Perhaps the most potent symbols of Kamchatka’s untamed nature are its towering volcanoes and the mighty Kamchatka brown bears, the furry residents are the ancestor of the Alaskan Kodiak bears. These two iconic natural emblems are the main subjects of our Kamchatka bears and volcanoes tour, an adventure into the wilds of Russia’s Far East that’s equal parts thrilling and humbling. Including three nights staying in a cabin on Kuril Lake at the height of the bear’s salmon hunting season, this Kamchatka wildlife watching tour will get you closer than you ever imagined to the animal inhabitants of the Kamchatka peninsula.
Bears and volcanoes of Kamchatka tour highlights:
- Kuril Lake during the summer salmon run is one of only a few places where visitors can observe hunting brown bears in their natural habitat at close proximity. To get the best chances of adrenaline-pumping close encounters and amazing photos ops, we’ll watch bears feed and frolick along the shore from a motorboat, as well as on-land from a special viewing platform overlooking prime fishing grounds.
- Take off in a Russian Mi-8 helicopter for a breathtaking flight to the Khodutka River hot springs, nestled in a forested valley where we’ll bathe, relax and camp for the evening. The largest collection of hot springs in Kamchatka, water temperatures in the various spring pools range from 40 and 60°C.
Cruise to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world. Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.
Wrangel Island Expedition Cruise HIGHLIGHTS
- Whale Bone Alley is the name given to a beach on Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea. Landing on the beach, you’ll take in the haunting atmosphere of this ancient site, where gigantic whalebones appear to sprout out of the ground, stretching along the coast for nearly half a kilometre
- Uelen, the most northeasterly village in Russia, home to a predominantly Chukchi population. The village is one of the foremost centres for Chukchi and Inuit art. On our visit, we’ll be entertained by local folklore and a visit to the bone-carving workshops
On this 2-week Kamchatka photography tour designed especially for landscape, nature and wildlife photography enthusiasts. Stay on the shores of the iconic Kurilskoye Lake and take part in some of the best brown bear photo opportunities as the bears gorge themselves during the annual salmon run. Hike to the summits of some of Kamchatka’s active volcanoes for thrilling shots of steaming vents, acid lakes, and smoking craters. Your aim is to return to “Earth” with images of alien landscapes and wild nature worthy of the pages of National Geographic. Our Kamchatka photography tour suits all the professional and amateur photographers, as well as active and adventurous travellers. No prior mountain climbing experience is required, but a decent level of fitness is strongly recommended.
Kamchatka Photography Tour HIghlights
- Brace yourself for a bone-rattling journey on a Russian 6WD all-terrain vehicle on a road tracing the western coast of Kamchatka (complete with river crossing) to isolated Pauzhetka village. Pauzhhetka is a tiny settlement between the Sea of Okhost and Kuril Lake, surrounded on all sides by towering volcanoes
- Fly to Kurilskoye Lake via helicopter for a two day shooting and photo workshopping season among the brown bears who gather at the lake in large numbers during the salmon season To get the best chance of heart-stopping close encounters and amazing photos ops, we’ll watch the bears on land and on boat, staying overnight in log cabins close to the lake shore
- Russkaya Bay Cruise: Set sail from the capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and explore the wildlife-rich waters of Russkaya Bay and the Starichkov Island seabird capital. Try your hand shooting marine mammals including whales and seals and enjoy a lunch of freshly caught seafood
After the winter-time freeze, Baikal becomes a balmy summer boating paradise – a vast expanse of calm water with shimmering azure bays and a shoreline hugged by dramatic mountains, pristine forests and quaint ethnic villages. This relaxing three-day Lake Baikal cruise will take you to some of the most picturesque beauty spots in and around Lake Baikal, travelling on board the modern cruise ship Sibiryak with just 11 other guests. In three days, you’ll be able to take in a truly memorable taste of Siberia’s unique culture and nature – including a scenic journey on the magnificent Circum-Baikal Railroad and a walking tour of the Baikal National Park.
Lake Baikal Cruise Highlights
- Discover one of the most extraordinary man-made attractions in Baikal, the Circum-Baikal Railway. Cruise to one of the most picturesque stretches of the train line, set between the coast and the dramatic slopes of the Primorsky Range. Later, we’ll disembark for a walking tour of the railway’s abandoned tunnels and galleries
- Steam into Peschanaya Bay as the sun rises, a secluded cove renowned for its long, white sand beach, clear shallow water and majestic, panoramic mountain backdrop. Hike the scenic two-hour mountain track between Peschanaya and Sennaya Bay within the protected Baikal National Park
- Olkhon Island is the largest island in Lake Baikal, housing forests, mountains, Buryat settlements and sacred shamanic sites. Pass through the narrow Maloe More, the 70km strait that separates Olkhon from the mainland
Be swept away by the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere of Lake Baikal. Kayaking Lake Baikal tour takes you across crystal clear waters by day and sleeping on its shores by night. Experience its diverse range of flora and fauna as you paddle your way through breathtaking coves and picturesque bays. Discover pristine golden beaches, ‘walking trees’ and if you’re lucky, get up close and personal with the beloved Baikal seals. From Buguldeika village to Peschanaya, this Lake Baikal Kayaking tour invites guests to feel the energy of the world’s oldest lake as they navigate on its transparent water and camp on its secluded, sandy shores.
- Sennaya Bay is a ruggedly picturesque bay within Baikal National Park and our first camping destination on this trip. Above the bay, a mountain path winds along the spurs of the Primorskiy Mountain Ridge
- Peschanaya Bay is considered to be the most beautiful of all Baikal’s bays, with its soft white sand beach, emerald water and ‘walking trees’, featuring stilt-like roots tall enough for people to pass underneath
- After spending a full morning exploring Peschanaya, we’ll enjoy a scenic paddle down to Srednie Bay, a secluded cove set against a backdrop of dense forest. On this leg there’s a fair chance of spotting freshwater nerpa seals peering at you from the surface of the clear waters of Baikal
This epic Kamchatka kayaking tour covering roughly 110km of rarely visited Pacific Coast will take you to parts of this dramatic region only accessible by small sea craft. Tracing the peninsula’s shoreline south from the calm waters of Avacha Bay, you’ll paddle beneath the shadows of snowy volcanoes and explore mysterious sea caves. Visit the incredible Starichkov Island Nature Reserve – one of the Pacific’s largest seabird colonies, and impressive Russkaya Bay for world-class marine mammal encounters. Discover a side of the Kamchatkan wilderness only a few have ever experienced on an unforgettable Russian sea kayaking adventure.
Kamchatka Kayaking Tour Highlights
- Be immersed in the scenic splendour of Avacha Bay, a tranquil harbour surrounded by soaring cliffs and coastal forests. Dramatic rock formations rise from the water, including the ‘Three Brothers’, said to be the guardians of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
- The vast colonies of seabirds that nest on Starichkov Island Nature Reserve are a breathtaking sight. You’ll see thousands of cormorants, gulls, guillemots and puffins, while in the morning, dozens of largo seals can be found sunbaking on the rocks