The best destination for independent travellers in Kamchatka, Esso is set snug in a valley of green mountains, with a network of well-mapped hiking trails extending into the surrounding Bystrinsky Nature Park, plus hot-spring pools in town and rafting and horse-riding options nearby. It’s a quiet, lovely place with the scent of pine, and locals who live in picturesque wooden cottages. Indeed, hardened Russia hands might find it hard to believe they're in Russia at all: it's all so clean, friendly and well cared for.
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 Koryak people as well as Russians. Although Esso remains a mixed community, the nearby village of Anavgay is mostly Even.