By using homestays and small guesthouses on this tour, you are supporting the host families, their staff and the local community. With small numbers of individuals staying in small properties the impact on the environment is reduced, as waste, lighting etc will be minimal. This tour includes a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is a protected area, is committed to conserving the numbers of tigers and elephants within the reserve and practices community based ecotourism.
Dewalokam Farm Retreat is a homestay with guest accommodation adjacent to the family home. The delightful family (including the two children) are very much involved in making you feel welcome in their home. Dewalokam is a working farm, growing tropical fruits and spices as well as Ayurvedic herbs for its Ayurveda centre. Guests are encouraged to go on nature treks in the surrounding forest or along the adjacent river. This is a great start to this holiday as it is not far from Cochin Airport and gives guests a certain amount of independence / privacy when you may still be getting over the jet lag. There is a small swimming pool using fresh water and no chemicals.
Royal Mist this friendly and popular guesthouse is situated just outside the town of Munnar and walking in the area is a popular activity. There are three guest rooms with great views on the top floor of this family home.
Pepper County a delightful family will welcome you to their comfortable modern home set in a beautiful rural setting not far from the Wildlife Sanctuary of Periyar. Guests are encouraged to take walks in the surrounding area where the Periyar Lake can be seen from the top of the nearby hill.
Emerald Isle is a traditional Kerala home (150 years old) set on the edge of the backwaters. It is a family home with a few rooms set aside for guests. All rooms are on the ground floor and there is a veranda running right round the house. Your host (Vinod) and his family are delightful and guests enjoy simply relaxing at their home. However, if you are looking for things to do a number of activities can be arranged for you – these include traditional paddy harvesting, toddy tapping or paddling around in a small boat.
The houseboat is locally made using traditional methods and natural materials and owned by a local company. All our houseboats adhere to stringent environmental rules and regulations that are in force on the Kerala backwaters.
The Bungalow is the heritage home of Neema and her family. They have two guest rooms on the first floor. Neema is a great cook and prepares traditional Kerala fare. This homestay is situated on Vypin which is on the north side of Cochin’s harbour mouth (Fort Cochin is to the south). The most direct route to Fort Cochin is across the harbour by ferry. Vypin has an 'undeveloped' beach at Cherai . Staying at Vypin offers an opportunity to be close to the sightseeing areas of Fort Cochin and the shops of Ernakulam but away from the busy streets. A perfect compromise – and many people find the adventure of taking the ferry adds to the fun.
Teak House - this homestay is the home of Mr and Mrs Sunil Elias and their adult daughter. The house is set on a sizable plot of land adjacent to the Periyar River and is good for bird watching. Mr Elias is a keen bird watcher and photographer and is happy to share his knowledge with guests. There are three guest rooms and a swimming pool.
The ground handling of this tour is provided by our local agent and we supply him with more than 90% of his turnover. All of the drivers and staff are local people. Thus we have fifteen local families that are directly financially reliant upon us. Our drivers have a contract and are paid a monthly wage. This is very unusual in South India where most drivers are normally employed on a commission-only basis (not easy for such seasonal work). Tailor-made holidays cater for couples or small groups and this means that our customers have the opportunity to interact with the locals.
All of our customers are supplied with detailed information about their holiday. We supply general advice relevant to all customers as well as more specific facts about your particular tour. These documents offer our customers lots of advice and guidance including how to obtain an Indian Visa, which immunisations are recommended, how much to tip people, how to dress appropriately and how to behave in National Parks. We support local charities and invite our customers to do so too (details are supplied with your travel documents).