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The islands of volcanoes
The islands of volcanoes

Cruise around all Kuril Ridge islands

New
The islands of volcanoes
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

10 nights

Languages

EN
guide
We update the dates and tour price.
Leave your email and we’ll notify you when get this info.

The Kuril islands are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the largest number of active volcanoes in the world is located. They form not only a picturesque landscape here, but also provide unique conditions for the habitat of rare animals and birds. Come here and see it for yourself! In summer 2022 the RussiaDiscovery team invites you to join the exclusive cruise around all Kuril Islands.

New
The islands of volcanoes
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

10 nights

Languages

EN
guide
We update the dates and tour price.
Leave your email and we’ll notify you when get this info.

Experiences you'll have

Expedition to the Kuril Islands

This route is unique because it runs from Sakhalin to Kamchatka and covers all the main islands of the Kuril Archipelago. Each of them has its own history, unique landscapes and rich wildlife. You will see whales rising from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, brown bears hunting for salmon, Arctic foxes hiding among flowering bushes, and rare species of birds soaring through the sky all the way to the horizon.

Your trip will take place aboard a comfortable expedition vessel, and zodiac boat rides will be combined with coastal trekking.

 

Every day you will be accompanied by professional guides who will tell you about all the peculiarities of flora and fauna of the Russian Far East. A varied program of lectures and presentations by special guests,  scientists and popular travel-bloggers, are waiting for you on board.

During this trip you will:

  • сlimb to the craters of active volcanoes: Taketomi on the Atlasova Island and Krenitsyn on the Onekotan Island
  • see a rookery of seals and sea lions on Tyuleniy Island, which is the biggest in the North Pacific
  • visit the best sites of the Southern Kurils: the famous White cliffs on Iturup Island and Сape Stolbchatiy on Kunashir Island
  • explore the picturesque waterfalls of Urup island and swim in the wild thermal springs
  • take a boat ride to the submerged caldera of the Yankeecha Island, one of the most beautiful places in the Far East
  • watch huge bird colonies at Ptichyi Rocks — stilted puffins, herons, cormorants and other seabirds nest here
  • explore the abandoned military camp on Simushir Island and see the remnants of the Soviet-Japanese war on Shumshu Island

All cabins on this cruise are sold out. See other RussiaDiscovery voyages in this region:

If you need help with choosing, email hello@russiadiscovery.ru – we will find the right program for you.

In June 2021 Pavel Matveev, a professional Russian travel photographer, went on an expedition to the Northern Kurils together with RussiaDiscovery. See the film he shot on the trip:

 

 

Photos by Sergei Dolya, Igor Ozherelyev, and Pavel Matveev

Itinerary

Your journey will start in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and end in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Airfare is paid separately. We can help with the purchase of tickets. If necessary, leave a comment in the application.

 

This is a general plan of the expedition. Please, note, that the itinerary can be changed due to weather conditions.

Day 1 Arrival in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

In the morning we will arrange transfer to the port of Korsakov, where your trip to the Kuril Islands will start. You will board the expedition vessel, get acquainted with the crew, have a safety briefing and check in to your cabins.

Day 2 Tyulenii Island

On the approach to Tyulenii Island you will see the largest rookery of seals and sea lions in the North Pacific. Approaching the animals from the sea, you will have a perfect vantage point for fantastic photos.

Day 3 Kunashir Island

Kunashir is the biggest and the southernmost island of the Greater Kuril Chain. Its name means “black island”. According to one theory, the island got its name thanks to the dark pine forests and a sullen Tyatya volcano. There are three other active volcanoes here as well: Golovnina, Mendeleev, and Ruruy.

 

You will visit the unique Stolbchatiy cape. An alternative route on this day is a bus trip to Golovnina volcano caldera with bathing in thermal springs.

Day 4 Iturup Island

On this day you will explore the Iturup Island, the largest island in the Kuril Archipelago. 

 

The main site of Iturup is the the White Rocks formation. These rocks are unusual in form and color, and stretch for 28 km along the coast. 

 

The rocks consist of soft pumice, formed after a volcanic eruption. The winds and storms of the Sea of Okhotsk have eroded the pumice significantly, which is why the rocks are of a bizarre shape. The unusual dark gray color of the sand makes this place especially beautiful. 

 

You will walk along the coast of White Rocks and swim in thermal springs.

Day 5 Chirpoi and Urup Islands

If the weather permits, in the morning you will land on the island of Chirpoi, where there are two active volcanoes and where thousands of black-legged kittiwake and fat-billed murrelets nest. You will travel to the active Snow Volcano (so named after G.J. Snow, and English fisherman), which last erupted in 2017. Currently faint fumarolic activity can be observed here. 

 

You will then travel to the island of Urup. Along the way there is a good chance of encountering sperm whales and killer whales. An expedition boat ride to the picturesque waterfalls of the island awaits you.

Day 6 Simushir and Yankicha Islands

Expedition boats will take you to the submerged volcanic caldera of Yankicha Island - Kraternaya Bay. It is one of the most picturesque places of Kuril Archipelago. Here you can bathe in thermal springs and see a lot of seabirds, including some rare species: red-throated pipits, common greenshanks , rough-legged buzzards, crested auklets, peregrine falcons etc.

 

On the approach to the island of Simushir you will be surrounded by thousands of puffins and little buzzards, looking for fish in the water. In these parts you can see Arctic foxes as well. During your walk around the island, you will visit an abandoned Soviet military camp in Broughton Bay.

Day 7 Onekotan Island

In the morning you will disembark at Mussel Bay on Onekotan Island and climb the 1324 m high crater of the Krenitsyn volcano (quite a difficult trek of 15 km on foot in both directions with an elevation gain of 600 m). This is a two-tier "volcano within a volcano"- the volcanic cone rises as an island inside Koltsevoye lake, lying at a height of 400 m - the views are mesmerizing!

Day 8 Shumshu and Paramushir islands

At dawn you will board the expedition boats to approach the vast bird nesting grounds, where puffins, seabirds, cormorants, and other species of seabirds nest. 

 

This day you will get acquainted with the Paramushir and Shumshu islands. On Paramushir island the vessel will stop at Krashennikov Bay. Here you will enjoy the magnificent views of active volcanoes Tatarinov, Karpinsky, Chikurachky and others. In the coastal waters of the bay whales and killer whales are often seen.  

 

Shumshu Island has preserved traces of World War II. You will see Japanese bunkers and visit the sites of fierce battles where you can still find soldiers' helmets and remnants of military equipment.
 

Day 9 Atlasova Islan

Today you will explore the northernmost island of the Greater Kuril Chain - Atlasova Island. First, you will land on the northwest coast and walk to the side cones of the Olympic rift.    

 

Then you have a short trek to the crater of the Taketomi volcano (1 km on foot in both directions with an altitude change of 126 m). From here you will have a great view of Alaid - the highest volcano in the archipelago (2285 m).

Day 10 Russkaya Bay

On this day the ship will sail to the Kamchatka coasts. You will take a boat trip to Russkaya Bay aboard zodiac boats to get acquainted with the animal world of Kamchatka.  

 

The shores of the bay are inhabited by sea birds, and sea lions rook at the entrance to the bay. During the spawning season you can see brown bears on the coast, and orcas and whales are often seen in the coastal waters. 

 

Weather permitting, you will make a landing on the coast where you can engage in some birdwatching. If you're lucky, you'll see rare birds: the endangered short-billed and long-billed murrelet, for example. 

 

In the evening there will be a celebratory dinner aboard the ship to mark the end of the expedition. 

Day 11 Arrival in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

In the morning the ship will stop at Avacha Bay, that is considered to be the largest natural harbor in the world. After breakfast you will say goodbye to the crew and disembark. From there you will be transferred to your hotel or the city center

New
The islands of volcanoes
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

10 nights

Languages

EN
guide
We update the dates and tour price.
Leave your email and we’ll notify you when get this info.

Accommodation during the trip

Your voyage will take place aboard the comfortable ice-class expedition vessel "Professor Khromov". It is specifically equipped to navigate areas that larger ships cannot safely enter. The vessel has a bar, a restaurant, a cozy lounge, a library with a large collection of related literature and a lecture room. The spacious captain's bridge is always open to passengers. You can freely watch the wildlife and sea animals from the open decks of the ship.

 

The cost of the cruise depends on the category of the chosen cabin. Until January, 10 a 10% early booking discount is applied:

  • accommodation in a Triple cabin — 5110 4600 USD per person
  • accommodation in a Double cabin — 6400 5760 USD per person
  • accommodation in a Superior cabin  — 6980 6280 USD per person
  • accommodation in a Superior Plus cabin — 7790 7010 USD per person
  • accommodation in a Mini Suite —  8260 7430 USD per person
  • accommodation in the Owner's Suite — 9310 8380 USD per person

 

The price is per person. Payment is made in rubles at the exchange rate of the Central Bank + 2%.

 

Cabins description: 

 

Triple cabin (12 sq.m.): two lower bunks and one upper bunk, a desk, a closet, bedside tables, a porthole, a washbasin (toilet and shower are shared between two cabins). 

 

Double cabin (12 sq.m.): two lower bunks, a porthole, a desk, a closet, bedside tables, a washbasin (toilet and shower are shared between two cabins). 

 

Superior cabin (12 sq.m.): two bunks (upper and lower), a window, a desk, a closet, bedside tables. The bathroom is equipped with a shower, a toilet, a washbasin. In some cabins there is a sofa.  

 

Superior Plus cabin (12 sq.m.): two lower bunks, a window, a desk, a closet, bedside tables. The bathroom is equipped with a shower, a toilet, a washbasin. In some cabins there is a sofa.  

 

Mini Suite cabin (18 sq.m.): bedroom with a double bed, living room with a single bed, windows, a TV, a desk, a closet, bedside tables. In the bathroom — a shower, a toilet, a washbasin. 

 

Owner Suite (area - 27 sq.m.): bedroom with a double bed, living room with a sofa, a TV, a fridge, panoramic windows on two sides, a desk, a closet, bedside tables. In the bathroom — a shower, a toilet, a washbasin. 

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Common questions

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Who will be my guide +

The cruise will be accompanied by an experienced expedition leader and experts on the region, who will give a variety of thematic lectures and presentations on board.

Meals +

You will have three meals per day. Breakfast is a buffet, for lunch – a main dish, a salad and a dessert, and for dinner – a main dish, vegetables and dessert. Chefs can cook according to your diet if you inform them of your requirements in advance.

 

Tea, coffee, cookies and soups are available 24 hours a day in the library bar, and alcohol sales open one hour before dinner. The wine list features New Zealand wines.

What to bring with you +

When choosing clothing and footwear, please consider the specifics of the cruise. Temperatures at the northern points of the itinerary can drop as low as 0°C. Sometimes there are no landings and the boats go along the shore.

 

To make sure nothing distracts you from the harsh beauty of northern nature, remember that it can be very windy on the coasts, which lowers the perceived temperature. You can't avoid splashing aboard a boat in rough seas, so your clothes must be water-proof and windproof. The most significant amount of body heat is lost through the head, hands and feet – pay maximum attention to these areas. We recommend you take a seat cushion with you. Do not forget your gear: you need a waterproof cover to take pictures in rain and drizzle.

 

Clothing: warm pants, waterproof pants, thermal underwear, sweater, turtleneck, wool hat that covers ears, balaclava/scarf, warm socks, waterproof and windproof jacket with a hood. You can bring some more stylish clothes for the farewell party (high heels not advised).

 

Footwear: trekking boots (not required, but recommended for long hikes on the beach). If you prefer trekking boots to rubber boots, you should take them with you in your backpack and change into them on shore. Boots with ribbed soles will allow for steadiest footing. Rubber boots are also necessary, but they can be received free of charge on the first day of the cruise. It is important to bring warm insoles. If you plan to bring your own boots, they should be as high as mid-calf or higher with thick, ribbed, non-slip soles. Some landings will require stepping into water up to 25 cm deep. It can also be quite slippery on the ice and shore. Make sure the boots fit comfortably over a woolen sock. You will also need sandals, sneakers, or any other comfortable shoes for the ship, as well as flip-flops for showers.

 

Other things: a small backpack for landings (preferably waterproof), warm and waterproof gloves, sunglasses, skin care cream (in windy weather a greasy nourishing cream is preferred), lipstick, binoculars, earplugs, swimsuit (for hot springs, baths and optional bathing in the ocean).

 

You will be issued two towels (bath towel and hand towel), which are changed three times per cruise along with the linens. You can ask for an extra towel if needed. There is always soap and shower gel in the cabin and the shower.

 

Documents: passport, boarding pass (issued or mailed in advance), plane ticket, copy of insurance.

Prevention of Covid-19 +

All passengers must provide either a certificate of vaccination or a negative PCR test done no earlier than 72 hours prior to ship departure to participate in the cruise.

 

Also, to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, security measures have been strengthened on board the ship:

 

  • the ship is equipped with a large number hand sanitizer dispensers;
  • every passenger will be provided with a stock of hand sanitizer for personal use;
  • all personnel onboard are vaccinated and regularly tested and checked for COVID-19 symptoms;
  • thorough cleaning of all areas on board, especially public areas, commonly touched surfaces and high-traffic areas, performed regularly.

Booking

New

The islands of volcanoes

Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

10 nights

Languages

EN
guide
from 4 600 EUR
What's included in the price:
  • accommodation on the ship in a cabin of the selected category

  • three meals a day on the board

  • transfer from Yuzhno-Kurilsk to the port on the first day and from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky port to the airport on the last day of the cruise

  • all excursions and landings according to the program

  • services of the experienced expedition leader and experts on the region

  • lectures and presentations on board

  • a complimentary RussiaDiscovery jacket, rental of rubber boots for the duration of cruise

  • photo diary of the expedition (to be presented at the end of the cruise)

Extra charge:
  • air tickets to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (from 27 500 rubles/person round trip)

  • shoreside activities before and after the cruise (hotel, meals, additional excursions)

  • personal expenses, communication, laundry and bar services aboard the ship

  • mandatory medical insurance with emergency evacuation coverage

  • tips for the crew

In the price:
Included Extra charge
  • accommodation on the ship in a cabin of the selected category

  • three meals a day on the board

  • transfer from Yuzhno-Kurilsk to the port on the first day and from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky port to the airport on the last day of the cruise

  • all excursions and landings according to the program

  • services of the experienced expedition leader and experts on the region

  • lectures and presentations on board

  • a complimentary RussiaDiscovery jacket, rental of rubber boots for the duration of cruise

  • photo diary of the expedition (to be presented at the end of the cruise)

  • air tickets to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (from 27 500 rubles/person round trip)

  • shoreside activities before and after the cruise (hotel, meals, additional excursions)

  • personal expenses, communication, laundry and bar services aboard the ship

  • mandatory medical insurance with emergency evacuation coverage

  • tips for the crew

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