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TRANSCAUCASUS JEEP TOUR Character: Ready to plan your Caucasus adventure? Why not take it offroad for a change? TransCaucasus Jeep Tour has it all - touring on roads far from regular tourist trails, navigating in mountainous terrain and enjoying the excitement of a real expedition. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular mountain views of the Grand Caucasus from Camel Mount in Armenia to Svaneti in Georgia. We provide the jeeps to ride in or you can drive your own 4WD vehicle and we lead the way! Duration: 10 days / 10 nights Accommodation: Tourist hotels Meals: 10 breakfasts, welcome dinner, 1 lunch Mode of travel: 4WD vehicles Tour support: AdvenTour tour leader /driver Included: Accommodation for 10 nights Meals as specified in the itinerary AdvenTour tour leader/driver All activities as per itinerary with all entry fees Travel permits in protected areas TransCaucasus Jeep Tour information kit Excluded: Optional activities
Itinerary Day 1 Hunter’s Road, Southern Armenia In the morning meet your tour leader and other group participants for coffee and a briefing on the jeep trip ahead, away from the mundane. Head to the South enjoying the fabulous views of biblical Mount Ararat. We soon get off the roads, and travel by 4WD along the Hunter’s Road, a great trail dressed in wildflowers. Breathe the mountain air and relax with nature, continue the jeep adventure winding our way through this spectacular land to arrive at Gnishik village surrounded by towering red rocks. After taking a few moments to freshen up it will be time to watch your hostess Anna prepare local culinary delights in a traditional wood oven in the ground. Overnight: Hotel in Vayk Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner Day 2 Pristine Lake and Rock Art Wake up to the call of hundreds of birds and enjoy your hot coffee. Head further south and jeep to Sisian. Follow the mountain tracks onto one of the unique wonders of the world, ancient rock paintings of Camel Mount. We steer our way up winding through this ancient and awe-inspiring mountain scenery, leave the rocks and alpine flowers behind but our efforts are well rewarded. Pack your imagination and be one of the privileged few to revisit the past and see the amazing rock art from bygone era. After rest in this beautiful place 4WD trip downhill to the finish of the full day of 100% off-road adventure. Back to Sisian for great food and rest. Overnight: Hotel in Sisian Meal plan: Breakfast Day 3 Devils Bridge After leisurely breakfast we hit the track and drive on the highway up to Shinuhayr village. On to Tatev Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This mountain trail offers panoramic views you have seen in old movies with a taste of rugged 4WD adventure through a narrow ravine so deep that the sun hardly reaches the bottom. Within the walls of the gorge birds find water and shelter from the heat of the plains. Stop at the Devil’s Bridge to stretch your feet, walk a few steps down, fill your bottle with crystal clear water coming from mountains and, if time allows, soak in the healing mineral bath. As soon as you see the Monastery you will understand what has drawn people to this sacred place for hundreds of years. Continnue to Goris for overnight. Overnight: Hotel in Goris Meal plan: Breakfast Day 4 Scenic Drive, Southern Armenia Breakfast and proceed to explore the lush valley of Her-Her river. Our first stop will be at Shatin observation point where we have a chance to see bezoar goats on the opposite side of the gorge. The day offers a real off-the-beaten-path experience as we drive to Fortress of King Smbat, one of the best-preserved medieval citadels in Armenia. Explore enigmatic Tsakhat Kar, a highly scenic spot and a subject of local legends. Continue across high altitude plains and remote villages followed by hard climbs, the thrill of visiting this land of rugged beauty is ample reward. We are in the agricultural heart of Armenia and do not miss the chance to sample some of the fantastic produce: private wine touring in maran (cellars) of a leading winery in Aghavnadzor, outdoor lunch in tender family atmosphere proceeding with local cheese tasting. Back to our hotel in Yeghegnadzor. Overnight: Hotel in Yeghegnadzor Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch Day 5 Selim Caravanserai, Silk Road Early breakfast and head out to Selim. Drive through striking landscapes of jagged mountains and gorges, rivers and muddy roads. The road gradually climbs up over 2,410m in elevation following the historic Silk Route past Selim Caravanseray. This is one of the best places to see 2
what fabled Silk Route looked like centuries ago. Descend to 2,000 m to catch the first glimpse of Lake Sevan, the Pearl of Armenia. If you seek a jeep path less taken and would like a deepertextured experience then jeep through striking landscapes to lofty mountain peaks of Vardenis ridge, reach beautiful mountain lakes, time to walk around and enjoy the scenery (weather permitting). Transfer to hotel for rest and overnight. A sunset walk for splendid views of Lake and surrounding mountains is a must before dinner. Overnight: Hotel at Lake Sevan Meal plan: Breakfast Day 6 Backcountry Ride and Rural Armenia Leave the splendor of Lake Sevan and head further north-west into the outback. Get to the real backcountry and escape from civilization driving through small villages of Navour and Itsaqar nestled in mountains with barely 300 inhabitants. Our passing encounters with friendly locals in villages may leave us with some of our strongest memories and the best photos of rural Armenia. Continue by a less traveled route to what locals call “Garlic” Pass (1852 m) with surrounding lash forest hills. Marvel at the natural splendor that surrounds you, when meandering down the wonderful old road leading to Ijevan, cozy town nestled in forests. Transfer to the border, continue to Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia founded about 40 centuries ago. Overnight: Hotel in Kutaisi Meal plan: Breakfast Day 7 Svaneti, Land of Lakes, Glaciers and Towers Start your tour with a drive to Samegrelo, enjoy the views of the mountainous region, continue to Zugdidi, short visit to Dadiani Palace and Museum, travel back in time and explore rare exhibits from various periods of Georgia’s turbulent history and rich culture heritage. Among the exhibits is Napoleon's death mask! On to Svaneti, Georgia’s most remarkable historic region offering immense richness of scenery and culture in a rarely visited area. En route we stop at 271-meter Enguri Dam for impressive views. Time to get ready for the most rugged 4WD adventure on mountain trails offering panoramic views of narrow ravines so deep that the sun hardly reaches the bottom. In Svaneti we stop and explore the impressive murals of 8th century Latali and Lenjeri basilicas. Overnight: Hotel in Mestia Meal plan: Breakfast Day 8 Ushguli, the highest settlement in Europe We commence the route today with a visit to traditional Ushguli community located at 2,200 meters at the feet of mighty Mount Shkhara and its awe inspiring glaciers. The village with its unique architecture and cult monuments amidst stern landscapes is a UNESCO Heritage site. We find ourselves among medieval towers set against the backdrop of the Great Caucasus Range. Experience the life of these proud People of Mountains, take a spectacular road to Virgin Mary Church and Svan ethnographic complex. This magnificent land of mountains and thundering waterfalls is certainly a highlight of our journey. Horse riding to Mount Shkhara (optional). Overnight: Hotel in Mestia Meal plan: Breakfast Day 9 Five Mountains Day In the morning it’s time to hit the road to famous Mount Zuruldi enjoying stunning views of the Caucasus Mountains including Tetnuldi at 4617m, Shkhara at 5068m, Shkhelda at 3800m and Ushba at 4700m. Unparalleled views, rough terrain, wild nature – an ideal formula for a 4WD trip full of adventures. Get above it all as your jeep climbs over awesome mountain trails to high altitude desert and reaches Mount Zuruldi where we have a bird’s eye view of Svaneti’s wild vistas. If you still have energy to burn, we will organize short hikes in the area! Evening drive back to Mestia for overnight. Overnight: Hotel in Mestia Meal plan: Breakfast Day 10
Drive to Tbilisi via modern highway and Rikoti Pass at 1440 m. There is an opportunity to stop in Gori to visit Joseph Stalin Museum. Continue to Uplistsikhe, The Lord's Fortress, a huge rockhewn town on the rocky bank of Mtkvari River. We then come to vibrant Tbilisi where there is time for sightseeing and last minute souvenir shopping. Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi Meal plan: Breakfast Those taking Eastern Turkey or Black Sea extensions start their tours the next morning after breakfast (see Eastern Turkey and Black Sea extensions below)
EASTERN TURKEY EXTENSION (year round) Round up your Caucasus experience with Eastern Turkey extension to get under the skin of its unique culture and history. From the sumptuous splendour of Isak Pasha Palace to the breathtaking and uplifting panorama of Nemrut Crater to Lake Van and Aktamar Island with so much to admire along the way. Day 1 Cavustepe, Hosap Castle & Van Castle Arrival in Van, transfer to hotel. Meeting with your local guide and drive to the mountain-top ruins of Çavustepe (Urartian fortress), once the palace of Urartian kings. Our route will be passing through dramatic Kurdish fortress at Hosap, a medieval stronghold built on a rocky outcrop on the north bank of the Hosap River. Moving on to Van to explore the nearby basreliefs of what is believed to have been an Urartian Citadel, dating from the 9th century BC. Finally we arrive at the town of Van lying on the eastern shores of Lake Van and admire the terrific views of the sun go down over the Lake. Overnight: Hotel in Van Meal plan: Breakfast Day 2
Ararat, Ishak Pasha Palace
Day 2 will bring us to Dogubeyazit and the romantic Ishak Pasha Palace overlooking Ararat, the legendary final resting place of Noah's Ark. Aside from simply being a palace it’s the administrative centre of the region and an eclectic mix of Armenian, Georgian, Ottoman, Persian and Selçuk architectural styles containing 366 rooms, one for each day of the year. The afternoon is free for you to explore in Doguebyezit, an interesting frontier town. You might want to purchase one of the region's beautiful carpets or dine at a local restaurant just below the palace overlooking the lights of the town and enjoying Kurdish music and dancing. Overnight: Hotel in Doguebyazit Meal plan: Breakfast Day 3 Tatvan, Nemrut Volcanoe, Ahlat Breakfast at hotel and off to Tatvan where we stop for refreshment. We visit tombs of Seljuk kings in Akhlat, some of the most outstanding tombstones of the early Turkish period, silent reminders of the glorious past and cultural heritage. We drive to Mount Nemrut, one of the largest complete calderas in the world, a true phenomenon not to be missed. This is indeed one of the most remarkable parts of Turkey we’ll be lucky to witness and have the opportunity to make the most inspiring photos of dramatic landscapes. Before getting back to Tatvan for overnight we have picnic and swim at thermal and cold lakes. Overnight: Hotel in Tatvan Meal plan: Breakfast Day 4 Lake Van, Aghtamar Island Early start and off to Lake Van on a Boat trip to Aktamar Island with a number of mystic legends related to it. Seven times the size of Lake Geneva, Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and the largest saline lake in the world. We will visit Akdamar Island and spectacular 10th century church built by an Armenian King Gagik, a superb sample of medieval Armenian architecture. Set against the spectacular backdrop of the lake it still retains its majesty, enhanced by the startling diversity of its exterior reliefs and kachkars, Armenian cross-stones. Overnight: Hotel in Van Meal plan: Breakfast In the morning flight home, end of tour. 5
BLACK SEA EXTENSION (June-September) Love summer and music? Visit Batumi. Lots of music festivals take place in the city every year. Enjoy walking in the Botanical Garden and hiking in Mtirala National Park, a site of stunning beauty and visit one of the oldest historical monuments of Georgia, Gonio Fortress built by the Romans in the first century. And above all enjoy the beaches, enjoy the sea, see and experience the pure relaxation which is Batumi. Day 1 Batumi City Breakfast at hotel and embark on a journey to Batumi â€“ the city at the Black seaside. Arrival at the hotel. A walk along the boulevard and a tour in the city. Visit Batumi state museum with Gold Treasury. It houses a lot of ancient artifacts found near the town-fortress of Gonio which we will visit the next day. Later enjoy a walk in the Botanical garden and return to hotel for rest. Overnight: Hotel in Batumi Meal plan: Breakfast Day 2 Gonio Fortress After breakfast leave for Gonio Fortress in 12 kilometers from Batumi, near the Turkish border. It was built in the first century by the Romans and was one of the main forts on the Black Sea coast. The fortress is related with the trip of Argonauts in Kolkheti for the Golden Fleece. The fortress was occupied intermittently by Romans, Byzantines, Turkish and Georgian troops. Return to hotel, free time in Batumi. Overnight: Hotel in Batumi Meal plan: Breakfast Day 3 Mtirala National Park Breakfast at hotel and journey to Mtirala National Park. It will take 1 hour to get to the park. The trip begins from the tourist information center. We will spend 3 hours in the park, at gthe end of which we will enjoy a picnic lunch at a scenic spot at the lake. During your trip you will see many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna, pass mineral and fresh water springs where we can relax and taste the highly valuable medicinal waters. The trip ends at the waterfalls of Mtirala. Back to hotel in Batumi. Overnight: Hotel in Batumi Meal plan: Breakfast, picnic lunch Day 4 Spend a whole day at the seaside. Enjoy the warm climate of Batumi and the Black Sea. Overnight: Hotel in Batumi Meal plan: Breakfast In the morning return to Tbilisi by train, arrival Tbilisi in the afternoon, end of tour.
EUR 1070 per person
EXTENSIONS Eastern Turkey Black Sea
EUR 580 per person EUR 495 per person
Extensions include: Accommodation for 4 nights Meals as specified in the itinerary AdvenTour tour leader/driver, local guides All activities as per itinerary with all entry fees All transfers in comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles
OPTIONS Single supplement Single supplement (extension Pre / Post-tour accommodation SGL Pre / Post-tour accommodation DBL Airport / hotel / airport transfers Flight ticket (Tbilisi - Van) Train ticket (Tbilisi â€“ Batumi â€“ Tbilisi)
EUR 165 per room EUR 95 per room EUR 60 per room, per night EUR 75 per room, per night EUR 14 per person, per way From EUR 105 per person From EUR 30 per person
Tour Notes 1. Special notes The information in these Special Notes covers the average range of conditions likely to be found on this trip. In remote destinations unexpected conditions can prevail at any time, and all adventurous holidays can therefore be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. 2. Travel health and insurance No vaccination is required for traveling in the Caucasus. The regionâ€™s climate is very pleasant, with no health risks. Water is very clean and safe. However, travelers usually prefer bottled spring and mineral water, which can be found in shops and supermarkets. There are registered pharmacies in all cities and towns with all basic medications. Travelers with special needs are advised to take a supply of those medications that they are likely to require. Medical facilities are numerous with many qualified doctors practicing in all specialties. Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for their services. Travelers are advised to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that it cover medical expenses including emergency repatriation and personal liability. We also strongly recommend that the policy cover loss of luggage and personal effects. 3. Driving Conditions Road conditions are mostly good. In the mountains we use off-road trails developed for this tour and ensuring maximum off-road fun. The environments we travel through are fragile. It is our responsibility as visitors to minimize the impact of our presence. 4. Money You will need to allow enough money for meals as well as optional activities. An average meal in a restaurant should cost between EUR 8-10. Tipping is customized and not compulsory. You should be aware that Caucasus is still a cashonly economy and credit cards are not accepted in the majority of shops and restaurants. There are several ATM machines in major cities where you can obtain cash.
5. Communication during the tour If you need to be contacted while traveling we recommend that you set up an email address that can be accessed on the road. Email cafes are common and are the preferred way for our leaders and travelers to stay in touch. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on an AdvenTour trip we recommend that they contact our operator by phone + 374 10 48 22 71 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 6. Accommodation We choose hotels/guesthouses that combine comfort and great service with unique ambiance and appreciation of the natural beauty of a region. The emphasis is on location and practicality. Our tours are based on 3 star properties. In capital cities and other places where higher-class accommodation is available you can upgrade if you wish. Your tour leader will help arrange this and the extra cost will be paid by you. In areas where hotels are not available, particularly in small towns in the regions, the group will stay at a local guesthouse (often with shared facilities). Some campsites we stay in are equipped with showers, toilets, electricity and a common eating area. Where no campsites are available we go wild camping (no facilities). These are limited to once or twice a tour and are in areas where you can enjoy the scenery. All other nights will be in campsites/hotels as described above. Single Supplement Should you want more privacy during your trip, you can upgrade by the requesting your own room, often at a little extra cost. Pre / Post-Tour Accommodation If you require additional accommodation either before or after the trip, we can book this for you. Please contact AdvenTour for current prices. 7. Transport and private transfers The mode of transport we use is chosen to suit the environmental aspects and local infrastructure. During tours we use comfortable, air-conditioned cars, minibuses and buses as well as some local transport that is wellmaintained and supplied with a first-aid kit. In fact, we often use more than one type of transport per trip. And just in case you are wondering â€“ we also travel by foot. Airport transfers are not included in the cost of the trip. Please, let us know at the time of
booking if you would like us to arrange a private transfer for you. 8. Staff and support While on AdvenTour trips, you will be accompanied by a tour leader/driver. The tour leader is in charge of general organization of your trip making sure that you have a most enjoyable time. He/she has broad general knowledge of the places visited, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. The tour leader is able to provide suggestions on what to do and see and can recommend great local eating venues. Local guides are an important part of AdvenTour team, they are trained by us and support our groups in sites and locations where their special knowledge of the trails, particular activities or communities will add to the enjoyment of the tour. 9. Meals The tour cost includes bed and breakfast in the hotels and guesthouses. Meals, when included, will feature local cuisine. For other meals, you are left to choose what and where to eat, though your tour leader will be on hand to suggest venues and arrange where necessary. This can be one of the great joys of this trip as the food in Armenia is superb. Vegetarians should have no problems on this tour. 10. Laundry Facilities are offered by most hotels for a charge. 11. Visas Citizens of EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other countries can obtain Armenian visa upon arrival at the airport or land border. All other nationals are advised to consult Armenian Embassy in their country of residence. Georgian visa is not required for EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand citizens. All other national are advised to consult the Georgian Embassy in their country of residence. Turkish visa is obtained upon arrival at the airport or land border. Iranian visa support is provided by AdvenTour through local parters in Iran. Visa regulations can and do change without notice. Please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.
12. Travel luggage Because of limited luggage space on transfer vehicles, we limit each passenger to ONE main suitcase or frameless backpack (the size not more than 75cm x 45cm x 25cm, the weight no more than 20 kg) and one day bag. The daypack is practical for keeping general items (e.g. camera, books, wallets etc.) at hand when your main pack is out of reach. Please note many hotels in the regions do not have porters and you will need to carry your own luggage. Travel tip 1: On some tours, if you wish, it is possible to leave surplus clothes and other personal equipment in hotels where you will return after your circular trip. Please bring a small bag to pack excess items in and leave the bag at the hotel. Mark your luggage with your name and arrival date. Please ask your tour leader to advise where this may be possible / advisable. Travel trip 2: You might be tempted to buy a few souvenirs here and there, so leave a little room for those extra purchases! 13. Safety We always recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while traveling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. All the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which can be used to store your valuables. 14. Responsible tourism Tourism can be a real help to local communities providing income, positive cultural exchanges and the financial incentive to protect the natural environment. Our trips are designed to use family-based guesthouses in the regions, buy local food, hire local guides, drivers and rent trucks to ensure that as much money as possible is retained within the local economies. 15. Feedback After your travel, we would like to hear from you. Within two weeks after your departure we will send you a feedback form to complete. Information in this document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change and does not form part of the contract between the client and AdvenTour.
TRANSCAUCASUS JEEP TOUR www.armeniaexplorer.com www.caucasusexplorer.com Tel. / Fax: + 374 10 48 22 71 1 Day 5 Selim Caravanserai, Silk Road...
Published on Jun 6, 2012
TRANSCAUCASUS JEEP TOUR www.armeniaexplorer.com www.caucasusexplorer.com Tel. / Fax: + 374 10 48 22 71 1 Day 5 Selim Caravanserai, Silk Road...