Start 26.07.2021 – End 31.08.2021
This tour is about the most interesting in the South Kamchatka Federal Reserve. We’ll see how bears go fishing in the Kurile Lake. We’ll look at the craters of two active volcanoes. At the end of the trip, we will go on a small cruise to admire whales and killer whales in Russkaya Bay.
Day 1. Welcome!
This time is completely devoted to your acclimatization and rest. Still, 8 hours from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the real deal. Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes will greet you the first. The courier will meet you at the airport and deliver to the hotel. Take your time — the journey will begin tomorrow.
Day 2. Gorely volcano
Our adventure in Kamchatka starts from the plateau of Mutnovsky. One of the most interesting peaks for tourists with a height of more than 1.8 km is located here. We will climb exactly there, on Gorely volcano. If you travel in June, be prepared for a long walk. For those who get here in the last month of summer, everything is easier: a crew bus can bring us close enough to the slope.
Around noon, we will arrange a little snack, just enough to satisfy the morning hunger but easy because it is quite difficult to go up the hill on a full stomach after a hearty lunch. The ascent of the volcano will not be too steep. Basically, we will move along the frozen lava and slag deposits. Our goal is to walk the path corresponding to a height difference of 0.9 km. It will take us from three to four hours. After that, you’ll get a long-awaited bonus! You will see an amazing panorama and be able to take unique photos.
Eleven craters are the next. There are as much as this craters in Gorely. And, of course, we will make a picnic. We try to arrange the ascent so that all our travelers who take part in a multi-day tour could reach the crater. After all, you’re behind this here, aren’t you? This is the main difference between this program and the one-day hike, which starts from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. There, the time for reaching the crater is seriously limited. If the group lingers on the way for some reason the guide for security reasons can send it back before the planned point is reached. Thus, travelers will be able to return on time. In our tour, we will bring you to the goal in any case.
We advise to focus your attention on the following craters:
“Active”, which strikes with a beautiful pattern of minerals on the slopes and an inexpressible play of light,
“Blue Lake” with real glacial water with a rare turquoise hue,
“Chasha” with the famous acidic reservoir, which was a full-fledged and very dangerous lake until 2011, and now (after the eruption) the liquid has gone.
After you fully enjoy the grandeur of the volcano and the beauty of the surroundings, we descend to its foot. Here, in the base camp, a hearty dinner prepared by the chef will await us. Here we will spend the night. However, you’ll hardly want to go to bed right away. The first night in nature, the bottomless starry sky with a clearly distinguishable Milky Way (in clear weather), talking by the fire … Still, tiredness from impressions and a whole day of physical activities will take its toll. Even though it is a new unfamiliar place, all travelers will fall into a deep and peaceful sleep.
Day 3. Mutnovsky volcano
We wake up, have a snack, and the camp moves to the foot of the next volcano. Mutnovsky is known for its activity. Access to its crater is quite convenient. The walls of the crater are destroyed from the one side and hide the internal part from passersby. This is probably the largest fumarole site in Kamchatka. You will see the steam rising out of the crater from afar.
Be prepared that the smell of sulfur will appear and intensify as you move up the slope. This specific sign indicates that the volcanic processes in the crater are active. And when we go into the bowl, you will see it for yourself: everything is bubbling, boiling, smoking, mud pots are bubbling and the earth shudders. You will have time not only to admire the landscape but also to take pictures. By the way, when glaciers move on rocks at a certain period of the year, you can see an enchanting spectacle: ice and fire meet in opposition. The clear blue ice melts from the volcanic heat, the water is collected in streams, which, merging, form the river Vulkannaya.
Having enjoyed this splendor, we’ll eat a little and move down. However, our further journey is not to the camp. We will go along the edge of the Opasniy canyon to the waterfall with the same name. Here, the Vulkannaya River breaks down from the 80-meter cliff, forming a noisy rainbow stream. And then we will go for dinner at the camp. Hot meals will be awaiting us. And again — overnight in tents, campfire, and stars.
Day 4. Hot springs
After the morning meal, we break up the camp and move to the hotel complex. Here, in Apache, we take rest the whole day and enjoy hot springs (swimming pool is at your service), relaxing and lazing in the hot water. Thus, you prepare for tomorrow’s journey to the Kurile Lake, in the direction of the southern part of the peninsula.
The Kurile Lake, according to most travelers, is one of the most beautiful places in Kamchatka. No wonder as this is not just a reservoir, but a flooded caldera of an ancient, now sleeping, volcano. The area of the lake inspires respect: more than 76 square km of water surface. And almost in its center, there is an island called the Heart of Alaid and overgrown with legends — according to local superstitions, mysterious and inexplicable things happen here.
The mysterious atmosphere of this power place is complemented by three volcanoes surrounding it. The perfect time to visit this place is from the last days of July to mid-September. Salmon breeds migrate to spawning grounds along rivers and streams, against the current, right this time. In the end, they get to the Kurile Lake, which is considered the largest spawning ground here. Bears come right here for fish – they come by families, hundreds of bears at a time.
If we are lucky, we will see a huge bird of prey — the Steller’s sea eagle that prefers the fresh fat fish, as well. The local volcanic lake is almost the only place where you can observe a representative of this rare species listed in the Red Book. So, you have a unique opportunity to observe in strength the most interesting representatives of the Kamchatka fauna against the background of the picturesque landscapes.
Day 5. We overcome the most difficult part of the route
Breakfast will be early and substantial. The deadline is especially important because of the ebb and flow times. You will not have time for a full lunch. We have to overcome three crossings.
The first two rivers are affluent and make us be very attentive when crossing them. The third one is easier; we will go it by ford.
We will move north from Mutnovsky plateau. Then we turn to the west and move to the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. It will shake (and long enough), the roads here are just called so. This inconvenience is offset by an amazing landscape change. Within a few hours, the terrain gradually turns from the volcanic desert into green meadows, forest, and the tundra will mark approaching the seashore. Well, that’s the sea! The Sea of Okhotsk is known for a specific and rather severe character. The weather is changeable, the waves are cold and powerful. A bright sunny day can very quickly change to the chilly wind and dense fog. So, keep warm clothes at hand.
We will move about 150 km along the coastline. Those who travel in August will see the work of fishermen, who use the time of spawning of commercial fish with maximum benefit. The coast here is rather flat. Therefore, the seal rookeries, flocks of noisy seabirds and other coastal fauna can be seen only from a respectful distance. In the evening, we will reach Pauzhetka. A geothermal power station was built in this village (the first in Russia). Maybe, we pay attention to it the next day. This day, we accommodate on the equipped territory. While we settle in tents and relax in the hot pool, a delicious dinner is being prepared.
Day 6. Stone Town, or Geothermal Power Plant
The program of this day depends on the weather. The senior guide determines the order of further actions only after reading the current weather forecast. After that, we either go to Pauzhetskaya geoPP, or to the Stone Town.
The ascent of the Sopka
We get at its foot by car. Next, we will see bizarre stone formations, which for their similarity with the ancient creations of human hands were called “town”. They, really, remind the practically destroyed and long abandoned city.
Excursion, swimming, fishing
If the weather does not allow you to climb the Stone Town, we walk along Pauzhetka and go fishing. We will reveal the best fish places, and Taras will teach you his signature tricks (they allow you to catch fish after the 3rd cast). You will definitely succeed! Moreover, we’ll take the fish and you will have cooked it later.
Then we go for an excursion to the local geoPP. Built in 1966, it still operates and supplies electricity to the surrounding infrastructure. The plant expert will tell us where electricity comes from, how everything works, and where the generated energy goes. Before the excursion, be sure to take everything you need for swimming: you will have an opportunity to enjoy the flowing water of the Goryachaya River, which is also rich in minerals. Very unusual sensations! Camping awaits you at the end of the day.
Day 7. South Kamchatka Sanctuary and bears
We reach the border of the reserve by car. The famous Kurile Lake is located here. We catch the local inspector and cross the Ozernaya River across the suspension bridge. Then we move to the central cordon, getting over a total of about 12 km on foot. Why not by car? Any road transport
is prohibited in the reserve. The road is normal, so the hiking will not be difficult. It will take us 3-4 hours, while our luggage will move in a motorboat and be in the camp before us. Therefore, take only the minimum necessary set of things for hiking.
The bears are awaiting you — hundred-per-cent! For the safety of scientists and travelers, the cordon is protected from these charming predators with a fence alive. Behind it, you will see different-age bears gamboling in the wild and from time to time fishing. We will have lunch here, on the territory. Tents are at your service. Then we go on an excursion across the fenced and protected bridge, which penetrates deep into the bear possessions. There are always many animals here as the fish accumulates under the bridge and becomes easy prey for bears. They will be really very close to you. Therefore, you should observe the utmost care and fulfill all of the inspector’s requirements. He will tell about the habits of animals, how they count fish that goes through the gates under the bridge and entertain you with stories from his experience.
In the evening, you’ll watch an interesting documentary about bears’ life. Please note: electricity will be supplied from 8 pm to one in the morning. So see about charging your equipment.
Day 8. The Kurile Lake and bears again
This day, we prepared a tour where you will walk along the territory adjacent to the lake. We will choose one of the routes after consulting the staff of the reserve:
visiting the North Bay;
walk on Domashnyaya Sopka;
Whatever happens, at least one of these routes will definitely be available for travel. As an example of how this day may pass, let us tell you about visiting the North Bay. This place is interesting because you can observe a large number of bears together. They catch fish, gambol around in the water, and start fussing for prey. Take pictures! You will not have any other chance to capture such a view! And just enjoy the closeness to nature and open eyes as in childhood.
The breakfast will be early. Then — two hours to the bay on foot accompanied by an armed inspector. Remember that there are no beaten tracks here. Then, what is there? Bear trails, and there is no difference for the animals whether it is the land or stream. So, we will take care of the appropriate equipment in advance: we need waterproof clothing and appropriate shoes, always with the expectation of bad weather. These animal paths will lead us to the lake and then we’ll go along the coast to one of the small rivers flowing into it. Bears come here for fishing, sometimes even with whole families and spend there all day long.
The streams are not deep at all. Therefore, shoals of fish make their way through with great difficulty. But the breeding instinct is stronger, so, the fish sometimes just throw to the shore when it is not able to overcome the obstacle. Here, we will stay for a few hours. You will have time to admire the scenery, take a stunning photo, and have a rest. Then we will go back to the central cordon. There will be time until dark, so we spend the rest of the day watching bears from the protected area of the camp. A fence alive and specially equipped observation platforms will protect you from any trouble.
Day 9. Kuthiny Baty and return to Pauzhetka
As usual, an early rise is planned. We will get to the most interesting point of our trip — to a unique pumice formation. It has a peculiar name Kuthiny Baty. Like many interesting objects in Kamchatka, this is also a product of volcanic activity. Pumice is formed as a result of solidification of lava, characterized by a porous structure and low density. The local variety is also famous for its pleasant creamy shade.
The sacred place of Kuthiny Baty retains its mystical meaning for the natives. In the depths of the canyon, there are often landslides because pumice stone is fragile. So it is forbidden to go too far for your own safety. However, we will explore the surroundings, take a lot of incredible photos, as well as a joint photo of all the participants of the tour. We leave the reserve the same way, and camping is waiting for us in the evening. Pauzhetka welcomes travelers! Here you have dinner and spend your free time.
Day 10. Transfer, swimming in the springs, rest in the hotel
We start on the way back. Our path again runs along the picturesque coast. Again, the Sea of Okhotsk will give us weather surprises and astonish with harsh landscapes. We will pass the places that have already visited. Thus, this time the move will seem shorter. But everything will look somewhat different, so you will not be bored. At the sunset, we will reach the Hotel in Apache. Here we’ll have dinner, and have rest. And of course, you can relax in hot springs so that the fatigue of the past days leaves you completely.
Day 11. Moving to Paratunka
A long move is awaiting us, so get ready and remember about the Kamchatka roads. In the afternoon, we will be in Paratunka. Here you have a free evening, can exchange the impressions and prepare for tomorrow that will be very interesting because you will go on a sea trip!
Day 12. Russkaya Bay, a sea trip
This day is devoted to a small sea tour. It will last approximately 10 hours and will be a real discovery for you. You can see nearby killer whales, sea lions and a wide variety of birds. It is worth flying here through the whole of Russia. Previous days, we went and drove through the Kamchatka Peninsula, first east, then turned towards the south. From the shore, we looked at the severe Sea of Okhotsk. And now it’s the turn of the most unpredictable and deep ocean on the planet.
We will yacht, and around, wherever you look, there will be immense ocean waters. Just imagine: we leave in the morning, go along Avacha Bay, admire the sky and the waves, listen to the voices of the seagulls beckoning in the distance and hold the course for Three Brothers. According to legend, they protect the city. We have already left the bay and immediately found ourselves in the restless and powerful embrace of the ocean. On the horizon, we have a view of the steep banks of the peninsula. Once again, we admire the incredible diversity of Kamchatka landscapes.
Then we will go along the outlines of the east coast, stop at the island of Starichkov, which is known for its seal and sea lions rookery. There are numerous birds’ colonies here, as well. There are nests of the rarest Steller’s sea eagles, proud, beautiful but, unfortunately, endangered birds. It is difficult to imagine how this unique ecosystem is placed on such a small area. The area is reserved here, so we will not land right on the island. It is strictly prohibited.
Then our path goes to Russkaya Bay. It is quite remote from comfort, so here you can often see whales and killer whales. The place is closed and full of fish, so they swim here on the regular — we will most likely find them here.
Day 13. History, fish market, souvenirs
We will have a fascinating walk through Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. A historical tour will be incredibly exciting. Our guide is just in love with his city and has a lot to tell. Petropavlovsk is a marine city that saw many navigators. Bering, La Perouse, Krusenstern, many other discoverers and heroes of sea battles visited the city. We will definitely see the monuments in the city center, which have perpetuated the achievements of pioneers and world-famous sailors.
Thanks to historical places, we recall military victories and glorious times. For example, how in 1854 the few defenders of the city opposed a squadron of ships under the English and French flags, survived and won. The region, strategically important for the Empire, has remained with Russia for centuries. “Battery of Maksutov”, a monumental exhibition located on the very shore, reminds about the battle. The Monument “Kurile landing force” is located in the city center, in a picturesque park. It will bring us back to 1945 to the fight of the Kurile Islands retake. This monument glorifies the fighters and officers who, not sparing themselves, defended their homeland. On Victory Day, people lay flowers here and honor veterans.
At the end of the tour, you will have an opportunity to see the incredibly majestic panorama of the city. We will go up to the Mishennaya Sopka with the observation deck. Here, from the height, you will see almost all of Petropavlovsk, Avachinskaya Bay. You can even see domestic volcanoes from afar. You will definitely not regret!
Our further path goes to the fish market. This is a unique place where the various seafood in all possible edible variations is collected. Be sure to buy delicious gifts for homies, coworkers, and friends. Your story about the beauties of Kamchatka, while eating these specialties, will be especially impressive!
Day 14. See you!
This day finishes your journey. The only you need is to exchange contacts with new friends, to take a picture of the monument “Russia Begins Here” on the way to the airport and say goodbye.