On this new tour offered exclusively by MIR Corporation, intrepid travelers explore the remote corners of Russia.
This tour includes Yakutia, a rugged northern frontier known for mammoths and diamonds, and the wild Kamchatka Peninsula, perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Guests will meet the indigenous peoples of these far-flung locales and admire two natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, enjoying the contrast between the Kingdom of Permafrost in Yakutsk and the steaming Valley of the Geysers in Kamchatka.
Days 1-3: Yakutsk
Arrive in Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), where more than 40% of the land sits above the Arctic Circle. Survey the Kingdom of Permafrost, lined with stalactites of frost and fantastic ice sculptures, and the Permafrost Research Institute, a 66-foot shaft in the frozen ground. Visit the factory of one Russia’s largest producers of finished diamonds, mined here in Yakutia. Admire the Treasury of Yakutia exhibition, displaying some of the mineral wealth of the region, and sit in on a performance featuring traditional instruments at the Music and Folklore Museum of the Peoples of Yakutia.
Days 4-6: Yakutsk, Lena Pillars, Tyokhtyur village
Cruise along the Lena River to UNESCO-listed Lena Pillars Nature Park, where fantastic limestone columns (up to 650 feet high) tower over the river. Explore the Orto Doidu Ethnographic Park and the Yakut village of Tyokhtyur, enjoying lunch in the home of a local Yakut family. Tour the Mammoth Museum, focusing on the wild mammoths that roamed the area over 40,000 years ago, as well as the hundred-year-old Museum of History and Culture of the Northern People.
Days 7-8: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Valley of the Geysers
Fly to the wild Kamchatka Peninsula, landing at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, surrounded by three imposing volcanoes. Board a helicopter for the trip to the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Geysers, where geysers, mud pots, thermal springs and steam vents erupt from the valley floor. During the flight, observe the Uzon Caldera, said to be formed over 225,000 years ago, when a great shield volcano exploded.
Days 9-11: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Esso
Board a boat to cruise on Petropavlovsk’s Avacha Bay, one of the largest in the world. Pass the Three Brothers rocks, guarding the inlet where the bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Drive through wild landscapes to the village of Esso to spend some time visiting with and learning about the two major indigenous peoples of Kamchatka, the Koryak and the Even. Visit the Koryak and Even ethnographic museum and art gallery, and enjoy an authentic folk performance of traditional song and dance.
Days 12-14: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Avacha volcano
Hop aboard a six-wheel truck for the drive to the foot of Avacha volcano on a rugged track that climbs 15 miles upward to the base camp. If you choose, set off for a walk to the top of 3,780-foot Camel Mountain. Lovely indigenous plants and flowers grow here along the slope, and breathtaking views of Zhupanovsky, Vilyuchinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes reward your persistence. Gather back in town for a festive dinner to toast the conclusion of the adventure.
The tour is scheduled for August 7-20, 2018 and starts at $7,595 per person, based on double occupancy.
MIR Corporation, whose name means “peace” and “world” in Russian, has specialized in Russia (and neighboring countries) since 1986. Offering scheduled and custom journeys to Russia, traveling along the Trans-Siberian and across the Silk Route, MIR’s Seattle-based experts design imaginative trips that take travelers far from the familiar, working closely with local affiliates in Western Russia, Siberia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan to carry them out. MIR has twice been named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth,” and is a preferred operator for museum, alumni and special interest organizations across the country.