making meaningful connections
The Kerala Cruise Houseboat Experience
Discovering the real rural India
The Houseboat Experience
This is cruising, but as only the privileged few experience it. This is a comfortable and relaxed way of travelling to discover interesting places, enjoy superb hospitality and fresh food. Our traditionally designed, village made, and community run houseboat chooses an itinerary far away from the Kerala backwaters of most boats. During the hotter part of the day, the boat gently meanders through narrow canals and open waterways, while your mornings and evenings are spent in our waterside community villages, getting to know villagers, and discovering their customs and traditions.
The Goodearth Kayal Kettuvallam
Our houseboat, the Goodearth Kayal Kettuvallam, has a marvellous design based on traditional rice barges that conveyed grain from up-stream paddy fields to coastal ports. It was built in Vayalar by the village team from local materials, and is owned and crewed by the village communities. There are just two twin cabins, each with private facilities, so, if there are only two of you, you may choose to take exclusive use of the houseboat.
A gentle cruise
Each day is spent gently cruising from village to village through the much less travelled network of peaceful waterways, and you have exclusive use of our canoe that enables you to go even further into beautiful lagoons, and up intriguing tributaries, while on the banks busy daily life takes place. You may pass duck herders on a punt, buffalo grazing at the water’s edge, fishermen in dugout canoes, coir weavers, and coconut harvesters.
You moor each night at a different village, such as Vayalar, Chenganda, Perumbalam, Chemmanagri and Kodamthuruthu, and can enjoy the real taste of Kerala’s justly famous cuisine that makes creative use of the amazing local produce, and tropical spices. Most dishes are vegetarian, but, if you wish, you can enjoy fish, prawns and mussels caught specially and freshly for you. Wander around with your own guide, who’ll probably still be a fisherman when he’s not being a guide. They will take you around, and introduce you to villagers, their lifestyles and roles, mainly as farmers and fishermen, but including a huge range of specialist skills as well. You can participate in a range of activities, so discuss what interests you with your guide. Indeed, try fishing for your own supper using shore-side nets, or drift nets on hand-paddled traditional boats. You can help catch prawns, and watch fisherfolk dive for mussels – and when you’ve caught your supper, you can take a cooking lesson in Kerala style dishes.
Perhaps you can now understand why this is a cruise – but not as we know it!
These Vayalar-Chenganda backwaters, just to the east of Kochi, are remote in the sense that they are a long way from the main upstream houseboat operating areas around Allepey and the Vembanadu Lake. The only other boats seen in the area are sea-going fishing smacks and canoes, making it a peaceful area to unwind.
We meet you at Ernakulam station for the short transfer to Vayalar village where your houseboat awaits.
Transfers from Kochi or elsewhere are available on request, and we can also arrange for train journeys. Book in advance for our negotiated rates.
The Houseboat Experience3 Night Stay
Transfer from and to the local train station
3 meals a day featuring locally grown and caught produce
Guides for all your village tours and related activities
Private cabin with twin beds, and private facilities
Prices coming soon