Sukhumi, Abkhazia parliament building

How to Get a Visa and Travel to the Republic of Abkhazia

Originally published in April 2013.  Updated and current in 2017.

Please read the comments as many have given updates regarding the visa process and border controls.  This post remains up-to-date and live at all times.  There are a few other posts out there that have used my post as a reference point and then wrote the exact same information (with the same photos) as I have written below- actually not joking.  Save yourself time and just use the guideline written here- it will always remain up to date.

All You Need to Know About Traveling to Abkhazia (Visa and Border Crossing Information Included!) Click To Tweet

Lately, it has been taking me nearly six months to write about places I have recently traveled to!  But, upon my return from Abkhazia just yesterday, I have received three emails asking how I got the visa and how I crossed the border.

**Please do note that this is 100% my experience.  If you follow exactly how I did things, you should not have a problem (as I did not).  I am also a female and I was traveling alone.  Not saying that it makes things easier in terms of a border crossing, but I feel like people were possibly more accommodating and watching my back as they thought it was ‘not the usual’ to see a female traveling to Abkhazia alone.**

APPLYING FOR A VISA TO ABKHAZIA

If you plan on traveling to Abkhazia, the first thing you must do is apply for the visa.  You can do that at this website (application is in English).  This is the website for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Abkhazia and they will handle all of the visa information.  There are also people working there that speak English.  On previous accounts I’ve read about, the person stated that they had to hound the Ministry to get their clearance letter and they then had issues at the border.  I experienced no such thing.  I sent my letter to the MFA on April 2nd and received my clearance letter as an attachment via email on April 9.  They will have it sent to you at least five days prior to your expected visit to Abkhazia.  Print three copies…just in case!  This is what a printed copy of the clearance letter looks like:

Abkhazia visa acceptance letter

GETTING TO AND THROUGH THE BORDER

I crossed the Inguri/Ingur border from Georgia.  I can only write on behalf of my experience from that border, not the Russian one (which is apparently easier).  I was coming from Tbilisi so I found it the most convenient to take the night train from Tbilisi to Zugdidi (Georgian city close to the border).  This train departs Tbilisi at 2305 and arrives in Zugdidi at around 0705.  Be sure to purchase tickets at the train station in Tbilisi a few days prior as this train fills up and fills up fast!  I purchased mine the day before I was set to travel and they had no sleeper cabins available.  I paid 14 Lari for a seat and it was actually pretty comfortable and I slept just fine.

Once I arrived in Zugdidi, I was hounded by taxi drivers and was just eager to get to the border, so I had one of them drive me instead of finding a marshrutka.  I have heard that there are marshrutkas that will take you straight to the border.  For me to take a taxi, I paid 10 Lari (I suspect a marshrutka is around 3-5 Lari).

After arriving at the border, I checked in with the Georgian police (pink building to the left of the street) and they took my passport and asked me numerous questions about why I wanted to travel to Abkhazia.  DO NOT MENTION THAT IT IS ITS OWN COUNTRY (which most countries do not even recognize anyways).  Just simply state, “If I’m going to see all of Georgia, I can’t leave out the Abkhazia region”.  They spoke poor English but did speak Russian.  They’ll also ask you your profession.

Border of Georgia and Abkhazia peace

Once they take down your information, you are permitted to walk over the river, which more or less constitutes the Georgia-Abkhazia border.  There are horse and buggy carriages that can take you over.  I heard the walk was 1.5 miles, so I opted for this.  HUGE MISTAKE.  I walked on the way back and it was not that far at all.  And the horse and buggy is so bumpy that you think you’re going to fall over the entire time.  I paid 10 Lari for this (was only supposed to be 5 Lari, but the man didn’t have change and told me at the start and I just said, “Whatever” and took it anyways).

Horse and buggy that takes you to and from the Abkhazia-Georgia border

You will arrive on the other side of the river and will see a small metal shack on the right side with an Abkhazian (or maybe Russian?) official inside.  Have your passport and clearance letter ready for him.  He will check it and wave you through.  But, the border on that side does not open until 8am.  So you may have to wait 20 minutes like I did.

Border of Abkhazia welcome sign

After you are permitted to go through, you can just walk straight until you see another office on the right-hand side.  You will be unable to see through the windows at who is sitting behind them, but you can just pass them over your passport and clearance letter.  They’ll analyze you for a few moments, all while the rest of the guards are smoking and trying to use the few words of English they know with you (few words= you’re beautiful, smile, good luck, where you from?, I love Amereeeeca).  Once you’re through, you continue to a baggage scanner.  Send your stuff through and you’re good to go!

GETTING TO SUKHUM

The nearest city to the border is Gal.  I was under the impression that I needed to take a marshrutka from the border to Gal, and then another from Gal to Sukhum.  I actually found a marshrutka at the border that went straight to Sukhum.  For those of you who do not know Cyrillic, it will have a sign like this:

Bus to Sukhum from the Abkhazia border

I sat in the marshrutka for a good hour before it took off.  Apparently, it needed to fill up from having one person to the two it had when we took off.  We also made a stop in Gal to pick up more people.  It took roughly two hours to get from Gal to Sukhum.  I read somewhere that someone said it took a total of 30 minutes from the border to Sukhum.  Seriously…not true.  Even if you rented a private taxi or your own vehicle.  It is a pretty substantial distance.  All in all, I paid 300 roubles for the marshrutka from the border to Sukhum.  This was the same price the locals paid.  (The price is the same if you take a marshrutka from the border to Gal and then pick up a marshrutka from there to Sukhum).

PICKING UP YOUR VISA IN SUKHUM

Once in Sukhum, you have about two days to get to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office and grab your visa (three days if you’re staying for more than three days).  This office is located at Lakoba 21 and can’t be missed as it is massive and very official looking.  Once you go in, head to reception and ask for “Konsulskaya” (she speaks no English).  It is on the second floor to the left.  I was just told that you must go to 33 Sakharova, which is 6 blocks west and 1 block north of the MFA from a very reliable source (still up-to-date location as of 2017).

Sukhum, Abkhazia

Above photo courtesy of Amos Chapple (check out his FB page for more incredible photos!)

When I went there, they sent me to the bank, which was on Lakoba.  They also gave me the price of my visa as information to give to the person at the bank (it was $10).  Walk down Lakoba until you see this building:

And while this may look like the bank, you’ll need to cross the street and head to the smaller branch right across the street.  They have an English speaker there who should be able to assist (and she is super friendly).  She will take your payment and fill out a receipt for you to take back to the MFA office.  Go back to the MFA office with this and you’ll be presented with your visa…which will NOT be attached or stamped into your passport.

Visa to Abkhazia

LEAVING ABKHAZIA

Simply take a taxi or walk to the abandoned Sukhum railway station (around 200 roubles from city center).  I did this at around 1000.  You can also take marshrutka #1 or bus #1 or#3 from the Sukhum Marketplace for 15 roubles and 5 roubles respectively (still good in 2017).  From there I found the bus to Gal and hopped on (200 roubles).  From Gal, I was able to easily find a bus to the border (or Inguri).  This costs 100 roubles.  Very, very easy.

Border of Georgia and Abkhazia

Once I got to the border, I checked out from Abkhazia (and they did not take the visa…so be sure to hide it away so the Georgian officials do not see it!), I walked across the bridge and back into Georgian territory.  I went back to the pink police station and they asked me countless questions.  Some of which included:

“Where did you go?” to which I answered, “Just Sukhumi”.

“Why did you go there?” and I responded with, “If I am going to see Georgia, I want to see it in its entirety”.

“Where is your visa?” and I said, “They took it at the border”.

From this area, I was planning to take a marshrutka to Zugdidi and hope to find a marshrutka back to Tbilisi.  Just my luck, there was a bus waiting to take people from the border directly to Tbilisi.  Excellent!  And it only costs 15 Lari.

So you want to go to Abkhazia? Click here for visa and border crossing information! Click To Tweet

SOME TIPS 

1)  Have Russian roubles with you prior to traveling to Abkhazia.  That is the currency they use and I have heard the banks and ATMs do not take international cards.  Also, try to break down the denominations to small ones.  It will be very hard to find someone with change for a 5,000.

2)  If you don’t speak Russian, bring a phrasebook with you.  I never really needed mine, but locals wanted to communicate with me, so they would take the phrasebook and attempt making conversation with me.

Abkhazian at work

3)  Bring toilet paper or tissues.  Most all toilets are squatters throughout the trip from Georgia to Abkhazia and of course, none will provide you toilet paper…or air worth breathing.

4)  Bring lots of water and food for the day.  The process of me getting from Zugdidi to Sukhum took around 5 hours total.

5)  Don’t be afraid to say what people want to hear.  In Georgia, they don’t want to hear that you are wanting to visit Abkhazia because it’s a different country.  And in Abkhazia, they don’t want to hear you’re visiting Abkhazia to see another part of Georgia.  Use common sense.

In conclusion, despite how long this post is, the process was fairly easy.  You just need to be super patient.  And do not believe all the hype you may have found on other websites about how difficult the process was.  It was easy, from my experience.

And well worth it.

Sukhumi, Abkhazia parliament building

Sukhumi, Abkhazia soviet mosaic

Sukhumi, Abkhazia parliament building

More from Me about Abkhazia

Abandoned Abkhazia:  A Black and White Photo Essay

Time Stands Still in Abkhazia

The Caucasus Have a Sense of Humor

Unable to Pull Myself Away from the Promenade in Sukhumi

Additional Resources

Abkhazia Travel Guide (What to do When You’re there and Accommodation Information)

Traveling to Abkhazia with a travel or tour agency

Abkhazia Tourism and Travel Website

Traveling in the Phantom Republic of Abkhazia

Getting to Sukhumi from Sochi, Russia

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Looking to travel to the breakaway Soviet republic of Abkhazia in the Caucasus? Click here for visa, practical, and border crossing information!
Looking to travel to the breakaway Soviet republic of Abkhazia in the Caucasus? Click here for visa, practical, and border crossing information!

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Megan is a digital marketing strategist and world traveler based in Frankfurt, Germany but hailing from Richmond, Virginia. She has traveled to over 85 countries and 45 US states and has a special love for the Nordics and Eastern Europe. Her passions are animals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ohio State football, craft beer, coffee, and copious amounts of concrete. She is also an advocate for removing dill from all dishes globally.
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177 Comments
  • kami
    Posted at 08:11h, 19 April Reply

    OK, now I seriously want to go to Abkhazia! I’ve never thought it might be that easy! Next time I’m in Georgia (and I’m hoping it’ll happen soon!:)) I’m definitely in for a trip there! :D Thanks for this post!

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:48h, 19 April Reply

      it’s definitely worth the time. and despite being overhyped, it is really easy to travel there and within the land. one just needs a LOT of patience!

      i really, really regret not traveling around for more days within abkhazia. i should have ditched tbilisi sooner (i’m over the city).

      • Balqis
        Posted at 20:07h, 30 April Reply

        Some data on the attitudes of Russians toawdrs Georgians: based on 2010 August research conducted by Levada Center, 31% of Russians would not approve letting Georgians into Russia Georgians in the list of least undesired people come right after Chechens (38%), Roma (35%), and Chinese (32%) . The index of the attitudes toawdrs Georgia difference between the positive and negative assessments – is negative by almost 10% margin, and Georgia, according to Russians, in May 2010 survey by Levada Canter, was the country that had the most unfriendly attitudes toawdrs Russia (57%), with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia coming next with 36, 35 and 28 % respectively.

    • Mayela
      Posted at 23:20h, 30 April Reply

      I believe that Georgia suffres from mistakes made by its irresponsive leaders. So, new generation of leaders there would be capable to cope with the situation.Anyway, the most effective strategy to my mind consists of two points:1. Sign a non-use of force agreement both with Abkhazia and South Ossetia2. Commence negotiations with Abkhaz and South Ossetian authorities first, and Russia second.

      • Lasha
        Posted at 02:28h, 29 November Reply

        What about the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgian IDPs who were severely forced to abandon their homes and properties and flee Abkhazia? Let’s firstly judge the fate of all these innocent people and then go back to the ”Georgia’s responsibility”, OK? :)

        • Circassian Abaza
          Posted at 14:13h, 14 May Reply

          What about the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Abkhazians(Apsuas who were exiled in 1864, 21 May and afterwards) after whom the Georgians, Migrelians… were settled down in Abkhazia? Georgia lies just by looking into eyes of the whole people of the world, OK?:) Georgia must firstly explain how she Georgianized the thousand – year – land of Abazas(Abkhazians), and the imperial aims on other Adyghe lands.

          The world must learn the truths…

          • George
            Posted at 13:56h, 15 July

            You are talking nonsense. What do you mean Georgians settled after Abkhazians? It was Georgian territory historically (and still is) and Abkhazians were just a tribe who came to live in those lands. They’ve never had their own county. Get your facts straight before posting stuff that does not make any sense. And practice your English because some of the things that your write in your sloppy English are difficult to comprehend.

          • Giorgi
            Posted at 19:56h, 12 May

            I would advise you to learn some history before you swallow that Russian informed piece of history. Apsua people are not the ones who originally lived in Abkhazia, ancient Georgian tribes are the one who always lived in Abkhazian territory since Abkhazia has always been a territory of Georgia for the past 3000 years starting from the western Georgian kingdom of Colchis. Georgia will not allow anyone to turn Abkhazia into a Russian colony.

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    Posted at 15:40h, 19 April Reply

    Wow what an adventure for the visa!!!

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:22h, 28 April Reply

      haha it sure was!

  • Katie
    Posted at 17:23h, 19 April Reply

    Very cool. I didn’t even think of going to Abkhazia when I was in Georgia and now I wish I would have!

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:29h, 28 April Reply

      it was really kind of the icing on the cake. SO unique to anywhere i have ever been.

  • Heather in DE
    Posted at 19:40h, 19 April Reply

    Whew, you are one ballsy lady (but I think we knew that already), to try something like that on your own! I’ve been loving the Instagram feed from you the last couple of weeks and I can’t wait to see the upcoming posts about your adventures!

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:34h, 28 April Reply

      thanks heather! im just hoping i can crank out some posts quicker than my track record shows ;) im pretty slow… haha!

  • Erika
    Posted at 21:35h, 19 April Reply

    Wow, that is some process you had to go through! But it as actually very interesting to read… I’ve mostly only been to countries in the Schengen zone… This may be totally ignorant (and I should probably just Google it), but what’s the deal between the two “countries”? And why did you want to go to Abkhazia? (I think it’s cool, just curious!)

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:41h, 28 April Reply

      the countries have had issues since USSR times (probably before, but im not aware of the problems back then!) i dont know all the details but i know it was super, super tense and a war was the result of all the tension!

      i wanted to go to abkhazia because i was curious ;) curiosity always get the best of me!

      • Giorgi
        Posted at 19:58h, 12 May Reply

        Abkhazia is not a country actually, it a region in Georgia like any other regions in Georgia which is now not controlled by Georgia because of Russian intervention and control over Abkhazia. Abkhazia is declared as an occupied territory by Russia, by Georgia and many other countries.

  • Sylvia
    Posted at 12:34h, 20 April Reply

    Oh gosh.. I feel so ignorant.. I had never heard of Abkhazia until I saw a photo you posted on Instagram. Maybe it’s time to get out of my little Latin-American bubble? Haha. I admire you Megan! Going by yourself to places so out of the ordinary it’s amazing!

  • Liz
    Posted at 20:52h, 20 April Reply

    I love your love for off the beaten track travel. I *shamefully* had never heard of Abkhazia until I saw your photos! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention :D

  • Jackie D
    Posted at 22:27h, 21 April Reply

    I’m with a few of the others here — I hadn’t heard of this place until you went! Good for you for making the trek.

  • Alex @ ifs ands & butts
    Posted at 16:53h, 22 April Reply

    Holy crap you are a travel queen – how the heck did you figure this all out? It seems so casual yet complicated yet unorganized but organized. I don’t even know. I’d also never hard of Abkhazia, so how ignorant am I? Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.

    • Mahmod
      Posted at 22:47h, 30 April Reply

      I think that this specific alvainetrte to the solution of Abkhazian problem contains some utopian elements. Notably, two strong factors need to be taken into account: Current Geopolitical reality and blocking role of Russia and 2) public opinion in Georgia which would percieve the following step as collaborationism and pre-stage of official recognition from the side of Georgian Government. Government is not ready to take up such risks…

  • Christy
    Posted at 13:40h, 23 April Reply

    It’s so refreshing to read about a place that not many people visit. I’m intrigued!

  • Gwan
    Posted at 14:29h, 23 April Reply

    So awesome, I’m dying to get to that part of the world. I’m probably being paranoid, but are you sure you want to put your full name, dob and passport number out there? I can’t think what someone would do with that info exactly, but I’m not a master criminal…

  • Kelly S.
    Posted at 03:10h, 24 April Reply

    The first thing I need to know before travelling to Abkhazia is where in the heck is it? (Thank you Google) Great information. What has been your favorite trip so far? And I see no Greece on your list. We just did Greece and it has been one of favorites.

  • Otar Chekurishvili
    Posted at 04:11h, 25 April Reply

    Hey,

    Posting from Georgia… Thanks for sharing your experience and tips.

    For political and conflict reasons not many Georgians visit Abkhazia. Your post made up my mind and I’d be happy to visit Abkhazia.

    NOTE! Don’t cross Abkhazia’s border from Russia, it is considered as crossing Georgian border without permission and if you ever visit Georgia later you may be fined or imprisoned for the second attempt.

  • Melanie Fontaine
    Posted at 10:24h, 25 April Reply

    Super interesting and informative post! I think this was the first time I ever had to google a place/country while reading a travel blog, because I have never heard of Abkhazia before, but that’s what made this post exciting! :) It definitely sounds like an adventure!

    xx
    Melanie

  • Pete
    Posted at 08:40h, 04 May Reply

    Brilliant article and pics Megan. It’s a fantastic place and thank you so much for your advice. Just bunged some of my pics up on Facebook. Happy travelling! x

  • Pete
    Posted at 08:41h, 04 May Reply

    You got to keep your VISA? They took mine.

  • Udo
    Posted at 03:16h, 01 July Reply

    I did pretty much the same thing that Megan did, but was less lucky in that I was robbed at the Abkhaz border on my way back by three men with a rifle, which they used to smash my nose in so that they could frisk me. Had to stay in Gali (the border town) for a week as I had no papers and no consular support. I was lucky though in that I still had my phone, and that I got a Georgian signal in the hospital (where I was staying). I could therefore contact friends in Georgia, who contacted the Red Cross, who managed (in time) to bail me out. So my message to all you folks is: DON’T GO! I totally underestimated the risk. The border region has a reputation for being lawless and under gang control, but I paid this no heed, believing only the town to be dangerous and not the border itself. Also, I had my papers checked in Gali, which took a long time, which is why the border was closed (and deserted) once I arrived – so there’s a real chance that it was a set-up with some of the local militia involved. If you still wanna go because you think this is cool, trust me, it ain’t. If you still wanna go because you’re interested in Abkhazia, please take heed of the following advice for your own good: 1. Do not go alone. 2. Inform people on the Georgian side you’re going. 3. Buy a Russian SIM if yours doesn’t work. 4. Take just as much cash as you might use. 5. In case you’re robbed, raise your hands immediately, maybe they won’t use as much violence then. Besides, the visa office has moved to a different address on Sakharova 33, which is much more central, and you pay a standard 400 Rubles there for a maximum 10 days stay.

    • Megan
      Posted at 14:57h, 03 July Reply

      I’m so sorry I havent responded to this sooner as Ive been working non stop. I am SO sorry to hear about your experience when traveling to Abkhazia and think it is absolutely disgusting what happened. I was very fortunate to have such a different experience, but it is soooo important for people to educate themselves prior to going, so I’m appreciative you took the time out to share your experience and warn other people about what you went through.

      It is also interesting to know that the ‘no consulate’ support is, in fact, true. I heard that prior to going, but someone told me there are ways around it. I just hoped I wasn’t going to run into any issues that I needed to test it out. It looks like it wouldn’t have had a positive outcome.

      I’m very happy that you’re okay and I am very grateful that you shared your story on here! Thanks so much and good luck traveling in the future :)

    • Jens
      Posted at 15:00h, 03 July Reply

      Udo, I’m really sorry to hear about your bad experience in Abkhazia. I’m planning to go within the next couple of days. Could you share the specifics of the incidents? Were you travelling by car, taxi or mashrutka? At what time of day? You said that the border was closed and derserted, was it after dark?

      • Megan
        Posted at 15:03h, 03 July Reply

        Jens- please let me know if you get into any problems or have any questions once you’re in Abkhazia. I have a friend who works for the govt there and is an English speaker who could potentially help.

        I arrived to the Abkhazia border at 7:30am or so and there was a line of people waiting so it def wasn’t deserted then (this was on a weekday). When leaving, I arrived at around noon on another weekday, and there was another line. I have no idea how deserted it becomes in the evenings. :) Good luck and enjoy!

  • Jens
    Posted at 14:48h, 03 July Reply

    Udo, I’m really sorry to hear about your bad experience in Abkhazia. I’m planning to go within the next couple of days. Could you share the specifics of the incidents? Were you travelling by car, taxi or mashrutka? At what time of day? You said that the border was closed and derserted, was it after dark?

  • John
    Posted at 10:59h, 10 July Reply

    I crossed the border today after spending a few days in Abkhazia. Very quiet in Gal and very quiet at the border. No problem whatsoever, and it actually didnt take long with the formalities.

    A couple of comments though.

    When crossing from Georgia to Abkhazia – do not take pictures at the Abkhaz side. Not even while waiting for your marshrutka. The militia is there and will ask you not to use your camera in the border area. I was Even taken back to the control post and .. kindly .. asked to delete one of my photos.

    In Sukhum .. do go and pay first of all. And Megan your details are not fully correct. The place is actually not ON ul. Lakoba, but off course close. It is true that it is opposite the National Bank. But there Are four doors to chose from. Number 4 – the one to the far right – is the one to go for.

    Then head for ul. Sakharova 33. The opposite direction compared to the old site for the Konsulskaya. There is no number at the building, but hard to miss. A little back from the street. It is also the home of the State Commitee of Repatriation. Please note that they close for lunch from 12 till 2 pm – I think. Maybe only one hour.

    When leaving DO NOT go to bus station. If you do anyway, take marshrutka no. 1 to the old railway station. Far too long to walk.

    I took the bus to Gal departing at 10.15 and arriving in Gal at 11.55. Price 170 R. Then had to wait some 20 minutes for the marshrutka to Inguiri border station .. took 15 min. and cost 50 R.

    • Megan
      Posted at 14:35h, 10 July Reply

      thanks so much for your comments john!!! so great to hear updates from someone who just went (it’s amazing how much has even changed since april!!!)

      yea i knew the bank was not on lakoba but can be found by just walking down from lakoba (if i recall the bank’s name was like nebit or nibit or something!) i never got the actual street name of it, sadly enough (and i never had an actual map from my time there!)

      i never knew that about photos from the abkhaz side! i never really took any…just one of the sign that said ‘republic of abkhazia’ and one with my phone of the sign on the bus to sukhum :) good to know for people traveling there though…and in case i ever make it back!

      when i took a taxi i wanted to go to the bus station, not the train station…and was rather upset when they dropped me off at the train station. i had no idea that is where marshrutkas departed from so when i saw one with ‘gal’ on it, i was relieved. great advice on telling people to head there and not the bus station! i didnt know that…i just went with how it happened for me!!

      thanks again for the comments and im sure all of it will be super useful for future travelers to the region!

  • Perna
    Posted at 23:39h, 01 August Reply

    Interesting stuff, I’ll be going in four weeks. It’s very unlucky that Udo got robbed. It does happen everywhere in the world not just near the Abkhazian border. Also, as someone already said if you start a story you should also finish it. Was it after dark?

    Anyway, I’ll be going and, of course, during the daylight hours. What I’ve heard the border closes at 7pm but that probably varies in that region.

  • Brad
    Posted at 04:32h, 26 August Reply

    I just wanted to update on John’s comments about getting the actual visa after arrival. I just went to Abkhazia at the beginning of August and indeed the office for issuing visa is now at Sakharova 33. The building is set back off the street (with a green space in front) and houses the State Committee of Repatriation for Abkhazia. Just go into the door, immediately to the left, through the doors and the visa office is to the far right. As far as paying for the visa, we managed the whole procedure there, with the actual visa issuance and the payment (at the same office) being completed in less than 15 minutes.

    Crossing the borders was another issue. We had some issues regarding the letter of clearance, so be a little careful and try and read carefully the clearance letters before going. We were two people and applied the exact same day for the clearance letter filling in exactly the same details. Without noticing the one clearance letter stated the point of entrance to be Ingur (correct from Georgia) and the other letter from Psou (correct from Russia).We were entering from Georgia, so at first they didn’t let us pass, but after an hour or so they cleared up the issues after speaking to their superiors and let us pass. They even gave us a ride (military officer in his mercedes) to Gal and took us directly to the Bus stop. Great service!!!!

    We had a good time in Abkhazia during our stay there with no problems.

  • Peter Lee
    Posted at 07:16h, 07 September Reply

    O wow ! Abkhazia is really beautiful and worth place to visit. Moreover, it is so easy to get visa to go over there. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips.

  • Abdullah
    Posted at 18:12h, 13 September Reply

    Thanks a lot for the information, I am going next Wednesday to Abkhazia. With your written experience I am more relax and motivated.
    My kind regards
    Abdullah

  • blog tecnologia
    Posted at 02:24h, 04 October Reply

    Wow, wonderful blog site structure! Just how long have you been blog pertaining to? you’ve made blogging and site-building start looking quick. The whole start looking of your web-site is usually amazing, together with the content!

  • Allen fletcher
    Posted at 02:03h, 24 October Reply

    I m never heard about the Abkhazia, it is shameful that how I couldn’t know about such a beautiful place. Nice pictures and photographer, Thanks for sharing this information

  • Sethi
    Posted at 02:26h, 09 November Reply

    Would like to know the currency exchange rate for USD and also the cost of accommodation and food etc.

    • Megan
      Posted at 02:47h, 09 November Reply

      the exchange rate is updated at its most current via xe.com. they use RUSSIAN ROUBLES in abkhazia. you will want to obtain these prior to going as ATMS are not in abundance there. take extra just in case you end up needing more. i never used my credit card there, so im not sure if establishments take cards.

      the hotels are quite expensive…around $100/night. however, i couchsurfed. food is super cheap as is wine/beer!

  • read homepage
    Posted at 08:02h, 22 November Reply

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  • Navasuki
    Posted at 11:35h, 29 March Reply

    Hi Megan,

    I Will go to Georgia in 15 days and your post conviced me to visit Abkhazia.

    Would you mind to contact me vía email to ask for your advice?

    Thanks in advance

    regards!,

  • Navasuki
    Posted at 11:37h, 29 March Reply

    Hi Megan,

    I Will go to Georgia in 15 days and your post conviced me to visit Abkhazia.ll

    Would you mind to contact me vía email to ask for your advice?

    Thanks in advance

    regards!,

  • Robert
    Posted at 06:08h, 21 May Reply

    Hi Megan,
    Thanks very much for this blog post, it was most helpful as I planned my own trip. I just returned from Abkhazia yesterday, and can confirm the logistics are quite straightforward.
    1) I took the night train to Zugdidi, arrived 6:25am, then caught a marshrutka (2 GEL) straight to the border.
    2) Leaving Georgia involved just a smile and a wave, arrived at the Abkhaz border post around 7:20am and had to wait with a bunch of others for the border to open at 8am.
    3) Walked down the passage to the border control, handed over my passport and clearance letter, and was on my way within a few minutes. Caught a waiting marshrutka directly to Sukhum for 300 RUB, got off as it passed through downtown, a block south from the huge abandoned building (former hotel) with large posters of medals on it.
    4) I can confirm that the visa office is now at Sakharov 33 no need to go separately to a bank, just have change if possible for the officer (I paid 420 RUB which was roughly equal to US$12).
    5) Not having booked accommodation I got a room at the hotel Inter-Sukhum, Soviet style and service at its finest, Lakoba 109, overpriced at 1500 RUB for a single with breakfast but perfectly adequate.
    6) The way back was also straightforward. At around 10am I took at a (large) bus from the old train station to Gali for 300 RUB (may have been overcharged), then a marshrutka to the border for 50 RUB.
    7) First stop at the shaded window of the Abkhaz border control, took my passport and visa and after a few minutes had a chat with an English-speaking officer who asked about my visit and other travels in my passport. Straightforward and got to keep my visa as a souvenir.
    8) Second stop leaving Abkhazia after exiting the pedestrian gateway, chatted about my trip with an officer who also spoke good English and wanted to see my photos. Went through them and talked travel until he got bored, very polite. No deletions.
    9) First stop on other side of bridge talked with Georgian officers who were pleased to hear that I wanted to visit “all of Georgia”. They directed me to the police post where a non-English speaker entered my details into a computer for a few minutes.
    10) Conveniently caught a marshrutka which departed around 1:15pm direct to Tbilisi, arrived at around 7:45pm, great value for 15 GEL.

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:50h, 04 June Reply

      AMAZING update! Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to this! Thank you so much for posting this. I feel so bad when people read my post as things change frequently so I’m so thankful that people post updates and give extra information here! Thanks again and so glad you had a safe and good trip there! If you post photos on the web anywhere, please let me know :)

  • Sethi
    Posted at 12:47h, 30 May Reply

    I am filling in the form for visa. I intend to cross the border from Zugdidi. The last column is place of crossing border. It gives
    four options 1. Psou 2. Ingur 3. Airport and 4. Sea

    So for crossing from Zugdidi, I should fill Psou. Is that correct ?

    Thanks in advance for your help

  • Sethi
    Posted at 13:51h, 30 May Reply

    I wish to add here, I am sure it can not be option 2,3 & 4 but I do not understand Psou and can not afford to take a chance here as my one mistake can turn my whole trip to a disaster

  • Sethi
    Posted at 04:31h, 04 June Reply

    I have applied for a Abkhazian visa and I have mentioned in my application that I want to enter from Ingur, I have received an email asking me to send them a copy my Russian multi-entry visa. I am surprised. Is that a requirement ?

    Sethi

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:39h, 04 June Reply

      Did you check the box on the application that said you’re going through the Psou border? If you wrote Ingur border somewhere in the application but checked the wrong box it may have caused confusion. Are you on Twitter?

      • Sethi
        Posted at 08:27h, 04 June Reply

        I did mention Ingur. However the problem has been sorted out and they have now informed me that all is well and Russian visa is not required

        • Megan
          Posted at 17:13h, 04 June Reply

          suepr glad it is sorted! have an amazing trip!

  • Interview With Travel Blogger Megan Starr
    Posted at 05:52h, 04 June Reply

    […] Abkhazia.  I was told people would be walking around with guns in their back pockets and that it was so […]

  • naj
    Posted at 17:09h, 04 June Reply

    Still the easiest way to enter abkhazia is from the russian-abkhaz border, you need to get a double-entry visa from russian embassy in your country then you will be able to flay from moscow to sochi by airplane once your in sochi you can get to abkhazia by crossing russian-abkhaz borders using a bus, text or train “I highly recommend bus the scenery is just AMAZING”.

    • Megan
      Posted at 17:14h, 04 June Reply

      im certainly sure it is easier from that way, but not cheaper, sadly. for many western travelers (not people part of old CIS), we are required to have a really pricy russian visa and LOI. much easier to get from georgia, where we get a 365-day visa instead :)

      • naj
        Posted at 07:04h, 05 June Reply

        i think you’re right on this one, the budget can be an issue, usually i take that route to sochi to stay for couple of days then move back to gagra, novi afon, sukhum and back, IT’S THE GOLDEN ROAD OF BEAUTY … any way its just an option to think about.

  • maciek
    Posted at 14:17h, 20 June Reply

    Does anybody know if is possible to cross Georgian – Abkhazian border (via Ingur bridge) by rented car with Armenian license plates?

  • Stephan
    Posted at 11:37h, 21 June Reply

    Vachement attrayant : je pense que ce poste devrait intéresser un mec

  • Por que não vou para a Abecázia (agora)? | gabrielquerviajar.com.br
    Posted at 06:03h, 11 August Reply

    […] piorar, eu entraria pela fronteira com a Geórgia, onde é possível passar, mas relatos indicam que o clima é tenso, já que os georgianos consideram que a Abecázia é apenas uma […]

  • bryan
    Posted at 05:09h, 30 August Reply

    I just spent 12 wonderful days in Abkhazia. I highly recommend it. It took only 5 minutes to deal with Georgian government officials on the Georgian side of the Engur River, and 15 minutes to pass through Russian border guards on the other side of the river [they are more thorough against suspected illegal crossings]. There are at least a dozen ATM cash machines now in Sukhumi, and at least one ATM at the large GAGRA BANK in Gagra on the main Nartaa seaside road. A few restaurants take VISA cards. Only a few. Hotels can now be found for $32 to $52 a night, for three occupants, easily. Most one day package tours are around $30-$35 and well organized and fill your whole day [Lake Ritsa, the Krubera Caves, the monastery, etc.]. Restaurants start at $15 for full meal. Street vendor food is around $3. check out my photos! http://bryanadrian_writer.tripod.com/ABKHAZIA.html

    One tip to save you time and energy. The walk is not really so pleasant from one side to the other of the Enguri River at the crossing zone, and the horse drawn buggy is slow and not really cheap. There are a few go cart driven transport buggies that the Mgrelian vendors regularly use who cross each day for mundane product exchanges, and it costs only 2 GEL Georgian laris, or about 40 rubles [around $1]. It is much quicker than horse buggy and walking.

    As did you Megan, I found the Abkhaz people very hospitable and friendly and helpful and curious. Since tourists are mainly Russian and some Armenians, an American [like me] stood out like a 7 foot tall Mongolian in Guatemala Highlands. Often i was told I was the first American ever to visit the street I was on! A taxi driver even gave me his prayer rosary that had been hanging on his rear view mirror, as a token of his hospitality.

    Sukhumi is more of a lower middle class Russian family tourist destination, and Gagra is just on the Russian border so there are busloads and busloads of one day Russian soujourners. Also, there are more sexy couples in Gagra, which are rare in Sukhumi. [I was told Sochi is TEN TIMES more expensive for the same natural setting!] Gagra is packed with restaurants and bars and dance floors at night. Borscht is served nearly everywhere in Gagra to please the constant stream of Russians, but in Sukhumi i could not find one place with borscht, the Russian national dish. Of all the Abkhazian wines, Chegem the red wine made from Cabarnet Sauvignon grapes is excellent, as is the white wine Dioskuria, both of European tastes to the tongue and fitting such standards. All the many other Abkhaz wines, are on the sweet side and may not be to your liking, who knows?

    You must take a Russian phrase book with you! I think it might be easier to learn pidgin Russian in Abkhazia, rather than in Russia. The people here are more patient in Abkhazia and willing to struggle with you, and maybe one out of 15 Russian tourists speaks some bit of English [especially if from St. Petersburg], but almost no Abkhazia denizens speak a word of English. Hotels and restaurants use Russian and almost never English.

    Sukhumi has very few wifi supported cafes or restaurants, however, Gagra has zillions of them. GOOGLE translator works great between Russian and English, so if you can get the undivided attention of friendly people in a wifi cafe-eatery, then have them type what they want to say on the little peck-peck-peck Russian keyboard on the Google screen, and you can use your own latin alphabet keyboard on your laptop keyboard, and you then can even discuss art, culture, literature and philosophy with each other!

  • Leon
    Posted at 08:18h, 18 January Reply

    Hey!

    Planning a visit to Abkhazia next month. Concerning visa application, what would you write in section ‘Address of stay’ if you wouldn’t book a hotel in advance?

    • Megan
      Posted at 11:33h, 18 January Reply

      hi leon! very exciting! it is currently low season so hotels should be readily available. i just wrote on my application that id find a hotel upon arrival (i went during april, which was no tourists season). i think you will be okay if you write the same. but of course, things may have changed so have a back up plan just in case :)

  • Kev
    Posted at 11:02h, 27 March Reply

    Have clearence letter, tonight in ahotel

    Have clearance letter, spending tonight at a hotel in Zugdidi and tomorrow go to Abkhazia. Thank you everyone for sharing their experiences. Thanks to reading this blog and the comments, what started as a “I wonder” has turned to reality.

    • Megan
      Posted at 11:08h, 27 March Reply

      this is awesome news!!! i hope you have an amazing trip and please come back and share your experience or any updates if you have the chance! i would love to hear how things go- would love to get back there and see much more than what i saw one of these days (SOON!) safe travels!

  • Mariska
    Posted at 12:26h, 02 April Reply

    Hi Megan,

    I took the liberty of writing you an email with some questions! Would appreciate it very much if you would want to take a look at it!

    • Megan
      Posted at 14:34h, 04 April Reply

      Emailed ya back :) Let me know if you don’t receive it!

  • Kev
    Posted at 04:12h, 13 April Reply

    I had no problems at all with my visit to Abkhazia. Got the clearance letter within five days of applying. This included the weekend. There are marshrutkas from Zugdidi to the border for 2 Gel. I was very lucky and got a Marshrutka from the border staight to Sukhumi and the same returning. The MFA in Sukhumi is very easy to find and was a simple process. They charged 11 USD-650 Rubles for the exit visa. Novy Athon is well worth a visit even if its just to see the monastry and the caves. I took the advice of other people who contributed on here and did all my travelling to and from the border early in the day. Not to sure how important it is to do this but I had no problems in doing so.

    • Megan
      Posted at 16:41h, 13 April Reply

      that is awesome that everything went seamlessly for you! if you have any photos across the web from the trip- please share them :)

  • olcay
    Posted at 12:52h, 29 April Reply

    Selamlar,Vatanımız hakkındaki olumlu görüşleriniz için teşekkürler (Bu yazıyı nasıl okursunuz onu bilemem :) )

  • olcay
    Posted at 12:57h, 29 April Reply

    We expect Turkey as you

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:30h, 08 July Reply

    Just spent 3 hours trying to fill in the form – which refuses to work with open office – made Microsoft richer ..Then couldn’t find a place to complete questions 14-16,so answered them in the email application

    We are in Russia so assume Psou is the crossing point from Adler/ Sochi

    Let’s see what happens

    • Mark
      Posted at 04:22h, 07 August Reply

      Got my invitation – after applying was asked for scan of my passport and right of return to Russia – In my case have m/entry biz visa

      We asked for 3 days and time pressures meant we could only go on a Friday for a day trip – We were told not necessary to go to Sukhum to get the visa.

      We had a great day out – we had to buy a SIM card for the day as our RU sim card stopped working 5km into ‘Abkhazia’

      maps.me or yandex navigator worked better than google maps or waze, but judging by the ‘thank you’ for showing us a better route messages – not too many had used waze before

      We took nearly three hours to get in – Russian Tourists – an noted the return queue was 2 km long

      We went to

      1/ New Afon monestery – got stopped by a corrupt policeman for a ‘misdemeanour there – 500 roubles sent him on his way

      2/ Lake Ritsa – in the national park – 650 roubles per adult to enter – the journey takes at least an hour and the local drivers are insane

      There was no queue at 2100 local when we headed back to Russia and the only issue was I was asked ‘where’s your visa’…. Luckily the guy who had said ‘no need to go to Sukhum was still on duty and I was permitted to leave

      Well worth the trip – if you don’t mind encountering crazy drivers and cows / horses lying in the middle of roads – many locals passing at top speed and failing to slow down for you as you tip toe past !

      Fuel was even cheaper than Russia and there is a Rosneft petrol / diesel station only 3 km into ‘Abkhazia’

      We ate shashlk – griled meat / fish on a skewer for 200- 300 roubles and the portions were huge.

    • Deniz Can Akkaya
      Posted at 12:03h, 15 November Reply

      Hi Mark! I am filling up the visa application form right now and there still no space to complete the questions 14-16. I neither speak Russian nor Georgian, so would you be so kind to let me know what is asked on the form?

      Thanks,
      Deniz

      • Mark
        Posted at 11:11h, 17 November Reply

        Dear Deniz,

        No problem !

        Q14 Relationship status

        Q15 / Full name Spouse

        q/ 16 Date place and country of birth of Spouse

        • Deniz
          Posted at 04:43h, 15 December Reply

          Saw this too late. Flying to Tbilisi tomorrow and will be in Abkhazia next week hopefully.

          Thanks anyway Mark!

  • MARK 2
    Posted at 17:31h, 08 July Reply

    Very nice travel report.
    Just for the complete picture, let us add that traveling to Abkhazia via Russia is MUCH easier and much less risky. No bandits and no deranged infrastructure if you approach from Sochi. The borderlands with Georgia actually are by far the most desolate part of Abkhazia.

    You fly to Sochi, maybe via Moscow, and take a bus or train into Abkhazia. Period. Not much time lost at the border, except for the summer months when the routes into Abkhazia are seriously overcrowded with Russian sunseekers.

    Georgians love to make a big tale of how you will get arrested and sent to jail in Georgia if they ever find out you once visited Abkhazia from the Russian side. Well geewhizz, your Abkhaz visa does not get physically attached to your passport for exactly this reason. So those Georgian brainiacs won’t know you ever entered Abkhazia via Russia. Silly games.

    Take care,
    Mark

    • Megan
      Posted at 00:43h, 09 July Reply

      hey mark! thanks for your comment and that is very interesting! im not sure anyone who has commented on this post has ever traveled via the russian side! im just curious- did russia stamp you in and out?

      i saw photos of the russian border w/ abkhazia and it did look much more crowded and ‘real’. the georgian border w/ abkhazia made me feel like i was going somewhere i wasnt supposed to be haha.

      if youre there now- have an awesome time! let us know how things are going there!!!

      • Mark
        Posted at 11:54h, 17 November Reply

        Dear Megan

        sorry, for the long time to reply

        It was just a day trip – but we crammed a lot in

        YES – I officially left Russia and had to re-register my presence when back in Russia – if you want to do this from the Russian side you have to a double entry visa – pref. a multiple entry – or you’ll not get back – which might mean some explaining if you wish to exist via Georgia

  • Dali
    Posted at 06:14h, 09 July Reply

    Hi everyone,

    just filling up the application form. What to write in in case I don´t know person from Abkhazia for references? By the way, I would like to visit this place by bicycle from Georgia.
    Thank´s.
    Dali

    • Megan
      Posted at 06:21h, 09 July Reply

      i never had to fill in a part for references? the only thing it asked me was hotel name and i put that i’d find one upon arrival. it is the summer months so if you just say you’re heading there to visit beaches, i can’t imagine they would give you any grief if you say you’ll search for a hotel once there. but then again, i have no real idea……

  • Bruno
    Posted at 06:50h, 30 July Reply

    Twice I had the permit for entering Abkhazia, and twice I managed not to get there, anyway. :-/

    However, I’m going back to Georgia this year, too – but I recall having read somewhere, that a permission to enter Abkhazia from the authorities in Zugdidi is required?

    Since you don’t mention this, I assume this is not the case…? (Not anymore, anyway…)

    Thanks for the information, which I found very helpful. I’ll try getting there on motorbike in August. c”,)

    • Megan
      Posted at 07:53h, 30 July Reply

      hi bruno! freaking cool trip you have planned by motorbike.

      i know nothing about registering in zugdidi. once youre at the border, you have to ‘check out’ with georgian authorities and in with abkhaz ones. that is the only thing i had to do. i havent heard of much more and most everyone uses this post as a discussion for updates on entering abkhazia- please come back after you go and update us if such is in order now!

      safe travels and good luck obtaining the visa!!!! if you post pics anywhere online, please let us know :)

      • Bruno
        Posted at 10:33h, 30 July Reply

        Okay, thanks! Yes I’ll do that (although I won’t be returning until the latter part of September).

        My entire trip is planned to turn out like this: car train from Hamburg to Vienna, then through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey to Georgia. I’ll probably visit Svaneti once again; I was there on my motorbike last summer and it was an excellent experience! :-D

        On my way home I intend to go to Vladikavkaz, then through Chechnya and Dagestan to Elista and Volgograd, then Poltava in Ukraine, and finally Moscow, St. Petersburg and through the Baltic countries and Sweden back home to Denmark. c”,)

        The motorbike is a nearly 30 years old Suzuki GSX 1100, so it’s quite a feat. :-D

  • Bruno
    Posted at 10:29h, 30 July Reply

    Okay, thanks! Yes I’ll do that (although I won’t be returning until the latter part of September).

    My entire trip is planned to turn out like this: car train from Hamburg to Vienna, then through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey to Georgia. I’ll probably visit Svaneti once again; I was there on my motorbike last summer and it was an excellent experience! :-D

    On my way home I intend to go to Vladikavkaz, then through Chechnya and Dagestan to Elista and Volgograd, then Poltava in Ukraine, and finally Moscow, St. Petersburg and through the Baltic countries and Sweden back home to Denmark. c”,)

    The motorbike is a nearly 30 years old Suzuki GSX 1100, so it’s quite a feat. :-D

  • Dickie
    Posted at 16:27h, 06 August Reply

    Here’s a question: I assume that the visa office/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, being a government office, is only open during the weekdays, yes? Can’t find any info on the official Abkhazia website.

    • Megan
      Posted at 16:56h, 06 August Reply

      I messaged a friend who works there to find out. Hope to hear back soon! I will let you know instantly once I hear back (if I do!) :)

    • Megan
      Posted at 02:07h, 07 August Reply

      i just received info back. as suspected, the MFA is closed on weekends so you will have to wait until the Monday to receive your visa/letter, etc. But the border is open all weekend. Hope that helps!

  • Andrew
    Posted at 15:24h, 08 August Reply

    Great write-up; thanks! It seems odd that a clearance letter is required, but then you must pick up an actual visa at an office. In Transnistria, the process is pretty easy. Come to think of it, one of the reasons I love Georgia is that they make it so simple for almost anyone to visit for up to a year.

    • Megan
      Posted at 00:29h, 12 August Reply

      oh i heard georgia was changing that rule- is it not true?? i think they are doing a massive disservice to their tourism industry by doing so personally.

      yea the abkhazia process is quite a pain. but i guess picking up the visa in person is the same as registering in some of the post-soviet countries. another thing i think is a pain in the butt and will hopefully be eliminated soon! having to do it in belarus drove me insane.

  • Jonas
    Posted at 18:22h, 11 August Reply

    Having spent the weekend in Poland, I flew to Kutaisi, Georgia on Monday I can tell you it’s hot here – 39 degrees today.
    The plan is to enter Abkhazia on Wednesday. Having read so much about it, it will be really interesting to finally see it…

    • Megan
      Posted at 00:32h, 12 August Reply

      sadly those temps sound like the mess that is frankfurt right now (ugh). good luck with that!

      hope you have a wonderful trip and let us know how it goes :)

  • Jonas
    Posted at 14:07h, 12 August Reply

    Entered Abkhazia this afternoon and everything went just fine. Took a martushka from Kutaisi to Zugdidi, 10 Georgian lari, roughly two and a half hours. From Zugdidi you can go to the Inguru border by minibus or taxi, but I met a police officer, who took me there for free. Very nice young man, who told me that Abkhazia is the most beautiful part of Georgia. Though he had never been there…
    The process on the Georgian side didn’t even take two minutes. Then I had to walk for a kilometre or so. The horse and buggy carriages are really slow. I walked past several of them. On the Abkhazian side, I had to wait in the queue for about 30 minutes, but when it was my turn, it didn’t take long time. Tourist? Yes. From Sweden? Yes. That was about it…
    The next martushka to Sukhumi wasn’t expected to depart for at least two hours and it was one hour until the next one to Gali. I saw one leaving for Gali just as I came. It was so bloody hot, so I opted for a taxi all the way to Sukhumi. 1800 roubles, but it took me there and dropped me off at my hotel in 90 minutes. It could perhaps have been 75 minutes, if it hadn’t been for all the animals that were appearing on the road. Mainly cows, but also horses, goats and a few pigs. I saw at least two dead animals at the side of the road.
    In Sukhumi, I paid for my visa at AMRA bank. 10 dollars. I paid in Russian currency and the cost today was 706 roubles. I had to sign a few papers, but the whole thing took less than five minutes. I then walked maybe 300 metres to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office at 33 Sakharova. I got my visa in five minutes. Then I headed for the beach and stayed in the warm water for over an hour…
    Sukhumi seems really nice. It’s full of tourists, mainly from Russia, but I have seen a few Europeans as well. The Ritsa Hotel is wonderful and the city appears more safe than most places in Europe. Perhaps it’s not wise idea to stay near the border when it’s closed (open 8-19), but apart from that, I see no reason to avoid Abkhazia…

    • Megan
      Posted at 07:31h, 14 August Reply

      thanks for the update jonas! (actually dying to know how you got wifi so fast there haha! kidding). that is super cool the police officer gave you a life from zugdidi to the border. so many georgians are curious about the region and fascinated by those permitted to go there! after visiting- i completely understood why!

      hope your trip went well (or is going great if youre still there!) and if you ever write about the experience or upload photos publicly- please dont hesitate to share the link! id love to see what the place is looking like these days :):)

  • Jonas
    Posted at 13:56h, 14 August Reply

    I have had three great days in Sukhumi. Wifi was availbale at Hotel Ritsa. I think most hotels have it. Also saw signs saying that many restaurants and cafés have it.

    Left Abkhazia this afternoon and I’m now at Kutaisi airport, waiting for my flight to Poland, where I will be spending the weekend before going home to Sweden on Monday. Leaving Abkhazia went smoothly. The queue took 15 minutes and after that it took maybe 10 minutes. I had to answer some questions, mainly about all my passport stamps from places like Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait and Lebanon. It was a young English-speaking officer, really nice man and simply just interested. I was allowed to keep my visa. They didn’t stamp the passport, but put an exit stamp on the back of the visa.
    While walking over the bridge, I met an Australian guy living in Georgia. He was on his way to Abkhazia, he had been there before, but only in the winter.The process on the Georgian side took 30 seconds,.No questions at all.

    With no police cars in sight, I had to take a mini-bus to Zugdidi. Cost only 1 lari. I spent an hour or so there, had a quick meal and walked around for a while. I was a bit lost, not really sure where the bus station was, but just as I was going to ask someone, the police officer who took me to the border, turned up again! He wondered if I had had a good time in Abkhazia and then gave me a lift to the bus station. It was only 500 metres away…
    He also helped me to find the right bus, the Georgian letters are not easy to read. There was a bus leaving for Kutaisi within two minutes. Cost just 7 lari. With the bus passing the airport, I was able to get off there. And that’s where I am right now and will be spending half the night…

    One more thing about the border. It’s open 7-19 (not 8-19 as I wrote in my earlier post). Remember this is Abkhazian time. It’s the same as Russian Moscow time. Georgia is one hour ahead, so in Georgian time, the border is open 8-20.

    I took hundreds of photos, maybe a will upload a few of them later.

  • Simon
    Posted at 17:36h, 18 September Reply

    I went to Abkhazia in April 2014 and I loved it, crossing the border in Zugdidi and came back from the same border. I advise anyone who is traveling through Georgia to visit Abkhazia as well. The procedure to get the visa was very easy, they gave me the visa at the office in Sukhumi and I used it to exit the border. I kept the visa hidden while spending my last days in Georgia and once came back to EU I did a (maybe) silly thing, pasting the visa on my passport in order to “decorate” it. I’ve been to other countries with the Abkhazian visa attached on my passport (Russia, Belarus, Iran, Ukraine, Azerbaijan) and didn’t have any problem. Anyway, I’m starting being a bit concerned about the fact that I’m going to New York next October. I would like to minimize the risk of being rejected at the border after several weeks of planning (I wouldn’t need a visa because I would be eligible of the free-visa program).
    Do anyone know if American officers will deny me the visit to the States??? I would say it’s okay but of course I’m not 100% sure.

    • Megan
      Posted at 03:16h, 17 December Reply

      i have no idea if you’ll be denied??? i didnt get my stuck in my passport. yikes……

  • Jomart
    Posted at 15:21h, 15 November Reply

    i know from some friends that you can get Abkhazian visa directly from uk, the Abkhaz have forgin ministry representation in uk, if any body is interested I can get you further details about the office in london

    • Megan
      Posted at 03:15h, 17 December Reply

      please do share details – would be curious to hear about this and validate.

  • Mark
    Posted at 15:23h, 23 November Reply

    Having been there once – was thinking of flying into Kutaisi – seeing some Georgia and then heading to Russia.

    The easiest way to is to take the ferry from Batumi to Sochi – my destination – but I’d like to see more of Georgia and enjoy Marshrutkas – mini Bus and trying to speak in another language.

    Has anyone ever crossed from the Georgian side and exited via Psou into Russia ?

    • Maek
      Posted at 02:16h, 24 November Reply

      Update..

      Had a prompt response to my query from Abkhazia..” transit through Abkhazia is forbidden, if You come from one side of border You need to return the same way”

      A shame… I will go from Georgia to Russia by boat.

  • Mark
    Posted at 04:52h, 15 December Reply

    Update..there IS currently no ferry from Georgia to Russia, either(

    I flew via Moscow to Sochi…. less adventurous and not so interesting.

    • Megan
      Posted at 03:13h, 17 December Reply

      i never knew there was a ferry going that route! would have been rad had it still been running. good luck!

  • Cheryl Coal
    Posted at 08:17h, 21 December Reply

    Hi

    Recently returned from Abkhazia via Zugdidi – the Visa was retained by the Abkhaz border guards on the way back for all non Abkhazians. No one on the Georgian side cares – they just scan your passport in and out again when you return. Don’t try to take any pics of the Abkhaz ( or any other) border area – they will delete them and get upset if they see you doing this – don’t spoil your trip before you have even arrived

    Easiest way to hit Sukhum is to taxi to Gali market and get the Sukhum bus. taxi from border will rip you off- try to pay200 RUB. The Sukhum mini bus costs about the same – but make sure you bag your seat and go to the toilet before it departs- it can take up to a couple of hours on a bad day. It will drop you at Sukhum station-which is kinda out of town.Make sure you have a buindkle of lo denomination RUB for taxis and incidentals as its not easy to get them as you cross

    Visa easy to get hold of on Sakharov street , but you will have to pay $1 as a FX fee at the bank around the corner.

    The info is pretty good on this site

    • Megan
      Posted at 08:19h, 21 December Reply

      Thanks so much for the update! When I went they dropped me off in the middle of Sukhum near some strange shops and not at the bus station… good to know things have changed (it was so sketchy where I was dropped off when I look back on things).

      Glad everything went well and if you ever post pics publicly please leave a link here :)

  • Mark
    Posted at 01:51h, 13 February Reply

    What I say is leave the Politics and your lop-sided version of ‘fact’ to another place, please…

    • Megan
      Posted at 02:16h, 13 February Reply

      i woke up to read this- ill trace that comment above but i actually think it may be coming from a spambot. but i concur- leave those politics behind people!! this is a travel blog! :)

    • Megan
      Posted at 02:22h, 13 February Reply

      i deleted that comment- was from a spam source :) i think there are even some above in the comment section i never caught in the past. i should clean it up! thanks for replying though!

  • 12 Kick-Ass Route Ideas to Travel the World | Offbeat Travelling
    Posted at 08:26h, 13 February Reply

    […] side (despite having permits). There are very mixed experiences though, check the comments in this article for the latest. Think twice before visiting the Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. The east of […]

  • Jasilyn
    Posted at 06:13h, 14 April Reply

    I’m an American living in Russia and my boyfriend wants to go to Abkhazia. This is the most recent information I saw. I read something from 11 years ago that said it’s impossible to go through to Abkhazia on the Russian side for foreigners. Do you know if this is still the case? I know you said you heard it was easier, but I was just wondering if you knew if anyone could pass through.

    • Megan
      Posted at 07:43h, 14 April Reply

      hi jasilyn! i honestly have no idea for sure, but i think you should try it out. i cant imagine that it would cause harm, but i do know that if georgian officials see a stamp from the russian border back (as russia deems abkhazia its own country), it will certainly cause countless issues. but if you have no intent on visiting georgia before that passport expires, you should be alright i imagine! i dont personally know anyone that has gone that route, but there is definitely a border there and i hear it is slightly busier than the georgia one. especially in summer when the millions of russians flock down to abkhazia for its beaches.

      please let us know if you do this and the result! it will certainly help future travelers :)

  • Asida
    Posted at 17:40h, 14 April Reply

    Hello, Jasilyn! If you have a russian visa which allows multiple entries, entering Abkhazia through Psou should not be a problem. Although as I know, you won’t be able to travel to Georgia with the same passport in the future.

    • Megan
      Posted at 09:29h, 19 April Reply

      thanks for your help for her asida!

  • Mark
    Posted at 10:30h, 19 April Reply

    Jasilyn, Asida’s advice re entering from Adler / Sochi – to Psou is correct – I’ve done it

    The ‘visa’ is a bit of paper that you hand back – but the Russians stamp your passport on leaving and re-entering so there IS evidence that you’ve been to what the Georgians maintain is theirs.

    You can’t ‘transit’ from Russia to Georgia – you can only enter / leave by the same crossing point.

    • Megan
      Posted at 09:55h, 21 April Reply

      thanks for your reply, mark. i literally just received an email stating the same thing so i advised them what yall said. im sure they’ll be grateful.

      • Bill
        Posted at 19:47h, 17 August Reply

        I was there in August, 2015. U.S. Citizen. I entered from the Russian side at Adler. The Russians took my migration card when I exited Russia, and gave me a new one with Adler stamps when I re-entered. They left no marks in my passport directly (no exit/entry stamps on my visa or passport). I did have to re-register in Russia though (as I now had a fresh migration card).

        • Megan
          Posted at 22:02h, 30 August Reply

          Thanks for the update, Bill! Hope you had a great trip!

  • BULUT
    Posted at 02:02h, 25 April Reply

    Hi Megan. This page is really helpful for one who wants to visit Abkhazia.

    In mid June I’ll be in Georgia. During my visit I also want to see Abkhazia. I have several questions to all your readers:

    1) I want to take Abkhazian visa with me, but I read some travelers can take it and some of them can’t. What is the procedure? Does border guards always want to take back? If I say I want to keep it will they allow? (I think it depends guards understanding)

    2) In my last day in Abkhazia I will be visit New Athos (Novy Afon). I’ll be in there in Saturday. Does New Athos Cave open in weekend? (cave operating hours, when it is closed to visit?)

    3) I will come New Athos from Gagra. How long trip takes? I want to come New Athos earlier, due to cave trip. Is there any direct marshrutka or I need to go Gagra to Sukhum then Sukhum to Novy Afon?

    4) I prefer travel alone to cave via Psirtskha station. Is it okay or do you recommend travel with tour? Which tour do you recommend? (tour hours,price, where I can found tour operators, can I find tour same day when I arrive the city)

    5) Does anyone know border operating hours on Saturday? (Georgian-Abkhazian border)

    By the way I am from Turkey, and I am a little bit nervous since Russian-Turkey relationship has a tension in these days. I hope I don’t encounter a bad situation at border. Last week I made a reservation in Gagra via Booking.com. A day later mail came from hotel in Russian with three words says:Дом Мест нет (means no vacancy in hotel, even I made a reservation)

    • ASIDA
      Posted at 14:35h, 29 April Reply

      Dear Bulut,

      I cannot answer question 1.
      2. About the cave working hours – every day from 10 00 to 18 00
      3. You can take a marshrutka directly from Gagra to Novy Afon. The trip will take about an hour (a but less).
      4. Yes, you can travel alone, of course. The only thing is crime (unfortunately) that is still everywhere in tourist places. I never encountered it but I know people who did. So just make sure you are very attentive with your belongings and money. If anything happens, report to police and consular services.
      5. Yes, the border operates every day.

      Don’t worry about being from Turkey. The no vacancy message could be due to poor management. There is really a lot of demand for Abkhazia with Russian tourists these days. But I am sure you’ll find something. There are also a lot of Turkish repatriants in town if anything.

      All the best! And enjoy your trip!

      • Bulut
        Posted at 17:00h, 29 April Reply

        Hello Asida,

        Thanks for your detailed and informative answer. It will help a lot.

  • Michael Hiltscher
    Posted at 17:03h, 25 April Reply

    Hi Megan,
    Thank you for this incredibly helpful website and your effort to keep it up to date. I hope I may trouble you with one question, though. Spending an extended holiday in Georgia, I also wish to go to Abchasia in 3 weeks, but I’m struggling with the application form. In item 14 they’re asking about marital status, giving two alternatives to tick. Unfortunately, they do not say which box is meant for which status (single in my case). Do you (or does anybody in this forum) know where I have to place my tick? I look forward to hearing from you.
    Michael

  • Mark
    Posted at 03:34h, 26 April Reply

    Dear Michael

    When I filled in the form Q14-16 where ‘buggy’ – so I just wrote the answer

    You’ll be fine

  • Mitch
    Posted at 15:58h, 13 May Reply

    Anyone have any more information about having the Russian/Abhkazian stamp in your passport when going to Georgia? I want to go on a 10-day hike from Sochi into Abkhazia but I also love going to Georgia and would prefer to not have any problems getting in….

    • Tbilisi
      Posted at 16:12h, 13 May Reply

      You should go to Abkhazia from Georgia, if you travel to Abkhazia from Russia without Georgian permission that is considered to be a violation of Georgian borders, so if you ever visit Georgia later you may be fined or imprisoned for the second attempt.

    • Megan
      Posted at 16:36h, 13 May Reply

      i was about to say what everyone else beat me to saying :) i wouldn’t take chances and would go in through georgia from the start. it isn’t worth the hassle or to have that stamp from the russian side in your passport.

  • Mark
    Posted at 16:02h, 13 May Reply

    Hi Mitch!

    You will not get your passport stamped by Abkhazia))

    The problem is that you cannot traverse from Russia to Georgia. You must enter and leave by the same place…this means having at least a Russian double entry or multiple entry visa.

  • Mitch
    Posted at 16:21h, 13 May Reply

    Interesting… I love Georgia and don’t want any problems, but if Abkhazia doesn’t stamp my passport how would they know? (Unless TBILISI is Georgian govt now searching the databases for my name in their border logs :P)

    I suppose since I’d have to go to Sokhumi to get my visa, I wouldn’t be able to really attend the hike that’s a week away anyways because it takes 5-7 days to process, have to take a train in advance of that and get into and go to Sokhumi to get the visa and back up to where the hike would begin but they all go together from Sochi…..

    Oh well, plenty of other Caucasus excursions to go one… this one was very beautiful though…

    http://www.vegatour.net/#!samshitovaya-skazka/cwn9

    • Megan
      Posted at 16:39h, 13 May Reply

      the issue is that russia recognizes abkhazia as a different country despite georgia not recognizing it as such. so if you enter from russian side to abkhazia, russia stamps you out as though you were entering a different country. if you then proceed onto georgia, they will see that stamp and you will face many, many issues. if you enter abkhazia from georgia and proceed on to russia that way, you shouldn’t have issues. you will get a stamp from russia at the border so you can not go to georgia on that passport later on, but if you can travel to georgia at the start of this trip, at least you’ll get to go there. i hope that makes sense!

  • Mark
    Posted at 17:30h, 13 May Reply

    I have entered ‘Abkhazia’ from the Russian side – the passport is stamped Sochi and I cannot see how any other nation could tell how I left and re-entered.

    I have been going in and out of the ‘Turkish Rep.of North Cyprus’ – which is also largely unrecognised as a state.

    You simply cannot transit Abkhazia – I wanted to enter via Georgia to go to Russia and was told this was not possible by Sukhum[i] .. one cam only enter and leave by the same place.

    As for being fined / imprisoned – there are plenty of westerners who have entered from the south and return – helped by friendly and intrigued Georgian Policemen.

    I have never entered from the south – it sounds far more ‘risky’ – but I have a friend in Georgia and it is so difficult to get from Russia to Georgia – that meeting him in Sukhum[i] would be convenient.

    He is frightened to do so as he lives in Tbilisi – worried it might cause him problems.

  • Mitch
    Posted at 22:08h, 13 May Reply

    Huh well the hiking guide told me that Abkhazia is only an optional part of the trip and that if I wanted to go he can get me a visa while we are on the way and that where we cross into Abhkazia they don’t stamp passports. Sounds interesting so I guess I can report back if I decide to go there.

  • Michael
    Posted at 18:36h, 31 May Reply

    I recently went to Abkhazia, crossing the border at Inguri River, that is, from the Georgian side. In a nutshell, there was nothing spectacular about it, the entire procedure seems fairly standardized these days. Some updates on the information given in the above posts:
    1. The night train from Tbilisi arrives at Zugdidi at 6:05. There is a marshrutka waiting for the (few) passengers heading for Abkhazia just outside the station. It leaves at about 6:30, arriving at the Georgian border check 15 minutes later. You can take your time crossing the river and even take as many pictures as you wish. The Georgian military police didn’t mind, and the Abkhazian border only opens at 8 am (Abkhazian time, i. e. one hour later than Georgian time), so they don’t see it.
    2. The Abkhazian border opens on time. In my case thee were almost 50 people waiting on the Georgian side, so they collected the passports of Western travellers (there were about a dozen, mostly Hungarians and Turks) and handed them back about 40 minutes later.
    3. You then proceed through some fenced-off tunnel to the second control. Western travellers had to wait a considerable time there, about one hour, then we were individually asked some fairly harmless questions (Why do you visit Abkhazia? What is your job? Do you have a Facebook account? Telephone number at home? How did they treat you at the Georgian border?) in Russian and/or English. Although the (very young) soldiers tried to be official they were actually quite friendly. The whole procedure at the border from the arrival on the Georgian side to leaving the crossing section took about 5 hours. It is a hassle but not particularly exciting.
    4. You can take either the marshrutka (or bus) directly to Sukhum or to Gali. It’s about the same price, 250 roubles. All the passengers on my marshrutka were Georgians (or rather, Mingrelians). None of them could speak Abkhazian, and they told me that this was practically everywhere the case in the border area.
    5. The place where to pick up your visa is, as indicated above in another post, the Office for Repatriation in Sakharova 33. Surprisingly, I didn’t find any hint that this is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the building the visa office is on the left side of the ground floor, room no. 3. I was there at about 10:30 and there were about 15 people in the queue. Even though none of the officers spoke English, it was quite clear where I had to go to pay my fees (350 roubles). The AMRA Bank is very close: just go down Sakharova to the first crossing, then on the left side you’ll find the office on Lakoba Street. Pay your money, take the receipt and go back to the MFA. I got my visa almost immediately, they had even extended the period of my stay by more than one week.
    6. Abkhazia is an incredibly beautiful country, people are friendly and very interested in learning about Western Europe (Germany in my case). It is really useful to speak some Russian because I found very few people who had more than an extremely rudimentary command of English. Don’t be surprised if they ask questions of what we would consider an intimate nature — I experienced the same in all Caucasian countries.
    7. What to see: There are countless tour operators offering their services. Since I only had 5 days I took my own taxi driver who was extremely helpful and patient. My personal favourite among the many sights was Lychny Church near Gudauta. It is not heavily advertised but definitely worth a visit.
    8. The return journey was simple. Take the marshrutka to Gali from the railway station (6:00, 8:00, 13:00, 16:00). It leaves on time, i. e. doesn’t wait until it is filled up. Many more passengers will get on during the ride. From Gali I took a taxi to Inguri. I paid him double the price (300 roubles) because I wanted him to make some photo stops for me. At the border there was a substantial queue of more than 50 people, but as they opened a second and third booth it went faster than expected (about 40 minutes). They asked me one or two insignificant questions, then I was allowed to cross. Unfortunately, they took my visa. I crossed on foot, took many pictures on the bridge and walked back into Georgia. The border police again asked me a few questions about my stay, were very friendly and even helped me to find a cheap taxi to Zugdidi. Neither on the Abkhazian nor the Georgian side did anybody check my luggage.
    9. I had a wonderful time in Abkhazia. I’m still having a wonderful time here in Georgia. People on both sides are exceptionally friendly, welcoming and open to foreigners. It is hard to believe they were capable of the atrocities in the war of the early nineties. Even though my embassy (with good diplomatic reasons) strongly advises against travelling to Abkhazia I believe it was a good idea because it is a way of telling the people about life on the other side.

    • Megan
      Posted at 13:45h, 15 June Reply

      thanks so much michael for sharing this!!! i love seeing everyone come back after their trip and give updates and recaps :) the nostalgia for going back is seriously stronger than ever haha! glad you had a great time!

  • Simon
    Posted at 11:04h, 09 June Reply

    I just came back from Abkhazia.

    First of all, thanks Megan, I had this entire post printed as a “user guide” :-D Secondly, I wanted to give some updates but I see that Michael preceeded me, so I’ll give just a few about money :-)

    After reading your experience and Michael’s, I think I was lucky: I landed in Kutaisi where I spent the night, and I was planning on taking the train to Zugdidi the day after, departing at 12:50 and arriving at 16:10; concerned about the time I’d spend to reach Sukhumi from Kutaisi, which I estimated in roughly 7-8 hours, I opted for a taxi in the morning. I left my hotel in Kutaisi at 9 a.m. and, to my surprise, I arrived at my guesthouse in Sukhumi at 1:30 p.m. Just 4.5 hours!

    Once the taxi dropped me off in Zugdidi, I exchanged 100€ in rubles, the rate wasn’t that good, I got back the equivalent of 81€, so my advice is to exchange money beforehand if you manage to find a better rate in your home country.

    From there I took a taxi to the border; the Georgian officers didn’t ask me anything basically, just “what’s the reason of your visit and when will you be back?”. There was no one in line, the entire process took roughly 2 minutes. Piece of cake. I crossed the bridge on foot, it was a bit tricky since it had rained the previous night and the bridge looked more like a swimming pool. On the Abkhazian side, again, I was basically the only one in line; 5 minutes in total. I could see the female office that was asking me questions, then a male officer went through all the visas in my passport.

    On the other side, again taxi to Sukhumi; I decided not to take a marshrutka because as I said, I was basically alone, so I would have had to wait quite a bit before the marshrutkas filled up and left.

    Once I was at my guesthouse, the owner took me to the office to register my presence in the country and then left. From there I was sent to AMRA bank, where to my surprise I could also both exchange money and withdraw it from an ATM; I thought it was impossible but apparently it’s not :-) I tried to withdraw and couldn’t, so I exchanged 20€ and got back the equivalent of 19.5€ in rubles: much better rate than in Zugdidi!! Then a guy helped me with the ATM and I could also withdraw with my Visa card. Mastercard was also accepted.

    While strolling through the city I saw many places where I could exchange money, both Euros and USD are accepted but not Lari; I could withdraw once again, I could pay my dinner at a restaurant with my card, and they told me that in some places you can pay directly with Euros or USD.

    To leave, I took a taxi to the border again and then to Zugdidi, where I waited for my night train to Tbilisi to catch my morning flight to Baku. Again I was basically the only one in line even on my way out; after the Abkhazian checkpoint I carefully hid my Abkhazian magnets and visa and then I proceeded to the Georgian checkpoint. 2 minutes and I was back in Georgia.

    I loved my time in Abkhazia and I highly recommend it!

    Keep traveling :-)

    • Megan
      Posted at 13:44h, 15 June Reply

      thanks so much for updating and sharing your experience, simon! i love seeing how things are going these days and it really gives me the urge to make it back there soon. please let me know if you ever upload public photos on the web- id love to check them out :)

      • Simon
        Posted at 14:09h, 15 June Reply

        I will upload them soon, but they won’t be public, they’re gonna be on my FB profile – but I can send you the link when I do ;-)

  • Why I am Not Reading Your Blog
    Posted at 12:37h, 15 June Reply

    […] Call me a hypocrite for this as this post is geared somewhat towards other bloggers (although a lot of those that asked were just some of my readers), but if all of your posts are written towards a blogger audience, I don’t usually find myself engaged in them.  I can not pinpoint exactly what it is that bothers me about this, but I just find it boring and not very engrossing. I understand that many bloggers have to roll out their quarterly Travel Blog Success clickbait, but the constant writing targeted towards bloggers is odd to me because I highly doubt that most good blogs have a main audience of just bloggers.  I find that 99% of my traffic comes from search engines (surprise, surprise), so I try to write towards the Average Joe who happens to Google “How to get a Visa to Abkhazia“. […]

  • robertjosborne
    Posted at 16:14h, 11 July Reply

    Excellent-text book example of how to write a useful, informative(and brief!)travel blog.I was in Georgia about 8 years ago and was informed by the locals that I would be “crazy” to go to Abk.I now regret listening to their advice.The current political situation seems somewhat fraught there at the moment ,but I would still like to go.It seems to me that not speaking Russian would be a real hindrance-do young people have ant English?My experience is that thanks to social media etc they generally do and are keen to practice-I found this in Transniestr,which is a similar case to Abkhazia .

    Oncw again thanks,you have stimulated me into thinking about trying again!

    • Megan
      Posted at 09:16h, 12 July Reply

      I was just about to write back only to see that Michael below had basically written exactly what I was going to write. I definitely say go though! My Russian is not great (I can read Cyrillic alright but struggle with actual words) and people were helpful and we somehow managed to communicate non-verbally (and sometimes verbally) with me as they were curious why I was there and what made me want to see their land.

      Don’t get me wrong, evidence of the past wars is showcased across the cities and countryside, but I never felt particularly unsafe there (I also don’t try to put myself in situations I deem unsafe if possible).

      Thanks so much for your kind words about the post and I really hope you get to travel there sometime! It is an eye opener and the people are lovely!

  • Michael
    Posted at 16:40h, 11 July Reply

    Politically Transnistria and Abkhazia may be similar. As to their knowledge of English, I found some people in Transnistria with reasonably good English even in 2004 when I was there. In Abkhazia, to be honest, this was very rare on my visit a couple of weeks to ago. Which shouldn’t keep you from going there nonetheless, people will still try to talk to you.

    • Megan
      Posted at 09:13h, 12 July Reply

      You hit the nail on the head with that one. I was just about to write the exact same thing!

  • Gergely Ambrus
    Posted at 16:16h, 25 July Reply

    Do you have any updated information about the Ingur border crossing? On the website they state that is is closed! We would need to go through on August 1. I would appreciate a usable phone number for the Abkhazian ministry too. Thanks a lot!

    • Megan
      Posted at 17:30h, 25 July Reply

      i have messaged a contact with the MFA and hopefully he will reply quickly- will get back to you as soon as he does!

  • Gergely Ambrus
    Posted at 17:32h, 25 July Reply

    Thanks a lot! Fingers crossed :)

  • shortGuide
    Posted at 09:10h, 18 August Reply

    Diplomatic and representatives of the republic of Abkhazia world wide:

    1- Abkhazian Representatives in Europe :
    http://mfaapsny.org/en/policy/representative.php

    2- Diplomatic missions :
    http://mfaapsny.org/en/policy/missions.php

  • lysa grane
    Posted at 03:57h, 02 October Reply

    Valuable post . I learned a lot from the info , Does anyone know if I can obtain a fillable DA 7566 form to fill out ?

  • Jacson
    Posted at 11:13h, 02 October Reply

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  • SHORTGUIDE
    Posted at 14:04h, 02 October Reply

    You can find the application on the Ministry of forget affaires website, fallow this link and click where it says applications to download the form, then you can send it by fax or email to get your visa.

    Page link : http://mfaapsny.org/en/council/visa.php

  • Kristian
    Posted at 02:08h, 12 November Reply

    Hi! Thanks for this great site! Just a question about the visa. What happens if you attach you Abkhazian visa into your passport while in Abkhazia? Will I face issues with the Georgian officials at the border on the way back?

    • Megan
      Posted at 11:43h, 13 January Reply

      I would keep that visa out of your passport until it expires :) Sorry for a delayed response- I’ve been on the road the last few months.

      • Kristian
        Posted at 11:48h, 13 January Reply

        Ok, thanks for the reply! What do you think would happen? A small “fine” at the border? I don’t want to risk losing the visa sticker (I’m an eager collector of both visas and stamps :) ).

        • Megan
          Posted at 11:53h, 13 January Reply

          I actually think it can be very bad as they are not recognized. I haven’t heard of any stories of this, but even Abkhazia won’t place it in your passport as it can end you up in jail in the wrong country! I would just save it alongside it and when the passport expires, tape it in there :) That is what I recently did!

          • Kristian
            Posted at 12:04h, 13 January

            Ok, thanks for the information! I’ll probably do that. /Kristian

          • Megan
            Posted at 15:32h, 13 January

            Good luck!!!

  • Colin
    Posted at 19:38h, 24 February Reply

    Has anyone hired a guide to take them around Abkhazia? Any recommendations would be welcome.

  • Travel Myanmar
    Posted at 10:55h, 16 March Reply

    I think I also need a local help if I come here, that will help me have a better trip

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 18:13h, 27 April Reply

      There are many tour companies offering trips up this way… I encourage seeking one out!

    • phnom penh tours
      Posted at 06:09h, 01 June Reply

      Have you been there yet? Which tourist guide did you choose?
      I have a plan in advance, but I do not know which one to choose.

      • Megan Starr
        Posted at 11:58h, 26 July Reply

        Are you looking for a travel guide for Abkhazia??

  • Martim A P de Haro
    Posted at 04:53h, 10 May Reply

    Congratulations! You are , in fact, a very corageous woman!DID YOU VISIT THE FORTERESS OF sUKHUMI? oNCE UPON A TIME i SAW A FLAMBOYANT FILM ABOUT THE legend of its building. It was a very good film made in Georgia republic. Do the Abkhazes really like the being a independente country?I am sure You made a fantastic travel! I will be aware to if you publish a book about Your travel experiences..
    I am in the most sincere awe of You.

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 12:04h, 26 July Reply

      I didn’t visit this fortress :) But I am sure someone else out there made it there! Abkhazia is a great place- hope you can make it there someday!

  • Erik
    Posted at 15:56h, 26 May Reply

    Hello, I was in Abchasia recently, May 2017 and have some coments to add. After applying for my permit to cross border with http://www.mfaapsny.org (download this form, fill it and send it to them with your scanned pasport to [email protected] and after a week I got my permit in Russian. Print 3 copies and take it with you. Itook a marschrutka from Zugdidi and paid 1 GEL. The Georgians scanned my pasport and di not just asked me what was my purpose of my trip “tourist visiting Sukhumi”, no more questions, it took about ten minutes. Then I took the horsecart, 1 GEL and it stable and I did not fall from it. and it is not bumpy but smoothly asfalt on the bridge. Then at the ABH border I showed my clearance letter and they kept it and scanned my pasport, it took about another ten minutes. Just asked me the purpose of my trip (tourism) and a copy of my hotel reservation. No luggage control. Then I took a marschrutka to Gal for 150 RUB and the driver stopped at a change office in Gal at my request and I changed euro’s at 61,1 RUB Then very quickly I got another marschrutka for Sukhumi which is about one and a half hour. In the afternoon I went to the MID, Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sakhalova Street 33. I had to give him a copy of my permit and he registered me by computer. I paid 350 RUB at his office with my normal European Maestro bank card very easy. My visa was not pegged in my pasport. When I came back, I had to give my loose visa to the official and he withhold it. I asked if I could keep it as a souvenir but he refused. But I had taken a photo of it already. No horses coming back but it is an easy walk of maybe 15 minutes to the Georgian officias. I ignored them ( so no countless questions). Technically I did not leave Georgia !!! I went straight to a marschutka, 1 GEL to Zugdidi and then on to Mestia with a marschrutka, 10 GEL.

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:02h, 28 May Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! It seems as though things have become a bit easier and streamlined regarding the process!!! I am sure many people on here will find this information super helpful. Hope yu enjoyed the trip! I can’t wait to make it back.

  • mori
    Posted at 09:21h, 08 July Reply

    hi

    i heard if georgian goverment undrestand u was in Abkhazia they can arest you and even sentence you for 3 mount ?

    this is my quetion
    is it true or not ?
    and will abkhazia govement put stamp on my passport or no ?

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 08:26h, 09 July Reply

      what mark states below is still accurate. just make sure you reiterate at the visa office that you do not want it attached in your passport. they shouldn’t do that anyway :)

  • Mark
    Posted at 07:25h, 09 July Reply

    1/ Your passport will not show that you were in ‘Abkhazia’ – the Visa is a slip of paper – if you enter via Russia ( Sochi/Psou )- your passport WILL show you entered / exited Russia via Sochi – at a land border checkpoint

    2/ Plenty of poster on here have entered / exited ‘Abkhazia’ from the Georgian side without issues.

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 08:26h, 09 July Reply

      thanks for your quick reply to his question, mark! :) happy weekend!

  • naj
    Posted at 14:37h, 27 July Reply

    Online Application for entry of foreign citizens to the Republic of Abkhazia service on the MOFA website http://mfaapsny.org/en/

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 16:21h, 27 July Reply

      Thanks… it is listed in the post above too :P

  • Ranblin' Randy
    Posted at 17:14h, 01 August Reply

    Ahhhh thank you for this!!! It’s on my list for April!!!

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 10:01h, 06 August Reply

      so happy to hear this! have an awesome trip and please stop back by later and share your experiences and thoughts!

  • AJ
    Posted at 07:55h, 14 August Reply

    Hey Megan, thank you for the detailed post! Just wondering — when did the marshrutka you took back to Tbilisi leave the border/arrive back at the city? I’m curious if I’d be able to make it back in time for a ~9pm night train to Yerevan.

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