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Introducing Esso

Easily reached by public bus, the snug-in-valley village of Esso is a quiet, lovely place with the scent of pine and friendly locals who live in picturesque wooden cottages (many of which let rooms cheaply). Locals like to call it the 'Switzerland of Kamchatka'; locals also go rather un-Swiss in heating their greenhouses for year-round tomatoes - tapping into the abundant hot springs. It's easy to arrange rafting or horseback trips here for less than in Petropavlovsk.

Evenki people migrated here 150 years ago from what is now the Sakha Republic, becoming the distinct Even people in the process. Here they met the local Itelmeni and Korayak people as well as Russians. Although Esso remains a mixed community, the nearby village of Anavgay is 100% Even.

There's no ATM in town. The library has a very iffy Internet connection.