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If you have landed on this page then hopefully I can do everything possible to convince you to book your next trip to Juta, Georgia. The best part about my love for Juta is that it wasn’t even on our original Georgia itinerary. We had originally planned to visit Mestia and Ushguli, and only swapped our itinerary to visit Kazbegi instead just a few days before the trip. Because of this last minute switch, I didn’t properly research everything that the greater Kazbegi region has to offer. Luckily my boyfriend had noticed Juta on the map, and after speaking to a few locals we decided that it was a must. This guide will cover everything you need to know about planning a trip to Juta, Georgia, including how to get there, where to stay, and what to do.
And yes, before you get too far, we’re talking about Georgia the country not Georgia the state. Best to catch that confusion early because I sure don’t want you flying to Atlanta to start this adventure!
The Basics of Visiting Georgia
Language: Georgia is the official and primary language of Georgia.
Currency: Georgian lari ($1 USD = 3.12 GEL as of October 2021).
Location: Georgia is located at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Georgia borders Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.
Name: Locally, Georgia (Republic of Georgia) is known as Sakartvelo
Visa: Traveling to Georgia is incredibly easy as they offer a super lenient visa policy. Passport holders from 98 different countries can enter Georgia visa-free for up to 365 days. Bonus, you are even allowed to work under this visa. This makes Georgia a super popular destination for digital nomads.
How to Get to Juta
Juta is located three and a half hours from Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi along the Georgian Military Road. It is located just 30 minutes from Kazbegi, one of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations. The two mountain towns can both easily be visited in one trip. I recommend spending at least 1 night in each town, but we can get more into that below.
There is no public transportation direct to Juta from Tbilisi. Instead you can grab a marshrutkas from Tbilisi to Kazbegi for just 10 GEL (~$3 USD).We did not take any marshrutkas during our trip, but I have heard that they are quite easy. Simply head to the Okriba Bus Station and look for a van labeled Stepantsminda. The vans depart about once an hour, and the journey will take between 3 to 4 hours. From here, you can book a shared shuttle to Juta through Mountain Freaks.
Day Trip to Juta from Kazbegi
As mentioned above, a day trip to Juta from Kazbegi is definitely possible. If you give yourself a full day, you’ll have plenty of time to hike and have a drink taking in the view.
That said, spending sunset in the mountains of Juta was one of the most magical moments of our Georgia itinerary. If you have the time, definitely plan to spend at least one night in Juta.
Best Time to Visit Juta
The best time to visit Juta is from June through September, when the weather isn’t too cold. If you’re looking for fall colors than you can visit in October and November as well, but you risk the potential of snow that covers Juta from December to April.
We visited in late September at there was already frost on the ground in the morning as the temperatures dropped below freezing overnight.
Things to do in Juta (Hiking in Juta)
Go for a day hike in Juta
By far the most popular reason to visit Juta is to hike! Many people visit specifically to complete the hike from Juta to Roshka via the Chaukhi Pass, but I will share more info on that below. Luckily, even if you only have one day in Juta, there are some awesome accessible hikes.
From the Juta village you will need to hike approximately 20-30 minutes to reach Fifth Season, where we spent the night. I recommend not packing much for this leg of the trip as you will need to hike about 20-30 minutes (1.2 km, mostly uphill) from where you’re dropped off to reach Fifth Season. We packed a day bag and left the rest in our car in Kazbegi. However, if you do not have your own car you can most likely store it at your previous hotel/guesthouse in Kazbegi. If you do bring all of your luggage, however, there is an option to rent a horse to take you up.
There are a number of hikes in Juta that you can explore. Since we only had one full day in Juta, we hiked from Fifth Season to the lake, and then continued on to the first waterfall in the Upper Juta Valley. The hike should take you about 1 hour each way. There isn’t a ton of elevation gain, but if you haven’t acclimated to Juta’s already high elevation, you may find hiking to be a bit more difficult than usual.
Note, the elevation in Juta is quite. Make sure to give yourself some time to acclimate if you are coming straight from sea level. When hiking, take your time and drink lots of water.
Explore by horseback
One of the activities that I was most looking forward to when planning my trip to Juta (admittedly just one day before we arrived), was horseback riding through the mountain. After 7 years of horseback riding camp growing up, I have a major soft spot for horses.
We booked our horseback riding tour directly through Fifth Season. They arranged for our guides/horses to arrive at 7am, and the entire tour took about 2 hours. It was beautiful watching the sun come up over the mountains, albeit quite cold. If I booked again I’d probably start a bit later as the sun rises quite late in the mountains.
A 2 hour ride from Fifth Season to the lake and back costs 60 GEL ($20 USD) per person. We were the only people in our group, accompanied with lots of other bareback horses.
Enjoy a drink from Fifth Season
After your long day of hiking, stop by Fifth Season and grab a drink while laying out in one of their lawn chairs. They’ve got a pretty large menu as well for lunch and dinner.
Hike from Juta to Roshka via the Chaukhi Pass
One of the most popular reasons to visit Juta is to complicated the full hike from Juta to Roshka via the Chaukhi Pass. The whole hike takes a full one to two days to finish, depending on how many hours to hike each day, and your personal fitness level. If you plan to conquer the full hike in one day, you can expect to hike 8-9 hours. If you’re completing the hike in 2 days, you will be to pack a tent to camp out along the route.
The Chaukhi Pass is one of the highest tourist passes in all of Georgia. I recommend starting in Juta and ending in Roshka for a slightly easier routel. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to fit the full hike into our itinerary, but I definitely recommend it if you have the time.
Where to Stay in Juta Georgia
Do yourself a favor and open another tab right now and book a night at Fifth Season. Our night in the mountains of Juta at Fifth Season was one of the top highlights of the whole trip. We were fortunate that tourism wasn’t high at the time of our trip, as we were able to snag a last minute room the night before. However, if you want to stay in one of the rooms with a great view, I recommend booking a few months in advance.
Rooms come with a delicious breakfast, and there is lunch, dinner, and drinks available for purchase throughout the day. Even if you aren’t planning to overnight in Juta, I recommend stopping by after your hike for a drink to take in the views.
What to Pack for Juta, Georgia
I recommend packing super light for Juta, because as I mentioned above, you will need to hike 20-30 minutes uphill with your luggage. That said, you’re going to want to make sure that you are prepared for the everchanging mountain conditions, as well as any hiking that you plan to do. Here is what I recommend packing:
- Hiking boots (or sneakers work too) – if you’re just doing day hikes then sneakers will be sufficient, but I always prefer to hike in proper hiking boots of ankle support
- Outer shell jacket
- Warm layer – here are links to a few of my favorite warm layers:
- Rain jacket – the weather can change quickly in the mountains so it is always helpful to be prepared
- Wool hat/beanie
- Leggings or shorts to hike in – I love to hike in my classic Lululemons
- Sports Bra – this sports bra from Amazon costs less than $25 and is long enough to wear as a shirt. It is my go-to for traveling and for working out at home.
- Camera – do not visit Juta without snagging some photos of this incredibly gorgeous area! I shot everything on my Sony a7ii.
- DripDrop – extra electrolytes will help to avoid dehydration while at a higher altitude
Already planning your Georgia itinerary? Here are some other articles to check out: