We had almost three full days planned in Kutaisi before taking an early flight back to Berlin. That was enough time to explore Kutaisi, do shopping in a local market and check out few natural monuments nearby the city. With the host of our guesthouse acting as our personal driver we were able to visit the Prometheus cave and two canyons: Martivili and Okatse.
We reached the cave in less than one hour and were really happy to see just a few other cars on the parking lot. Indeed our group counted approx. 20 people which, in comparison to the high season when each groups can reach up to 200 people, was really comfortable! Thanks to the small group our guide was able to stop in the main chambers and tell us additional details about this astonishing cave :) The total length of the corridors is 1400m and include around 800 steps reaching 80m beneath the surface, so it was a good exercise for the legs (our traveling companion has a different opinion :p). The temperature in the cave stays around 14ºC throughout the year and provides the stable conditions required for different cave formations to be created. However, this process is extremely slow, around 100 years are needed for a stalactite to grow 1 cm! The cave was discovered in 1984 but it is open to visitors only since 2012. There were underground lakes and rivers surrounded with incredible stalagmites and stalactites. A variety of lights installed along the walking route highlight the spectacular shapes of different cave formations. Near the exit of the cave you can take an optional boat ride starting from an underground river leading out the cave.
We had chosen Okatse canyon as a next place to visit. According to the model presented close to the entrance, we should be able to enjoy wonderful view of the canyon from the platform installed on the slope of the mountain. Our walk is in total 7 km long (could be shortened almost by half by taking a taxi on the way back). The majority of the walk is on a good path which leads through a forest inhabited by a family of cute piglets and … you guessed it … cows. Just at the end there is a 780 meters long walkway suspended from the edge of the cliff allowing you to walk with open air underneath the feet … which could make some people breath faster :) When we looked down the long slope from the extended view platform there was a stream visible in one spot besides endless numbers of trees. Unfortunately, we were somewhat disappointed with the view after our hikes around Mestia (probably just a matter of comparison).
Martvili canyon was the last, but not the least, place we visited that day. Interesting limestone formations, water cascades and lush vegetation create a landscape which we really marveled. The setting sun made the scenery pure magic, a fulfilling end of the trip :) Also here, it was possible to take a boat trip (extra fee). Though pretty small, worth stopping by.
Entrance fees for the different sites:
- Prometheus cave - 20 lari (students 5 lari) with the guide (50 min) + boat trip inside the cave - 15 lari (approx 10 min)
- Okatse canyon - 15 lari (students 5 lari)
- Martvili canyon - 15 lari (student 5 lari)
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