Kamchatka Photo Tour

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of the Kamchatka Photo tour

  • Ascending to Gorely volcano
  • Climbing up the crater of Mutnovsky volcano
  • 3 days / 2 nights of permanent establishment on Kuril lake
  • 100% meeting bears up close
  • An excursion to “Kamenyi gorodok” (Stony town) or fishing
  • Watching sea animals during a cruise trip to Russkaya Bay
  • A sightseeing trip around Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city
  • Comfortable hiking tour: without a long crossing with backpacks
  • 6 overnights in tents at camping area
  • Cook’s services during traveling

Itinerary of the Kamchatka Photo Tour

Day (1) Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

The flight from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky lasts for 8 hours. During landing you will see our domestic volcanoes such as Koryaksky, Avachinsky and Kozelsky through the plane window. We are very glad you are here. Our guide will meet all the trip participants at the airport and drive you to the hotel for accommodation. This day will be for acclimatization and rest.

Day (2) climbing up to Gorely volcano. Overnight in tents

We will start our trip from the volcanic area of Mutnovsky plateau. There are the most interesting volcanoes there in accordance with tourists’ the point of view. Such volcanoes as Mutnovsky and Gorely.

The first top which is needed to ascend is Gorely volcano with its height of 1892 meters. The off-road vehicle will be able to drive closer to the base of the volcano in August. But in July, for example, you will have to walk a few kilometers before climbing. After having a snack we will start our climbing trip approximately at 12:00 PM. We recommend you not to eat a lot or it will be difficult for you to go up. The path is not steep and lies along the volcanic ash fields and solidified lava. After reaching the top of the volcano which will take about 3-4 hours, we will get a reward: First of all, we can enjoy surroundings. Secondly, we can explore some of Gorely’s volcanic craters. It has 11 craters. Thirdly, we can have a snack!

A day trip from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has strictly limited time for climbing and a guide can turn a group back without reaching the top but our multi-day trip allows us to achieve our goals – each tourist must reach the summit and explore some volcanic craters.

Three craters are worth exploring:

  • Blue lake crater filled with water of melt glacier. It has a bright blue color.
  • Chasha (Bowl) was filled with acid lake till 2011, but after the last eruption, it has dried.
  • Active crater. Its walls are formed with the wonderful composition of rocks.

After hiking around stunning natural sights we will go down to the base camp where we spend our first night there. After returning the camp a delicious dinner will be waiting for us.

We will sit around the campfire under the night sky. If the weather is not cloudy the stars will be very close so that you can see Milky Way. It is always uncomfortable to sleep outdoors on the first day. But we hope that after climbing you will be relaxed and fall asleep like a baby.

Day(3) climbing up Mutnovsky volcano, a trek to the crater. Overnight in tents.

After having breakfast we will head on the base of Mutnovsky volcano.

Mutnovsky is an active volcano. It is famous for its crater and one of the widest fumarole fields. The volcanic walls are destroyed on one side so that you can see its rock treasures. Climbing is not so difficult and you can see rising up to the sky fume at a distance. Approaching to the top, you can feel a specific smell of sulfur which is one of the volcanic manifestations. After reaching the fumarole field we will be surrounded by fantastic scenery: smoking fumaroles, bubbling mud pod, as well as the roaring ground.

Depending on the season ice and fire meet there. The blue glaciers hang over colorful rocks and melt by Earth’s heat. There are a few streams there which are a source of Vulkannaya (Volcanic) river. We will spend enough time walking along the crater to take pictures. After having a snack we will start descending. But we won’t head back the base camp, we will go to Opasny (dangerous) canyon and to the waterfall of the same name. It is the place where Vulcannaya river falls down into the gorge. After observing volcano and surroundings we return the camp, where a hot dinner will be waiting for us. We will spend our second night in tents.

Day(4) going to Apacha hot springs

After having breakfast, packing up campsite we will drive you to the hotel located in Apacha area. There is a swimming pool filled with thermal water on the territory of the hotel. This day will be dedicated to rest and we will spend our day at the hotel in comfort. Tomorrow we will start our moving to the south of the peninsula in direction of Lake Kuril.

Lake Kuril is situated in the south part of Kamchatka peninsula. It is one of the most picturesque regions of Kamchatka. The lake was formed in the crater of the ancient volcano which has a square of 76,2 km2. There is a mysterious island Alaid`s heart in the central part of the lake. Its origin has a lot of local legends. Ilinsky, Kosheleva and Kambalny volcanoes, surround the lake and keep mysterious this place.

August is the best time to visit the Kuril Lake. Hundreds of thousand salmon with the instinct of reproduction swims against the stream of numerous rivers and brooks to the places of spawning. This lake is the largest spawning area in Kamchatka. The abundance of salmon attracts a “king” of Kamchatka`s forest. Hundreds of bears come there for feeding. Every year bears hold the feast there. Steller`s eagle is a frequent guest for the feast. It is the biggest bird of prey living in Kamchatka peninsula. The representatives of this species are registered in Red Data Book of Russia, but it`s possible to see them along the shores of Kuril lake. Such great diversity of fauna and unique landscapes concentrated on small territory which allows tourists to watch all Kamchatka beauty and magnificence in a short time.

Day(5) moving to Pauzhetka settlement

After having breakfast you need to be ready to go. This day we will have to drive the most difficult part of the route. It is impossible to cook a proper lunch during driving because our schedule time is strictly limited by tides. We will have to cross two deep rivers. But there is no reason to worry because Aleksey is our driver. He is one of the most experienced driver in Kamchatka! On our way, we will have stops for having a snack.  We will drive from Mutnovsky plateau to the north, then directly to the west, to the Sea of Okhotsk. Kamchatka roads are really only in the theory, so get ready for longtime shaking. At the same time, the route let you see changing of landscape and fauna. After leaving the desert and uninhabited volcanic areas, the surroundings will be greener so that we can see more colors. Landscape changes from mountains, forest to tundra when approaching the sea. Finally, this is the Sea of Okhotsk!!! You will be able to feel the ancient power of water. Weather is very changeable there. For example, one minute ago it was shining, but now it`s getting cloudy and windy.  You need to be ready and take warm clothing with you. We need to drive 150 km along the Sea of Okhotsk. This place is not uninhabited as you might have expected. August is the time of salmon spawning; so many fish processing factories try to get lucky. Not only local fishermen take part in fishing, but also people from the other cities of Russia. On our way along the shore, we will see numerous birds creating their colonies, as well as inhabitants of coastal waters up close. We will stop on our way for taking memorable photos. We will go through Oktyabrsky village, which was the richest fishing farm. Then we will reach Pauzhetka village by evening. There is the first geothermal electric station in this small village. Maybe we will visit it tomorrow but now we will set up our camp and spend the night in tents. Tatyana cooks dinner. And we will enjoy hot thermal water in the swimming poll after many hours of driving. After such bathing, all tiredness disappears. Overnight in tents.

Read more Day 6 to Day 14

Day(6) Fishing, an excursion to fumarole fields of Pauzhetka Geothermal Power Station, bathing in hot river or a trek to natural monument Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town). A guide will take a decision based on weather conditions where we will go.

The itinerary of the sixth day will totally depend on weather conditions. Knowing the forecast the guide makes a decision whether we take a trip to Kamenny Gorodok or go on an excursion around Pauzhetka Geothermal Power Station.

An excursion to Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town)

We will reach the place from where we will start climbing. On our way, we will see the place where military planes, flew from the USA to USSR, landed in times of Great Patriotic War. A few people know about this place, and it is still possible to find some fragments of crashed planes.

Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town) is numerous fantastical rocky sites which look like destroyed and left town.

After reaching the top of the hill you will understand why this place is not worth visiting in bad weather.

Firstly, the path is highly changeable: some part of our way we will go through the bushes, another – we will go along the riverbed. There is a slush of water and mud when raining. Please keep in mind our recommendations about hiking gear: waterproof high trekking shoes! Secondly, the slope is steep enough and some parts of ascending can be difficult for untrained people. But at the same time, we can`t say that this route is complex as we took our children of 12 years old on this route. But sometimes tourists ask us to leave them somewhere on the route. So, be ready! Thirdly, you will see nothing from the top if the weather is bad. But everything may change if the sun appears. Amazing views of the valley will be visible! You can see rising up clouds spreading over Pauzhetka village, as well as from left side we can see South Kamchatka Sanctuary. The vegetation grows along the bed of the river along which we will go to Ozerny cordon. We will see the main purpose of our traveling – Kuril lake. Some tourists say that this place is the most beautiful if you travel around the south. That`s why we advised you to ascend there.

The excursion around Pauzhetka village.

If the weather is bad, we will go around Pauzheka and catch a fish. Taras will show us his best ways to throw a fishing rod and best places for catching a fish. Real Kamchatka fish means that you catch fish from the third attempt. Taras manages to catch fish almost every time. Will you try? We will take caught fish with us and cook it later.

After fishing, we will go to Pauzhetka Geothermal Power Station. It has been working since 1996. It provides the nearest fish plants and settlements with energy. The senior worker of the station will tell us about the inner organization, principles of work and about where all produced electricity supply is used nowadays. After visiting the station we will go to fumaroles fields. They are not for producing electric energy nowadays, but they will function for the good of mankind. Bubbling mud pots and smoking fumaroles – this is the way how the Earth breathes! Our excursion continues. Haven`t you forgotten swimming suits? There is a hot river there which has a good temperature for bathing. Soaking in warm mineral water is a rather unique pleasure. Finally, we will head back the camp.

Day(7) hiking to the territory of South Kamchatka Sanctuary. Kuril Lake. Walking around the territory of Ozerny Cordon, visiting to Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries. Watching bears. Overnight in tents at Ozernoy Cordon.

We will go by off-road vehicle to the border of South Kamchatka Sanctuary where Kuril Lake situates. Then we will walk 12 km to reach the central cordon; we will be accompanied by an inspector. Any kind of traffic is forbidden on the territory of the Sanctuary.

The road is good enough and it`s not difficult for walking, but anyway it is physically demanding. Usually, it takes 3 or 4 hours. All our stuff and food will be transferred to the cordon by a motorboat so that we can take only necessary things with us. On our way to Ozerny cordon, we will meet bears! The territory of the central cordon is surrounded by electric fence protecting researchers and tourists from numerous bears walking wherever they want and fishing in some meters from the fence.  After setting up a camp and having lunch we will have a cognitive excursion to “zagorodga”. It`s a fenced bridge from which we will be able to watch bears’ fishing. There are special barriers for fish counting. After going through it fish get into the lake. Bears adore this place as fish collects in a big amount there because of these barriers.

Bears are very close so you need to be cautious, follow rules of safety instructions and listen to the inspector. The researcher of the Sanctuary will tell us about bears’ habits, fish counting, and many other interesting facts. We will watch a documentary film about bears in the evening. The camp is supplied with electricity from 8 p.m. till 1 a.m. We advise you to worry about charging your cameras in advance. Remember that an additional adapter will be useful!

Day(8) Tour around the territory of Lake Kuril, watching bears. Overnight in tents.

We have planned excursion over the territory of Lake Kuril. Every year these routes may be different and depend on permission of the Sanctuary and inspector: the Northern Bay, the Domashnaja hill, the river Khakicin or Sypucka. Under any conditions one of these routes will be available. Below is the example of the trip to Severnaya bay: This day we will take a trip to Severnaya Bay. This place is interesting nature monument; the number of bears, fishes is unique there. Taking photos, watching and being surprised IS NOT FORBIDEN THERE! After having early breakfast we will walk about 2 hours to reach the bay. The inspector carrying a gun will accompany us. We will follow bears’ path, this is not a road, so we remind you one more time to prepare waterproof clothing and extra belongings with you (in case of bad weather). When we reach the lake shore, we will continue trekking to the first or second river flowing into it. Fish try to go up to rivers from the lake by using such brooks. And these mouths are perfect places for bears’ fishing. Sometimes it`s possible to see a whole family here. Brook are very shallow so it`s difficult for fish which to swim and sometimes they just jump out of the water of the river to the shore. We will spend several hours on the bay, take hundreds of photos and go back the camp. Returning to the central cordon. A whole rest time we will watch bears from the camp area protected by electric fence or from some special viewpoints.

Day(9) a trekking excursion to the natural monument Kutkhiny Baty. Then we will come out from South Kamchatka Sanctuary. We will head back Pauzhetka settlement. Overnight in tents.

After getting up early, as usual, we will go to the next step of our route – unique pumice forming Kutkhiny Baty. Pumice is a result of volcanic activity which has happened after lava`s reached surface and hardening. The unique is that it has cream-colored. Usually, tourists are transferred there by boats, but after a bridge had been built everybody crosses the river by it. Our group in 2016 tested it for the first time. Kutkhiny Baty is a place surrounded by mystery, secrets, as well as legends. Locals legends tell us that Kutkh, creator of the Earth, keeps his boats there. Kutkh left his place and his boats turned to stone. So nowadays they have been still there; it leaned against Ozernaya river bank. Aboriginals believe that this place is sacred. It was forbidden to go deep inside the canyon because of frequent slid of pumice rock. After watching surroundings, making group photo and going out from the Sanctuary at the same way we had come. We will reach the camp at Pauzhetka by the evening. Dinner and free time.

Day(10) heading from Pauzhetka settlement to Apacha hot springs. Overnight at a hotel.

Our returning way along the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk is the same. Way back always seems shorter, as we will go through familiar places.

By the evening we will reach Apacha hotel. Dinner, bathing in hot springs and having rest.

Day(11) Returning to hotel at Paratunka.

Heading from Apacha to Paratunka. A free evening.

Day(12) Cruise to Russian Bay. Birds, sea lions, orcas watching.

To fly through the whole country and don`t see sea animals? It`s impossible! 10-hours cruise to Russkaya bay will be a discovery for you. Recently we have crossed Kamchatka peninsula from West to East and to very South, seen rough the Sea of Okhotsk, and finally, we will visit the biggest and deepest ocean of our Planet. It`s incomparable pleasure to sail on a yacht, meeting wind and boundless ocean expanse. Cast off and, going through Avacha Bay, head on Three Brothers Rocks protecting the city. The air is full of piercing and calling for adventure voices of seagulls. After going out Avacha Bay’s gates we will find ourselves in the open ocean. You will be able to see new panoramic views of steep slopes; you will be surprised by nature diversity of this area. The next stop is Starichkov island. We will sail along the eastern coast of Kamchatka. This island is popular for being home for many birds’ colonies, sea lions and seals rookeries. This is a protected area and it is forbidden to land there. Also, this place is for Steller eagles nesting. Our main purpose is Russkaya Bay where you have a great chance to see whales and orcas. They come to this cozy and closed bay with the hope of feasting tasty fish. August is the most delicious time. We hope you will be lucky to meet them!

Day(13) a historical excursion around Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky with a visit to the fish market. Overnight at a hotel

We are going on the historical excursion around the city. Our guide will tell you a lot about the city. Petropavlovsk met many great famous navigators such as Laperouse, Kruzenshtein, Bering and many others. We will see monuments of seafarers and discoverers. Our city is famous for military victories. Defenders destroyed the squadron of English and French united troops in 1854. So, the important strategic spot of Russia was protected. Who knows what kind of territorial destiny our country might have otherwise. A mock-up Lieutenant Maksutov in memory of this battle was established on the shore of Avacha Bay. There is a monument to the Soviet Army Warriors – liberators of the Kuril Islands in 1945 in a cozy public garden in the center of the city. Every year local people hold a traditional ceremony of laying flower there. Next, we will go to the viewpoint located on the top of Mishennaya hill. Wonderful panorama of the city, domestic volcanoes, and Avacha Bay becomes visible from there. Then we will go to fish market. You will find all possible delicacies and sea gifts. Scallop, squid, Kamchatka`s crab, and red caviar are sold by acceptable prices. The sea delicacies will be an excellent present for your friends and relatives. Just imagine, you are sitting in the family close circle, telling everybody about your adventures and enjoying the seafood.

Day(14) transfer to the airport.

This is the last day of our trip. On our way to the airport, we will stop near the monument “Russian begins here” and take a group photo.

Questions about this tour?
Email me tim-vollmer@gmx.de
or Tweet @Tim Vollmer
or find me on Facebook.


US$ 5490

per person in a double room

US$ 450

single supplement

we have a private tour and extra permission!


August 14 – 27, 2020


14 days/13 nights

Photographic themes:

Landscape, wildlife, villages, mountains, culture, people, underwater, Geothermal, volcano


  • Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
  • Gorely volcano
  • Mutnovsky plateau
  • Mutnovsky volcano
  • Apacha
  • Lake Kuril
  • Pauzhetka settlement
  • Pauzhetka 
  • Kamenny Gorodok
  • Pauzhetka village
  • Ozerny Cordon
  • Kutkhiny Baty
  • Pauzhetka settlement
  • Russkaya bay


  • Double accommodation in Paratunka village
  • Overnight in tents at the territory of the volcanoes and Lake Kuril
  • Transfer(according to the itinerary)
  • Meal on the route.
  • Guide’s service
  • Visitor entrance fees to protected areas
  • Basic tourist gear
  • Swimming pool at the resort area
  • Professional Photographic Guide Tim Vollmer

Not included:

    • International Airfare
    • Lunch and dinner at resorts in Paratunka village and in Apachinsky resort area
    • Lunch in the village Milkovo
    • Alcohol
    • Travel insurance, health insurances.
    • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, camera or video fees at any sites etc.
    • Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary)
    • What is not mentioned as included

Getting there:

You have to organize your own travel to and from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Participants of the tour should have:

  • hiking boots (mid-calf hiking boots)
  • thermal underwear
  • waterproof trousers
  • wind and waterproof jacket(with membrane and hood)
  • raincoat
  • Polartec jacket
  • down vest
  • warm hat
  • gloves(fleece is better, but rag ones is necessary)
  • headdress from the sun
  • sunglasses
  • warm socks
  • swimming suits
  • -5-degree rating sleeping bag
  • 75-liter backpack (tourist suitcase is not recommended!)
  • Backpack liner (big packet where you may put the sleeping bag and dry things to protect from moisture)
  • sunscreen
  • electric torch
  • mosquito repellent
  • mosquito net
  • personal aid kit
  • gaiters(optional)

Photography Instructors

Photo of Tim Vollmer, Tim vollmer Photography
Tim Vollmer

Tim has devoted his life to photography. Photography has been his long-held hobby and great passion. Tim has always felt himself drawn to the power and beauty he finds in nature. Tim has been leading photo tours and workshops in Iceland and many different countries over the years. He has had the world as his workplace. He is Photographing everything from the dramatic landscape in Iceland, to the native people in the remote corners of the world and the culture that are unique to each country. His journeys have taken him around the world in pursuit of memorable travel experiences and the creation of compelling images. His work has been featured in international publications. His images and stories are shared on various internet outlets. As a driven artist, professional, entrepreneur and an adventurer, Tim is eager to share his passion, knowledge in photography and travel through the tours he designed on his own, or through his partnership with professional photographers from around the globe. Tim and his family lived 11 years in Iceland. Now they are based in Czech Republic.

Call Tim Vollmer Now : (00420) 732 203 764