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Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

Wild Kamchatka with the Kuril Islands

  • Platinum
15 days
Small Ship Cruises
Suitable for:
Age 17+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Small Ship Cruises, Guided Group
Marine Wildlife
Max group size:
Min age:

Step into another world with this epic journey through Russia’s dramatic volcanic peninsula.

A trip into Russia’s remote Kamchatka region is hard to put into words; sky-high volcanoes soar over wildflower-studded tundra full of roaming reindeer, brown bears fishing for salmon and deserted landscapes that are little disturbed and scarcely explored. Begin your journey exploring the neon streets of Sapporo before boarding your intimate expedition ship. Enjoy an evening of traditional Russian song and dance on Sakhalin Island, wander amongst abandoned buildings and other relics of a secret Russian military base, explore the former dwellings of the Ainu in Onekotan, meet massive colonies of fur seals and Stellar sea lions on Tyuleniy Island, search for a myriad of sea birds amongst the 40 active volcanoes of the Kuril Islands and spot tufted puffins, sea otters and whales in the spectacular Russkaya Bay.

Led by Mike Messick, a fellow of the Explorers Club and industry veteran of nearly 35 years, you’ll enjoy lectures, guided excursions, and daily recaps to bring an educational component to your adventure. Mike is regarded as one of the most experienced expedition leaders in the industry and has visited an impressive 195 countries around the world, so you can be sure he has plenty of travel stories to share! Along with Mike you’ll be joined by a team of renowned ornithologists, marine biologists, naturalists and more, especially chosen for this adventure. They’ll bring a comprehensive educational component to your adventure through lectures, guided excursions, and daily recaps.


  • Witness huge concentrations of seabirds in a frenzy of breeding activity—northern fulmars, horned and tufted puffins, guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, and more.
  • Cruise by Zodiac along rocky islets and uninhabited shores to search for the area’s prolific marine and wildlife—including bears, Arctic foxes, seals, and whales.
  • Photograph a variety of stunning scenery, from snowcapped volcanoes to wildflower-studded tundra.
  • Enjoy a performance of traditional Russian songs and dances in Sakhalin Island’s capital, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Key information

  • Max number of guests: 100
  • 12 nights aboard the Caledonian Sky and 2 nights hotel
  • 14 dinners, 14 Breakfasts, and 12 lunches
  • 15 days land only
  • Countries visited: Japan, Russia, South Korea, Russian Arctic

What's included

  • Daily activity options including Zodiac cruises, nature walks, and cultural tours
  • Charter flight from Petropavlovsk/Seoul
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

What's not included

  • Airfare from your home city/Tokyo/Sapporo and Seoul/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, alcoholic beverages, (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Sapporo, Japan
Seoul, South Korea
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Sapporo

    Arrive in Sapporo and check in to our hotel. In the evening gather for a welcome dinner and briefing.     

    Accommodation: Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Join a tour of Sapporo’s highlights

    Following breakfast, join a tour of Sapporo’s highlights. Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and during late May, flowers and trees should be bursting into bloom. Pass by historic buildings such as the city’s symbolic Clock Tower, the university, the charming red-brick Old Prefectural Office, and several 1972 Winter Olympics sites. After lunch, transfer to the port of Otaru to embark the Caledonian Sky.  

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cruise past tiny Teuri Island at dawn

    Cruise past tiny Teuri Island at dawn where early risers may train their binoculars on one of the largest colonies of rhinoceros auklets in Asia. Watch as the birds leave the rocky cliffs en mass to feed in the productive surrounding waters.

    Continue north to the classical cone-shaped volcano of Rishiri Island. Make a stop to stroll or hike in the magnificent conifer forests of Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park. A stop at the municipal museum unveils local history and artifacts dating back over 1,000 years.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Disembark in Korsakov

    Disembark in Korsakov, then drive to Sakhalin Island’s capital, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Founded as a small Russian settlement in the 1880s, the city became a Japanese prefect capital when the southern half of the island was declared a Japanese colony in 1905; after WWII it was returned to Russia. Highlights of your exploration include a visit to the Russian Orthodox church, the Regional Museum, housed in an impressive former Japanese mansion, and the bustling market. Enjoy a performance of traditional Cossack song and dance from a group dressed in colorful costumes. Alternatively, join your ornithologist for a day of birding in the southern part of the island. Watch for Latham’s snipes, Eurasian bullfinches, white-tailed sea eagles, Siberian thrushes, and Swinhoe’s robin.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Tyuleniy means seal in Russian

    Tyuleniy means seal in Russian, and you will immediately understand how the island earned this moniker. Hundreds of northern fur seals and Steller sea lions cover the beaches—watch bulls defending their harems, males sparring, and pups cavorting in the water. Birds fill whatever space the seals and sea lions leave unclaimed. Thousands of common murres and kittiwakes cover the cliffs and fly overhead. Other bird species include crested auklets, Siberian rubythroats, and Pallas’s warblers, with possible sightings of red-necked stints and narcissus flycatchers. 

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    The Kuril Islands

    The Kuril Islands form an archipelago of 56 large and small islands, nearly equal to the Hawaiian Islands in landmass, stretching some 700 nautical miles between Kamchatka and Japan. Young in geological years, the Kurils are still bursting forth with volcanic action, with 40 active volcanoes.
    Take a Zodiac cruise past the sheer cliffs of uninhabited Broutona Island, keeping an eye out for the northern fulmars and fork-tailed storm petrels that nest here.
    Continue to the dramatic headlands of Chirpoy Island, also home to thousands of breeding seabirds. While black-legged kittiwakes and thick-billed murres are among the more numerous species, you may also find red-faced and pelagic cormorants.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Shimushir’s spectacular geology features a string of extinct volcanoes

    Shimushir’s spectacular geology features a string of extinct volcanoes, well-wooded slopes, and a flooded crater at its northern tip. The crater’s narrow pass opens into a nearly hidden bay that was home to a secret Russian military base from 1978 to 1991. Nearly 2,000 occupants inhabited the keyhole harbor, where Russian submarines were based. Spend a fascinating morning wandering among the abandoned buildings and other relics of this former military base.
    Located in the flooded caldera of Yankicha are fumaroles and hot springs, hinting at the tremendous forces that created the island long ago. Nature walks may reveal Arctic foxes, Arctic warblers, and Middendorff’s grasshopper warblers.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Home to thousands of nesting seabirds

    Often enshrouded in fog, the rugged columnar stacks of the Srednego Islands are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. Here you’ll find northern fulmars, guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, and whiskered auklets, as well as large populations of Steller sea lions and northern fur seals.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Thousands upon thousands of northern fur seals

    Unlike their volcanic neighbors, the Lovyshki Islands are small, rocky islets that offer the perfect resting place for thousands upon thousands of northern fur seals. Crested auklets are also a possibility here.   

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Beautiful Onekotan Island

    Beautiful Onekotan Island boasts an impressive 4,000-foot-high volcano with a deep, almost perfectly circular crater lake at its center. Small streams and waterfalls tumble down the hillsides to the beach, while lush tundra slopes are the habitat for red foxes and myriad bird species, such as the red-throated pipit. Scan the rugged and rocky ledges for seabirds while taking a shoreside walk with our naturalist. The area was once inhabited by the Ainu, and you may have the chance to investigate ruins of their former dwellings.

    Accommodation: The Caldonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Cruise through the First Kuril Strait

    This afternoon, as you cruise through the First Kuril Strait, watch for the Steller’s sea eagles that frequent the area. Past voyages have also found hundreds of sea otters frolicking in this strait—a heartening rejuvenation after a brush with near-extinction. Step ashore on Atlasova Island, dominated by the towering 7,600-foot-high Alaid Volcano. Stroll along the black sand beaches to observe the island’s fascinating geology or take a hike inland over tundra bursting with wildflowers.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Reminiscent of a Norwegian fjord

    Reminiscent of a Norwegian fjord, the craggy shores of the bay served as a natural shelter for ships in the past. The imposing inland mountains and volcanoes add to the dramatic impact of this spectacular bay, where you will find seabirds such as horned and tufted puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, and auklets, as well as a wealth of marine mammals. 

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Board Zodiacs

    Board Zodiacs to negotiate the shallow and meandering Zhupanova River, with superb opportunities for both birding and nature walks. Heading upstream, we are likely to spot up to 40 species of birds, including such special Siberian species as the yellow-billed loon, yellow-breasted bunting, common greenshank, and Far Eastern curlew. Heading downriver, scan the skies for the magnificent Steller’s sea eagle.

    Accommodation: The Caledonian Sky

  • Days 14-15

    Disembark the Caledonian Sky

    After breakfast on board, disembark the Caledonian Sky and transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Seoul. Check in to the Grand Hyatt Incheon for dinner and overnight. Board your independent homeward flight the next day.

    Accommodation: The Grand Hyatt Incheon

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



Most nationalities do not require a visa to visit Japan. South African passport holders do require a visa; but it is worth all nationalities verifying visa requirements directly at your embassy before travel.


All nationalities require a visa for Russia. These requirements will vary depending on your nationality. For British nationals visa applications must now be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. At the time of application, fingerprints will be taken. We will be providing a new type of service to assist with the application process; however we will no longer be able to submit the application on your behalf. It is your responsibility to arrange a visa prior to travel, but we will provide you with more information after booking to help and advice with this. The cost of the visa is currently GBP108.40. For more information please click here

Please note: The visa application takes approximently 20 working days. You can arrange for your passport to be posted back to you or returned to the visa processing centre to collect it in person. There is a £20pp charge to create an invitation letter if any pre or post tour accommodation is not booked with Exodus.


South Korea

If you have a British Citizen passport you can enter South Korea as a tourist for up to 90 days without a visa. You must also have an onward or return ticket.

If you have a different nationality, you should check visa requirements with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, London.



There are no specific health risks.


There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever.

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Zegrahm Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Zegrahm Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Zegrahm Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Know Before You Go

For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb, unaided, in and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. Many of the landings will be “wet” and require that you wear waterproof, knee-high boots. Ashore, you must be able to walk moderate distances over occasionally rough and often slippery terrain. We’ve designed our shore excursions to accommodate both those who enjoy gentle strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. Summer temperatures in the Kamchatka region range from approximately 40ºF to 60ºF, but can get down into the high 30sºF, and high winds are also possible. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


The Caledonian Sky

The all-suite, 100-guest Caledonian Sky is a spacious, yet intimate, expedition vessel. Refurbished in 2018, her beautifully designed public spaces include a single-seating dining room, a large lounge with piano, elegant bar, enclosed panoramic viewing deck, sun deck, library, and small gym. All suites have an ocean view and feature a sitting room, en suite bathroom, flat-screen television, spacious wardrobes, and dressing table. The Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs, available for accessing remote shorelines and islands and is equipped to offer scuba diving.


  • Five decks of guest facilities.  

- Castle Deck – guest suites, dining room, doctor’s office.   - Caledonian Deck – guest suites, bar, lounge, reception.   - Promenade Deck – guest suites with direct deck access, gym, hair salon.   - Bridge Deck – guest suites with private balconies, bridge, outdoor dining.   - Panorama Deck – sun deck, library, Panorama Lounge, and bar.   

  • Stairs and an elevator service all decks.
  • The bridge is available to visit most times throughout the day, contingent upon weather, security, and navigation conditions.   
  • Smoking is permitted only on outside decks.


  • All suites feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be reconfigured into one queen, a sitting area, a well-appointed en suite bathroom, large closets, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hair dryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American style outlets (two flat prongs)at 110 volts.   
  • Castle Deck has Category 1 suites that are 244 square feet and have three portholes.   
  • Caledonian Deck has Category 2 suites that are 232 square feet with large picture windows.   
  • Promenade Deck has Category 3 suites that are 217 square feet with a picture window; Category 4 suites that are 217 square feet with direct deck access via a sliding glass door; and Category 5 suites that are 243 square feet and feature two forward-facing portholes and direct deck access via a sliding glass door.
  • Bridge Deck has Category 6 suites that are 217 square feet and have patio doors leading to private balconies that are 60 square feet.


  • The main restaurant can accommodate all guests at one seating.   
  • Most diets can be catered for on board, but special dietary requests must be made in advance.    
  • Breakfast is served buffet-style and a la carte.
  • Dinner is served in the main restaurant. When weather permits, meals can also be served on deck.   
  • Afternoon tea is served in the lounge and coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day.


  • Caledonian Sky carries a fleet of Zodiacs and is equipped to offer scuba diving.
  • Public spaces include a large lounge for lectures, Panorama lounge and bar, gym, and library with reference books, novels, DVDs, and computers with Internet access.
  • Free onboard Wi-Fi is available for all guests.
  • Laundry services (no dry cleaning), a hair salon, and a small doctor’s office are available on board. Rates are posted.
  • The U.K. pound is the currency used on board. Traveler’s checks, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts.
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Make 2020 the year when you step off the tourist trails and leap into a world of culture adventures. Cultural travel

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros  Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros  Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros  Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]