Travel to Kamchatka: cost, instructions, and 5 advice for beginners

How much does the trip cost?

If we compare the cost of traveling to Kamchatka and Europe, the latter will most likely come out cheaper. High prices on the peninsula often outrage guests. Why is it so expensive here?

  • There is nothing like infrastructure. The main attractions can only be reached by huge SUVs, and finding a good hotel is another challenge.
  • Short tourist season from June to September. During this time, local residents want to earn extra money for their holidays, sometimes combining the tourism business with their main job.
  • Changeable weather, which often does not allow for excursions.

Some tourists try to save money by buying individual excursions instead of whole tours. We calculated that the final cost with this approach would be lower by 10–20 thousand, but there would be problems with logistics. After weighing all the pros and cons, we chose the tour.

Here are the costs per person for 9 days:

  • Tour — 2 100 $
  • 420 $ for the flight
  • 250 $ for the outfit.
  • 170 $ for souvenirs, caviar, and fish.
  • 60 $ surfing lessons in the Pacific
  • 50 $ for cafes, restaurants, and snacks
  • $3,050 total cost per person

Approximately the same amount will cost two weeks in New York or a month in Bali. But, I confess right away, according to my impressions, Kamchatka turned out to be much cooler.

Further in the article, prices will be given in Russian rubles.

A view of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky from the porthole
A view of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky from the porthole

What clothes to take with you?

The weather on the peninsula is unpredictable. We arrived in early September and dressed in T-shirts and shorts on the first day; on the second day, we were freezing in sweatshirts; and on the third day, we forgot our hats in the hotel and regretted it greatly.And when they left, it was possible to sunbathe again.

Therefore, it is important to take clothes for different weather conditions, from heat to cold weather. It is also worth considering elevation changes and types of recreation: climbing, rafting, and yachting. Here are the things we needed:

  • Hiking boots I bought Salomon at a discount and have never regretted it.
  •  2-3 pairs of trekking synthetic socks. Cotton socks are not suitable; they do not wick moisture well.
  •  The thin membrane jacket Snowboarding is not suitable for summer or early autumn; it is too hot.
  •  Thermal undergarments Membrane trousers in case of rain or strong winds. We took a trip through Outventure.
  •  Shorts and T-shirts for a hot day’s bathing suit and flip-flops for bathing in hot springs.
  •  A thick raincoat

The main thing in clothes is layering. The air temperature is constantly changing, so it’s great to be able to put on a windproof jacket, take off a warm jacket, or change into dry clothes at any time.

6 layers of clothes
6 layers of clothes on a sea trip. It is more convenient to replace them with high-quality thermal underwear

What else will help to survive?

  •  Cream with SPF 30+ We just forgot it and, after a two-day rafting, we went with red faces.
  •  Mosquito repellent in the summer.
  •  Thermos. Hot coffee saved us on the climbs.

What to consider when planning a trip

Usually, we plan trips on our own: we study reviews, book hotels, look for locations and build a route. But there were difficulties with Kamchatka. Take them into account when planning your trip so as not to spoil your vacation.
 No roads

It is almost impossible to see the main natural sights on your own: there are no roads to volcanoes, and even less so, public transport. According to our driver, those travelers who take the risk of renting an SUV often get stuck on the first volcanic hummock.
 changeable weather.

It’s impossible to plan in advance what you will do on a specific day of travel—the weather is constantly changing. It is important to be flexible and quickly rebuild the program depending on the weather forecast.

Types and cost of tours

The cost of tours to Kamchatka starts at 70 thousand and goes to infinity. We have explored several options, which I will discuss below.

Tours costing between 70 and 100 thousand rubles.

Where to buy: Wanderer Travel Club.

9-day tour itinerary includes: Khalaktyrsky beach with black sand; a boat trip along Avacha Bay; a walk to the ancient volcano Vachkazhets; climbing Gorely, Mutnovsky, and Avachinsky volcanoes; and a one-day rafting trip on the river Bystraya.

Accommodation: double rooms with private facilities in the room or on the floor.

An example of accommodation in the tour “Kamchatka-light of the club of travelers” Wanderer “

Tours cost between 120 and 150 thousand rubles.

Where to buy: Big Foot (choose this tour and you will never regret it)

A 9-day tour program from Big Foot includes climbing Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes, two-day rafting on the river Bystraya, an ocean walk, and an overnight stay in a glamping on Khalaktyrsky beach.

Accommodation: double rooms with private facilities.

What did you watch in 9 days?

The tour itinerary included climbing the Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes, rafting on the Bystraya River for two days, a yacht trip, and an overnight stay in a glamping tent on the Pacific coast.

On the day of arrival, we were taken to the most famous inscription in Kamchatka, “Russia begins here,” fed pancakes with caviar and champagne, allowed to buy red fish at the local market, and sent to rest at the hotel. The next day, the most interesting began.

Gorely Volcano

Physical activity, according to our guide, is the best way to survive the jet lag (the time difference between Moscow and Kamchatka is 9 hours). Therefore, the first two days we conquered Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes.

  • Climbing time: 2 hours.
  • Height difference of 900 meters
  • The last eruption was in 2010.

Climbing is considered easy and does not require special physical preparation. And so it turned out, only at the end of the track, a rather strong climb awaited us, which pretty exhausted us. Nevertheless, we reached the top in a couple of hours, almost non-stop.

Life hack

There is nothing better than changing into dry thermal underwear at the end of the ascent. There is a strong wind at the top, so after climbing it is easy to catch a cold and freeze.

At the start, we were given trekking poles and water.
View of the Avachinsky volcano during the ascent to Gorely

At the top of Gorely, we looked at two craters: one with an acidic turquoise lake, and the second is an active smoking one. We also had time to walk along the edge of the volcano, feel like the heroes of The Lord of the Rings and have a bite to eat with a sandwich with red fish. By the way, taking hot coffee with you in a thermos was the second best solution, after spare thermal underwear.

Gorely crater with acidic lake
Lunch after the ascent Yeah, I don’t know where the tour organizers got the volcano poke from either.

Mutnovsky Volcano

  •  Climbing time: 2 hours 
  • 400 meter height difference
  • Last eruption: 2000.

 Mutnovsky volcano seemed to us like a place from another planet.  This is one of the most active Kamchatka volcanoes: sulfuric lakes boil here, and clouds of smoke escape from the crevices.

Due to constant evaporation, the walls of the crater are multi-colored.

In the caldera of the first crater, we passed through a field of fumaroles—fissures in the ground from which hot gas escapes. It smells like sulfur and corrodes the eyes and lungs, so it’s best not to inhale it.

sulfur fumarole
On such right-hand drive SUVs, we moved through volcanoes

Rafting on the river Bystraya

Next in the program was a two-day rafting trip on the Bystraya River. The plans were ambitious—to cover 80 km in two days.

The first day, we sailed for about 5 hours. We learned how to spin fish (my catch is one lost fishing rod from the bottom of the river), looked out for bears (saw more than 20!), and enjoyed the sun and wildlife around us. By the way, this was the first rafting with good weather for the guides during the whole season, so don’t forget your raincoats and be ready to get wet.

During five hours of rafting, we caught fish for dinner and the next lunch.
So many things we took with us for two days

We spent the night in tents a few meters from the bear trail. It was scary: in the previous three days, we had been scared by dozens of “bear” stories. For example, during the season, bears consistently kill about 4 people. They are not afraid of fire and are vindictive; they can find an offender in order to take revenge (eat).

 Bears also have an excellent sense of smel;: they can even smell condensed milk in a closed jar from afar. Therefore, the main rule in hiking is to put all the food in containers and leave it outside the residential tents.

The night passed quietly. But in the morning, when I was brushing my teeth by the river, I saw a family of bears nearby: a mother and three cubs. They were moving straight towards our camp. I had to scare them off with blank shots from a gun.

The first bear on our way

Two days of rafting turned out to be too much for me; if on the first day I looked at the bears with interest and learned to fish, then on the second day I waited for us to sail and I could eat normally. But lovers of leisurely fishing should definitely like it.

Day in the ocean.

The main purpose of walking in the ocean is to see whales and killer whales. There is a whole system for this: captains of ships transmit messages to each other on the radio about where marine life was last seen.

 We were lucky: first we watched from afar how the whalethrews fountains of water into the sky, and then a family of killer whales swam past the yacht several times.

Taking pictures of killer whales

The program also included cute sea lions and deep-sea fishing. Things were better with her than with the river. We just cast the line to a depth of 20 meters, and after a few seconds, we got the fish. In 10 minutes, we had lunch and dinner.

Sea lions bask in the sun
Fresh crabs

At the end of the walk, an unexpected turn awaited us: the Pacific Fleet began to leave Avacha Bay, and all traffic, including our yacht, stopped for several hours. They say this happens from time to time.

It was not possible to get to the hotel early, but we examined the ships and “home” volcanoes of Petropavlovsk through binoculars. And as a bonus for waiting, we saw a fiery sunset.

Sunset in Avacha Bay

Khalaktyrsky beach

The final point of our trip was Khalaktyrsky beach. It is 30 kilometers of black volcanic sand and waves ideal for surfing. In addition to extreme sports, here you can ride horses, have a bite to eat in a cafe, and stay overnight in a hotel or tent right on the ocean.

We spent the night at the cozy Glamp Story Glamping. One of the features of this hotel is a large wooden vat of hot water on the ocean. This is the Kamchatka analogue of a bath: first you steam in hot water with herbs, and then you run into the icy ocean to swim. Feelings are indescribable!

Khalaktyrsky beach is considered the best place for surfing in Russia; there are several surfing training centers, equipment rentals, and surfing camps on the coast. Renting a board and a suit will cost 1,500 rubles, and a surf lesson will cost 3,000 rubles (equipment included).

I did not want to leave without conquering the Kamchatka waves. Therefore, on the final day of our trip, we woke up at 5 am and went to the surf lesson. I won’t say what moral efforts were required for this: it rained all night, and the wind mercilessly ruffled our tent. There was no desire to get out from under the warm blanket.

But we were lucky again: the rain stopped and we found perfect sunny weather with small waves for beginners. It was +9 outside, but in a thick wetsuit it seemed that everything was +20.

Unlike rafting, I would have stayed longer on Khalaktyrsky beach. We didn’t have enough time for leisurely walks along the coast, campfire parties, and a couple more surf lessons. We even thought about going to a surf camp next season to experience this relaxed atmosphere.

Travel conclusions

Kamchatka will interest even experienced travelers. With us on the tour, there were guys who had visited more than 60 countries, and even they were surprised at every step. So if you want to disconnect from civilization, get a new experience, feel like a pioneer, go ahead and buy tickets!

We have seen only a small part of the peninsula and already want to return. The plans include flying by helicopter to the valley of geysers, climbing the Avachinsky volcano, and snowboarding down from the mountains to the ocean.

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