Stavropol Krai contains a large number of Caucasian health spas/sanatoria, which Russians have visited for over 200 years to treat various ailments (and just to escape the northern climate of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. As such, the region has been home to many of Russia's most prominent figures, including writers such as A.S. Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov, whose works have embedded the Pyatigorsk region into the national consciousness. A great read for anyone visiting the region is Lermontov's short novel, A Hero of Our Time, which is set in various areas in the south of the Krai.
Stavropol Krai is also notable for its exceptionally diverse climactic and topographic diversity. The environments range from sand deserts, to mud flats, to steppe, to forest, to mountains, to permafrost!
Russian is the soup of the day.
By rail, most visitors will arrive at the regional transit hub of Stavropol. Domestic flights to Stavropol and to Mineralnye Vody (which is closer to Mount Elbrus, the North Caucasus, and the health spas) are common around Russia.
Because of its proximity to the conflict in Chechnya, the security situation is very poor in Stavropol Krai. While kidnappings are unlikely, there have been fairly regular bombings of public areas and official facilities in the southern cities and in Stavropol over the years. While a visitor is fairly unlikely to be victim to such terroristic attacks, the resulting crackdown has led to strict and unfortunately corrupt policing of the area — a visitor is quite likely to be harassed for bribes.
In Stavropol krai there are three GSM operators (MTS,Beeline,Megafon), one 3G-UMTS operator (Beeline) and one CDMA operator on 800 MhZ frequency (RusSDO) and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Stavropolean and other North-Caucasus,South-Russians people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. If you buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than $10.
Stavropol Krai is a common jumping off point for tourists venturing into the North Caucasus. Basically any city in the region can be reached via minibus or taxi from Mineralnye Vody.