Kerala with kids

Traveling in Kerala with kids

What does Responsible Travel recommend?

There is a temptation for this to just become a beach vacation destination for families, with the worldwide epidemic of all-inclusive resorts spreading to this southern tip of India too, and families being particularly vulnerable. There are wild elephants to be seen in the Periyar National Park, rivers to be kayaked along in the famous backwaters and, for those hollow legs, food like you have never tasted in some of the most remote, and unexpected spots . Also, Keralites are very family orientated, and so the more you delve into the culture as a family, the more they welcome you with open arms. You will make friends for life.

Health & safety in Kerala

Travel safely in Kerala with kids


  • Kerala has a very advanced emergency medicine system. For any emergencies, call 102. Directorate of Health Services of Kerala (DHS Kerala)
  • Malaria is not a risk in Kerala. They have big mosquitoes, but you don’t need medication according to our local suppliers. Also be aware that some anti-malaria tablets can bring on depression, which isn’t a good start to your vacation. See NHS site Fit for Travel for more details.
  • Dengue fever is endemic to Kerala, particularly during monsoon season, so good precautions such as strong repellants and nets are vital.
  • Kerala is very humid, so keep hydrated. Two great local hydrating drinks are fresh coconut water & also sweet, milky tea or chai are both extremely safe and excellent against dehydration. Another option is Sharbath which is often found at roadside stalls, and is a syrupy lemon juice, mixes with a little salt.
  • Always travel with a basic medical kit, including Imodium for stomach upsets, although these are rare compared with other regions in India. Ensure to bring your own prescription medicines along with a copy of your prescription.
  • To avoid stomach upsets, look out for under-cooked fish or meat, salads which have been washed in unclean water, already peeled fruit and sometimes ice cream from street vendors.
  • Tap water is generally safe for drinking, though like all countries it takes getting used to, so buy bottled water if you are concerned


If trying out street food, always stick to something that you can see being
prepared in front of you.

For adventure activities, make sure the provider is experienced, first aid experts, and that there are helmets and buoyancy aids available for water activities. There is still no organization supervising safety standards on the water, so you need to do good research and use a responsible tour operator.

Houseboats have a good safety track-record and all houseboats should have trained lifeguards. But the backwaters are deep, so be careful, especially if non swimmers are on board. Swimming is not recommended unless there are lifeguards present.

Activities for families in Kerala

What to do with little ones

Welcome home
You might think that this will take you out of your comfort zone, but staying in a homestay will be one of the most memorable things you will do in Kerala as a family. Keralites genuinely love to include you in their everyday lives, whether it is farming, coir making, visiting the local school, or teaching you their natural cooking skills. Bring a cricket ball and just watch those kids bond in minutes. Bring a bat and they will be friends for life.
Crafty rafting
In peak season you need to book bamboo rafting early, but it is a great way to see Periyar National Park, and you have a much better chance of seeing elephants from a raft, as you drift slowly into remote spots, away from the crowds on the cruise boats. If you are lucky, one will even swim over from the banks to see you. Either way, you will get wet on this trip, making it an ideal way to have a fun time immersion in one of Kerala’s wilder spots.
Kayaks are cool
Kayaking through the backwaters is the cool way to go, as you paddle past the traffic jams of houseboats and straight out into the real backwaters, alongside dugout canoes with kids going to and from school, and chatting with farmers and fishermen transporting their produce along the waterways. Plus, it is just a peaceful way to hang out as a family and kayaking guides are always switched on local people, who not only love these waterways, but know them like the back of their hand. 

Traveling in Kerala with kids asks the experts

Rajat Kumar, Managing Director of our supplier ExplorIndya “Kerala and southern India generally are an ‘easier’ starting point for families compared with the north. The north of India is a product of its turbulent history, and a bit more brusque. Keralites are innately more peaceful, creative and spiritual. It is also more accepting to and tolerant with visitors. And I come from the north, but live here, so I feel I can say that”.
Vishal Koshi , general manager of our supplier Kalypso Adventures
“Our advice to families is come with an open mind. Because it is a different culture here. We highly recommend homestays, but don’t expect super luxury for example. All the properties have excellent standards and all very well kept, but it is about changing your mindset so that you can make the most of interacting with local people. Then you will have a great time.“
Rajat Kumar, Managing Director of our supplier ExplorIndya
“Don’t rush a trip to Kerala when you are here with kids and try to do too many things. You can keep the kids occupied with activities, such as kayaking, bamboo rafting or cycling, where they can still discover nature. “
Photo credits: [Top box: Sergey Tsarev] [School visit: Fabrice Florin] [Kayaks are cool: Silver Blue] [Homestays: Girish Gopi]
Written by Catherine Mack
Kerala family activity vacation, India

Kerala family activity vacation, India

Discover lush green forests & magical Kerala backwaters

From £980 15 Days ex flights
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