• Post category:Kerala Backwaters
  • Post last modified:June 20, 2024
  • Reading time:8 mins read

Kerala, known for its vast backwaters, offers more than top-notch houseboat cruises. The state’s intricate network of canals, lagoons, and rivers provides a unique setting for various exhilarating water sports. Let’s dive into the world of backwater sports in Kerala!

Types of Backwater Sports in Kerala

  1. Kayaking and Canoeing: The calm backwaters are ideal for paddling through lush greenery and quaint villages. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore at your own pace, immersing yourself in the serene ambiance.
  2. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP): Try SUP for a more challenging experience. Test your balance while gliding over the water, taking in panoramic views of the backwaters and surrounding landscapes.
  3. Bamboo Rafting: Experience the traditional charm of Kerala’s backwaters on a bamboo raft. Relax and soak in the sights and sounds of nature as you drift along the waterways.
  4. Snake Boat Racing (Vallam Kali): You don’t participate directly, but it’s a must-see spectacle. Witness the adrenaline-pumping action as teams of rowers propel massive snake boats (chundan vallams) in fierce competition.

This is a partial list of water sports available in Kerala, but these are some of the most sought-after water sports adventures in Kerala Backwaters. The Coracle Rafting is one of the water sports that has yet to be trendy.

Places To Experience Backwater Sports In Kerala

Below are some of the places to experience backwater sports in Kerala and businesses that you can contact:

Alappuzha (Alleppey):

  • Paddle Club Kayaking: Based on our initial inquiries through the web, we can confidently suggest them based on their massive number of legitimate-looking Google reviews, taking into consideration a well-maintained website that respects customers’ privacy. You can decide on the rest by visiting their Google My Business page.
  • Kayaking Boat Club Alleppey: They provide kayaking activities inside Alleppey. Our online investigation found that they are legitimate kayaking tour operators. For more information, go to their Google My Business page and decide for yourself.


  • Canoe Kerala: A legitimate business providing experiences outside kayaking and Canoeing. They have five on 5 rating on Google that looks legitimate. The rest is up to you; here is a link to their Google My Business page.
  • KTDC Waterscapes Backwater Resort: They provide a more holistic experience on the fringe of backwaters; they have houseboat experience just like us and offer speed boat and safari boat cruises, to mention a few. Here is a link to their website to evaluate it for yourself.


  • Munroe Island Backwaters Canoe & Kayak Tours: Munroe is an island close to the famous Jatayu Park. So planning a Kayaking/Canoe trip to Munroe Island has two benefits. Munroe Island Backwaters Canoe & Kayak Tours is a good business on the Google My Business page, even though they don’t have a website; check it out for yourself and decide.
  • Ashramam Adventure Park: Ashramam Adventure Park in Kollam is a haven for thrill-seekers, offering a wide range of water sports, from leisurely kayaking to adrenaline-pumping parasailing. You can visit their Google My Business page and look at it yourself.


  • Kochi Kayaking – Kalypso Adventures: Kochi has a lot to offer in terms of backwaters and the backwater experience in Kochi is different from other backwaters in Kerala in terms that it gives you the modern experience to backwater as well as the traditional one. Kalypso Adventures has a very neat and trustworthy social media presence. Here is a link to their Google My Business page, check it out and decide for yourself.

These are just a few of the many operators offering backwater sports experiences in Kerala. We haven’t added contacts for experiences like bamboo rafting which is mostly available in the district of Idukki in Kerala. Sanke Boat Race happens in different parts of the state but Nehru Trophy Boat Race is the most famous and prestigious one, you can read more about it here. Be sure to research and choose companies that prioritize safety, and responsible tourism, and offer the types of activities that appeal to you.

Approximate Costs (Per Person)

  • Kayaking/Canoeing: ₹500-1500 per hour
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: ₹800-1800 per hour
  • Bamboo Rafting: ₹1000-2500 per hour (depending on duration and inclusions)
  • Nehru Trophy Boat Race: 100- 3000 per Person

Kerala Tourism's Initiatives

The Kerala Tourism Department has been actively promoting water sports through:

  • Infrastructure Development: Constructing jetties, boat terminals, and water sports centers.
  • Training and Certification: Providing training programs for water sports instructors and guides.
  • Events and Festivals: Organizing events like the Champions Boat League (CBL) and the Malabar River Festival to attract tourists and promote the sport.
  • Partnerships: Collaborating with private operators to offer a broader range of water sports activities.

Spotlight on the Malabar River Festival

The Malabar River Festival, held annually in Kozhikode district, has emerged as a premier kayaking event in India. It attracts national and international kayakers who compete in white-water rapids on the Chaliyar River’s tributaries. This festival showcases Kerala’s natural beauty and highlights the state’s growing reputation as a hub for adventure tourism. This year the Malabar River Festival is held from July 25th to July 28th. According to Travel & Tourism Minister Riyas, the festival expects the participation of kayakers from 20-plus nations besides 100 professionals from within the country. There will be pre-event programs such as MTB (mountain bike) water rallies, water polo, and swimming competitions at the state and national levels, besides fishing-bait contests, rugby, and off-road rallies.

Environmental Impact and Mitigation

While water sports are fun, being mindful of their environmental impact is essential. Here’s how to minimize it:

  • Responsible Operators: Choose operators who adhere to eco-friendly practices and prioritize the conservation of the backwaters.
  • Avoid Single-Use Plastics: Carry reusable water bottles and avoid littering.
  • Respect Wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from birds and other animals and avoid disturbing their habitat.

Ready for Adventure?

Kerala’s backwaters offer a unique playground for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely paddle or a thrilling race, there’s something for everyone in these tranquil waterways. That said, Currently, Kerala lacks the infrastructure and tour operators to provide more backwater sports; now, it is an untapped gold mine if used ideally, respecting Mother Earth. So, grab a paddle or a life jacket and embark on your next backwater adventure!

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