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Maldives and India with Sri Lanka & the Lakshadweeps
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1-2 Depart USA
Independent flight from USA to Male.
Day 3 Male, Maldives
Arrive in Male and transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 Male / Embark Clipper Odyssey
After a morning at leisure and lunch at our hotel, we take a tour of the Maldives’ tiny capital city. This evening embark the Clipper Odyssey and set sail.
Day 5-7 Olhahali Island / Baa Atoll / Utheemu Island
Superb snorkeling and diving are hallmarks of this area and the underwater topography of the region is fascinating—a dramatic landscape of thilas, pinnacles and submerged coral structures enveloped in brilliant corals and sea fans, and kandus, deep channels that run between atoll and coral-terraced reef. Over the next three days, we discover the special, lesser-visited places in the atolls north of Male. Following are a sampling of the sites we plan to visit, with daily weather and tide conditions dictating the actual itinerary. Serene Olhahali Island boasts one of the finest wide lagoons in the region. The Baa Atoll, made up of about 50 islands offers rich biodiversity including large mangroves and unique ring-shaped reef forms known as faru. A UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, large numbers of manta rays, hawksbill turtles, and frigatebirds can be found here. Step ashore on Utheemu, the most famous of the northern Maldives, a cultural treasure-trove and the birthplace of a 16th-century sultan who fought to drive out the occupying Portuguese.
Day 8 At Sea / Kochi (Cochin), India
Relax in the soft Indian Ocean breezes as our lecture series begins. This afternoon we arrive in Kochi. Enjoy leisure time to relax or explore on your own with an overnight pier side.
Day 9-10 Kochi
Our exploration of Kochi reveals this delightful community’s mélange of international influences: Portuguese houses, the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry), the Anglican St. Francis Church, and the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that grace the beaches. We board local houseboats for a leisurely cruise through Kochi’s maze of backwaters. Watch locals going about their traditional day-to-day lives and see cottage industries such as rope-coir-making and toddy tapping. Enjoy an evening performance of Kathakali dance on board our ship.
Day 11-12 Lakshadweep Islands
Situated about 200 miles east of Kochi, the idyllic and ultimately photogenic Lakshadweep archipelago—36 islands and their atolls and coral reefs—comprise the smallest Union Territory of India, totaling just 11 square miles of land. Stunning lagoons, colorful birds, profuse marine flora and fauna, swaying palms, and pristine beaches make this an island paradise. During our time here stroll along lovely, unspoiled beaches and explore the underwater realm with daily snorkel, dive, and glass-bottom boat excursions. Weather and tide conditions determine our course, with stops planned on Suheli, a lush uninhabited island covered with wild almond and breadfruit trees, and Cheriyam, a small islet ringed by a vast shallow lagoon. The clear waters that surround these pristine islands are perfect for snorkeling and diving, and the colorful hard and soft corals teem with hundreds of marine species.
Day 13 Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Located near India’s southern tip, Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, is a pedestrian-friendly city spread out over seven hills and a major academic and information technology hub. We visit the nearby village of Pongumoode and its surrounding rubber plantations and enjoy a rickshaw ride; learn about tapioca, from plant to harvest; and watch a rubber leaf press demonstration. We also attend a performance of Kalari Payattu, Kerala’s ancient form of martial arts.
Day 14 Colombo, Sri Lanka / Kandy
Graced by lush tropical forests, white-sand beaches, and rich biodiversity, it’s no wonder Sri Lanka was once lauded by Marco Polo as the “finest island of its size.” In addition to its unspoiled natural beauty, the country has a fascinating history over 3,000-years old, which is also one of the longest documented histories in the world, and is one of the few remaining centers of the Buddhist religion and culture in South Asia. Today we disembark in the bustling city of Colombo for an excursion into the highlands of Sri Lanka, passing through lush, rolling countryside dotted with tea plantations. In Kandy we explore the stunning Temple of the Tooth which houses the tooth of Buddha. This World Heritage Site was originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom and is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world. We will also visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and, time permitting, the Botanical Gardens.
Day 15 Galle
Galle’s historic district is one of the best preserved examples of a European-built fortified city in South Asia, reflecting both colonial and South Asian architectural styles. A tour of this charming city visits the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum; Poorvarama Temple; and Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site, built by the Dutch in the 16th century. As we drive along the coast, keep an eye out for the iconic fishermen of Koggala, who perch precariously on stilts in the surf. Return to the ship this afternoon and set sail for Chennai.
Day 16 At Sea
Our lecture series continues, recapping the highlights of our adventures.
Day 17 Chennai (Madras), India / Disembark
Chennai is an ancient city that boasts a rich cultural heritage. During the colonial period it was the capital of the Madras Presidency, one of the largest areas of India under British control. During this time the city flourished as a great metropolitan center. Arrive Chennai in the early morning and set out for an exploratory tour that incorporates both colonial history and the dynamic energy of modern life as we visit the National Art Gallery and Museum, San Thome Cathedral, the South Indian Temple, Fort St. George Museum, and drive along Marina Beach. Transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 18 Chennai / USA
Transfer to the airport this morning for your independent flight, arriving USA the same day.