Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Trip Notes

Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia

Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016
Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia
Trip code: CPKC
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 05 Oct 2016
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016: From 1st August 2016 we have adjusted the route of our travels from Baku to Sheki to include a stop at Lahij village on Day 4. This is replacing the stop at the mud volcano as a result of passenger feedback on this activity. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: This trip will be discontinued in 2017. From 1st January 2017 we will be offering 2 exciting new itineraries in this region: KFSB Highlights of Azerbaijan & Georgia (10 days) and KFSI Tbilisi to Istanbul (15 days). These will also be available as a combination trip. Please check online for our new trips which are now published.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapTransportHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesAlternate joining pointFeedback
Group sizeAlternate joining point description
Your fellow travellersAlternate joining point instructions
Style
Comfort
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- There are some long travel days on this adventure. While tiring, this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and enjoy the passing scenery.
- As we don't want you to miss anything, the itinerary is densely packed, so you'll be busy. There will, however, be free time and opportunity for independent exploration in some destinations.
- On some days, there is a lot of walking between sights and around towns and cities. While it can be tiring to be on your feet, this is the best way to see a destination. Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes with good support.
- This trip has a strong historical focus. Anyone with an interest in the Caucasus region and history will really enjoy it.
Why we love it
- Azerbaijan's cosmopolitan capital of Baku is often referred to as the 'new Dubai'. Enjoy a guided walking tour around the city's World Heritage-listed Old Town
- Ancient mosques, lush forests and tall peaks – the Caucasus Mountains will take your breath away
- Experience Georgian hospitality as you're invited into a local home to share a traditional meal, before sampling Georgian wine from clay jars during a wine making demonstration
- See the historical sights of Mtskheta, Georgia's 3,000-year old ancient capital and religious centre
- Explore the city of Yerevan in Armenia with a local guide and gaze at the majestic Mt Ararat
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Baku
Welcome to Azerbaijan! On arrival at Baku Airport you'll be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel (approximately 40 minute drive). Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Accommodation
(1 nt)
Meals
1 dinner
Day 2 Baku
Azerbaijan's capital is a cosmopolitan oasis of East meets West and old meets new. Begin the day with a guided walk around Baku's World Heritage-listed Old City, visiting the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Maiden Tower and former caravanserai. Next, take a tour of the Absheron Peninsula, checking out the Ateshgah Fire Temple, Mardakan medieval fortress and Yanar Dag Fire Mountain, a natural gas fire which burns continuously on a hillside. Afterwards, return to Baku for the evening.

Total driving distance today will be 100km, approximately 2 hours driving time.
Included Activities
  • Baku - Maiden's Tower
  • Baku - Shirvan Shah Palace
  • Baku - Caravanserai
  • Baku - Absheron Peninsula Tour
    Accommodation
    (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 breakfast
    Day 3 Baku/Qobustan
    Today take a drive to Qobustan. 60 kilometres south of Baku, this is a popular day trip from the city. Stopping en route to view old oil rigs and seascapes, you'll see scenery like nowhere else. On arrival into Qobustan National Park, visit the open-air museum, which features 6,000 UNESCO World Heritage-listed rock engravings. The prehistoric carvings, which are thought to be between 5,000 and 40,000 years old, depict scenes of hunting, fishing and gathering. You will also have the opportunity to see the on-site archaeological museum before returning to Baku.

    Total driving distance today will be 130km, approximately 2 hours driving time.
    Included Activities
    • Qobustan - Petroglyphs
      Accommodation
      (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 4 Lahij/Sheki
      Today will be a full and fascinating day. Leave Baku behind and head for the Caucasus Mountains in the northwest of Azerbaijan. Enroute stop in at Lahij, a village situated at 1300m in the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and famous for its copper handicraft masters.

      On arrival into Sheki, stop at a local craft workshop where the famous ‘shebeke’ (stained-glass windows with intricately carved frames) are made by hand. The group will also drop in to the well-known Sheki Khan’s Palace, where you'll be able to see its magnificent frescoes and stained glass. Tonight will be spent in Sheki.

      Total driving distance today will be 350km, approximately 7 hours driving time.
      Included Activities
      • Sheki - City Tour
        Accommodation
        (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 5 Sighnaghi
        This morning you have the opportunity to visit a traditional bazaar. From here, drive towards Azerbaijan's border with Georgia, where you'll bid farewell to your Azeri leader and meet your new Georgian one. You'll also be changing vehicles at this point.

        Enjoy a rare and intimate experience as you stop at a local’s house for a lunch, where you'll indulge in traditional homemade food and wine. Next, continue to another village where you'll visit a farmer’s house and see a unique old wine cellar. Here you'll become acquainted with the Georgian method of winemaking, which is quite different to the European method, and drink typical Georgian wine straight from clay jars. Afterwards, drive to the 18th-century fortified town of Sighnaghi, where you'll spend the night in a hotel. This well-preserved romantic village offers stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains.

        Total driving distance today will be 175km, approximately 4 hours driving time.
        Included Activities
        • Sighnaghi - Georgian Wine Tasting & Home Cooked Lunch
          Accommodation
          (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
          Day 6 David Gareja/Tbilisi
          In the morning, drive to the 6th-century David Gareja cave complex, which is located among stark, semi-desert landscapes. After seeing Lavra Monastery, take a steep 50 minute-walk uphill to Udabno Monastery, where you can explore its wonderful painted caves and enjoy dramatic views across the border into Azerbaijan.

          Afterwards, continue on to the historic Georgian city of Tbilisi. You'll be spending the next two nights here.

          Total driving distance today will be 245km, approximately 4 hours driving time.
          Included Activities
          • David Gareja - Monastery Complex & Hike
            Optional Activities
            • Tbilisi - Anchiskhati Church - Free
            • Tbilisi - Metekhi Church - Free
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Special Information
              You will need good shoes for the hike today. The hike usually takes a total of around 2 1/2 hours for people with average fitness and involves changes in height of up to 400m.
              Day 7 Tbilisi
              Take a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi this morning, which includes a walk through the fascinating Old Town. Here you will find a myriad of different religious buildings – churches, synagogues, mosques – as well as 19th-century houses with colourful wooden balconies. Your leader will take you on a journey back through the city's history, from the earliest centuries of its existence to the present-day.

              You will also visit the famous sulfur baths, which made a deep impression on writers such as Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov and Alexandre Dumas. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Old Town before seeing the stunning treasures of the Georgian National Museum. Finally, take a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. In the evening, you are free to explore and relax.

              Total waking time today is approximately 3-4 hours.
              Included Activities
              • Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour
              • Tbilisi - National History Museum
                Accommodation
                (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Special Information
                The Georgian National Museum is closed on Mondays. We will include a visit there the following or previous day if the tour falls on a Monday. 
                Day 8 Mtskheta/Gudauri
                Today visit Mtskheta, the 3,000-year-old ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia. Here you will see historical sights such as the 6th-century Jvari Church and the 11th-century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the robe of Christ is reportedly buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are World Heritage-listed. Continue up the famous Georgian Military Highway, which heads towards the country's border with Russia. Along the way, stop in at the 17th-century Ananuri architectural complex, two historic churches and a fortress overlooking the Zhinvali water reservoir. This scenic drive will take you right into the heart of the high Caucasus Mountains to Gudauri, where you'll spend the next two nights.

                Total driving distance today will be 115km, approximately 2 and a half hours driving time.
                Included Activities
                • Mtskheta - City Tour
                  Accommodation
                  (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                  Special Information
                  Our accommodation in Gudauri is at an elevation of 2200m.
                  Day 9 Kazbegi/Gudauri
                  In the morning, embark on a stunning drive along the Tergi River to Kazbegi, the main town in the region. In Kazbegi, enjoy a 3-hour hike through beautiful valleys and woodlands to the Gergeti Trinity Church, which is located 2,170 metres above sea level. Weather permitting, you may be able to catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi.

                  Afterwards, walk back to town before getting back in the vehicle for the return drive to Gudauri, visiting a local art studio on the way. Here you will see how traditional 'Teqa' felt is made, and try some delicious homemade jam.

                  Total driving distance today will be 75km, approximately 1 and a half hours driving time.
                  Included Activities
                  • Kazbegi - Gergeti Trinity Church Hike
                    Accommodation
                    (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                    Special Information
                    A 4WD vehicle can be hired (optional and at an extra cost paid on ground) to transport those who are unable to do the hike today. The hike involves changes in elevation of up to 470m.
                    Day 10 Gori/Uplistsikhe/Akhaltsikhe
                    Your journey continues today to the town of Gori, located in the heart of the Kartli region. Next, explore Uplistsikhe cave city, which dates back to 1,000 BC and was once a stop along the Great Silk Road. Here you can see remnants of an ancient complex, with old dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a theatre and a three-nave basilica church hewn out of rock. After a photo stop at Joseph Stalin’s house, head southwest to Akhaltsikhe, where you'll spend the night.

                    Total driving distance today will be 270km, approximately 5 hours driving time.
                    Included Activities
                    • Uplistsikhe - Cave Complex
                      Optional Activities
                      • Gori - Stalin Museum - USD5
                        Accommodation
                        (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast
                        Special Information
                        Please note that the Stalin Museum is not included on this trip and is an optional activity only, with a visit needing to be negotiated with the leader and other members of the group.
                        Day 11 Vardzia/Yerevan
                        As we drive to Vardzia we have the chance for a photo stop at the 11th-century Khertvisi Fortress. Stretching for over half a kilometre along the Mtkvari River and consisting of 19 tiers, the magnificent 12th-century cave town of Vardzia is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. There were once about 3,000 caves here, as well as a church hewn into the rock. The complex includes dwelling quarters, small hall-type churches, refectories, wine cellars, a pharmacy and more.

                        After your visit, continue towards the Georgia-Armenia border at Bavra, where you say goodbye to your Georgian leader and meet your new Armenian leader and drive on to Yerevan for the night.

                        Total driving distance today will be 355km, approximately 6 hours driving time.
                        Included Activities
                        • Vardzia - Cave Town
                          Accommodation
                          (1 nt)
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 12 Yerevan
                          Today enjoy a city tour around Yerevan. Established in 782 BC, Armenia’s capital is one of the oldest cities in the world. On the tour you'll see Republic square, Freedom Square, the Opera house, North Avenue and the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, which is dedicated to bringing the best of contemporary art to Armenia. You'll also visit the Genocide Museum and Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Park, where a continuously burning 'Eternal Flame' commemorates the victims of the nation's first 20th century genocide. Finally, head to the Brandy Factory for a tour and to sample some of the finest examples of celebrated Armenian brandy. Spend the night at a hotel in Yerevan.

                          Total driving distance today will be 60km, approximately 2 hours driving time.
                          Included Activities
                          • Yerevan - Guided City Tour
                          • Yerevan - Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex
                          • Yerevan - Brandy Factory
                            Accommodation
                            (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 13 Yerevan
                            This morning, head to the Echmiadzin Cathedral, which is known as the spiritual centre of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Next, visit the ruins of the Zvartnots Temple, a 7th-century UNESCO listed site. Zvartnots is an outstanding example of ancient artistic and engineering ingenuity. Back in Yerevan, check out the Armenian History Museum, which contains an important collection of archeological artefacts dating from the Stone Age through to Medieval periods.

                            Total driving distance today will be 60km, approximately 1 and a half hours driving time.
                            Included Activities
                            • Vagarshapat - Echmiadzin Cathedral
                            • Armavir - Zvartnots Temple
                            • Yerevan - Armenian History Museum
                              Accommodation
                              (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 14 Khor Virap/Yerevan
                              After breakfast today, take a drive through villages and vineyards, enjoy amazing views of the sensational Mt. Ararat. Your first stop today is Khor Virap monastery near the border of Turkey. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the monastery, which is situated on top of a hill amidst stunning scenery. Continue on to Noravank Monastery. Wedged into a tall, brick-red gorge, Noravank was an important cultural centre in the 13th century. At the end of the day, return to Yerevan.

                              Total driving distance today will be 250km, approximately 4-5 hours driving time.
                              Included Activities
                              • Noravank - Monastery
                              • Khor Virap - Monastery
                                Accommodation
                                (1 nt)
                                Meals
                                1 breakfast
                                Day 15 Garni/Lake Sevan/Yerevan
                                Today it's an early departure to the citadel of Garni. Garni hails from the Hellenistic period and is an impressive example of ancient Armenian architecture. The Armenian King Tiridates built it in the first century AD, most likely as a dedication to the heathen god of the sun - Mithra. From the temple, it's an easy one-hour hike to the canyon of Garni, famous for its unique rock formations. These giant basalt pillars are often referred to as a 'Symphony of stones'. Higher up the gorge of the Azat River is the World Heritage-listed Geghard Monastery, which is partly carved out of a mountain.

                                In Garni, you may have a chance to enjoy an optional lunch at a house and watch locals prepare traditional “lavash” bread and barbecue in an underground stove called a “tonir”.

                                Afterwards, continue to Lake Sevan, which is about 70 miles north of Yerevan and the second largest alpine lake in the world. After some photo stops and sightseeing along the peninsula, the rest of the afternoon is free.

                                Total driving distance today will be 220km, approximately 4 hours driving time.
                                Included Activities
                                • Azat River Gorge - Geghard Monastery
                                • Garni - Village Tour
                                • Lake Sevan - Sightseeing Trip
                                  Accommodation
                                  (1 nt)
                                  Meals
                                  1 breakfast
                                  Day 16 Byurakan/Yerevan
                                  After breakfast at the hotel, head to the ruins of Amberd Fortress. Translating to "fortress in the clouds", Amberd used to be one of the Armenian Kingdom's primary military-defensive points. Continue on to the ancient town of Byurakan, where you can take an optional one-hour hike through the untouched beauty of Byurakan Gorge. After driving back to Yerevan, visit a market to sample some delicious traditional fare. The rest of the day is free to explore the city in your own time.

                                  Total driving distance today will be 110km, approximately 2.5 hours driving time.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Amberd - Fortress
                                  • Byurakan Gorge - Hike
                                  • Yerevan - Market
                                    Accommodation
                                    (1 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 17 Yerevan
                                    Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast today. There are no activities planned and you are free to leave the accommodation at any time.
                                    Itinerary disclaimer
                                    We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter. Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.

                                    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                                    Physical rating

                                    Included activities
                                    Baku - Maiden's Tower
                                    Baku - Shirvan Shah Palace
                                    Baku - Caravanserai
                                    Baku - Absheron Peninsula Tour
                                    Qobustan - Petroglyphs
                                    Sheki - City Tour
                                    Sighnaghi - Georgian Wine Tasting & Home Cooked Lunch
                                    David Gareja - Monastery Complex & Hike
                                    Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour
                                    Tbilisi - National History Museum
                                    Mtskheta - City Tour
                                    Kazbegi - Gergeti Trinity Church Hike
                                    Uplistsikhe - Cave Complex
                                    Vardzia - Cave Town
                                    Yerevan - Guided City Tour
                                    Yerevan - Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex
                                    Yerevan - Brandy Factory
                                    Vagarshapat - Echmiadzin Cathedral
                                    Armavir - Zvartnots Temple
                                    Yerevan - Armenian History Museum
                                    Noravank - Monastery
                                    Khor Virap - Monastery
                                    Azat River Gorge - Geghard Monastery
                                    Garni - Village Tour
                                    Lake Sevan - Sightseeing Trip
                                    Amberd - Fortress
                                    Byurakan Gorge - Hike
                                    Yerevan - Market
                                    Important notes
                                    1. An arrival transfer is included.
                                    2. The Azerbaijan E-Visa is included in the trip cost as this requires visa support to be processed. You will need to apply and pay for your own Armenian E-Visa separately.
                                    3. For the duration of this trip you will have three local leaders, one in each country.
                                    4. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local operator Visit Georgia can be reached on: +995 593 99 69 68 and/or +995 599 55 89 98.
                                    5. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                    6. The Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires that all travel arrangements in Azerbaijan be booked through the same provider. In order for us to process your Azerbaijan E-visa all additional accommodation must be booked through Intrepid Travel.
                                    7. Altitudes of up to 2395m above sea level will be experienced during this trip
                                    8. Please note for the departure on the 5th October (CPKC161005), the Armenian History Museum will be closed. Your leader will be able to suggest an alternative activity.

                                    Group size
                                    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                    Your fellow travellers
                                    GROUP TRAVEL
                                    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                                    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                                    Accommodation
                                    Hotel (16 nights)
                                    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                    Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                                    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
                                    Meals introduction
                                    While travelling with us you'll have the opportunity to experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. Special dietary requirements can usually be catered for as long as we are advised in advance.
                                    Meals
                                    15 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
                                    Transport
                                    Private Bus, Metro

                                    There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
                                    Money matters
                                    It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!

                                    For obvious security reasons we hesitate to recommend you bring lots of cash with you, a sensible mix of cash, travellers cheques and ATM cards is best. However, most of our past passengers have said they wished they had been told to bring more cash. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash. Note that for trips in Central Asia it's virtually impossible to use traveller's cheques or find ATMs. We therefore recommend that you bring cash in US$.

                                    You should take a mixture of denomination notes. Banks and money-changers in most countries will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are dated from 2003 or later. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Cash machines are available in some areas but are not always reliable therefore we recommend that you do not rely on them as your only source of cash. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly accepted, but be prepared for very high commission charges.

                                    Please do not rely on cards for daily use, as they are not always accepted outside of larger towns and cities. Please bring a mixture of small and large denominations as in more remote areas it can be hard to change amounts over $50.

                                    SPENDING MONEY:
                                    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                    ASIA GENERAL:
                                    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.

                                    The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                    Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                                    Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per day for local guides.

                                    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-2 per day for drivers.

                                    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                    In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                    At your group meeting on day 1 your tour guide will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

                                    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

                                    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                                    EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                                    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                                    Group leader
                                    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                                    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                                    Safety
                                    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                                    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                                    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

                                    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
                                    Joining point
                                    Central Park Hotel
                                    Suleyman Rahimov 165 AZ1014
                                    Baku
                                    AZERBAIJAN
                                    Phone: +994 125944235
                                    Alternate joining point
                                    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
                                    19 Sep 2016 (CPKC160919)
                                    Diplomat hotel
                                    185 Suleyman Rahimov street
                                    Baku
                                    Baku
                                    AZERBAIJAN
                                    Phone: 9941 596 11 27
                                    Alternate joining point description
                                    Alternate joining point instructions
                                    Alternate joining point
                                    For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
                                    25 Sep 2016 (CPKC1609253)
                                    Saphhire Inn
                                    Add: 5, Hassan Abdullayev street
                                    Baku
                                    Baku
                                    AZERBAIJAN
                                    Phone: 00994 12 505 11 05
                                    Alternate joining point description
                                    Alternate joining point instructions
                                    Finish point
                                    Hotel Silachi
                                    20 Tigran Mets Avenue
                                    Yerevan
                                    ARMENIA
                                    Phone: +374 10540708
                                    Fax: +374 10545000
                                    Emergency contact
                                    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                                    In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                                    For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                                    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                                    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                                    Intrepid's Local Tbilisi Office: +995 593 99 69 68; +995 599 55 89 98
                                    Visas
                                    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                    AZERBAIJAN VISA:

                                    All travellers to Azerbaijan require a visa. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival at Baku Airport or at any land border into Azerbaijan. All travellers must apply for a Single Entry Tourist E-Visa to Azerbaijan in advance.

                                    Intrepid Travel have partnered with The Visa Machine to provide your e-visa for Azerbaijan. This service is included in your trip cost. We advise that you apply for your e-visa no later than 3 months before your trip to allow time for processing. Azerbaijan e-visas are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Azerbaijan and usually take around 4 weeks to be processed, with up to 6 weeks in peak travel season not uncommon.

                                    INSTRUCTIONS:
                                    1. To obtain your Azerbaijan e-visa us this link: http://intrepid-visa-support.thevisamachine.com/
                                    2. Use the Checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you start as you will not be able to save once your start filling in the application.
                                    3. Once you are satisfied you have all information with you to apply for your Azerbaijan e-visa click on the ‘Apply Now’ link and follow the instructions.
                                    4. If you have any trouble with the online form or want to check the status of your Azerbaijan e-visa application please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.

                                    Georgia Visa

                                    Most nationalities do not currently require a visa for Georgia, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA & all EU member states. Visa free nationalities can now only stay "visa free' in Georgia for 30 days. However, all nationalities should check with the nearest embassy for the latest visa information as this may be subject to change at short notice.

                                    For any questions regarding visas or supporting visa documents please get in touch with The Visa Machine on the following contacts:

                                    If you have any trouble with the online form or want to chase up the status of your application for Visa Support Documents please contact The Visa Machine on visasupport@thevisamachine.com or during UK working hours on +44(0) 207 148 6402.
                                    The Australian Visa Machine office can be contacted about actual Visa Applications (not Visa supporting documents) on gday@thevisamachine.com or on +61 (2) 61 452 265.
                                    Please note the Australian office cannot assist with Visa Supporting Documents and or chasers. These must be directed to the UK office.

                                    Citizens and stateless persons permanently residing in the countries listed below may enter Georgia without a visa for short-term visit
                                    (Not exceeding 90 calendar days in any 180-day period).

                                    More countries are listed on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - https://www.geoconsul.gov.ge/en/visaInformation

                                    Canada
                                    Australia
                                    Germany
                                    France
                                    Japan
                                    Norway
                                    Netherlands
                                    New Zealand
                                    South Africa
                                    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
                                    United States of America

                                    ARMENIA VISA:

                                    Most nationalities require a visa to enter Armenia. We recommend obtaining an e-visa in advance using the following link:

                                    https://evisa.mfa.am/

                                    Fill in the requested information and submit to receive a link to the application form emailed to you. Please use the address of your finishing point hotel for the Contact Information in Armenia. You will need to upload a scanned passport sized photo and a passport copy to complete your application.

                                    In the case that the website is down, it may be possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the land border. Please contact us if you are having difficulty accessing the website.
                                    What to take
                                    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                                    Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                    WARM CLOTHING:
                                    Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.

                                    WATER BOTTLE:
                                    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
                                    Health
                                    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                                    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                                    Travel insurance
                                    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                                    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                    A couple of rules
                                    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                    Responsible Travel
                                    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.

                                    The Intrepid Foundation
                                    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                    http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                    Feedback
                                    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback