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Kuril Lake: bear watching

The Kuril Lake is the crater of a long-extinct fiery mountain, now filled with water. It is Kamchatka’s number two fresh-water lake in terms of size, and probably number one in terms of importance and beauty.

The lake ranks among the most important spawning grounds for wild salmon – not just Kamchatka-wide, but globally. A multitude of rivers and rivulets empty into it with only one flowing out, the Ozyornaya – it connects the lake with the Sea of Okhotsk, serving as the roadway for sock-eye salmon. When the fish runs upstream, in certain years numbering millions, the river quite literally looks like it were boiling – an incredible sight!

Of course, this abundance of fresh food attracts bears. Normally, the brown-furred predators avoid meeting each other, but during salmon runs they band together, enabling you to see up to twenty members of the world’s largest brown bear subspecies.

The bears at the Kuril Lake are extremely busy and largely ignore humans, making it possible to view some of the most interesting aspects of their life. An observation point was built near the lake specifically for the purpose of watching the bears fish, and the camp where tourists are stationed is surrounded by an electric fence.

Facts about the lake: 
• listed as UNESCO heritage since 1996;
• was created 8,400 years ago after a powerful volcanic eruption and subsequent sagging; located in a volcanic caldera;
• surface area 77 sq. km, maximum depth 316m.

• Price per person: 36 000 RUB
• time available: August and early September
• duration: 6-7 hours


• helicopter ride;
• guidance;
• lunch; 
• entry fees;
• accident insurance.

Helicopter excursions in the Valley of Geysers are for groups of eighteen. Groups are assembled almost daily in August. You can request to join the group on any day you like.

Individual tours and excursions on Mi-8, Mi-2, Robinson, or Eurocopter can be arranged.

Weather may impose change in itineraries, including delays and postponed departures.


Yevgeny Kostyukov​

phone .: +7-914-625-33-99


skype-400 evgeny.kostyukov