Umba, population ~5500, is the geographic, historic, and administrative center of Tersky Rayon (district). There is no settlement called “Ter” though. “Ter” (adjective “Tersky”) refers to the whole of the south edge of the peninsula because unlike most of Kola it is (was) covered by forest.
110km east from from Kandalaksha, average road quality, travel time close to two hours unless you hire a crazy Russian driver who’ll make it in one but the number of wreathes and black ribbons by the road and car carcasses in the ditches makes me thing it a bad idea. I can avail my services to go to Umba. $250 will cover a one-day trip.
Bus from Kandalaksha to Umba runs twice a day. For departure times call the Kandalaksha bus station at (81533) 43501.
THERE IS AN AIRPORT IN UMBA – BUT THAT’S A SEPARATE STORY. YOU CAN EVEN RENT A HELICOPTER FOR $3000 PER HOUR!!
Just spoke with someone actively involved in the Umba tourism scene about the feasibility of getting an official permit for foreigners to visit the area. Was told that success in obtaining such is so extremely rare as not to be worth trying.
In all probability the same applies to other “no foreigner access” areas.
The consequences of being caught there without the permit is a fine and termination of your Russian visa, and denial of visa application for several years. And the police are said to be happy to charge trespassers.
Today I got a call from the local court in Kandalaksha asking me to translate at a hearing dedicated to a foreign traveller caught in a no-foreigners zone.
So I thought I’d remind would-be travellers that things like arrest and other ugly consequences are possible and do happen. Unfortunately, the court’s request for a translator was cancelled so I can’t tell you details of the story. I will however share another episode, personally known to me, when an elderly couple was held and hassled for four hours for the same “offence” before being released, this time with no consequences.
The regatta starts with a qualifying commission at Sonostrov on June 27 2015. Then the regatta moves through Umba (June 29), and Kandalaksha (June 30). A so-called “port race” will be held in Kandalaksha for the Kandalaksha Administration prize. The place to observe the race is from the Monastyrski Navolok (east end of Kandalaksha). The race ends on July 3 in Chupa, Karelia. Participants, spectators, and event sponsors are invited.
According to the official site of the Ter regional administration with the center in Umba, the village itself is off limit to foreigners. If you have to travel there you need to submit an application (forms available at the Migration Services, Umba Department of the Internal Affairs, ul. Dzherzhinskogo 65, tel. (81559) 5-15-79) at least 45 days before your trip, to the Federal Security Services (183752 Murmansk, ul. Lenina 64, tel. (8152) 45-40-76, email@example.com). The latter is supposed to send you your permits no later than 5 days before your trip.
The above info has not been confirmed via live humans, so take it with some healthy skepticism. We should be meeting people from Umba who are in the know at the Rock Flower event in Apatity on Feb. 11 and will ask for details.