Kutaisi is Georgia’s second-largest city and, with its wonderfully named David the Builder airport, the latest destination for budget airline WizzAir. We had spent the previous 10 days eating, drinking and exploring many fantastic places around the country and Kutaisi was our final stop on our wonderful almost year-long adventure before heading home to the UK. As we knew it would, the time had really flown by.
In and around Kutaisi are a number of different sights and with only one day to explore we decided to again rent a car. It certainly was a very busy last day!
With lots to see, it was a very early start on a beautiful late summer Georgian morning. We stopped for our now standard kachapuri and coffee breakfast at a roadside cafe and made good time through a number of small villages to the Okatse canyon. It felt a little like we were back in Africa with the many animals on the road only this time pigs had replaced cows and goats.
We were a little early for the canyon so we popped in to see the nearby Okatse waterfall. While it’s by no means the biggest or most powerful you’ll ever see, it is Georgia’s tallest, and the rainbows were very pretty in the morning sunshine.
It was a short drive from the waterfall to the canyon visitor centre and a nice stroll to the canyon itself, which you experience by walking on amazing but slightly terrifying walkways that have been bolted to the canyon wall. The canyon is lush green and the views looking over the walkways are wonderful.
I attempted a rather nervous jump on the platform jutting out into the canyon and was very quickly told off by the burly Georgian park employee!
On our way back to the visitor centre we followed the signs to the natural Boga pool where we enjoyed a refreshing, but icy swim. You could venture through in to the canyon but the water was way too cold for anything other than a very quick dip.
It was an easy 30 minute drive to the beautiful turquoise water of the Martvili Canyon. This is a completely different experience to Okatse as you’re at ground level and here you’re admiring wonderful rock formations and the glittering water. We also took a super cool boat ride through the canyon.
Discovered in 1984 and opened in 2011, this cave is awesome! We walked through six of the caverns (those open to the public) and all had wonderful drip-stone formations, stalactites and stalagmites to admire. The tour guides had very little scientific facts to share but were amazing at comparing the formations to various animals, people and even an ice cream cone!
The cave is lit up in different colours and it’s super cool to experience. Having walked through the cave we got on a little boat and cruised out – definitely the coolest way I’ve ever exited a cave!
After a quick bite to eat, we took a chance on our way back to Kutaisi and headed for Sapatlia. Following maps.me took us a little off-road but we made it just before it closed.
We were very keen to visit to see the incredible dinosaur footprints that are preserved here. There are a number of prints from two different species and it was definitely a first to see these.
We enjoyed a final short walk to a lovely glass bottomed walkway with panoramic views of Kutaisi before hopping back in the car and heading back to the city.
Over our final Georgian dinner and a few glasses of the country’s delicious wine, we reminisced on a wonderfully fun and varied ten days exploring this little gem. It was perhaps a rather odd addition to our adventure (after nine months in Africa and two in India) but we loved our time here and it’s a country we’d highly recommend.
Costs in GEL (£1= 3.46 Georgian Lari (GEL) at 31/10/2018)
- Okatse Canyon – 15
- Martvili Canyon – 15
- Prometheus Cave – 20
- Sapatlia – 15
A combo ticket is available for 50 GEL.
The boat rides at Martvili and Prometheus are an extra 13 and 20 respectively.
We spent 2.5 hours at the Okatse Canyon, around 45 minutes at Martvili, over an hour at the cave and 30 minutes at Sapatlia. The walkways at Martvili are far shorter and as it was later in the day, it felt significantly busier than Okatse. All sites open at 10 am (aside from the waterfall, which currently had no opening time although a walkway is being built so that may change).
Where we Stayed
We really enjoyed staying at Temi Hostel – great location, comfortable bed, lovely balcony and super friendly staff.