There’s something primal about observing bears in the wild. And witnessing these magnificent creatures in the remote lands of Russia is an experience unlike any other. Grassy Point, a tiny promontory on Kurilskoye Lake, is the largest spawning ground for red salmon in Eurasia, meaning the site is a gigantic bear magnet. Spot hundreds of animals crowding the banks as they hunt for their next meal during a helicopter tour to the region with 50 Degrees North.
Take in the views from a two-story A-frame timber lodge, complete with dining room and wrap-around verandah. From here, you can observe the graceful symmetry of Ilyinsky Volcano, whose peak touches the sky at 1578 metres, and a dozen other smaller mountains.
Spot bear cubs chasing each other across open meadows while their parents stalk salmon along the lake’s shore.
An African safari it isn’t – there are no jeeps or Land Rovers here. When you’re done animal spotting, a MI-8 chopper will whisk you off to the Gorely Volcano, a massive complex of five overlapping stratovolcanoes with 11 summit craters and another 30 on its flanks.
Visit the bears at Kurilskoye Lake during a one-day tour from US$550 or combine a trip here with a 10-day group tour that includes volcano trekking from US$4445
You’re out in depths of nature, but there’s a fence to keep you safe and sound in the lodge.