Explore Russia’s Ultimate Wilderness Destinations: Kamchatka and Yakutia

Explore Russia’s Ultimate Wilderness Destinations: Kamchatka and Yakutia
Direct non-stop flights on Yakutia Airlines from Anchorage, Alaska

This year, Russian air carrier Yakutia Airlines marks the 7th year of its Alaska – Russian Far East Air Service, offering direct service between Anchorage, Alaska and Yakutsk, Russia. The route to Yakutsk operates via established destination Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula. The flight schedule permits travelers from the US to make same-day connections at Petropavlovsk and Yakutsk to Moscow, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and other Russian cities. Tickets are now on sale through the InterPacific Aviation and Marketing web portal, AirRussia.US, most professional travel agents, and ticketing outlets across Russia. The flights will operate on Mondays, July 16 to September 3, 2018 utilizing Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline will also offer twice-weekly nonstop service between Tokyo (Narita) and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky July 16-27, 2018.

Photo: Yakutia Airlines’ flight from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Photo Courtesy: Slava Stepanov.

Yakutsk is the capital of Russia’s Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), in Eastern Siberia. It is the world’s largest city built on permafrost and, with an average winter temperature of -30F, it is the coldest major city in the world. Visitors to the city will enjoy visiting the Mammoth Museum, its outdoor “living” shamanism museum, and the underground Permafrost Museum featuring ice sculptures year-round. A day-cruise up the Lena River from Yakutsk tower the breathtaking Lena Pillars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; these picturesque cliffs reach up to 900 feet high and extend for miles along the river. Yakutia, an area almost five times the size of France, is rich in natural resources; most notably, it produces more than 25% of the world’s supply of diamonds. Yakutsk is sister city to Fairbanks, Alaska.

Lena Pillars. Photo Courtesy: Yakutia Airlines

City of Yakutsk, Photo: Alexander Egorov

Yakut woman playing khomus, Photo by Nikolai Petrov

The Kamchatka Peninsula is a popular destination for outdoorsmen and adventure travelers. Thousands of miles of pristine rivers and streams flow from the scimitar-shaped peninsula’s volcanic mountain ridges to the sea, forming ideal habitat for rainbow trout, salmon and other fish species; for anglers worldwide, an expedition to Kamchatka is the trip of a lifetime. The region’s active volcanoes, Uzon caldera and Geyser Valley are must-see sites for visitors. Trekkers will appreciate the breathtaking landscapes, wildlife viewing, and a soak in one of the area’s countless hot springs. Kamchatka’s indigenous Koryak, Even and Itelmen peoples welcome travelers to experience their rich culture first-hand at such events as the lively thanksgiving festival Alkhalalalai. Festivals and conferences throughout the summer appeal to travelers with more specific interests, such as Volcano Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, Skyrunning competitions, and the JKASP volcanology conference. The flight from Anchorage to Kamchatka is just 4 ½ hours.

Photo: Tourists hiking the Avacha Volcano, Courtesy of Vladislav Teplukhin

1/3 of the world’s wild pacific salmon spawn in Kamchatka. Photo Courtesy: The Fly Shop

Photo: Olga Logvinets

Eastern Russia boasts five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is of increasing importance as a travel destination. Travelers may choose from itineraries that unite such unique features as Lake Baikal, the Lena Pillars, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and Kamchatka. Tour operators and outfitters experienced in travel to Kamchatka offer trips to accommodate a wide range of interests and budgets, ranging from bear-viewing and volcano climbing to fishing and scientific expeditions. Fly-fishing outfitters include The Best of Kamchatka, The Fly Shop, Ultimate Rivers and Ouzel Expeditions. Treks and cultural tours are available through such experienced operators as Kamchatintour, Red Rivers, Explore Kamchatka, Secret Compass, 50 Degrees North, Betchart Expeditions, MIR Corporation, EastLink and 56th Parallel. Most operators are pleased to arrange custom trips upon request. Links to operator sites may be found at AirRussia.US. Expeditionary cruise ship operators, including Heritage Expeditions and Silversea Cruises, explore Russia’s wildest coastlines, from Japan to the Arctic.

Icha River Expedition. Photo Courtesy: Rene Limeres

Photo: Anna Gavrilova

Yakutia Airlines is a regional Russian airline headquartered in the Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). It maintains hubs in Yakutsk, Moscow (Vnukovo Airport), and Krasnodar. The airline operates passenger service throughout Russia, Europe, Central Asia, and North America. In May 2012, Yakutia Airlines received authorization from United States authorities to serve Alaska, and has been successfully providing seasonal summer passenger and cargo service on the Anchorage – Russia route since June 2012.

Photo: Slava Stepanov

InterPacific Aviation and Marketing, Inc. (Seattle, USA) finances and manages the Alaska – Kamchatka – Yakutia air service. It represents Russian air carriers in North America, and provides travel, air cargo, operational and promotional services. For more information, see its bilingual web portal AirRussia.US.

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