Posted: May 17 2019
This post originally appeared on my other now defunct travel blog and is based upon my experiences in October 2015 but research tells me that the procedure for securing the travel documents has not changed.
The first thing you need to do to get your visa for Abkhazia is to apply for the 'clearance letter'. This you do by filling in the E-application form found on their website: mfaapsny.org/en/consular-service/permission/
Send it off, with a scan or photo of your passport to email@example.com (an email to the email address as noted on the website was left unanswered). You will receive the clearance letter in about a week. I got mine in 4 working days. Print it out a couple of times to show at the border, just in case they wanna keep a copy (which they did).
Entry point for Abkhazia from Georgia is the Inguri border crossing.
Getting from Zugdidi to the border at Inguri and on to Sokhumi:
From Zugdidi you can get a marshrutka, 1 lari, to the border at Inguri/Ingiri.
On the Georgian side, check out at the Police station. Walk across cross the bridge, 10 mins or so, there are 2 check points. No bad ass questions, just where I would be staying and what my profession is. Border guards doing their job. Have your documents to hand every step of the way.
Then get a marshrutka to Gal, 100Rub and then another, to Sokhumi, 200Rub. You need Roubles. Hard to change Lari here but of course Dollars are easy. I changed up enough Georgian Lari to Roubles in Zugdidi, reckoning on 20US$ a day.
Once in Sokhumi, you have to go to the Consular Service office @ Sakharov 33 street. You will be directed to a small AMPA BANK, on Lakoba street to pay for the visa. On exiting the visa office, turn right then first left, 20 meters in on left side. 1$ bank charge incurred and then back to the visa office and get your Abkhazia Visa, which won't be stuck in your passport. A 10 day visa (many other options available too) costs 10US$.
I went for the homestay listed in Lonely Planet. 55 Akirtaa street. 500 Roubles a night (said I'd stay 3 nights) in a twin bedded room. Kitchen down stairs. Mosquitoes, even in mid October.
Super fast wifi. Mid October 2015, old ladies with home stays on the promenade did not exist.
Abkazia considers itself an independent state called THE REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA. And is recognised by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru and partially by South Ossetia, Transnistria and Nagorno Karabakh.
Georgia and the UN consider it a part of Georgia and is known as the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia. Their history is long and complicated with lots of fighting. You can read more on Wikipedia.
People walking around with guns at the border??? why do people (bloggers out for a buck) write such shite.... border guards just doing their jobs, super friendly but curious why we wanna go there, and what my profession was.
Forget your Madlobas and Gamarjobas.... uttering Georgia phrases won't win you any friends here. It's definitely different from Georgia. They speak Abkhaz here.
Everything is written in Cyrillic which is much easier and the people, they take after their BIG neighbours. If you don't understand they just speak louder. Service with a smile has yet to be invented here.
They use the ROUBLE here and the time zone is 1 hour different from Georgia, even if GOOGLE says it's on the same time.