The Martvili Canyon is a natural wonder in the Samegrelo region of Georgia, near the town of Martvili. Also called the Gachedili Canyon, it is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Kutaisi in West Georgia. In 2016, the Georgian government spent more than $500,000 on rebuilding the infrastructure around the canyon in order to make this growing tourist destination safer. The site had been virtually forgotten except by locals until the early 2000s, when more and more tourists started posting photos and videos on the internet.
The incredible natural beauty of the secluded coves and azure-green water of the stream as it flows through the hidden canyon appealed to adventurers streaming into the Caucasus from Europe. In recent years, the site became unsafe as daredevils jumped from waterfalls, went swimming in high water, or went spelunking or river scuba-diving without proper equipment. Injuries and even deaths prompted the government to crack down with new regulations placed under the aegis of the Agency of Protected Areas (APA).
The government’s attempts to streamline access to the site (through an electronic ticketing system) will increase safe access for tourists, but also decrease the hidden and secretive nature of the canyon – the hidden gem of Martvili.
A footpath with bridges over, in, and around the short canyon will be a welcome addition for all visitors, however.
Small streams running through the limestone near the town of Martvili have carved a series of spectacular caves and canyons. Some are accessible by raft, others have boardwalks built inside. Experience the natural wonders of Georgia!
Prices are 17 gel/adult entrance ticket, plus 15 gel/adult to take a raft ride up the river canyon for 15 minutes.
We visited Martvili Canyon while on the Georgia Monastery Tour. It was so beautiful and refreshing. Cheerful guides paddled us down the river in rubber rafts. The waterway was narrow and banked by tall craggy cliffs. We all agreed that this was one of the best stops on the tour, which is a lot to say, because everything on the tour was remarkable.
Steve, it was so fantastic to have you and Sue as our guests on the Monastery Tour? You know the Martvili Canyon was subsequently closed the visitors after that tour (do you remember how many people were there jumping off of cliffs into the water, etc.?). But just this past year, they’ve re-opened the canyon to visitors, now with trails, bridges with hand-rails, and a small visitor center. It’s less chaotic, but still mysterious, beautiful, and charming. Thanks for writing in, I hope others will come experience the beauty of this place with us!