Cave people

Skiing with a sea view: how popular are ski tours to Abkhazia

Is it true that the prospect of going on a trip to the amazing places of the Caucasian South looks very romantic? And seductive. Indeed, to visit some neighboring countries, you do not even need a passport.

In the new overview of the Resorts of the South. they talk about what else to do in the vicinity of Gagra, in Novy Afon and not far from Sukhum, if you came here with the main goal of seeing the beautiful Abkhaz caves.

The resorts of Abkhazia are strikingly different from the places in which you are used to rest. Here, almost all cities offer their guests an exceptionally measured vacation on the Black Sea coast with calm excursions to caves, waterfalls and mountain lakes.


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Gagra is considered to be the most developed resort in Abkhazia. The city is literally divided into two parts. Old Gagra is located closer to Adler, near the Abaata fortress, and New Gagra is a resort area where most of the hotels and sanatoriums are located.

The fortress was built to prevent the enemy from crossing the Zhoekvarskoe gorge. It was repeatedly captured due to its strategically advantageous position. Each of those who at different times owned the structure, brought something from their culture to the architecture. That is why the Abaata fortress is unlike any other building in Abkhazia. The building took its final form at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Prince of Oldenburg ordered to demolish one of the walls and make a hotel out of the fortress.

Gagra is very popular among tourists who prefer active holidays. After visiting the caves of St. Hypatius and Kruber-Voronya, do not deny yourself the pleasure of testing your courage at the local attractions. Go rafting, diving or hang gliding.

The Cave of St. Hypatius is located in the gorge of the Tsikherva River. Previously, it consisted of many rooms that were used as cells, but now only three of them are available to tourists. All other rooms are completely filled up. Numerous researchers agree that it was this cave that for a long time served as a refuge for the saint - the Monk Hypatius of Gagra.

The Krubera-Voronya cave is considered one of the deepest in the world, the entrance to it is located in the Orto-Balagan tract at an altitude of more than 2 thousand meters. The cave was discovered in 1960 by Georgian speleologists and explored to a depth of 95 meters. And since then, each expedition went to great depths - 210, 340, 710 meters. In 2007, a depth of 2,196 meters was reached. This place is uniquely suitable only for professional explorers and climbers.

Take a couple of days to rest in the tent. And don't worry about cold nights: Gagra is the warmest place on the entire Black Sea coast. The city is surrounded by high mountain ranges that do not allow the cold air currents from the continent to move freely.

Abkhazia is a popular tourist country in Russia, famous for its natural beauty, exotic plants and warm climate. Rest in Abkhazia is very specific and not suitable for every tourist. Read about the main pros and cons of rest in Abkhazia and its features.

Abkhazia surprises tourists with devastation and desolation. The local population justifies the cause of the destruction by the war with the Georgians in 1993-1994 and the poverty of the country. But that doesn't explain the trash and dirt everywhere, shabby facades and unpainted fences.

Perhaps the Abkhaz simply do not pay attention to such "trifles", but for a country where the main industry is tourism, it looks strange and shortsighted.

How to cross the border

You can cross the border of Abkhazia from the Russian side - the Psou checkpoint, and from the Georgian side - the Inguri checkpoint. The Psou checkpoint operates around the clock, Russians can enter Abkhazia only through it, there are pedestrian and car crossings here.

In 2016, Abkhazia introduced a visa regime. Citizens of countries that have not recognized the independence of Abkhazia must enter the country on a visa. Accordingly, Russians enter Abkhazia without a visa. To enter, you only need an internal passport, children - a birth certificate. Citizens of Belarus and Kazakhstan can enter without a visa for a period not exceeding two weeks.

A few facts about Abkhazia

Pros and cons of rest in Abkhazia

The Internet is replete with negative reviews about holidays in Abkhazia, but sometimes there are opposite opinions, in this case heated discussions flare up. Despite the differences in personal experience and perception of the country, two obvious things must be admitted. First: Abkhazia offers tourists a very low quality of service. This applies to everything: accommodation, food, beaches, entertainment. The population receives the main income from tourists, but despite this, tourism is practically not developing.

On the other hand, Abkhazia is a unique country with many natural resources in the form of tourist and recreational resources. Here you can enjoy amazingly beautiful places, go in for extreme sports and active sports. Rest in Abkhazia has both pluses and minuses.

The most tourist cities in Abkhazia are Gagra, New Athos and Pitsunda. Gagra is the most beautiful Abkhaz city with historical buildings and the Colonnade, the Seaside Park with exotic plants. There are many religious and historical sights in New Athos, as well as famous caves. Pitsunda is chosen for the sake of healthy air - a relict pine grove is located here.

Those who choose to rest in Tsandripsh, a village on the border with Russia, will see the amazing White Rocks and the Tsandripsh Basilica.

World Snow Day is a winter sports day, an international holiday celebrated annually on the penultimate Sunday in January, starting in 2012.

In honor of the Sputnik holiday, Abkhazia found out how popular winter sports are in Abkhazia, where you can ride and what are the prospects for the republic's ski resorts.

Ilana Mikvabia, Sputnik

No need to go far

In the 2020-2021 season, the ski tour to Abkhazia is especially popular, Alexander associates this with the closure of borders and the high occupancy rate of the Sochi winter resort Krasnaya Polyana.

When the season starts

The winter sports season in Abkhazia starts differently, it depends on the amount of snow. While the athletes skated only on Mamzishkh, from February the tour will begin at the Adjara base in Auadhar. Basically, you can go hiking until the end of March. Weather conditions are not important for ski-touring, experts note that even snowfall does not interfere with skiing.

What can not be said about another type of skiing - heliski (a type of skiing, which is a descent along untouched snow slopes with an ascent to the beginning of the descent by helicopter - ed.). Heliskiing is impossible in case of snow and fog. In addition, this sport in Abkhazia is developing gradually, since it has much more requirements for both safety and guides, and the pleasure is not cheap, because you need to rent a helicopter for it. In 2020, this sport has become more difficult due to the fact that the main part relies on helicopter companies, and due to the coronavirus infection pandemic, helicopter owners are limited in opportunities.

According to Boyko, the company strives to attract more local residents to work and train them. He notes that the company is already in partnership with the residents of Abkhazia, who are actively fond of winter sports, study, and already some of them are good skiing.

Local Extreme

A resident of Abkhazia Tomas Butba has been fond of alpine skiing not so long ago - only four years, he first tried to ride in Krasnaya Polyana, after which he developed a passion for this sport, he began to communicate with experts, to ski more often, gain experience.

He notes that the Abkhaz mountains are more for extreme lovers who want to leave the "resort slopes" and feel more freedom and pleasure on the freeride tracks (unprepared for snowboarding and skiing tracks - approx.). But at the same time, there are mountains for beginners, and there are also safe ones in terms of avalanches. Due to the fact that the sea is close to the mountains in Abkhazia, good cyclones are observed here, due to which the snow in the mountains is very soft, which is appreciated by those who practice winter sports.

Thomas rides on Mamzischkhe, not so long ago he and four of his friends began to deliver tourists to ski areas using small snowmobiles. He considers this ridge to be the most accessible for practicing winter sports, since the asphalted track is laid up to 1400 meters above sea level, it is easier to get on it than along the Ricinsky one. With the help of the social network Instagram, people are turning to him to be taken to Mamzischkha, there were many applications for the New Year holidays, according to him.

The 2020 summer holiday season in Abkhazia began on August 1, when the Abkhaz-Russian border was opened after four months of restrictive measures due to the danger of the spread of coronavirus.

Despite the fact that the season started late this year, Russian tourists arrived in Abkhazia without fear of coronavirus infection. But not only good reviews about holidays in Abkhazia appeared on the Internet, but also complaints about "additional services" for tourists who take excursions, where supposedly "all inclusive", but in the end pay extra money for unplanned stops on the route.

"Divorces" on the route

A tourist from Russia, on one of the Internet sites, expressed her dissatisfaction with excursion tours.

"We left at eight in the morning on the guide's transport. When we got into the car, the guide briefly asked what we want and generally want, naturally each of us said that we had heard about Abkhazia at all (we were driving for the first time) - springs, nature and less historical ruins. And here was our first mistake - we entrusted the guide to choose for us, but it was necessary to meticulously and by HOURS to lay out and discuss OUR PAID ROUTE ", - says the tourist on the website.

Another Russian who has visited Abkhazia described the "divorce" scheme during a bus tour as follows: tourists are brought to one place, for example, to Lake Ritsa, but they immediately report that there is a beautiful observation deck above, you just need " throw off 250 rubles and persuade our driver, there is a difficult road, serpentine ", then they report that Stalin's dacha is nearby and to see it, you need to" chip in "another 300 rubles and so on.

Another excursionist said that on the way, tourists are often brought "to taste the best honey" or "the most delicious wine", where they are "bred" to buy food at fabulous prices, as well as to dubious restaurants where the one who refused " part of the group has to wait for dinner and waste precious time on their vacation. Due to unplanned stops, with which not all tourists agree, the time of the excursion increases significantly.

Tourists also complained about "extortions" from the guides, when they unexpectedly announced that the bus parking becomes paid after 10 minutes, and if tourists want to explore the attraction for a longer time and have time to take pictures, an additional payment is required. Moreover, you need to pay not only for parking, but also additionally to the driver, who supposedly has the right to use the bus only for a certain time, and for additional "pokatushki" you need to pay extra to the traffic police.

There are a lot of similar reviews on the Internet this year, although in fairness it should be noted that such an "excursion scheme" has been operating in Abkhazia for several years.

No complaints

Deputy Minister of Tourism Astamur Bartsits commented on the situation.

He noted that there are excursion programs, the routes of which are developed by travel agencies, and then agreed with the Ministry of Tourism and the State Traffic Inspectorate.

Why did we choose this type of excursion to the mountains of Abkhazia on horseback? Firstly, we had a child who was interested in riding a horse for the first time in his life, and secondly, my sister adores these animals and we could not miss such an opportunity. How our horse ride went and where the tourists are taken on this excursion in Abkhazia you will learn from this article.


Where are they taken to ride horses in Abkhazia

Tourists on horseback riding excursions in Abkhazia are taken to the Zhoekvarskoe gorge. This is the most picturesque place in the Caucasus Mountains, ideal for walks and hikes. It is located near the city of Gagra, the turn to it leaves from Narta Avenue, the reference point is the Abaata fortress stop.

Zhoekvarskoe gorge looks like a forest completely overgrown with moss, and mountain springs run from all sides, turning into waterfalls, of which there are more than a dozen. It contains boxwood, chestnuts and century-old pines.

But this place is not only a nature reserve, but also a bloody page in the history of the city. Since the time of the Turkish and Patriotic wars, ruins of military buildings - fortresses and watchtowers - remained in the Joekvarskiy gorge. And not far away in 1992, civilians were shot here.

An excursion in the heart of Abkhazia - Lake Ritsa, Gegsky waterfall and other picturesque corners of the region with legends and tastings is carried out daily by the best guides, you can book a place online on the Tripster website, free transfer from Gagra, Pitsunda and Sukhum, Sochi and Adler

It is dangerous for a tourist who is not familiar with the area to be alone in the gorge. Lots of slippery trails and crumbling bridges. Therefore, they go here in groups accompanied by a guide or guide.

Excursion horseback riding in the mountains of Abkhazia Our reviews

In the morning we went to the agreed place where the gazelle took us. The road goes along Nartaa Avenue, then goes to the turn. Finally, we arrived at the place where tourists are transferred to horses. After a short briefing on the safety and management of the horses was carried out and the participants of our excursion chose horses for themselves, we went for a walk.

I had to drive the horse myself, no instructors leading the horse by the bridle, no. On the excursion with us was the only guide - the owner of the stable, who knew the nature of the horses and the guide.

The little sister was put on a horse, which was the leader. He walked ahead of everyone and led our herd behind him. Therefore, she drove the entire excursion at a great distance from the whole group. In addition, he turned out to be a playful guy, a lover of jumping, and then for a long time she remembered how it took her breath away when he rode uphill on a steep slope.

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