Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3595  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Tbilisi, Georgia
Depart: Tbilisi, Georgia
Lodging: 9 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level: Walking tours and cultural exploration, easy day hikes
3

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Combine this adventure with our Trans-Caucasus Adventure departure and receive $700 off the cost!

The remote Svaneti region of northwestern Georgia is an enchanting realm of high snow-capped peaks and glaciers, deep gorges, rushing rivers, ancient stone villages lost in time, and a rich church art heritage. With its innate beauty and fascinating cultural legacy, Svaneti has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Celebrated in myth as the home of the fabled Golden Fleece (Svaneti belonged to the ancient state of Colchis, from where Jason stole the Golden Fleece), it is home to the proudly independent Svans, a subgroup of Georgians with their own language and traditions whose customs are still vibrantly alive. With veteran Trip Leader Roger Williams, we hike trails leading past picturesque villages dotted with age-old tower-houses, where we meet the keepers of some of the most distinctive mountain cultures in Europe, and up forested mountain slopes for views of the peaks of the Greater Caucasus. We also explore towns rich with the surviving monuments of Svanetia’s storied past, and appreciate the deep breadth of history of this faraway land.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Tbilisi / Kutaisi

From Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, we head to Kutaisi, founded over 3,000 years ago and considered one of the oldest cities in the world. Along the way we explore the Prometheus Grotto, a large limestone cave complex with an underground river and lake and 16 chambers full of extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites.

Days 3-6
Mestia / Ushguli

From our base in Mestia, the tiny capital of Svaneti, we visit one of the 12th century churches in the community of Latali, hike through Svanetian villages past watchtowers and toward the Chalaadi Glacier flowing down from the twin summit peaks of Ushba (15,420'), and explore Ushguli (7,218'), the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe and famous for its many watchtowers, sprawling fortresses, and wonderful views of the highest mountain in Georgia, Mt. Shkhara (16,627'). While in Ushguli, we visit a local family to see how they make cheese.

Days 7-8
Zugdidi / Bakuriani

In Zugdidi, we visit the agricultural market and the Geguti ruins, the remains of a great palace complex dating back to the 12th century. From the mountain village of Bakuriani (5,577'), a winter ski resort surrounded by coniferous forests, we hike trails to the summit of Mt. Kokhta (6,890'). If the weather is clear, we may have views of Mt. Elbrus (18,510'), the highest peak in Europe.

Days 9-10
Tbilisi

We take the 24-mile-long narrow gauge train called the Kukushka (Cuckoo) through the Borjormi Ravine to the settlement of Borjomi, famous for its mineral waters. After tea at the home of a local family, we return to Tbilisi. Depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip rating system. While this trip is not expected to be very physically demanding, there is a lot of time spent exploring sites on foot and a few day hikes of four to six hours. Road conditions can be very basic, and trip members should be prepared for narrow mountain roads and some bumpy drives due to remote locations. The most important requirement for this journey is a spirit of adventure. For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition for the trip.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
Sep 30-Oct 9, 2014  Roger Williams

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$3595 (10-15 members)
$3995 (7-9 members)
$4495 (4-6 members)
Single supplement: $475
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels
  • All meals included
  • Land transportation, airport transfers and sightseeing as noted

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Roger Williams

Roger Williams has led Wilderness Travel trips for over 25 years. He is a Tibetologist who lived in Nepal for eight years, studying Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist iconographics, Himalayan languages, and woodblock art. He lived in Kyoto for two years studying Japanese woodblock art, Japanese language, and Shingon Shu, an esoteric sect of Japanese Buddhism. Roger has led many trips for us through India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, along the Silk Road, in Southeast Asia, to Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Iran, Mongolia, and into remote corners of the Russian Far East. Since 2002, Roger has been working as a technical advisor with USAID consulting in tourism development projects in Mongolia, Armenia and Croatia. In July, 2010, he returned from his third The Great Game journey, a special WT Expedition that included visits to the Wakhan Valley as well as Mazar i-Sharif and Balk (formally Bactria) in northern Afghanistan. When not leading trips, Roger is the director of Snow Lion Graphics/SLG Books in Berkeley, California, a publishing house specializing in books and calendars relating to Asian cultures.

Upcoming Trips:

Glimpses of the Silk Road, June 21-30, 2014
The Great Game, June 29-July 23, 2014
Trans-Caucasus Adventure, September 6-30, 2014
Land of the Golden Fleece, September 30-October 9, 2014
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon, November 3-30, 2014

Client Testimonials:


Tibet is a place like no other on the planet! Roger’s language skills and knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism opened many doors. Connie D., Alamo CA
Heart of Tibet
Exceedingly knowledgeable, very caring. Priscilla and Franklin O., Malvern PA
Mystical Bhutan
Roger knows how to run a trip. He’s very organized and clearly communicates the daily plan. Also, he's a lot of fun and I was impressed with his expertise on Buddhist iconography. Fran M., Mill Valley, CA
Hidden Himalayas
Roger is remarkable. This trip showed him at his best. We could never have traveled across the roof of the world without his preparation and energy. Thanks for a grand experience! Ruth and Frank H., Edmonds WA
In the Footsteps of the Great Game
Roger takes good care of his travelers and we learned a lot about the people, their culture, and history. His love for this part of the world is infectious. Ruth G., Del Mar CA
In the Footsteps of the Great Game
Roger is great! Hard working, knowledgeable, personable. He really makes a difference. Bill R., Walnut Creek, CA
Passage to India
I can understand why Roger has such a big following. He worked all the time to make the trip the best it could be. Marsha S., New York, NY
The Great Game
Roger is clearly a well-seasoned professional. He is passionate about India and it shows everyday, whether it is interacting with the locals or talking about the iconographics and sites. Grace L., Boston, MA
Passage to India
Exceptional dedication, passion, and professionalism. Roger has the right personality and attitude for this. Jonathan T., Boston, MA
Passage to India
Roger is a wealth of knowledge and very well traveled. He takes his duties as trip leader extremely seriously and goes out of his way to please each client. Terri H., Berkeley, CA
Armenia and Beyond
Roger provided a unique and enjoyable travel experience. His knowledge and familiarity with the sites visited and enthusiasm for these countries and peoples made this a great travel experience. Judy A., Davis, CA
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon
Roger's extensive travel experience and knowledge of Asian culture and Buddhism greatly enhanced the trip. And all the planning he did before and during the trip ensured an excellent itinerary and made everything run smoothly. Nancy R., Walnut Creek, CA
Tribal China
There should be a rating higher than excellent for Roger. His knowledge, energy planning, and attentiveness are superlative. Debra B., Jackson, WY
Central Asia Explorer
Roger is the best tour leader with lots of experiece and profound knowledge of the subject area. Kudos to him and WT. Tan Kiet T., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tribal China
Roger has tremendous skills as a trip leader. He has a real gift with people and his relationship with local guides enriches the areas we visit. Joan L., Baltimore, MD
Journey to the Heart of China
Roger is simply a brilliant organizer and always finds the very best services available. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to anything Asian. Elizabeth M., Providence, RI
The Burma Road: Kunming to Rangoon