Sea Kayak the Caria Coast of Turkey
Our roots in Turkey go back to 1974 and we’ve shared this magical country with hundreds of travelers over the years. Turkey is an evocative mix of history, culinary magnificence, warm hospitality, and natural beauty.
Our trip takes place just south of Bodrum, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Halicarnassus. This was the epicenter of Hellenistic Greece, and each wave that laps the shore tells a tale of ancient times, while the earth itself seems to murmur ancient wisdom. You may feel like a modern-day Odysseus as we paddle warm, transparent Mediterranean waters along the Bozburun and Datca peninsulas. This is a wild coast of hidden coves and we paddle from one beach to the next, along gentle terrain as well as rocky outcrops.
At the end of each day’s paddling, we arrive in a charming village and amble up the beach to stay in comfortable, local accommodations set on protected bays. Here we meet some of the friendliest people in the world. They say that to call a Turk hospitable is redundant. We also feast on one of the world’s greatest cuisines, a fusion of tastes cultivated during the Ottoman Empire.
If you love history and kayaking, this trip is the perfect marriage. The famous historian Herodotus was born in Caria in the 4th century B.C.E. as well as Eudoxus, the astronomer and mathematician who was the first to measure the circumference of the earth. A highlight is our final paddle into Knidos, a popular port in ancient times where the legendary statue of Aphrodite by Praxiteles once stood and the perfect place to salute the setting sun from the Temple of Aphrodite.
Images & Videos
Arrive in Istanbul, Welcome Dinner & Orientation Meeting
Travel from your home to Istanbul. If you’ve never been to this epicenter of culture and history that spans civilizations and is adorned with monuments of the ages, then plan to arrive at least two days in advance to discover the wonders. Do this on your own or better yet, with one of our guides. And if you have been to Istanbul before, come ahead of time anyway, to recover from jet leg and find tucked away corners with exotic cafes, and curious faces.
Selimiye, Kayaking Introduction, Kayak to Bozburun
Morning transfer to the airport to fly south to the Dalaman Airport and transfer to Selimiye (125 miles, 2h). We check-in to our charming beachfront hotel before heading to the water to be introduced to our kayaks, adjust foot pedals and warm up.
In the 1950s gulets were sea-vessels used by fishermen, octopus hunters, and sponge-divers long before gulet tours in Turkey became popular. It all started when Cevat Şakir Kabaaağaçlı, who was known as Fisherman Of Halicarnassus, a Turkish writer of novels, short stories and essays, as well as being a keen ethnographer and travelogue, invited a bunch of intellectuals to explore the Turkish coast by sea. These gulets evolved into today’s comfortable boats with private facilities. Bozburun is one of the 3 major places known for gulet construction.
Kayak from Selimiye to Bozburun where we find a fisherman’s shelter along little beaches and islets. We walk about a mile from our landing beach to our hotel on Cape Aphrodisias. In the afternoon, you might want to relax on the beach by the hotel, paddle some more along the coast, or visit a nearby boat construction yard where traditional Turkish gulets are built.
Bozburun is one of the 3 major places known for gulet construction.
Kayaking: 4 ½ miles (with options for more)
Walking: 1-2 miles.
Kargi Cove/ Datca
In the morning, we kayak among the crytal clear, aquarium-like beaches of the archipelago of Bozburun. After our casual 5-mile paddle, we return to the harbor and hop on a boat and cruise north 2 ½ hours to Datça, a small town located across the bay. Datca is the favorite retirement destination of Turkish intellectuals. We have some free time to explore this town, then return to our kayaks and paddle another 2 ½ miles to Kargı Cove where we find our picturesque beach-front hotel.
Pig's Pit, Hayıtbükü
Today you choose a shorter or longer paddle. Those who want to stretch their legs and prefer a shorter paddle will hike around 4 miles on trails of pine-scented air on a section of the historic Carian Way, a waymarked 530-mile trail that follows footsteps dating back more than 2000 years. Those wishing a longer paddle follow the coast along a peninsula for 9 miles. We all meet at the Pig’s Pit, where we can find a beach tavern with no road access and enjoy a delightful lunch. Back in our kayaks, we paddle 5 miles to Hayıtbükü. Hayıtbükü is a small inlet near Mesudiye Village and here we stay in simple bungalows set near the sandy beach. The name of the place derives from a local shrub called “hayit” sought after by locals for its medicinal virtues. We enjoy a Turkish feast under the stars.
Kayaking: 5-14 miles.
Hiking: -4 miles
Today’s paddle travels west from Hayıtbükü, passing crescent coves with intimate beaches. After about 5 ½ miles we reach Palamutbükü, the only inhabited place until the the tip of the Datça Peninsula. Palamutbükü was originally known for growing acorns, or palamut in Turkish. In time acorns were replaced by more lucrative olive and almond orchards, which remain the main crops of this area today. We explore the countryside, and for those that wish, offer an optional 3.5 mile roundtrip paddle to a nearby island.
Kayaking: 5 1/2 miles with optional 3 miles
In the morning we drive a short distance to the village of Yazıköy to start hiking along another segment of the Carian Way that connects Yazıköy to ancient Knidos. On a trail of dirt and loose rocks, set above to azure waters of the bay, we hike 6 miles. After a picnic lunch, we return to the fabled Aegean Sea to kayak 5 miles to Knidos. Alternately we may opt for more paddling and do a 10-mile kayak journey to Knidos.
Knidos was one of the most visited port of the commercial ships in the ancient times. We explore the extensive classical site, birthplace of Sostratos, the architect of the Lighthouse of Alexandria (another of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world), and Eudoxus, the astronomer who first calculated the circumference of our planet. We return to our hotel in Palamubükü and enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner.
Kayaking: 5-10 miles
Hiking: 6 miles
After breakfast, we transfer 3 hours by van to Dalaman Airport for an early afternoon flight to Istanbul. From there you might begin your journey home, or connect to a highly-recommended post-kayaking extension to Cappadocia.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Sep 22, 2023 to Sep 29, 2023||$3,590£0€0$0$0||$3,590£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
5-7 People - $3990/person
8-13 People - $3590/person
Groups of 4 or less -Starting at $4390/person (please inquire for custom or charted trip prices.)
- Domestic Air Within Turkey - $175 per person
- Boutique hotels 7 nights.
- All meals with great representation of Turkish cuisine.
- Bottled water with the meals.
- All bus, minibus transportation in Turkey.
- Certified professional kayak guide.
- Certified professional tour leader.
- Special Guest Guide Peter Grubb.
- Kayak rental, and the transportation of the kayaks.
- Baggage transfer.
- Boat trip from Bozburun to Datça.
- Support boats.
- Parking fees, guide’s expenses, etc.
- Entrance fees to museums and archeological sites.
- All air fares to, from and within Turkey.
- Personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, gratuity to main tour leader and kayak guide
- Hotel before and after your tour dates