After our last post, we headed to Periyar, a wildlife sanctuary. We took a “jeep” (actually a Mahindra) safari and spotted a cobra, a huge tiger back spider, lots of langur monkeys, and some Malabar giant squirrels (don‘t laugh, they really are huge). We were disappointed that we didn’t see any wild elephants, especially because we saw so much evidence, i.e. fresh dung, that we knew they were nearby.
Our next stop was a homestay on a rubber plantation. The family who own and run the plantation also host tourists for stays in their guesthouse. Aside from learning about how the latex is harvested from the trees, we were also treated to some amazing meals in their house. The food in Kerala is quite different from the north and uses a lot of coconut milk.
The homestay was the first real downtime we’ve had since we arrived, but our next stop was even better. We boarded a houseboat to cruise the backwaters of Kerala. These boats are patterned after traditional bamboo rice barges, but they are all luxury inside. As the boat cruised through quiet canals with views of rice paddies and coconut palms, we were tempted with meals of fresh caught seafood by the on board cook. This experience was by far the most relaxing, decadent thing we’ve done here. The Kerala tourism slogan is “God’s Own Country” and now I have to agree.