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Treasures of Kerala - 12 days/11 nights

Mumbai - Cochin –Munnar – Periyar – Kumarakom - Varkala

Begin and end in Mumbai or New Delhi, then delve deep into Kerala, the luscious and fascinating southern state of India.  Kerala is home to beautiful mountains, extensive inland waterways and sandy beaches. Immerse yourself in the surroundings by boating through Kerala’s backwaters and hiking in the national parks. Explore where tea, coffee, and exotic spices are grown in Kerala’s western ghats.  Enjoy the unique local cuisine and special dance form, Kathakali.

Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, drop-offs, and daily excursions. 
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.
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Trip Highlights

  • The highlights of Mumbai
  • Colonial Fort Cochin
  • Munnar’s tea plantations
  • Exotic wildlife in Periyar National Park
  • Houseboat cruise exploring the backwaters
  • Seaside town of Varkala


Day 1:  Arrive in Mumbai
Arrive in Mumbai, where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Mumbai. (Breakfast)

Day 2:  Mumbai
Start the day with an hour-long boat ride to Elephanta Island to visit the intricately carved Elephanta Caves that date back to the 8th century. Four rows of massive columns cut into the solid rock form three magnificent avenues that lead to a three-headed sculpture representing Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Return by boat to the mainland, then tour the sites of Mumbai including the Gateway of India, the Jain Temples, Chowpatty Beach, the Dhobi Ghat, and the bustling Crawford Market.. Overnight in Mumbai. (Breakfast)

Day 3:  Mumbai to Cochin
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your 2-hour flight to Cochin. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After checking in and breaking for lunch, tour old Fort Cochin. Over hundreds of years, traders and colonialists from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have left impressions of their cultures on this international port. Visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, the Church of St. Francis, the Bolghatty Palace & the famous Chinese fishing nets. During the evening, watch a local Kathakali dance performance and makeup demonstration. The word Kathakali means "story play." The dancers wear elaborate makeup and costumes and act out a story with hand and eye gestures. Overnight in Cochin.  Overnight in Cochin. (Breakfast)

Day 4:  Munnar 
Drive about 5 hours from Kochi to the former British hill station of Munnar, which has some of the world’s highest tea-growing estates. In the afternoon, you can tour the area including Echo Point and Kundala Lake set in the lush forest, or take a short hike from one of the local hill stations such as Devikulam or Attukad to nearby waterfalls.  Overnight in Munnar. (Breakfast)

Day 5:  Munnar
Begin the day with a 2 to 3 hour hike in Eravikulam National Park, known for the large variety of endangered animals and plant species.  Enjoy a picnic lunch during the hike.  Next tour the Tata Tea Museum to understand the history of plantations of South India and the tea making process.  End with a visit to the town’s bazaar filled with vegetable, spices and tea. Overnight in Munnar. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Days 6: Munnar to Periyar National Park
Drive 3 hours from Munnar to Periyar National Park along picturesque mountain roads. Periyar is set on an artificial lake created by a dam on Periyar River.  Here wild elephants, deer, black buck, and even tigers come to drink at the shores of the lake. After checking in to your hotel, take a spice farm tour where you can see how cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, other spices and medicinal plants are grown.  Visit a spice shop in the local town and spend time in the town, which has an interesting market before returning to your hotel. Overnight in Thekkady. (All meals).

Day 7:  Periyar National Park
Take a morning boat ride on the lake followed by a guided nature walk near the park.  The afternoon is free.  Enjoy a cooking demonstration at your hotel in the evening. Overnight in Thekkady. (All meals)

Day 8:  Periyar National Park to Kumarakom 
Drive about 3.5 hours to Kumarakom, stopping on the way to tour a rubber plantation.  Continue to Kumarakom, a beautiful backwater village on the shores of Vembanad Lake, criss-crossed with meandering waterways and ancient cottages.  Check in to your hotel and enjoy some free time.  Later this afternoon, a naturalist will join you for a visit to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.  Enjoy dinner at the hotel accompanied by a dance or music concert if presented that day. Overnight in Kumarakom. (All meals)

Day 9:  Backwater Cruise
After a leisurely morning at your hotel, board a traditional rice boat to travel through the scenic backwaters and lakes of Kerala. The boat is exclusively for your use.  Meals will be served with fresh produce from the local markets and cooked on board. Overnight on board the boat.  (All meals)

Day 10:  Varakala
After a backwater breakfast, disembark near Alleppey where your driver will be waiting.  Drive about 3 hours through the Kerala countryside to Varkala, a relaxing beach town and check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit the 800-year-old Janardhana Temple, the Portuguese church of Anjengo, and the English Fort constructed in 1695 A.D. by the East India Company.  Overnight in Varkala. (Breakfast)

Day 11:  Varkala
The day is free day to enjoy the beach and explore this seaside town on your own.  Overnight in Varkala. (Breakfast)

Day 12:  Varkala to Trivandrum for Departure
After breakfast, drive an hour and a half to the airport in Trivandrum where you will catch a flight back to Mumbai to connect to your onward flight. (Breakfast)

- End of Services -

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Kathakali Dance performance
  • Flights from

    • Mumbai to Cochin
    • Trivandrum to Mumbai

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • India visa application fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for drivers and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.

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