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Ritsinsky reserve

Tourists who dream of seeing Lake Ritsa, the park where it is located, can visit the attraction independently or as part of an excursion. One of the most beautiful nature reserves of Abkhazia was created to protect the famous reservoir and its surrounding areas.

Where is the relic Ritza Park

Where the park is located
Relic Ritsin Park on the map.

The park with a total area of 311 km² was founded in the mid-1990s on the basis of the reserve zone of the same name, which appeared in 1930. The attraction is located in the Republic of Abkhazia on the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus mountain system.

The protected area occupies the area between the valleys Przczyca and Gega. The most visited site of the reserve is Lake Ritsa.

Before entering the park at the checkpoint, you must pay the environmental fee. For children 8-12 years old it is 200 rubles, for persons from 12 years old – 700 rubles. People with disabilities and some categories of combat veterans are entitled to free entry to the protected area.

Rules of visiting the national park

Park guests are allowed:

  1. Conduct both amateur and professional photography and videography.
  2. Collect medicinal plants, wild fruits, mushrooms and berries.
  3. Conduct hiking tours and excursions by agreement with the park management. For safety reasons, travelers are advised to follow established routes.
  4. To engage in recreational fishing in the prescribed manner.
  5. Move by mechanized and freight transport on excursion routes. Parking is allowed in specially equipped places. This rule does not apply to areas with a conservation regime.

Any activity that interferes with the natural development of the natural complex is prohibited in the park, for example:

  • the destruction of dens and nests;
  • washing dishes in lakes;
  • spoiling of natural monuments;
  • cutting down trees and shrubs;
  • organization of sporting events, etc.

In addition, non-residents of Abkhazia must have a document confirming the payment of fees for visiting the reserve.

Attractions in the area of Ritza Park

It is not only Lake Ritsa that deserves the attention of tourists in the area of the park. The interest of travelers may cause other natural monuments, which are under protection of the state.

It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes and clothing before visiting the facilities in the complex. It is worth taking a small supply of drinking water on the tour.

Blue Lake

The Blue Lake (Tskhina) is located at the foot of Mount Akhtsykh. The depth of the reservoir is about 50 m. The water temperature at the surface does not exceed +7ºC, which makes the lake unsuitable for swimming. There are no fish in this body of water.

Blue Lake
A blue lake with a 50-meter depth.

Stone Bag Gorge

Stone Sack is otherwise known as Yupshar Gorge. Its walls rise 500 meters on either side of the road leading to the Ritz. The width of the gorge is 80-100 m, and in the narrowest places – no more than 20 m. It is desirable to examine the Stone Sack in the first half of the day.

Gegsky waterfall

The attraction is located in the northern spurs of the Gagra ridge. The height of the waterfall is about 60 m. In its vicinity you can find rare species of plants, such as Annea hawkweed and Vodosborus geckos. The waterfall appeared in several Soviet films – “Sportloto-82”, “Riki-tiki-tavi”, as well as in the film about Sherlock Holmes.

Experienced tourists are advised to visit the attraction from May to November. In the other months, it’s hard to get to it.

It is worthwhile to come to the waterfall as part of a tour and not try to drive or walk to it on your own. The last few kilometers of the route tourists will need to overcome the mountain trail, which can be dangerous to life and health.

Gegsky waterfall
Sixty-meter Gega waterfall.

Lake Malaya Ritsa

The reservoir is located 5 km from Lake Ritsa. This attraction can be reached on foot. The trail passes through a relic forest. The depth of Malaya Ritsa is about 80 meters. Excursion to the lake takes up to 4 hours. When you visit the reservoir on your own, it is worth taking a compass or a navigator, so as not to get lost.

Men’s Tears Falls

Men’s tears can be seen on the road to the Ritz. The water here runs down the rock in a thin trickle. That’s what gave the waterfall its name: men rarely cry. Next to this natural attraction is a forest, which has become a favorite place for travelers to walk.

Lake Mzy

The lake is a few kilometers from the village of Auadhara. Mzy is one of the coldest bodies of water in Abkhazia. Small ice floes can be seen on its surface.

There is snow on the shores of the reservoir most of the year. According to legend, spirits dwell around the Mza. If they are disturbed while resting on the lake, they will send hail.

Lake Mzy
Lake Mzy near the village of Auadkhara.

Milk Waterfall

Milk Falls is one of the most beautiful places in Abkhazia. It got its name because of the light streams. Falling from the eaves, the water mixes with the air and appears white. According to ancient legend, immersion in “milk” helps to preserve youth. However, the water here is too cold for swimming.

Seven Lakes Valley

The lakes are located on a plateau at an altitude of 2,000 m. The lakes were formed due to rain and melted snow. To get to the valley, you need to have good physical training. Start climbing to the reservoirs preferably in the early morning. The best time to visit the lakes is considered late spring and the first 6-7 weeks of fall.

Bird’s Beak Falls

The waterfall is located 60 km from Gagra, not far from Ritza. There are no excursions to this attraction. However, tourists traveling to the Seven Lakes Valley often stop near Bird’s Beak. The water here is considered clean, potable.

Bird's Beak Falls
Bird’s Beak waterfall with crystal clear water.

Stalin’s Dacha

There is a fee to visit the cottage. The price includes a brief tour of the facilities and a tour of the area around the building.

The dacha is an unattractive building, erected in 1947. In most cases, natural materials were used in finishing the rooms. More often than not, it was wood of various species.

The building is equipped with a heating system, hot and cold water. A floating porch and staff house were also built.

All the rooms at the dacha are equipped with panic buttons, which are still in effect. There is no office in the building. At the same time, a cinema hall was set up where the leader viewed domestic and foreign films, deciding whether or not to let them into mass distribution. After Stalin’s death, the dacha was used by Khrushchev and Brezhnev.

Stalin's Dacha
Stalin’s Dacha in Abkhazia was built in 1947.

How to get to the Ritza Relict Park in Abkhazia

Getting to the relic park, preferably by private transport or sightseeing bus. Depending on the point of departure, the road takes from 40-50 minutes to 3 hours.

From Gagra

There is no bus from Gagra to the reserve. Travelers must first go to the neighboring village of Bzypta. From there you can get to the natural complex by private transport.

Road from Gagra
Road from Gagra to Lake Ritsa.

From Sochi, Adler

Holidaymakers from Sochi and Adler must reach the border by cab or bus. Next, tourists need to make a connection to New Athos, Pitsunda or Gagra. From these towns or neighboring communities you can get to the reserve.

From Sukhumi

There is no direct transportation between Sukhumi and Ritsin Park. You can get to the lake by cab, private transport or sightseeing bus.

Where to stay when visiting Ritza Park

Recommended by travelers hotels near Ritza Park:

  1. “Gagra. The hotel occupies a 3-story building, a 5-minute walk from which the beach is located. “Gagra” has a convenient location, allowing you to quickly get to any point of the city.
  2. “Madina’s. Gagra Guest House is within walking distance from the tour desk, cafes, canteens and stores. The rooms have views of the sea and mountains.
  3. HOMETEL ILANA. Hotel in Gagra offers 2 types of accommodation – “Standard” and “Family”. Breakfast is included in the room rate only in high season (from June to September). Near HOMETEL ILANA – water park, seafront, stores, restaurants.
  4. “Fazenda. The guest house is built near Pitsunda. Room stock “Fazenda” consists of 2-, 3- and 4-bed rooms. On the territory of the house equipped with two barbecue areas, heated pool and playground.

Inexpensive hotels include the guest house “By the Sea”. It is located in the Gagra district in the village of Alakhadze. The main advantage of the hotel is its proximity to the sea. All rooms have a separate entrance. The cost of living – from 2.5 thousand rubles per day.

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