Visa & Transport
Travel to Abkhazia from Georgia
Politics aside, is it possible to enter into Abkhazia from Georgian border post without a problem assuming that you have set up the visa to Abkhazia already and will be traveling through to Sochi (Russia) after visiting Abkhazia and not returning to Georgia. Obviously you can't tell Georgians of your plans.
If you want to arrive in Abkhazia from Georgia, then go first to the town of Zugdidi. From there you can find easily a taxi (10GEL, $6, 10 min.) or a marshrutka (4GEL) until the Georgian border at the Enguri river. You have to continue then by walk and after the Abkhazian border control you have to wait for a marshrutka to Gali (3GEL, R50, 15min.). Here there are few bus/marshrutka each day (R150, 2h) for Sukhumi: so try to arrive in Gali not too late. If you need a taxi, be prepared to paid even 60$ (R1.800) for the trip.
You need to get The letter of permission from MFA in Abkhazia - process that can take a while (couple of days usually). In your application that you would email to them try to put that you would enter and leave through the same border point (better Ingur River bridge).
Here you can download the application form (http://www.mfaabkhazia.net/en/visa) that you can send through email at [email protected] together with a good scan of your passport. For crossing the border you need a mail of confirmation from the Ministery of Sukhumi with the day of your arrive. To avoid any kind of problems it would be better to ask the Ministery (*+99544-267069 +99544-267069, 265792*, they speak English) to have this authorisation via fax with a official stamp.
Otherways you will risk to wait until the border soldiers get the confirmation by phone: and it can take hours...
Once you have been accepted, they will email you a .pdf of your entry clearance. You should take two copies for entrance, one for the border and one for the MFA in Sukhum.
Entering from Georgia is easy. They just would ask you to write a letter acknowledging that you are going under your own free will, and that the Georgian authorities could not assure your safety once in Abkhazia.
On the Abkhaz side, they will tell you to go to the MFA in Sukhumi and reach it until 6 pm same day before it closed, to pay for and pick up your actual visa. Visa payment has to be done through the bank (Sberbank, works until 4-5 pm) - $20 at the Sberbank in the customs yard (ask for Tamozhnye, opposite the main pier), then collect your visa from the consular department of the MFA, the big grandiose building at 21 Lakoba Street. It's a conventional visa, but for whatever political reasons they won't stick it in your passport
MFA is not working on weekends. Nothing to worry if you fail to arrive on time, but try to get it next day. If anyone asks for your visa, you should tell them that you would get it next day in the morning (or on Monday if you stuck over the weekend).
Once arrived in Sukhumi look for a bank and ask just for a Visa: they will let you pay 20$. Then you can go to the Ministry (it's open until 6 pm) and withdraw your Visa.
Exiting Abkhazia back to Georgia is not a problem even with the Abkhazian visa.
You can cross into Abkhazia through the border from Russia, because it's more cheaper and you have a great choice of marshrutka, bus and even train. With just 200 rubles (6$) you can arrive from Sochi to Sukhumi but then - be careful! - you will have to exit from the same border because for the Georgian authorities you have committed an illegal act by entering their territory without any authorisation. In this case DON'T TRY to cross the southern border on the Enguri river (after Gali): you will be ARRESTED otherways.