Kerala is a paradise of greenery, rich forests, verdant rice paddies and palm-fringed beaches. Its capital, Thiruvananthapuram is renowned for its Padmanabhaswamy temple and Kovalam beach. The city of Kochi, one of the oldest natural harbors in India, is dotted with Portuguese churches, mosques, Hindu temples and Chinese fishing nets. A true haven of peace for nature lovers. Discovery of Kerala, green paradise and real breath of fresh air during a stay in India.
What to do in Kerala?
Walk in the backwaters
To best visit Kerala in India, a magical canoe or houseboat trip in the legendary backwaters is a must. The backwaters are a series of lagoons and lakes of water, set back from the Malabar coast and stretching almost the entire length of the Kerala coast. From Alappuzha, Kottayam or Kollam, it is easy to take a canoe and navigate its lagoons to get from one place to another.
Observe wild elephants
National parks are the best way to see wild elephants in Kerala. Wayanad National Park, in the heart of the fascinating mountains and spice plantations, in the north of the state is one of the most beautiful in the region, and the chances of seeing wild elephants are more than high. On board a jeep, the driver and the guide will show you all the underside of the forest, trying to spot all kinds of wild animals such as deer, monkeys, pheasants, cuckoos… and with a little luck, a herd of wild elephants. It will be necessary to be very discreet, not to disturb them or to get out of the vehicle. Sometimes it will be difficult for you to take a picture of them because some hide really well in the vegetation.
Relax on the beaches
In addition to the famous backwaters, national parks and tangy, delicately spiced cuisine for which it is famous, the Kerala coast offers azure seas and crescents of sand for absolute relaxation. For a moment of tranquility, lay your towel on the golden and deserted beaches of Kannur and walk under the palm and coconut trees: a real paradise straight out of a postcard. For those looking for an Ayurvedic cure, head for the beautiful beaches of Varkala, in southern Kerala. It is one of the only places in India where there is a cure center, thermal springs that fall from the cliffs onto the beach.
Visit the tea plantations
In Kerala, tea and spice plantations cover the Ghats mountains where wild elephants, exotic birds and some tigers live. The Munnar station located at 1,600 meters above sea level will allow you to enjoy a bit of freshness when it is too hot. On board a jeep, be sure to cross the tea plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see. In this magnificent painting of emerald green, the blue of the sky mingles, and here and there, a few touches of colorful saris.
Stay at Big Banana Island
For a relaxing and Ayurvedic stay, unpack your bags at Big Banana Island Retreat, a small, completely isolated retreat in North Paravu, north of Kochi. You will be welcomed there by Deepa, the young owner and his wife Géraldine who will make every effort to ensure that you have a relaxing time in contact with nature. In the program ? Ayurvedic treatments, traditional massages, yoga courses in the garden, bathing in the Periyar river and much more to allow you to find a harmony of body and mind.
Admire the spice plantations
A trip to Kerala is by no means complete without visiting the spice plantations. This requires traveling to Periyar, a national park renowned for the growth of spices and tea fields. Cinnamon, cloves, 5 spices, pepper… you will discover the plants and spices that have made India rich, without forgetting cardamom, a true Indian star, which will no longer have any secrets for you.
Places To Visit In Kerala
1. Backwaters in Kerala
The picturesque backwaters are iconic and unique to Kerala, and the incredible shots of the backwaters fringed with tall palm trees in rows seem too good to be true. The backwaters are truly the beauty of Kerala!
The boathouses on the backwaters of Alleppey or Allephuza as they are called by the locals need no introduction. Boat house tourism is one of the most requested tours in Kerala, especially among couples. Boathouses come in all budgets, and you can choose how you spend a vacation at sea. You can choose to stay in the dam in the middle of the waters and take walks to the islands and nearby places. You can also book through any resort, which will give you an overnight stay at the boathouse along with your stay at the resort itself. You can also include Yoga, Ayurveda and other services.
Due to their huge popularity, boathouses on houseboats sell out quickly during holidays and long weekends. Therefore, it is better to book them in advance during the high season.
The national level sailing event Nehru Trophy Boat Race is held on Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, for which the city is also famous. It occurs during the month of August of each year. Get ready because many people come to town to witness the race.
This place is located in the Kottayam region of Kerala, which is the heart of the Kerala backwaters. It is home to the Vembanad Lake, which is a beautiful freshwater lake surrounded by houses, palm trees and farms. It is a beautiful place to spend a night and a great destination for photographers.
Ashtamudi Lake in Kollam is a trading post for locals and a stunning place to explore for travelers. Beside Alleppey, you can opt for the longer cruise which lasts 8 hours to travel to Alleppey from Ashtamudi Lake. Is it something you wouldn’t expect in Kollam? Well, if this sounds like too much, opt for the boathouses and soak in the beauty of the calm waters while relishing the delicious Kerala food.
Kuttanad is surrounded by lakes, and the backwaters are a great place to spend some quiet time in the midst of nature. It’s definitely not as expensive or crowded as Alleppey, which means you could experience the backwaters better!
Kochi is known as the queen of the Arabian sea for its huge natural harbor and its backwaters that are rugged, teeming with fishermen and locals. This place has the busiest areas of the Kerala backwaters. You can opt for a local tour that takes you through harbor life, opt for the boathouses, or take day cruises. There is no shortage of options while in Kochi.
2. Rejuvenate with Ayurveda retreats in Kerala
Ayurveda is one of the main attractions in Kerala, which has been an important part of the culture and life of the place. Over the years, the Ayurveda retreat in Kerala has attracted many tourists, both local and international. From a few hours of therapy to specific and specialized Ayurvedic treatments lasting many days to workshops, there are many types of retreats spread across Kerala, giving you multiple options in choosing your destination and therapy.
3. Kerala Beaches
Kerala may not be the best beach destination in India, but thanks to a good stretch of coastline, the state is home to many luxury resorts and quiet getaways. Here are some of them.
Just 20 km from the capital Trivandrum, Kovalam is the most popular beach in Kerala. This small stretch of beach is a hit with foreign travelers, local youth, and backpackers for its lively atmosphere. The shoreline is lined with many upscale cafes, shops, and restaurants making it a good place to hang out. The waves are not very strong, and therefore they are perfect for families with children to enjoy some water activities. You can take a walk to the lighthouse to have a view of the Arabian sea and the coast.
A little further from Kovalam and about 50 km from Trivandrum is Kerala’s Varkala Beach, which is very popular with tourists. You can climb the cliff where most of the hotels, restaurants and cafes are located to have a breathtaking view of the birds on the seashore. Unlike Kovalam, it is less crowded and is mainly visited by the local population, although in recent days it is rapidly catching up with travelers.
Known for its splendid resorts, Kannur is rather an elite beach in Kerala. Surrounded by many glamorous resorts, it is the beach to go to if you are thinking of a private beach vacation. Combine this with Yoga, Ayurveda or a simple massage and you are sure to have a vacation to remember.
Where to sleep in Kerala?
Kerala has a plethora of accommodations. Guest houses, homestays or even luxury hotels, the choice is vast. Our preference goes to the Forte Kochi, a luxurious and historic establishment located at Princess Street in Kochi City. We particularly like its breathtaking architecture, with Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. The original building was erected by the Dutch in the 1860s. Absolute luxury? Lunch or dinner near the azure blue swimming pool, in the green courtyard of the hotel.
> Address: 1/373 Princess StFort Nagar, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India
When to go?
From January to February, the temperatures are mild, the rains have stopped and the beaches are calm. In addition, during this period, the Ernakulathappan Utsavam, a festival that includes elephant processions and performances of folk dance and traditional music in Kochi, takes place. If you are there in April, you will have the opportunity to attend the Kottayam and Kollam festivals and see Kathakali, a form of dance theatre. Finally, between the months of August and September, it is the end of the monsoon, therefore the good period for Ayurvedic treatments.