Lands of Frost and Fire

Explore the remote corners of Russia, including Yakutia, a challenging northern frontier known for mammoths and diamonds, and the wild Kamchatka Peninsula, uneasily perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Meet the indigenous peoples of these far-flung locales, and admire two natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites as you contrast the Kingdom of Permafrost in Yakutsk with the steaming Valley of the Geysers in Kamchatka. 

2020 DepartureOur 2020 departure of this tour will feature Tour Manager Michel Behar, who has traveled and led more than 100 tours to every corner of MIR’s realm since 1998. 

14 Day Trip

14 Day Trip

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Don an arctic poncho and enter the Kingdom of Permafrost
    Enter the Kingdom of Permafrost, where the King of the North presides in frosty chambers filled with fantastic ice sculptures....
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  • Discover the remote UNESCO-listed Lena Pillars
    Take a day trip from Yakutsk to UNESCO-listed Lena Pillars Nature Park to admire the 650-foot stone columns towering over the river....
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  • Hop a helicopter to the Valley of the Geysers
    Helicopter over smoking volcanoes on your way to Kamchatka’s UNESCO-listed Valley of the Geysers in some of the world’s wildest landscapes...
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  • Enjoy splendid views of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes
    Enjoy views of Avachinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes, looming over the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Russia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Russia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • MIR affiliate offices in the Siberian cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers who clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Yakutsk

Arrive in Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), where more than 40% of the land sits above the Arctic Circle. Survey the Kingdom of Permafrost, lined with stalactites of frost and fantastic ice sculptures, and visit the Permafrost Research Institute, a 66-foot shaft in the frozen ground. Tour the Mammoth Museum, focusing on the wild mammoths that roamed the area over 40,000 years ago. Visit the factory of one of Russia’s largest producers of finished diamonds, mined here in Yakutia. Admire the Treasury of Yakutia exhibition, displaying some of the mineral wealth of the region, and enjoy a performance featuring traditional instruments at the Khomus Museum of the World's People.


  • Sakha Republic (Yakutia), famed for diamonds and mammoths
  • Yakutsk, world’s largest city built on permafrost
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Days 3-6: Tyokhtyur village, Lena Pillars, Vladivostok

Cruise along the Lena River to UNESCO-listed Lena Pillars Nature Park, where fantastic limestone columns up to 650 feet high tower over the river. Explore the Orto Doidu Ethnographic Park and Yakut village of Tyokhtyur, enjoying lunch in the home of a local Yakut family. Fly to Vladivostok, a once off-limits Pacific Rim city.


  • Cruise on the Lena River
  • Lena Pillars UNESCO Site, with towering natural rock formations
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Days 7-8: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Valley of the Geysers

Fly to the wild Kamchatka Peninsula, landing at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, surrounded by three imposing volcanoes. Board a helicopter for the trip to the UNESCO-listed Valley of the Geysers, where geysers, mud pots, thermal springs and steam vents erupt from the valley floor. During the flight, observe the Uzon Caldera, formed over 225,000 years ago, when a great shield volcano exploded.


  • Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, capital of Kamchatka Peninsula and home to the Russian Pacific submarine fleet
  • Helicopter flight to UNESCO-listed Valley of the Geysers
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Days 9-11: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Esso

Board a boat to cruise on Petropavlovsk’s Avacha Bay, one of the largest in the world. Pass the Three Brothers rocks, guarding the inlet where the bay meets the Pacific Ocean. Drive through wild landscapes to the village of Esso to spend some time visiting with and learning about the two major indigenous peoples of Kamchatka, the Koryak and the Even. Visit the Koryak and Even ethnographic museum and art gallery, and enjoy an authentic folk performance of traditional song and dance.


  • Boat ride on Avacha Bay
  • Esso, sometimes called the “Switzerland” of Eastern Russia
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Days 12-14: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Avacha Volcano

Hop aboard a six-wheel truck for the drive to the foot of Avacha volcano on a rugged track that climbs 15 miles upward to the base camp. If you choose, set off for a walk to the top of 3,780-foot Camel Mountain. Lovely indigenous plants and flowers grow here along the slope, and breathtaking views of Zhupanovsky, Vilyuchinsky and Koryaksky volcanoes reward your persistence. Gather back in town for a festive dinner to toast the conclusion of the adventure.


  • Hiking on Avacha volcano
  • Picnic on Camel Mountain

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 14 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 6-12 Travelers $7,695
  • Plus Internal Air $1,500
  • Single Supplement $950

2020 Dates

  • August 4-17 - Currently sold out - Waitlist spots available!! Our 2020 departure of this tour will feature Tour Manager Michel Behar, who has traveled and led more than 100 tours to every corner of MIR's realm since 1998
  • $7,695
  • Max 12 Travelers
Trip Length: 14 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 6-16 Travelers $7,795
  • Plus Internal Air $1,600
  • Single Supplement $995

2021 Dates

  • August 3-16
  • $7,795
  • Max 16 Travelers
What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations, ranging from best available in Yakutsk and comfortable four star hotel in Vladivostok to three star hotel in Petropavlovsk and a small private hotel with shared facilities in Esso.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner every full day of the tour: 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches (one lunch aboard airplane), and 13 dinners.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout the itinerary by van or minibus and truck (type of vehicle depends on group size and terrain), as well as helicopter flights.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Ecological permit to visit the Valley of the Geysers.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application and instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

In addition to hotel arrangements needed en route due to air schedules, MIR can assist with guided touring, excursions and more as you make your way to and from Yakutsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.  Add touring in Western Russia, visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg on your way to the Russian Far East, or let MIR set up an extension for you in Seoul, South Korea. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel to Western Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, and beyond.

Or, choose from one of our suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This Cultural Series program, by nature, is designed to be adventurous, but also as comfortable as is possible for rustic travel in this region. Accommodations will vary from best available in Yakutsk and a moderate three star hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to a much simpler small private guesthouse with shared facilities in Esso. It is important to keep in mind that Yakutia and Kamchatka are, in general, not up to the standards North American travelers expect.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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