Kamchatka Adventure: Interview with Travel Expert Alexey Chuguev of Red Rivers Travel Company

Photo of Alexey Chuguev in Uzon Caldera in Kamchatka

Photo of Alexey Chuguev in Uzon Caldera in Kamchatka

Red Rivers is an adventure travel company in Kamchatka, Russia, that offers a variety of rafting, boating, fishing, mountain climbing and hiking trips. Alexey Chuguev, the company President and founder, and experienced Kamchatka travel expert, discusses his personal journey in adventure travel field, as well as Red Rivers’ best tours, and tips for visiting the area.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to pursue a career in the travel industry?

Travel is the way to see new places and to meet a lot of interesting people; it provides the opportunity to see with your own eyes the way people live in other part of the planet. Inbound tourism is also about meeting new people, who came to your home country to see it their own eyes. So, I enjoy this, and helped me decide in what industry I’d like to work in. While still a student at the university foreign language department, I began work as a guide-interpreter, before moving on to work in travel companies as a manager, and in hotels as deputy director. I also worked for a travel company in Japan.  After returned to Kamchatka, I established  “Red Rivers” tour company.

Q: What is your personal favorite place or activity on Kamchatka and why?

I grow up in Kamchatka but only after travelling around the world did I come to fully understand the beauty of this place. This is truly a unique wilderness area: Where else can experience pristine nature, pure water, clean air, volcanoes and hot springs, mountains and forests, rivers and tundra and ocean, fish and bears and sea animals – all gathered in one place? Mountaineering, trekking, biking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, studing bears and birds, viewing flowers, paragliding, yachting, diving, horse trips, rafting, snowboarding, heli-skiing, dog sledding, snowmobile tours, surfing – all these activities are possible in Kamchatka.

Photo: Road trip to Avacha Volcano in Kamchatka, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Road trip to Avacha Volcano in Kamchatka, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: What does the name of your company “Red Rivers” mean?

Red salmon spawning in the rivers make them red, and lava flowing down from volcanos makes a sort of red river. Red rivers are peculiarities of Kamchatka.

Photo: Frying eggs on hot lava, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Frying eggs on hot lava, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: What is the most popular tour or excursion in Kamchatka that you offer? What makes it popular?

Tours to Mutnovsky, Avacha, Gorely, and Tolbachik volcanoes are popular because the permit travelers to real, and active, volcanoes – to feel their breath and strength. Rafting tours and marine tours are also popular because they provide the opportunity to experience rivers and the ocean, and to fish on one’s own. Fishing tours, bear watching tours and trekking tours are also popular. In winter,  snowmobile tours are of great interest.

Photo: Visiting Valley of Geysers, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Visiting Valley of Geysers, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: What is a typical day on the job?

In high season I wake up at 5.00, in order to make preparations for the tour that departs at 8AM. I’ll instruct the guides, then head to the office for meetings, planning and preparing for upcoming groups, and computer work; solving front-office and back-office problems, and helping tourists with any issues they may be having. In the evening I meet groups as they return from their trip – I like to get reports from the guides. Then I start planning the next day…the usual travel routine. Also, I periodically participate in expeditions myself, so I can monitor the guides’ work, and see the routes first-hand. In the low season, I spend more time in the office and sleep a little longer!  ))

Photo: Taking a helicopter tour, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Taking a helicopter tour, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: You regularly doing things “at work” most of us only get to do on vacation. What do you do when you are off work?

Travel and pretend to be a be a typical tourist.

Photo: Safety Instructions Session before trekking, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Safety Instructions Session before trekking, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: What countries or regions of Russia do your travelers come from and what are their interests? What do they enjoy the most?

Some days our tourists are mostly people from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but recently we’ve seen more travelers from all over Russia: from the south by Sochi, and north by Salekhard, from Kaliningrad in the far West, and from Vladivostok, closer to us in the Russian Far East. Travelers come from all over. They all want to experience nature, volcanoes, hot springs, bears, fish, and the ocean.

Q: What are some of the mistakes you often see when people plan their Kamchatka travel?

Some peoples choose the wrong clothes for the trip. Some peoples can’t comprehend the off-road distances in Kamchatka.  We try to make trips as comfortable as possible by providing tourists with everything they may need during the trip. And we design our routes so as to be active but not overly exhausting for our clients. It is important to craft travel programs in right way, to get the most of the wilderness.

Q: What is the best piece of travel advice you can give to Americans who come to Kamchatka?

Take your friends with you.

Photo: Tourists eat lunch on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Photo: Tourists eat lunch on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Courtesy of Red Rivers

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I enjoy when a lot of tourists come to Kamchatka and open this wonderful place for themselves. This helps make it more and more popular.

Published on Nov 22, 2016

 

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How Was Your Trip to Kamchatka? Traveler Janet Read Answers Our Questions

Interview with Michael Schneider, Adventurer & Founder of 56th Parallel

Questions with Martha Madsen: Adventure Travel Specialist on Kamchatka, Russia

 

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