Kerala and tropical India cycling vacations

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17 Dec 2016
US $ 2435
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24 Dec 2016
US $ 2435
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31 Dec 2016
US $ 2465
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07 Jan 2017
US $ 2475
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21 Jan 2017
US $ 2405
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04 Feb 2017
US $ 2405
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11 Feb 2017
US $ 3095
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25 Feb 2017
US $ 2405
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04 Mar 2017
US $ 2405
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25 Mar 2017
US $ 2405
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08 Apr 2017
US $ 2405
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29 Jul 2017
US $ 2365
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12 Aug 2017
US $ 3095
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23 Sep 2017
US $ 2365
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07 Oct 2017
US $ 2475
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14 Oct 2017
US $ 2475
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21 Oct 2017
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28 Oct 2017
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04 Nov 2017
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11 Nov 2017
US $ 3175
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18 Nov 2017
US $ 2475
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25 Nov 2017
US $ 2475
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09 Dec 2017
US $ 2475
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16 Dec 2017
US $ 2605
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23 Dec 2017
US $ 2605
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06 Jan 2018
US $ 2635
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27 Jan 2018
US $ 2505
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03 Feb 2018
US $ 2505
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10 Feb 2018
US $ 3255
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24 Feb 2018
US $ 2505
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03 Mar 2018
US $ 2505
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24 Mar 2018
US $ 2505
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21 Apr 2018
US $ 2505
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07 Jul 2018
US $ 2475
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11 Aug 2018
US $ 3255
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15 Sep 2018
US $ 2475
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06 Oct 2018
US $ 2605
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13 Oct 2018
US $ 2605
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20 Oct 2018
US $ 2605
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03 Nov 2018
US $ 2605
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10 Nov 2018
US $ 3335
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17 Nov 2018
US $ 2605
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24 Nov 2018
US $ 2605
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01 Dec 2018
US $ 2605
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15 Dec 2018
US $ 2695
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22 Dec 2018
US $ 2695
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala and tropical India cycling vacations

Environment

Activity:
Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints (or tyre tracks!) although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants, use markets to purchase traditional gifts and crafts and get a real impression of India.

Water:
Water is a really important issue with cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Lack of recycling is already a massive problem in India so we suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle where possible. We have asked all the hotels and restaurants which we visit regularly on our trips to install R. O. plants for treated water, so clients can re-fill in the aim that we will use less plastic en route.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Local Craft & Culture:
We are keen to encourage guests to engage with the culture of India and to purchase local crafts and services where possible. Your local guide will be able to recommend the best of the area’s colourful and vibrant markets and small businesses and through our commerce, tourist wealth is more evenly distributed. You might pick up a ‘masala dosa’ in Mysore, explore the shops specialising in locally grown tea and oils and handmade chocolate in Ooty or receive an Ayurvedic massage in a Keralan cottage. There are locally crafted gifts and souvenirs available by most of the landmarks we visit, and your guides will be able to advise you on which to buy and which to avoid.

Accommodation & Meals:
This trip sees you spend most nights in hotels with en -uite facilities, three nights in lodges and one in a traditional houseboat. You will notice that our hotels employ locally and use local produce from markets in the area wherever possible. The hotels are waste and energy conscious and have their own policies like asking guests to turn off the power when leaving a room in order to save electricity. Where meals are not supplied, our group leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and street food vendors. They can make recommendations which will help boost small businesses and celebrate local specialties. In the seafood restaurant we visit in Cochin clients can even see how the food is made.

Charity:
For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Kerala and tropical India cycling vacations

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 16 Dec 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The most exciting has to be the 54km DOWNHILL cycle through the tea planation's of the Western Ghats...exhilarating! The 13km UP Otty Hill the day before was memorable in many other ways...not to mention just how steep it was! This was a memorable trip mainly due to the fact when cycling you are totally immersed in the country, much more so than any other form of transport I have experienced: it gives a total assault on all your senses it was just amazing.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take your own water bottle to try to reduce the amount of plastic thats wasted here.

Cycle gloves are good idea as they protect the hands from the bumpy roads and help with absorbing the sweat in the heat of Kerala.

In the first few days, go easy on the spicy food; The food is wonderful but may be hard for your constitution to cope with breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Book it now and get used to being in the saddle for the trip distances as much as you can.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely and definitely. Our tours guides would not have had a job without this trip. All were local Indians.

We always stayed and ate at small local run food outlets, cafes and restaurant's. Our guide knew the best places to go to experience the best traditional foods.

Reducing plastic water bottle was a pet aim for our guides and they always bought large canisters to refill up our bottles from rather than constantly buying new bottles.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Has to be a 5 star! I will definitely do another cycling vacation with these guys they were simply excellent.

Reviewed on 16 Mar 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Cycling down the Ooty Hill, the views were breathtaking, as well as visiting the orphanage.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Padding, padding and padding.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent.

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