The Republic of Georgia
The Republic of Georgia is known for having an 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition, one of the world’s few alphabets, the earliest hominid bones ever unearthed in Europe, and a modern government open to western investment. Experience layers of architectural history, and hear from local experts about Georgia’s contributions to the fields of archaeology, art, music, literature, and faith. Learn about the complex relationship between Georgia and Russia. Indulge in a sumptuous Georgian Table with organic wines while listening to traditional polyphonic singing. Pay a visit to an acclaimed winery to taste the wines made in qvevri, the clay fermentation pots buried in the ground an age-old Georgian tradition.
Arrive to Tbilisi and transfer to our hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception at the Art Nouveau mansion of the Writers’ House of Georgia followed by dinner set in a lovely garden. Marriott Tbilisi (D)
Enjoy a walking tour of Old Tbilisi to soak up the multiethnic atmosphere of this important link between East and West including a stop at the city’s oldest church, Anchiskhati Basilica. Then explore the Abantobuani Historic District where the famous sulfur baths are located, and take a funicular ride up the slopes of Mt. Mtatsminda to the ancient Narikala Fortress. Stop in at a gallery to visit a local artist. Experience an evening Georgian Table or supra – a uniquely Georgian dining experience accompanied by intriguing polyphonic singing and Georgian wines. Marriott Tbilisi (B,L,D)
Continue our exploration of Tbilisi with a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, to the Georgian National Museum for a look at some of the country’s most significant archaeological finds. Upstairs, spend time in the Museum of Soviet Occupation to learn more about the country’s history as a Soviet Socialist Republic. After an independent lunch, we continue to learn more about Tbilisi’s Soviet past with a drive through the city and into the outskirts to see examples of Soviet-era architecture. Then stop at the Chronicle of Georgia Monument, often referred to as the “Georgian Stonehenge.” This dramatic complex depicts figures from Georgian history, including the kings and queens who laid the foundation for the country. This evening, have an opportunity to meet a local Georgian guest over cocktails.
Marriott Tbilisi (B)
Venture east to the wine region of Kakheti to enjoy an in-depth vineyard and winery tour with tasting at one of the country’s most famous and successful natural wineries. Learn all about qvevri wine-making – an ancient Georgian winemaking technique involving clay jugs buried in the ground. Head toward Tsinandali and our fabulous hotel for the next two nights, stopping en route to explore the charming hilltop town of Signagi, and the Bodbe Nunnery nearby. Radisson Tsinandali Estate Hotel (B,L)
Visit the family estate (now a museum) of Alexander Chavchavadze, a 19th-century Georgian aristocrat and poet. Here he and his father founded the first and foremost winery in the country, which still produces the dry white Tsinandali wine. Lunch at the home restaurant of one of Georgia’s rising star female chefs in a nearby village. Schedules permitting, attend an optional evening classical music performance at the Tsinandali Music Festival held in the facilities adjacent to the hotel. This is the fourth edition of a festival designed to promote the language of music in the Caucasus region. Radisson Tsinandali Estate Hotel (B,L)
Make our way along the picturesque driving route known as the Georgian Military Highway through rolling green hills and steep arid mountains dotted with ancient stone defensive towers, then over the Krestovy Pass at almost 8,000 feet. Along the way, stop for photos at the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument and for views of herds of sheep and old fortresslike churches watching over the villages. Enjoy two nights at a mountain retreat in the town of Kazbegi, a small alpine village set in a monumental bowl of mountain peaks, including one of the Caucasus’ highest, Mt. Kazbek. Rooms Hotel Kazbegi (B,L,D)
Explore Trinity church perched on a hill above the town (hiking option available) and then visit villages in the area for lunch with a private family, including a khinkali (Georgian dumpling) making lesson; and a meeting with a local priest at the Dariali Monastery at the Georgian frontier. Rooms Hotel Kazbegi (B,L)
Today we make our way back to Tbilisi stopping at the feudal stronghold of Ananuri, UNESCO-listed Mtskheta, Georgia’s ancient capital, and the Jvari Monastery, situated at the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi Rivers. Toast our journey at a farewell feast of traditional Georgian favorites this evening. Marriott Tbilisi (B,L,D)
Depart Tbilisi for Baku, or for flights home to the U.S. (B, flight time permitting)
Cost and Details
$4,995 per person, double occupancy
$940 single room occupancy supplement
PROGRAM RATES INCLUDE
All accommodations, meals, and excursions as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) • Program of briefings, lectures, and presentations • Transfers for all participants on group arrival and departure dates • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and wait staff for all group activities • Entrance fees • Baggage handling at hotels where available • Water on motorcoaches • Complete packet of pre-departure information • National Guide/Tour manager throughout the program
PROGRAM RATES DO DOT INCLUDE
U.S. domestic and international airfare • Passport/visa expenses • Medical expenses and immunizations • Travel and trip cancellation insurance • Private transfers or airport transfers outside of group arrival and departure days • Personal excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour • Airline baggage charges • Meals not specified in the itinerary; dishes and beverages not part of the included meals; liquor or soft drinks except wine and beer at welcome and farewell dinners • Laundry or dry cleaning • Telephone, fax, internet, and email charges • Room service • Other items of a personal nature
$1,625 per person, double occupancy
$345 single room occupancy supplement
In addition to the above, the price of the Baku post-tour includes one-way airfare from Tbilisi to Baku in economy class and the cost of the required e-visa for Azerbaijan.
This trip is active due to the substantial distances covered and the extensive walking and stair climbing required. The tour is not wheelchair accessible. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least two miles a day (with or without the assistance of a cane) over uneven terrain while keeping up with the group and stand for extended periods of time during walking tours and museum visits. Availability of western toilets on the trip is unreliable, particularly outside of major cities. Accommodations on this program are at five-star and boutique four-star hotels. Flexibility and willingness to accept local standards of service and amenities are essential to the enjoyment of this program. All travelers and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. On-tour health and safety protocols will be communicated to guests upon registration and leading up to departure as the situation evolves.
Terms and Conditions
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Program rates do not include international airfare to/from Tbilisi (or back to Tbilisi from Baku if taking the post-tour). Information on a recommended flight itinerary will be sent by our tour operator upon confirmation.
This program is limited to 20 participants, and will run with 6 guests minimum.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
RESERVATIONS & PAYMENTS
A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve space on this program.
Final payment is 60 days prior to departure and needs to be by check or bank transfer. For those who register after that point, full payment is due upon registration.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
Upon payment of the $500 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to cancellation provisions. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Commonwealth Club Travel.
Cancellations received 61 or more days before the start of the program forfeit the $500 non-refundable deposit; cancellations received 31 to 60 days before the start of the program forfeit 50% of the land tour cost; cancellations received 30 days or less before the start of the program, no refund.
Refunds cannot be made to travelers who do not complete the full tour for any reason at all. Commonwealth Club Travel and our tour operator MIR Corporation reserve the right to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from a tour at any time at his/her own expense, when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interest of health, safety, or general welfare of the group or of the individual participant, and subject only to the requirement that the recoverable cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any
NOTE: Neither the Commonwealth Club nor the tour operator accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of nonrefundable tickets.
All participants should be in good health and capable of keeping up with an active group of travelers. By forwarding the deposit for passage, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/ herself or other passengers. SARSCOV-2 (COVID 19) vaccinations are a requirement for participation in this program.
CWC: CST #2096889-46; MIR Corporation: CST #2082306-40. WST #601-099-932.