Flights & getting there
Vanilla Sky flies a twin prop from Natakhtari airfield, 25km north of Tbilisi, to Queen Tamar Airport in Mestia and back twice daily in summer, weather permitting. The spectacular one-hour flight costs 90 GEL one-way, including transfers between Rustaveli metro station and Natakhtari airfield. You can buy tickets online. Vanilla Sky also flies to Kutaisi on Mondays and Fridays (50 GEL).
Marshrutka & Taxi
Marshrutky run to Mestia from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi and, between June and September, from Batumi. From Tbilisi you can also take a day or night train to Zugdidi and then a marshrutka from there. The road up from Zugdidi is normally kept open year-round and traverses increasingly spectacular scenery as it heads up the Enguri and Mulkhura valleys.
Heading down from Mestia, marshrutky leave one of half-a-dozen makeshift bus stations scattered around town. The most obvious is at Setis moedani, from where buses leave at 8am for Zugdidi (20 GEL, three hours), Kutaisi (25 GEL, 4½ hours), Tbilisi (30 GEL, nine hours) and, in summer, Batumi (30 GEL, six hours). Further marshrutky leave throughout the day when full; make enquiries at the various offices selling tickets around town.
Marshrutky to Ushguli cost a flat 40 GEL (two hours) for a day return and leave from Setis moedani at 10am, returning from Ushguli at 3pm. The price is the same if you only want to go one-way.
Getting around Svaneti from Mestia usually means taxis. Your accommodation can arrange these, or negotiate with drivers hanging around the town centre.