South India Yoga Tour 2018

Travel to the Edge of the World

South India Yoga Tour 2018



Finisterra Travel has partnered with Janice Varuna of Yoga Travels to bring you this transformative 10 day yoga tour through Kerala in Southern India. A fascinating healing journey through India’s tropical south, where you will experience its idyllic coastline, diverse architecture, captivating culture and warm people. As you soak in the natural beauty of Southern India, your yoga practice will become stronger and more spiritual.

Kerala is well known for its elegant houseboats which travel along tranquil Backwaters as well as for transformative Ayurvedic treatments and incredible cuisine. Wild elephants, exotic birds, and the odd tiger call Kerala home – it’s hard to deny Kerala’s liberal use of the slogan ‘God’s Own Country’. Join us on this yoga adventure to small slice of paradise and give yourself completely over to the sounds, scents, and serenity of Southern India. Yoga Travels

JOIN US! DATES: Oct 3-12, 2018


Highlights Include:

    Practicing yoga on a daily basis with Janice of Yoga Travels
    Enjoying unique beach front and heritage accommodation
    Walking through local villages and tea plantations
    Participating in a South Indian Cooking demo
    Admiring the enchanting Backwaters of Kerala
    Searching for birds in Kumarakom

DAY 1 – Arrival Cochin to Ezhupunna (44 Km / 1.5 hrs)
Upon arrival at the Cochin airport, you’ll be met by your Yoga Travels representative, and transferred to your charming guesthouse in Ezhupunna.

Dinner & Overnight at the hotel.
Overnight: Kondai Lip*

DAY 2 – Fort Kochi Tour
Start your day with an early morning yoga session and enjoy a healthy breakfast afterwards.
Our day begins with a guided tour of the charming Fort Kochi, starting with a visit to the famous Chinese Fishing nets. These huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets droop towards the water like over-sized hammocks, and have become the postcard photo of Fort Kochi. Then we visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. Built in 1503, this is where the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was originally buried. After we’ll be transported like the locals in a tuk-tuk throughout town, stopping at the Spice Market, where the exotic odours of ginger, cloves, cardamom, turmeric and pepper emanate from the spice warehouses lining the street. We pause to enjoy a cup of delicious “metre tea” at a small tea stall.

This afternoon you’ll have free time to relax on the benches overlooking the palm tree-lined pond, or take a paddle boat for some deep inner-reflection.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Kondai Lip*

DAY 3 – Village Tour Ezhupunna
We will enjoy another morning yoga session before breakfast.
This morning we embark on an Exotic Village Tour starting along the footpaths beside the narrow canals of the enchanting Kerala backwaters. Catch a glimpse of how the locals live, from the activity in the unique houses, to the fishermen rearing prawns, to the farmers in lush green rice paddy fields. If you’d like, you may have the opportunity to cycle through the glorious greenery of villages, and enjoy their serenity and beauty. At the end of our cycle tour, we’ll reach a village market where we can taste the local food and sample tea picked from the nearby hills.
Afterwards, enjoy a 2 hour country boat cruise along the hauntingly beautiful canals watching the flurry of activity that happens in the depths of Kerala’s backwaters. Disembark and walk to a family meal experience- interactions with the family, exchange of ideas – an enriching Experience with local Nasarani food for Lunch. Later in the day we visit the local boat building yard/unit where you can watch the Craftsmanship of the local carpenters
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Kondai Lip*

DAY 4 – Ezhupunna to Vagamon (90 Km / 3 hrs)
After an early morning yoga session and a healthy breakfast, we check-out and drive approximately 3 hours through the hills to Vagamon. The area comes under the Western Ghats Or Sahyadri Mountain ranges, a proclaimed ‘ UNESCO ‘ World Heritage site and is one of the eight hottest hot-spots of biological diversity of the world.

We reach the charming Vanilla County, a farmstead located in the the foothills of Vagamon, surrounded by a series of hillocks, valleys and cascading waterfalls. Vanilla County is an authentic and enchanting homestay, in close proximity to the origin of the Meenachil river at Mavady Hills sheltered by rubber trees, various spices, trees and plants. The rest of the day is yours free to enjoy the beautiful landscape surrounding your heritage guesthouse.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Vanilla County*

DAY 5 – Spice Plantation Vagamon
Our yoga session will be outside surrounded by the lush trees and crisp air. After a leisurely morning, we visit a spice plantation located in a tropical field, where you can touch, smell and taste almost all of the spices found worldwide, and grown locally. Later this afternoon, we have the opportunity to take a dip in one of the serene natural rock pools located close to the property.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Vanilla County*

DAY 6 – Tea Plantation Vagamon
Wake-up to the sounds of birds chirping in this serene area and enjoy your morning yoga session. This afternoon we’ll pass through rolling hills and villages on the way to a tea plantation. Here we will learn the intricacies of tea manufacturing, including the difference between Orthodox and CTC Black Tea manufacturing. We’ll also master the nuances of tea tasting and how to brew a perfect cup of black tea.

On the drive back to our hotel, we visit the Christian Monastery Kurisumala in the heart of the Sahya Mountains. It is a meditative place where thoughts arise from the depth of silence. Even today people move to these mountains in search of serenity and peace of mind.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Vanilla County*

DAY 7 – Vagamon to Kumarakom (80 Km / 3 hrs)
After an early morning yoga session and a healthy breakfast, we check-out and start the beautiful drive to Kumarakom. This city slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake. Its majestic canals, streams and tributaries weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web that is the Backwaters. The attached bird sanctuary is an ornithologist’s paradise, and a favourite haunt of migratory birds. The rest of the afternoon you have free to enjoy the coconut groves and views of the Backwaters from your hotel, or perhaps try a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage (Payable Locally).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Punnamada Backwaters*

DAY 8 – Backwaters of Kumarakom
This morning after your yoga session and breakfast, you have free time to explore the area, or relax.

In the afternoon, we pay a visit to the Musings of Aymanam Village, home of Arundhathi Roy’s novel ‘The God of Small Things’. Your local immersion begins with a ride on a traditional canoe cruise through the narrow, winding canals and catching a glimpse into the daily life of the locals that reside along the banks of the backwaters. We’ll then walk in the heart of this typical Kuttanad village, surrounded by stunning rice paddy fields.

Followed by a walk in the heart of this typical Kuttanad village surrounded by paddy fields and identify the snakes abodes, sacred to earliest habitants, some of them still alive. The walk through the village with your Storey Teller is an rare opportunity to see local houses, the friendly people and the ways of living. In one of the households we’ll meet our Kathakali master in his house who will introduce us to this traditional theatre form, which adapts styles of ancient Sanskrit with visual presentations of human expressions. Lunch will be a typical Kerala vegetarian lunch served on plantain leaf. Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks, weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. We proceed back to our hotel by motor boat absorbing the joy of visions around the Backwaters.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Punnamada Backwaters*

DAY 9 Travel to Cochin
We enjoy our last morning yoga practice and after breakfast we return to Fort Kochi. This afternoon, you have the opportunity to shop for trinkets and souvenirs in Fort Kochi. The town of Fort Kochi has been drawing traders and explorers to its shores for over 600 years, where you can find a unique mix of scenery, including the giant Chinese fishing nets perched along the shores, distinctive architecture such as Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Taj, and even a 400 year-old synagogue.

This evening, we witness a demonstration on Kathakali – the dance drama unique to Kerala. This dance can be characterised by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Fort House*

Day 10 Departure Cochin
Today is the day we bid farewell to this very special place. After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be transferred to the Cochin airport for your international flight back home.
Option to extend your trip to visit the charming French colonial town of Puducherry (formerly known as Pondicherry), or head to the stunning beaches in Kovalum, located almost at the very tip of India, where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean collide.
Meals: Breakfast

Chai time with JaniceJanice Varuna’s journey into yoga began in the 1990’s with classes in a community centre. And then in 2000 she slowly found her way back to yoga by taking Ayurvedic cooking classes. She experienced a debilitating back injury and was drawn to yoga based on the holistic nature of yoga healing. She started with weekly yoga classes, and slowly healing happened. Inspired by her own healing, yoga became a part of her life. Varuna has studied with teachers around the world, India, Europe, the Americas and all over Asia. Much of her training has been in India where she travels to annually to continue her studies. Having travelled to over 120 countries, Janice Varuna has a wealth of life and travel experiences, and today her focus is on sharing this knowledge and her passion for yoga. In her classes, she leads students through graceful postural sequences and teaches breathing, chanting, meditation and self-awareness.

Janice Varuna’s philosophy is that there are no age or physical limitations that should stop anyone from benefiting from yoga’s incredible power to improve physical wellness and bring emotional peace and clarity. Janice Varuna’s purpose is to guide students as they explore their physical and mental abilities through yoga. Janice Varuna makes her home in Ottawa, Canada.

Tour Inclusions:

    • Daily Yoga Sessions with Janice of Yoga Travels

    • 9 nights in 3-4* star accommodations based on double occupancy
    • Meals as per itinerary
    • Local transportation (private vehicles)
    • Excursions and entrance fees (as per itinerary)
    • Local guides (where applicable)

    Tour Exclusions:

    • International Flights (can be arranged through us
    • Mandatory travel medical insurance and optional cancellation insurance (can be arranged through us
    • Tips for local guides, drivers, at restaurants, etc
    • Meals and beverages not mentioned in itinerary
    • Items of personal nature
    • Services and entrances not mentioned above
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Entry Visa Fees, – must apply and submit your individual visa application.

Date: Oct 3-Oct 12, 2018

from $2495 USD per person based on double/twin occupancy
Single Supplement $625USD

Air Travel
Flights are not included in the tour price. Do not purchase any airline tickets until the trip is confirmed to take place. Pre and post tours can be arranged through available at an additional charge. Please contact Finisterra Travel for further details

Passport & Information
A signed, valid passport and a tourist visa. Your passport must remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. It is also imperative that your passport has at least 2 blank visa pages available for entry and exit stamps.
The government of India offers two options for tourist visas. Your entry requirements may vary depending on your nationality. Please consult the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the country or countries you will be visiting.

One option is a multiple entry visa which can be obtained through the traditional application process. This type of visa has a 1 year validity and allows multiple visits and a stay of up to 90 days. You need to apply for a traditional Indian visa if you are exiting and re-entering India during the course of your tour.
The other option is the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV). This type of visa allows a single entry for a stay of up to 30 days in India. More information regarding the eTV system can be found here Please read and follow all instructions carefully to avoid any possible complications on arrival in India. Do not apply an eTV any earlier than 34 days and no later than four days before your scheduled date of arrival.

India’s unit of currency is the Indian Rupee. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as exchange kiosks, banks and hotels. Keep receipts of Transactions which may be required when exit the country, and also if you intend to reconvert local currency.
We suggest travelling with some U.S. dollars or Euros, or Sterling Pound to be exchanged for local currency and at least two major credit cards. Hotels and some stores in large cities accept all major credit cards, but in small towns cash may be required. Notify your credit card company of your travel plans prior to your departure to avoid any fraud concerns.
ATM access is available in any cities. Cash is the best (generally, the only) option in street markets.
We do not recommend traveler’s cheques as they are not as widely accepted as in previous years.

Sample Hotels*:

Ezhupunna: Kondai Lip
Vagamon: Vanilla County
Kumarakom: Punnamada Backwaters
Cochin: Fort House
*Please note that hotels are just samples and are subject to change and availability.


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