explorations of the Western Ghats and the tea plantations near the hill station of Munnar. Munnar itself is well-known and gets very busy, so we've opted for this beautiful 5-star resort for a touch of luxury away from central Munnar and into the quieter corners of this part of Kerala. The Leaf is nestled in rolling green hills with lovely views and an infinity pool to soak away in. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with an ensuite bathroom.

Gazelle Villa Resort, Kerala.
Cardamom Hills

Further into a quiet corner of the Western Ghats, in a beautiful spot hidden in a dense forested area, Gazelle Villa Resort is surrounded by abundant nature and birdlife. You'll stay one night here in a quaint twin-share villa with an ensuite bathroom. There is a magical swimming pool surrounded by forest.

Periyar National Park

You'll spend 2 nights on the edge of Periyar National Park & Tiger Reserve at Cardamom County. This lovely hotel is surrounded by lush greenery, with an organic garden and an Ayurvedic massage centre, making for a tranquil stay on either side of your trekking exploits in the national park. You'll stay in a twin-share room with an ensuite bathroom.

Houseboat on the backwaters

A quintessential experience awaits in the backwaters, with an overnight stay on a luxury houseboat. The traditional name for the boat is a kettuvallam, or 'boat with knots'—so called because the entire boat is held together with coir knots; not a single nail is used during the construction. The kettuvallams have been converted into houseboats using only natural materials and feature all the comforts of a good hotel: furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen, and a balcony overlooking the backwaters. You'll stay in a twin-share cabin with an en-suite bathroom.

Marari Beach

Your final two nights of the trip give you the chance to unwind at Abad Turtle Beach Resort in the Keralan fishing village of Mararikulam, just off the stunning white sand beach. You'll stay in twin-share cottage rooms and villas with elegant white-and-wood decor and ensuite bathrooms. There's an Ayurvedic spa, yoga area, and organic garden for you to enjoy during your downtime.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price and request this at the time of booking.

This trip has been rated as Easy

No previous experience is needed for any of the activities, only an average level of fitness and a sense of adventure. Although the itinerary is quite busy to make the most of the time in Kerala, all activities will be conducted at a leisurely pace and are not particularly challenging. A brief introductory training and safety briefing will be provided for the kayaking excursion, making it suitable for first-timers. Cycling on days 2 and 3 is easy-going with stops and flat terrain throughout. The hiking in the Western Ghats is a little more exertive, with some elevation gain of about 400 metres to get through. As long as you are comfortable hiking for up to 4 hours, sometimes in hot weather, you'll be fine.

What if i need to skip an activity?

Skipping an activity is doable throughout this trip. You can speak to your host who will arrange this - however you are on the go for most of the trip, so it won't always be possible to skip the activity and relax at the accommodation as you will sometimes already have checked out before heading to the next activity location.

What will I need to carry?

Your larger bag, suitable for all your belongings, will be transported for you. You will only need a small rucksack to carry personal items during each day of activity.

Kerala's weather and climate can be divided into three seasons:

  • Winter: November to February
  • Summer: March to the end of May
  • Monsoon season: End of May to mid-November

Winter is generally the best time to visit Kerala, with comfortable temperatures, pleasant weather, and lower humidity. Expect temperatures between 22°C (71°F) and 30°C (86°F). However, in the higher altitude areas of the Western Ghats, temperatures will be much cooler, ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). In the summer months of April and May, these higher altitude areas become a great place to avoid the heat, as temperatures remain in the late teens at the hill stations while they rise in lower areas. We don't run trips between June and September during the monsoon season.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Cochin International Airport (COK)

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Cochin International Airport (COK)

08:30 on Day 10

Transfers

Your host will meet you on arrival at the international airport in Cochin and transfer you to your accommodation in Fort Kochi. Three scheduled transfers from the airport are included on Day 1 - your host will let you know your allocated pick-up time (provided you have supplied your flight details in advance). If you arrive on a very early flight you may wish to book an extra night's accommodation before the tour, as check-in may not be available until 13:00 on Day 1.

On the morning of the last day of your trip, your host will transfer you from your accommodation in Marari back to the airport in Cochin in time for your flight home.

Airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 10. If you wish to arrive before the trip start date or stay longer at the end, your host can arrange private airport transfers and pre/post-trip accommodation. See Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

There are direct and indirect flight options to Cochin from the UK, with indirect options transiting in Delhi, Mumbai, Dubai or Bahrain depending on your carrier. Travelling from various US origin points, your journey will usually transit in Delhi, Mumbai or Dubai in each direction en route to Cochin.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Kayaks & safety vests
  • Hardtail bike and helmet
  • Yoga mats and blocks

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • You can bring any kind of case or backpack for your main luggage
  • Daypack (20-30 litres) for personal belongings on hikes etc.
  • Waterproof cover/liner for daypack
  • Small drybag to take on the kayak for phone/camera and wallet etc.

CLOTHES

  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Light waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar for cooler evenings in Munnar
  • Buff or neckscarf for sun protection
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear (for the beach at Marari & swimming pools at accommodations)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots or shoes (worn-in)
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • 1/2 x 1-litre reusable water bottles
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single room in Cochin

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Cochin

Per Night

Twin/Double room in Cochin

Payable Before Departure

Twin/Double room in Cochin

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private airport transfer - each way

Payable Before Departure

Private airport transfer - each way

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 319kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Your host is an expert in all things Kerala, specialising in the region and running trips there for over two decades. If weather or other factors affect the ability to visit a specific place or conduct a particular activity, your host will have plenty of alternative options.

As well as the general risks of adventure travel (e.g. transport, accommodation, and medical standards being different from home, as well as the risks involved in the adventurous activities themselves), we have identified the following trip-specific risks you should also be aware of. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the details of the itinerary to ensure you are happy with the level of risk involved in the trip. If you have any questions, please get in touch!

Wildlife Factors to Consider

This trip visits locations where wild animals are present in a natural environment, where protections and controls on their movement may be limited or non-existent. Some wild animals may be predatory, poisonous, venomous, or otherwise considered dangerous in a close encounter. Wild animals, by their nature, are unpredictable, and visitors in their habitat should follow the safety instructions given by their local guide(s) and/or any signage present. It is a privilege to see wild animals in a natural environment, and this experience should be conducted respectfully at all times.

Climate Factors to Consider

This trip visits locations where daytime temperatures can be extremely high during the times of year when this trip operates. High humidity and limited access to shade can also be factors, and warm temperatures can continue into the night, further influencing the body’s ability to cool down. Personal care should be taken to keep cool as best as possible in these conditions, such as wearing appropriate clothing and maintaining proper hydration. Very high temperatures can impair an individual’s physical abilities to perform activities that they may otherwise be able to do competently in cooler temperatures. People may experience symptoms associated with dehydration and heat stroke. Your guide(s) are trained to mitigate the risks associated with high temperatures by carefully managing the intensity of the activity and providing the appropriate support response should someone feel ill during the trip. Should you experience health issues during your trip, you should inform your guide immediately so the proper care can be provided.

There is one main guide for groups of up to 10 people, and an additional guide for groups of 11-14 people. During the hikes in the Western Ghats, an additional guide joins the group for some local expertise. For the day trek at Periyar Tiger Reserve, a local community guide leads the way. For the kayaking day in the backwaters, an additional kayaking guide joins the group.

This trip starts and ends at different hotels in different parts of Kerala, so it's not viable to leave luggage in Kochi at the start of your trip. The same vehicle is used throughout the adventure, so you are free to leave additional luggage securely in the vehicle for the duration of your adventure through Kerala.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Filtered water is available at most of the hotels you stay at on this trip, allowing you to fill up your refillable bottle and bike bottle each day. Additionally, your tour leader and driver will carry a large container of purified water for the group to refill their bottles from.

Tipping is part of the culture in India. Your guide will offer to run a tipping kitty whereby everyone contributes an equal amount, and they then take care of tipping on behalf of the group. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassle of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. The tipping kitty will cover tips for drivers, any additional local guides, and hotel staff (excluding restaurant tips). Your guide will keep a running record of all monies spent, which you can ask to see at any time. Participation in this kitty is at your discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. For this trip, the kitty will be in the region of INR 4,000 per person (for 10 days). Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your main guide.

Tipping Your Main Guide

If you have received excellent service and wish to tip your guide, the amount is entirely a personal preference, and you are free to tip any amount you feel is appropriate. As a rough guideline, your host recommends INR 5,000 - 5,500 per person (for 10 days), but you may decide to tip more or less as you see fit. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

You'll be using sit-on-top kayaks. These are very stable and easy to paddle for everyone, from new paddlers through to experienced paddlers. Sit-on-top kayaks can be used on the sea, estuaries, rivers, lakes and canals. Your host has a mixture of single and double kayaks for use, depending on the group size and individual preference. It's more than likely that you'll be able to have a go at both during the trip.

The sit-on-top kayaks are made from a plastic and polystyrene composite, are designed for two persons, and have an average weight limit of 170kg.

You'll be riding a hardtail mountain bike, with front suspension ideal for the tarmac and light dirt roads that you'll be cycling on. While the quality of the roads in Kerala are a decent standard compared with other parts of India, having front suspension will still be required compared with a rigid front fork on a classic road bike. Your host will provide helmets, however if you prefer to use your own please bring it with you.

Houseboats in the Kerala backwaters have a mixed history regarding their impact on the environment. In short, some are excellent, but others leave a lot to be desired. Therefore, we have carefully selected a boat and crew with a strong approach to sustainability. The Marvel houseboat is certified 'Golden Category' by the Department of Tourism in Kerala, using solar power for all the electrics on board and bio-septic plumbing to ensure non-toxic and non-harmful waste disposal. They have their own sewage plant, so waste is treated properly rather than being dumped in the backwaters. Since 2022, the crew have moved away from using bottled water and instead use a large water dispenser to reduce their single-use plastic footprint. The houseboat only moves through the canals, lakes, and rivers up until 17:00, after which time it is anchored in a safe lake area. From 17:00 to 06:00 is when local people go fishing in their small boats, so any noise will disturb their fishing activity, which is their livelihood. The crew are all locals of Kuttanad in Alleppey, whose families depend on the backwaters—this gives the staff the ultimate incentive to protect this area.

Tiger sightings are less common compared to elephant sightings in Periyar, so there is a chance that you won't spot a tiger. There are an estimated 40 Bengal tigers in the park, living in the dense forests with abundant prey species. The sanctuary provides a suitable habitat for these apex predators. This is a true wilderness area and offers a magical experience regardless of tiger sightings, so keep your expectations in check. However, if you are lucky enough to spot a tiger, it will be a memory of a lifetime.

The Periyar forest programmes, such as the full-day hike you'll be doing on this trip, are tightly controlled and managed to benefit the ecology of the national park. A coalition of local communities, tribal populations, and ex-poachers manage tourism in the park in conjunction with the national park authority. Income from running the guided hikes goes directly to these local communities and tribal members, who are employed as guides and naturalists. This is a highly acclaimed, award-winning eco-tourism initiative. The Eco Development Committee (EDC) at Periyar has established the tourist carrying capacity of the tiger reserve using scientific tools, so there are strict rules for full-day hikes—only six persons per group and a maximum of four groups. This controls the number of people in the forest at any one time, which also benefits the overall experience with very good sightings of birds and mammals. Our groups will be staggered according to the maximum group sizes in Periyar.

This trip visits locations where wild animals are present in a natural environment, where protections and controls on their movement may be limited or non-existent. Some wild animals may be predatory in nature, poisonous, venomous or otherwise can be considered dangerous in a close encounter. Wild animals by their nature are unpredictable and visitors into their habit should follow the safety instructions given by their local guide(s) and/or any signage present. It is a privilege to see wild animals in a natural environment and an experience that should be respectfully conducted at all times.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. Read more information about the local teams we partner with.

Private trip

Got questions? We've got answers

Our friendly and expert team is on hand to help you choose one of our adventures. So if you want answers to questions like "Who else is going?" or anything else about this trip – please get in touch.

We've got your back

Guaranteed to run

All our trips are now guaranteed to run. Once you’ve booked your spot you can immediately make your travel arrangements, no uncertainty, no hanging about (excludes 'request to book' departures). Full details

Flexible payments

Secure your spot with the minimum deposit and pay off the remaining balance in as many instalments as you like, with no interest or fees. Full details

Happiness Guarantee

We’re so confident you’ll have an amazing time we’ll put our money on it. Full details

Full financial protection

To give you complete peace of mind we’re backed by ABTOT, ABTA and ATOL memberships. Full details

Tried & Trusted

We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with over 900 verified trip reviews averaging 4.8/5.

Connect before you go

You'll be invited to join a WhatsApp group to get to know each other before your big adventure together. Full details

DEPARTURE DATES

February 2025

Saturday • 22nd February 2025

to Monday • 3rd March 2025
Guaranteed to run
New Trip Offer - Next 2 spots available at 10% off
Private trip

Go private and split the bill with ease.

Forget complex logistics, we've taken care of all the details to ensure a hassle-free get together. All of the adventure, none of the faff.

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