If you have a day or two in Karakol you must visit Altyn-Arashan natural hot springs. It is located about 30 km from the city and only place to get there is walk for about 17 km from Teploklyuchenka or hire an offroad taxi from travel company. The road is something. I called it an automoblie-climbing path. Once you get to the spot you see a beautifull green valley with a few huts. The hot springs are located inside five small soviet time building and require you to pay about $1 to take a bath.
The water comes from the ground. It's temperature in abou 52 C. It cools off in the small pools. After 30-40 minutes of relaxing in hot water with a little smell of sulfur you feel reborn and 10 years younger.
This place was build years ago for recreational purposes as curitive waters of Altyn Arashan helpfull for recovering from certain deseases, stresses and depression. But healthy people get even healther. Just don't spend more then one hour in the pool - it is not good for health and avoid bath if you have any heart problems.
Old wooden tipically russian house with shutters, nice old russian village interior, friendly watresses make this place a nice spot to stop for a portion of russian "Borsh" or "bliny" as well as have a cup of beer.
Favorite Dish: bliny, cake for breakfast. Borsh or pelmeni (dumplings) for lunch. Selyodka (herring) with beer for dinner.