The Forest Department Ecotourism Centre runs all tours within Periyar Tiger Reserve. These include all-day border hikes (₹1800 per person), 2½-hour nature walks (₹350 per person), bamboo rafting (half/full day ₹1800/2400 per person) and three-hour night ‘jungle scouts’ (₹1200 per person), led by trained tribal guides. Trips usually require a minimum of two or four people.
There are also overnight ‘tiger trail’ camping treks (per person ₹6000) of 20km to 30km, which are run by ex-poachers retrained as guides. Children under 12 years are not permitted on most hikes.
Book all activities well ahead for the November-to-March high season. In theory, reservations should be made through the official booking portal (www.periyarfoundation.online), though at research time it was struggling to accept foreign cards; alternatively, guesthouses can book trips for you.
Elephant rides are also offered, but Lonely Planet does not recommend them due to the considerable animal-welfare issues involved.