Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands
Photo by Kurt Lauer.

The Colchic Wetlands and Forests comprise two warm-temperate humid ecosystems: ancient Colchic rainforests and wetlands with bogs and mire.

The seven parks consist of low-altitude wetlands, close to the Black Sea on one side, and higher-altitude ancient deciduous rainforests enclosed by mountain ranges on the other side. Their very wet conditions have led to high levels of endemism and intra-species diversity. The ancient forests are among the most important survivors of the glacial cycles of the Tertiary.

Community Perspective: not all components can be (easily) visited. Mahuhe describes a trip to Mtirala National Park from Batumi, while Stanislaw covered Kintrishi-Mtirala and Pitshora and gave some hints about the illegal entry of two others. Nan added more practical information.

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Germany - 18-Jul-23 -

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands  by Nan

Travelling in Georgia you get used to checking the daily weather forecast. Georgia in summer is hot and humid from the Black Sea and has high mountains: All the ingredients you need for subtropical (= heavy) rains and heavy thunderstorms, specifically at the coast. In Batumi it rains roughly 2.100mm each year. This has created a unique subtropical landscape along the coast, breaking down into two types of location as the site's name suggests:

  • Flat wetlands around Poti.
  • Subtropical rainforests in the mountains north-east of Batumi. Funnily, while the Georgians made a huge effort to give each wetland a separate location, they grouped the two rainforest National Parks into one location; a bit misleading.

Of the two types, the mountainous rainforests are the true gem. Exiting the car in Mitrala National Park, we immediately felt the air soaked with water like in a greenhouse. We hiked to the waterfall and were impressed with the scenery.

The wetlands meanwhile are rather mundane and pale in comparison to e.g., the Everglades or the Danube Delta on the western shore of the Black Sea. Our initial plan had been to visit the day prior, but thunderstorms that day meant that no boat was going to the national park, so we came back the next day.

Getting There

Stanislaw has a nice rundown of all the components and their respective accessibility. Accessible for tourists are:

  • Kolkheti National Park: Boat tours can be arranged at the visitor centre in Poti. Call the visitor centre ahead to make a reservation, especially in high season. Unlike Zoe seems to suggest, Lake Paliastomi is pretty large, so I don't think you can count this without the boat ride. Only option for that would be Gringoleti component to the South of the lake which is fenced and really doesn't offer any views either.
  • Mitrala National Park: Taxi ( from Batumi and hike. The cable car across the river is free nowadays.
  • Kintrishi Nature Reserve: Taxi ( from coast (Batumi) and hike.

Figuring out where to base ourselves for the visit took several days. Batumi felt too far South and too touristy. Initially, Poti seemed like the best option, but it is a rundown place (agreeing with Zoe). We explored several other options along the Black Sea coast, before settling on Batumi. I think this was the correct call as it's really the only nice town along the Georgian coast and connections are best.

We arrived by mashrukta from Mestia (6h). The next day we arranged a driver ( and travelled via Mitrala National Park, Kolkheti National Park and Vani (T) to Kutaisi.

While You Are There

Batumi has a little old town and a long coastline lined with large modern hotels and casinos. The beach itself is made up of large stones and it rains heavily all year; not sure I would plan a summer vacation here. If you want to explore mountain scenery the Adjara mountains on the Turkish border are said to be nice. Not to be missed is the Batumi Botanical Garden.

Stanislaw Warwas

Poland - 10-May-23 -

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands  by Stanislaw Warwas

Visited in April 2023

7 components but officially only 2 of them can be visited:

Kintrishi-Mtirala component – two national reserves located in Adjara region; both can be visited as a day trip from the coast and are pretty well organized in situ, with small tourist information centres and some tracks you can follow; Kintrishi National Reserve is easily reachable from Kobuleti (even using public transportation – there are two minibuses from Kobuleti bus station all the way to Varjanauli, from where you can walk or hitchhike to the core zone), Mtirala National Park – from Batumi (two minibuses daily from Batumi new bus station, the first one at 9:30 am, going to the entrance to the park from where there’s another 3 km to the core zone) and from Chakvi (many marshrutkas to Khala and few to Chakvistavi); in both places you’ll have a chance to walk through Colchic rainforest – the higher you climb, the denser it becomes; in my opinion Mitrala looks more interesting, especially the loop path, very steep in some parts; it is recommended to divide it into two days (there’s a shelter on the way), but I did it in one day, it is around 20 km in total, but sometimes very exhausting… the ‘lower part’ of this park (not in the core zone) is very popular during weekends (zipline, canopy walks) so easily you will find somebody who can give you a lift back to the coast…

The component called Pitshora (as the name of the river Pichori which ends in Paliastomi lake) can be visited by boat from the headquarters of Kolkheti National Park in southern suburbia of Poti; they have even a hotel here; go to the headquarters and tell them you need a boat and they’ll arrange it for you in half an hour; in April it costs 150 lari for a small boat for four people; and the whole tour takes around 90 minutes; you’ll reach the mouth of the river on the other side of the lake but will not be allowed to leave the boat and go to the watchtower… here you’ll see relicts of the forest and shores densely populated with small trees and bushes, reed and grass; I was told that that visitors center can organize pontoon tour that lasts 6 hours, is more expensive, but gives you the opportunity to climb the watchtowers and observe the birds… important: when rainy and windy, no tours at all…

Unofficially – you can step into the 2 more core zones, although I do not know if it is legal… I did it…

Grigoleti component – take the local bus or drive to Lukoil gas station located between Maltkava and Grigoleti; go behind the station to the wire fence and follow it for around 250 meters north (there’s a path, but also lots of bushes, be careful); at certain point the fence ends and you’ll see the sign stating that this is a protected area; you can cross the small stream (just jump over) and you’re in the core zone; expect wetlands and lots of reed and some trees, in the background it looks like meadows, and be careful because the ground is not stable and in some moments the path is not visible at all…

Nabada component for those who like adrenaline! Go to the northern limit of Poti, to Rioni river; there are remains of a bridge but you can still cross it if you’re not scared… on the other side of the river there is a train track and a road leading to Kulevi oil station – cross it and after few meters you’re in the core zone… lots of flowers and grasses…


Germany - 10-Dec-22 -

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands  by Mahuhe

I visited Mtirala National Park, which is located in the mountainous hinterland of the Adjarian coast and is one of the wettest places in Georgia. It is characterized mainly by its rainforest with many endemic species.

I took a taxi from Batumi. The road from Chakvi to the national park is paved throughout, passes a campsite and the national park administration, and ends at a restaurant. From there, there is a short hiking trail (about 5 km). First you have to pass the restaurant on the right. There is a small cable car over the river, which costs a small fee. The path then leads first along the river, past the high ropes course and then goes through the forest uphill to a waterfall. Back down the mountain there is then a detour to a small idyllic lake. The path is slippery and I recommend proper shoes. With the hike you only enter the edge of the national park - if you want to go deeper, you can also do a two-day tour with an overnight stay at a hut.

The national park is an attraction for day trippers from Batumi. I arrived early and was therefore relatively alone, but on the way back I met whole tour groups. Also, just outside the national park, ziplines, quad tours and the like are offered to tourists. So if you want untouched nature, you have to hike deeper into the park. But for a first impression even the short hike was interesting - the rainforest is a strong contrast to the mountains of Svanetia and the steppes in eastern Georgia.

Zoë Sheng

Chinese-Canadian - 04-Jun-19 -

I visited Kolkheti on my way to northwest Georgia (Abkhazia and Svaneti). By visited I more or less mean taking a stroll next to lake Paliastomi that borders it. There is actually no way to just walk into the park at the moment which is great for protection but surely a blow for anyone wanting to visit it as the only way to visit is via a boating tour that last around 2 hours. The location just off the Black Sea is great for birds. The area around the park is rather dirty and poor, with Poti being a major port and lots of trucks coming and going (it reminds me of the Bangladesh entry point of the Sundarbans - you will know what I mean if you see it). If this were not on the nominated list I would not drive down to Poti. The road was also under construction and took an extra hour to drive around.

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Site Info

Full Name
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands
Unesco ID
9 10
Natural landscape - Forest

Site History

2021 Inscribed


The site has 7 locations

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Kintrishi- Mtirala
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Nabada
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Ispani
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Grigoleti
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Imnati
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Pitshora
Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands : Churia


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