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Go with the Flow on a Spice Coast Cruise with CGH Earth
Cruising the magical waterways of Kerala's Vembanad Lake
Quote of the Week
“The more you know, the less you need.”
Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia, from his book, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
Dear Postcard Travellers,
Less is more. It’s a favourite saying and the ethos of this week’s featured partner, CGH Earth. Guided by a vision of sustainability and responsible tourism, this exquisite collection of boutique hotels and experiences in Southern India honours nature, community and culture.
CGH believes that true luxury is an experience rooted in simplicity and soul, and you can feel this philosophy in action as we embark on a serene Spice Coast Cruise.
As we glide along the canals of Vembanad Lake in Kerala, we’ll soak up the vibrant village life along the way, dine on fresh-caught fish and produce grown around the lake, and meet some of the locals. It’s the ultimate way to sightsee.
Finally, we’ll learn about the challenges in conserving Kerala’s mangroves, and we’ll discover an inspiring “tree banking” project in a Kerala village. Who said money doesn’t grow on trees?
Editor, Postcard Digest
This Week’s Featured Partner: CGH Earth
CGH Earth specializes in experiential holidays in Southern India. Sustainability and responsible tourism are their core values.
What is CGH Earth’s story? CGH Earth began as a family-owned enterprise in 1954. Spawned from a small hotel on Willingdon Island, Kochi, this luxury boutique collection now offers 16 unique holiday experiences and four wellbeing and curative retreats across Southern India. All pay tribute to the land and its people.
CGH Earth takes you, its cherished guests, on a customized journey aimed at providing a deeper understanding of the vibrant tapestry of life around you. Whether you’re gliding through the canals of Vembanad Lake on a traditional canoe, immersed in a seaside village at Marari Beach or nestled in a lush tea plantation, you'll be welcomed not merely as a visitor but as an honored guest.
Join us as we glide along the mirror-like waters of Kerala on one of CGH Earth’s signature experiences: The Spice Coast Cruise.
Sail into Serenity on a Spice Coast Cruise
On your Spice Coast Cruise, you’ll go with the flow — literally. Hop aboard your houseboat, crafted from a historic Kettuvallam or spice barge, and glide along a breathtaking 90-kilometre stretch of Vembanad Lake, nestled within the backwaters of Kerala.
Crafted by local boat builders, these traditional vessels are now powered by solar energy and vegetable oils to reduce their impact upon the lake.
As you traverse the waters of this vast lake, you'll become attuned to the delicate ecosystem, and you’ll witness plants and animals unique to this locale.
Thousands of locals also reside along the lake’s banks, their lives intricately connected with the rhythm of these waters.
Snuggle into your bedroom cabin on this floating hotel, and watch the world go by as you drift quietly along the lake. Constructed of split bamboo and coir, the ceiling soars above you, enhancing the sense of space.
As night falls, your sleep becomes a symphony of cicadas and the gentle lapping of the lake. When you awake, dawn paints the sky in a palette of pinks.
Meet the Locals
One of the biggest rewards of a Spice Coast Cruise is meeting the locals and learning about their way of life. The vast lake and its many canals offers glimpses of the vibrant pulse of the lakeside communities, and you can meet and mingle with the residents during tailored stops along the way.
See fishermen, boat builders and shell harvesters at work; witness the cultivation of paddy fields; see how coir rope is produced; and watch native toddy tappers scaling coconut trees. If you’re lucky, you might have a chance to enjoy a glass of the freshly-tapped toddy, too.
After your day immersed in village life, board the boat with a healthy appetite, ready to taste some of the region’s tantalizing flavors.
Spice Up Your Dining
Each meal on the cruise celebrates your senses. Tangy spices and rich coconut infuse your meals with local flavors all prepared by skilled chefs in your floating kitchen.
Feast on the catch of the day marinated in a delightful blend of red chilies, ginger and lime. Accompanying your expertly grilled fish are lentils and greens sourced from local markets along the canals, all served with steaming bowls of the nutrient-rich red rice that bristles in the fields you pass.
Nestled in the heart of Kerala's backwaters, Vembanad Lake hosts an intricate web of biodiversity. Here, hundreds of avian residents find refuge at the Kumarakom bird sanctuary on the eastern shore.
The lake's distinctive ecosystem thrives with diverse marine life, from shrimp to mollusks, and creates a haven for birds, insects, and deer—all contributing to the unique allure of Vembanad.
How does CGH Earth Make a Difference?
CGH Earth is dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through three key principles:
Firstly, they strive to be one with the local ethos, embracing a participatory approach that draws inspiration from the people and cultures in the regions they operate.
Secondly, their commitment to working with local communities involves creating employment opportunities and fostering social, economic and cultural interactions to strengthen mutual ties.
Finally, they emphasize caring for the environment, ensuring that every action respects and preserves the delicate ecosystems that surround them.
Local Stories from Kerala
Money Grows on Trees: Read the inspiring story of how Tree Banking is helping a Kerala village attain net zero.
Conserving Kerala’s Dwindling Mangroves: Learn about the challenges in conserving this fragile and crucially important ecosystem.
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