Backwaters in Kerala are a network of 1500 km of canals both manmade and natural, 38 rivers and 5 big lakes extending from one end of Kerala to the other. It is one of the major tourism products of Kerala, being unique to the state. Traditionally used as one of the main transportation alleys, today backwaters offer a rejuvenating experience for tourists visiting Kerala.
The backwaters can be explored by hiring a boat for one or several days. If you go for more than a day, the boat usually comes with a navigator and a cook.
The entire houseboats are constructed with natural eco-friendly materials like bamboo, coir, palm leaves and wood. Normally house-boats have 2 or 3 bed rooms with large lobby area, a kitchen and crew rooms. Some larger house-boats are even two storied with open terrace and observation deck connected with bamboo stair case. A few house-boats are floating conference halls to conduct meetings and DJ parties.
They are available on hire for fixed rates (varies according to the season). The package usually includes tour along the backwater with stops at various places with historical or cultural importance. The menu usually includes the fresh water catch along with the seasonal sea food and Kerala vegetarian dishes. Guests, who require special menus as well as vegetarian foods in certain specific styles, must inform the crew or operator office, at least one day before the cruise. Packages include cost of food and all regular amenities. Guests can swim in the backwaters, only in the areas, authorized by houseboat crew. Most of the house-boat operates on 21 hour cruise, starting from 12:00 Noon to 09:00 AM next day. The houseboats will be anchored from evening 8:00 pm onwards and morning 06:00 am next day, as government laws prohibit night movements due to tidal waves and remoteness of areas. Now a day, house-boats are available for 6 hour cruise package for larger crowds, who do-not prefer staying over-night.