As of late September, 2013, the fastest and most exciting way to arrive in Mestia is via a MI-8 helicopter from Tbilisi. The 23-seat chopper flies over the stunning mountains in only 1.5 hours, as opposed to the grueling 8-9 via Marshrutka. Only 50 Lari for an incredible ride--but it will only fly in good weather. In the event of poor weather, the flight will go on the next day with flyable conditions. Flights are only on Monday and Friday, leaving at around 1000 from Tbilisi's main airport and returning around 1400 from the airstrip at Mestia. Flights are coordinated by the Next Travel agency in Tbilisi.
Their office is on Kostava Street, number 11, in Tbilisi. Phone: (+995 32) 2 92 10 39, or, (+995 595) 188 188. Alternatively, if you're in Mestia, the local contact is +955 591512533.
A new airport in Mestia - Queen Tamar Airport - has recently opened, and flights between Mestia and Tbilisi are now available 5 times a week for 75 lari each way. Reserve tickets at least a week in advance.
In the summertime a plane flown by the Georgian military will give you a ride between Kutaisi and Mestia. The plane only operates on "perfect" days. This is a very fun experience! The cost is free to the locals, or ~$15 USD for foreigners. It will take off from a grassy field in Mestia, and land in Kutaisi in less than an hour! This will reduce travel time to the capital by about 6-8 hours! The plane flies on Saturdays and leaves Kutaisi at 9. The pilot's name is Leri - 877-199-689 (Info from 2010).
As of 2013, there are no flights leaving from either Kutaisi or Tbilisi.
Tbilisi - Mestia marshrutkas (mini buses) go every day from "Vagzali" bus station. Number of seats 16, ticket price 30 Gel per person. Departure time : 5:00 am. Duration 8-9 hours (depends on the weather conditions).
Mestia-Tbilisi mini bus leaves at 7am and 8am.
Only one (maximum 2) marshrutka goes to Zugdidi at 6 a.m.and around midday.Costs 20 lari
There are also marshrytki to Batumi.
A new highway from Zugdidi to Mestia has been opened and the trip has become safe and comfortable by public or private transport. (Drive off-road cars with high attention if you are not an experienced driver).
A taxi cost 100 GEL from Zugdidi to Mestia and can hold four people.
Mestia has only very few options for eating out. On the main street there are two restaurants that both serve very nice food. The nicer looking of the two, near the center, is slightly more expensive, but still very cheap. Meat-filled dumpling - 0.50 per one. Beef stew - 5 Lari, salad - 4 Lari. Tea - 2 Lari.Draught georgian beer is also available, 2lari.
There are few bakeries where you can get fresh warm bread for 1 lari.
Try the local cheese.
There is a small market for fruit and vegetables and a number of shops.
Cafe Dael, Queen Tamar st. (Next to hotel Dael). Nice georgian restaurant. Cozy atmosphere and good food.edit
Cafe Laila, (In the main square). The only good thing about this place is they have free wifi. Service is horrible and the food is just ok.edit
Hostel Seti, Seti squ. 7. €10 for a dorm bed. Located right in the center, next to the tourist information center and a restaurant. It's newly built. Have air conditioning in the hall and heater in the room. The room is large.
Nest Hostel Mestia, Kakhiani st. 16, ☎ +995 595 41 44 43 +995 555 52 55 77 (email@example.com), . Centrally located with balcony overlooking river mountains and 'Svan' towers holding the sky over Mestia. Friendly, English speaking and very helpful staff.€9-11. edit
Hotel "Mestia", Zurab Devdariani, 577721211, 590721211.
Nino Ratiani's Guesthouse, Jondo Khaptanis Street. #1, ☎ +995 99 18 35 55 +995 90 52 78 18 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Guesthouse with private and single rooms, internet, hot water and wonderful Georgian meals. Ten bedrooms total. Putting up a tent may be possible for 5GEL per person. Warm and friendly owners that speak English. Additional services and airport pick ups, meal requests, cooking lessons, etc. can be arranged. 40-45 GEL per person (including two meals). edit
Nino Tstulukiani's Guesthouse, Guladi Japarise Street no 8, ☎ +595 58 98 39 (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). Nice family run guesthouse with spacious rooms, shared sitting room and bathroom with hot water. The owner is an excellent cook. Currently (summer 2011) the family is building a hotel, located next to the guesthouse.GEL 30 per person (includes dinner and breakfast). edit
Eka's Guest Houst, Vittorio Sella St. 8, ☎ 995 (5) 99 72671, . checkin: 28/9/2013; checkout: 30/9/2013. A great guesthouse run by Eka, a charming host and fluent English speaker. If her house is full, she might lodge you with her family nearby, who are every bit as welcoming. Great food! 40 GEL with breakfast and dinner, or 35 at the family's spot. 20 GEL for a room. 35 GEL. edit
Manoni's Guest Houst, ☎ + 995 90 60 20 40, . Impressive unselfish hospitality, especially in a guesthouse which is supposed to earn from it (yes, when I payed 10 GEL for 2 nights they sayed "please stay one more night, it's late, we are hosting you on our sofa"). All the members of the family are awesome, two of them speak good english. 5 mins walking from the main square. hot shower, wi-fi and pc internet access, free tea. 5 GEL tent, 15 GEL room, 15 GEL dinner+breakfast.edit
Several people rent rooms in their houses as well:
Shalva Kvitsiani's Ushba Homestay, (Village Becho), ☎ 599 73 95 21, . Guesthouse with with private rooms, hot water and meals in picturesque village Becho. Convenient for a trek or climbing expedition to Ushba. edit
Gia Japaridze's Family hotel, Guladi Japaridze street,15, ☎ 599 606332, . 2-floor Japaridze family owned hotel with three comfortable triple and three double rooms. There are two shared bathrooms, kitchen, open balcony with fresh air and wonderful view, big garden possible to use for tent, pick up service from every site in Georgia. Price 45 Gel(full board) per person. This friendly family is full of tourism information. edit
Mestia Camping & Hostel, Agmashenebeli 19, ☎ +995 599912573. Hostel with only one available camping site in Mestia. Very good location, just on the way to Mestia glacier (Chaladi)and outstanding views. The owners are fluent in English,French and Russian. All facilities are provided like a hot shower, toilets , internet etc. Hostel and camping owners can organize trekking, guiding, 4x4 wheel cars and horse ridding. Email: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org edit
If you want to stay just at the foot of Ushba mountain, visit guest house in Mazeri village in Becho community, Mestia region:
Peak Mazeri Guest House (Hotel Svaneti Mestia region - Peak Mazeri Guest House), Mestia district, Mazeri, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Georgia (Find Mazeri village in Becho community. Turn left 18 km before Mestia, (Zugdidi-Mestia road)), (email@example.com), . Great family mini Hotel. Amazing location just at the foot of Ushba. Nice mountain view rooms and tasty food. Horseback riding tours. Start trekking here. For bookig please mail or visit the web-site.edit
Mazeri - Svaneti mountain village, surrounded by stunningly beautiful landscapes and huge waterfalls. The starting point for several exciting Svaneti trekking routes, including Mount Ushba glacier trek. A taxi should cost no more than 20 GEL per person, or catch a marshrutka to Becho and walk into Mazeri.