INDIA & SRI LANKA EXPEDITION
Kerala is famed for its delightful people, tropical scenery, and delicious food. On our culinary and cultural journey we will be exposed to a diversity of experiences. We will dine on succulent coconut curries, seafood straight from the Malabar Coast, rotis and naan hot out of the tandoori oven, spiced vegetables, sweet lentil dishes, and an assortment of meats doused in delicious masalas.
Trip Summary: Sri Lanka & Southern India | 7 Days
Next Group Trip: Year Round
Group Size: Max 16 persons
Price From: $3200 per person
Dates & Prices:
All inclusive package including accommodation for all nights, in-country transport by private bus, train, or flight, lecture and instruction materials from our expert guides, all activities, and meals as listed on the itinerary. *International Airfare and Visa Fees are not included.
This Acanela Expedition © is the perfect fusion between comfort & adventure. Embark on this small group exploration and have hands-on encounters with local peoples and cultures, while experiencing all the historical & culinary highlights along the way.
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- Explore the colonial heritage city of Cochin, home to a fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic, and British influences
- Walk through the spice and tea plantations in the hills of Munnar
- See elephants & possibly tigers in the jungles of the Periyar Wildlife Reserve
- Relax on a traditional Keralan rice barge in the backwaters of Allepey
- Taste exotic fruits as we explore the beautiful palm-fringed beaches of Kerala .
ITINERARY | 7-10 DAYS
Day 1: Arrive in Kochi. Known as the “Gateway to Kerala”, Kochi is an enchanting city with influences from the Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese. We will adjust to the time change by having an introduction lesson to the culture, history, architecture, and cuisine of Southern India and the surrounding region of Kerala. Once we have settled in, we will take a walking tour of the charming city and visit the spice market, textile bazaars, and the fishing harbor. In the evening we will have the opportunity to have our first real, in-depth experience with Southern Indian culture and cuisine as we dine on authentic Keralan fare and the Malabar House followed by a traditional Kathakali Performance at the Cochin Cultural Center.
Day 2: We will start the day with a hearty breakfast of fresh fruits and spiced masala dosas – the famous south Indian rice crepes. You will also have the opportunity to participate in early morning yoga or try a traditional Ayurveda massage. Then, we're off to explore the city – we will set out first to the the Mattancherry spice market, followed by a visit to the antique furniture market, and a tour of some of the oldest synagogues and temples in India. You'll marvel at the fresh produce, talk with the spice merchants, and dine on traditional temple food in one of Kochi’s most famed and ancient temples. The southern coastal region of Kerala is renowned for its cuisine that incorporates Hindu, Christian, and Muslim cultural influences. Seafood, vegetables, and coconut feature heavily in the food, along with spices like cinnamon and ginger.
Day 3: Up early and ready to say goodbye to Kochi, we will depart on our private bus on a beautiful 3-hour journey through the cardamom hills and tea plantations of inner Kerala. Inner Kerala is blessed with the natural beauty of winding lands, misty hills, and forests full of exotic plants and wildlife. We will reach a the beautiful villa of Munnar in the early afternoon, and check into our hotel on one of the most beautiful tea & spice plantations in the region. Here we will take a tour and see tea being picked and processed, even having the opportunity to try tea straight from the gardens. On this mezmerizing estate we will have some time to relax, dine on authentic Keralan fare, and watch traditional music & dance.
Day 4: After a delicious breakfast we will head from the tea plantation to the Dewalokam Spice Plantation, hidden amongst the trees of the jungle. We will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the spice farm and learn about each of the spices, how they are grown, and how they are used in traditional Keralan Cuisine. The farm and forest gardens are managed using traditional organic farming methods. Plants and spices grown on the farm include – coconut, pineapple, bananas, different types of yam, tapioca, spices such as pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla and other tropical fruit trees and medicinal herbs. In the evening we will take a cooking class from one of the most famous Indian Chefs where you will learn about the use of spices in Southern Indian cuisine.
Day 5: From Munnar we will head to Kerala’s Periyar National Park -- one of the most beautiful national parks in India and one of the 27 tiger reserves throughout the country. The Periyar National Park is the oldest tiger reserve in all of India, and the park that inspired Rupert Kipling to write his children's story The Jungle Book. Periyar is known for its undulating hills, spice plantations, wildlife, and elephant spotting. During our time in Periyar we will have the opportunity to take a wildlife safari by boat. During our three hour jungle journey we will have the opportunity to watch birds, see beautiful butterflies and spot larger wildlife such as elephants and tigers. We will even have the opportunity to enjoy a magical elephant ride through the jungle. While our days will consist of exploring the beautiful nature around us, our evenings will be filled with delicious curries, aromatic spices, and hand-on cooking lessons.
Day 6: One of the most tranquil and relaxing things you can do in Kerala is to take a trip in a houseboat along the palm-fringed Kerala canals, known as the backwaters -- and the freshly cooked Indian food makes the experience even more enjoyable. Kerala’s famous backwaters are dotted with small villages where it feels like time has stood still. Visiting them is a very different way of experiencing the backwaters and the life that exists along them. This morning we will be picked up and taken for a houseboat cruise through Kerala’s backwaters, on a luxurious converted rice-barge. Reclining on cushions, you’ll travel through the rivers on a labyrinth of man-made canals that flow through island paddy fields. You will eat a meal with a local family and hear their stories. As we arrive in Kochi, we will check into our hotel one last time and enjoy a delicious parting dinner.
Day 7: Today we will enjoy our last delicious Indian meal (breakfast together) and enjoy a final walk through the beautiful seaside village of Kerala, after which we will depart to the airport where we will catch our flights home or extend our trip to Sri Lanka for another incredible adventure.
Optional 4-day Extension to Sri Lanka:
Days 7– 10 : Our 4-day extension to Sri Lanka will offer a wonderful mixture of tropical beaches, cool mountainous terrain, incredible wildlife, tea plantations, fabulous food and diverse cultures. From the thriving city of modern Colombo to the world Heritage Sigiryia rock, the sacred Dambulla caves to the cool tea plantations in the center, and finally the small fishing villages and towns along the southern coast, our journey will take us on a miraculous cultural and culinary journey. We will have the opportunity to take a Sri Lankan cooking class, hike deep into the spice jungles, visit ancient caves, play with elephants and an elephant orphanage, and learn about the culture and cuisine of remote tribe.