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Day Trip from Kutaisi: Prometheus Cave, Martvili Canyon, and Okatse Canyon Tour vs DIY

Day trip from Kutaisi

Sharing with you another day trip in Kutaisi. By now, you’ve probably noticed that Kutaisi is good for day trips. For this one, we went to Prometheus Cave, Martvili Canyon, and Okatse Canyon via a paid day trip with Budget Georgia. It took us around 10 hours to complete the day trip, and we started at 10 AM in Kutaisi and traveled to the 3 places in their vehicle.

Let me first discuss each place, and then share my opinion about the tour.


1. Prometheus Cave:

What Is It?

Prometheus Cave, also known as Kumistavi Cave, is Georgia’s biggest cave. It is located in the Imereti region, just 20 km northwest from Kutaisi City. It has a lot of stalactites, stalagmites, petrified waterfalls, cave pearls, underground rivers, and lakes. The cave itself is 15 km and consists of 16 halls.

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Prometheus Cave
Prometheus Cave waiting area

Prometheus Cave trail

The trail inside the cave was paved and only visitors can only access 1.4 km of the cave along with 6 large halls. Although the entrance fee included tour guides, they didn’t talk a lot. They just gave a short description in the beginning and then kept quiet for the remainder of the tour. It was especially hard to appreciate the views because we were in such a big group. I stayed further back just so I could take cleaner shots.

Prometheus Cave

You can take a boat trip across the 400 m underground river all the way to the exit. If you’re not feeling up to a boat ride, there is a trail that also leads you to the exit. Honestly, I think our underground river in the Philippines is better. I started making formations and using imagination to name the rocks that I saw just to keep me entertained, but don’t get me wrong—it was a truly massive cave. It kind of reminded me of the one in Halong Bay, just that Prometheus Cave is a lot bigger.
Prometheus Cave

How To Get There By Commute:

Prometheus Cave

If you’re coming from Kutaisi Main Station, grab the Marshrutka 30 headed for Tskaltubo (1.2 GEL, 30 minutes). At Tskaltubo’s main square, take the Marshrutka 42 bus to Prometheus Cave (2 GEL, 15 minutes).

Expenses:

  • Bus from Kutaisi City to Tskaltubo: 1.20 GEL
  • Bus from Tskaltubo to Prometheus Cave: 2 GEL
  • Entrance Fee: 23 GEL
  • Boat Ride Fee: 17.50 GEL

Tips:

Prometheus Cave

  • The cave is open to tourists all year round from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM every day, except on Mondays.
  • You need to join a group tour to enter the cave. But if you came alone, it’s fine they just match you with a group once you get there.
  • The whole tour lasts an hour.
  • Ticket for the entrance fee includes tour guide service.
  • Do a quick research about Prometheus Cave before visiting, because the tour can get so big
  • Dress comfortably with good shoes.
  • Be careful with your footing, the floors are often slippery and there are a lot of steep steps.
  • They don’t have boat rides if the water level in the river rises.

Prometheus Cave

2. Martvili Canyon

Martvili Canyon
What is it?

Our next stop was Martvili Canyon. It’s a popular natural canyon carved by the Abasha River in the little town of Martvili in the region of Samegrelo, just 45 km from Kutaisi. The canyon is not just a gorge, but also has waterfalls, caves and forest views. Georgian Nobles of the Dadiani family once used it as a bath.

Martvili Canyon

There are 2 ways to reach the Canyon from the Visitor Center:

  1. You can take a 700 m walk down along a paved, man-made path to reach the canyon.
  2. You can ride a boat, which takes you along the river for 300 m or around 15 minutes.

The canyon was full of people, but seeing the majestic gorge and the strength of the waterfalls made me forget the huge crowd for a moment. There’s just something so refreshing and calming about this place.

How To Get There By Commute:

Martvili Canyon

If you’re coming from Kutaisi City, head to Kutaisi Main Station and grab a Marshrutka headed for Martvili (4 GEL, ~2 hours).

Once in Martvili, you would still have to walk at least 5 km to the Canyon entrance. Alternatively, you may take a taxi when you reach Martvili (50 GEL, ~5 minutes).
Day trip from Kutaisi

Expenses:

  • Bus from Kutaisi City to Martvili: 4 GEL
  • Taxi from Martvili to Martvili Canyon: 50 GEL
  • Entrance Fee: 17.25 GEL
  • Boat Ride Fee (optional): 13 GEL

Tips:

Day trip from Kutaisi

  • The cave is open to tourists all year round from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM every day, except on Mondays.
  • Dress comfortably with good shoes.
  • Be careful with your footing, the stone floor is a bit slippery.
  • They don’t have boat rides if the river’s water level rises.
  • If you’re renting a car, the Canyon has a parking lot.

3. Okatse Canyon
Okatse Canyon

What is it?

We ended our day trip at the Okatse Canyon, a deep and lush canyon created by the flowing Okatse River in the town of Gordi in the Imereti Region. There’s a platform overlooking the gorge at a height of 140 m with magnificent views.

There are 2 ways to reach the canyon from the Visitor Center:

  1. Walk 2-3 km to the canyon itself. They said it will take 3 hours but we made it in 20-30 minutes one way. It may seem daunting, but the walk down was still fun.
  2. If you want to, you can take the off-roading taxis available at the entrance for 10 GEL per person, round trip.

Okatse Canyon

The skywalk is 1.5 km long and juts out from the cliff-side. At the end of this walkway is the observation platform that hangs above the canyon. We were lucky that it wasn’t crowded when we visited so walking on the platform and stairs were easy, but I can imagine how unpleasant and scary it would have been if it was crowded.

How To Get There By Commute:

By Marshrutka:

If you’re taking the Marshrutka from Kutaisi City Main Station, take the one headed to Khoni (3 GEL). You need to take another bus headed to Gordi (1 GEL). It can take you about 90 minutes.

Alternatively, if you can catch a Marshrutka from Kutaisi City headed to Gordi, take it (4 GEL).

Once in Gordi, the Visitor Center to Okatse Canyon is 2 km away. You can take a taxi or walk up.

By Taxi:

If you don’t want to think about the stress of catching a bus, taxis in Kutaisi City can drive you up there (60-100 GEL). You can negotiate for a round trip, or to visit other canyons/sites as well.

Expenses:

  • Marshrutka to Khoni: 3 GEL
  • Marshrutka from Khoni to Gordi: 1 GEL
  • Marshrutka from Kutaisi to Gordi: 4 GEL
  • Taxi to Okatse Canyon: ~60-100 GEL
  • Entrance Fee: 17.25 GEL
  • Taxi to and from Visitor’s Center to the Canyon (optional): 10 GEL per person

Tips:

Okatse Canyon

  • The canyon is open to tourists all year round from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM every day, except on Mondays and on rainy days.
  • You need to join a group tour to be able to enter the cave.
  • The whole tour takes about an hour to 1.5 hours.
  • Dress comfortably with good shoes.
  • No need to be scared of heights. The skywalk is wide and very sturdy.

My Thoughts About The Tour:

To start off, I thought that our tour was very organized. Our first agenda was to review the menu of the restaurant and order lunch, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a hassle when we got back. They took down our names and our orders. Definitely more organized than the tour from Borjomi to Rabati.

Day trip from Kutaisi


As for the number of people in the group, we didn’t expect such a big group. When we first asked about the number, they just said around 3 people. But when we turned up for the tour, there were 27 people. It was quite big, but since I enjoy meeting new people, I let it pass.

One thing that I realized during my tour in this part of Georgia was that it was particularly expensive. I mean, not really expensive, but compared to others in Georgia, these were tourist rates. The tour doesn’t include entrance fees, by the way. The entrance fees for the day trip cost about 17-23 GEL but in other parts of the country, we only paid around 3-10 GEL maximum for entrance fees. There were also a bunch of extra costs from 17.25 GEL up if you get boat rides, which made the tour even more expensive.

The only thing that really disappointed me about the tour was the fact that our guide, Omiko, didn’t know how to handle such a large group. As I mentioned above, there are 2 ways to reach the Okatse Canyon. Omiko was discouraging people from hiking or walking the trail. Even when we told him we wanted to walk, he kept dissuading us, saying that since we were such a big group, others would be waiting for one another thus delaying other people. But he wasn’t offering us any solutions to fix this problem! Finally, one of the guys suggested splitting the two cars we came with. Those who wanted to off-road an those who wanted to walk. Honestly, since he kept dissuading us with the walk saying it would take us 3 hours— I chose to off-road. It was 5PM when we got there and if I had to walk for 3 hours, I thought I wouldn’t see the canyon cause it would be dark. I was so disappointed when I saw the group that walked getting to the canyon in 20 minutes—- meaning, I could have walked.  

Okatse Canyon

If you’re a nature lover, you may want to do this tour and I think you will also enjoy it, I know I did. Although, I’m more of a hands-on nature lover, and would have loved to experience a Kayak and a boat ride as they advertised. But unfortunately, none of these activities were working during my visit so I was kind of bummed out.

The sites we visited were really pretty, but I just thought it was a tad bit touristy with its paved roads and modern equipment compared to the picture-perfect beauty of Kazbegi or the natural trails of Kazbegi, Tusheti, and Borjomi. But even after all that, I’ll still say that my favorite among all that I saw was Martvili Canyon. I loved the powerful and majestic waterfall, and the blue-green river coursing between the tall rocky gorge.

Overall, I think the tour was a good and convenient way to experience Western Georgia’s wonders, especially if you have limited time to explore. If you do have more time, you can actually do it all by yourself at a cheaper price. Just take note that you can’t finish everything in a day, so if you have more days to spare, do it yourself; if you don’t, you can always join the tour.

 

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