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Fire and Ice under an Aurora Sky!

May 3-14, 2017

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Cultural Immersion:

Luxury Level:

Cost: $2,395 (excludes airfare)
see “Standard Package” details below

Application Deadline: March 31, 2017  To request a spot on this trip, all travelers must complete a Trip Application. All applications will be reviewed and you will be notified of results within 72 hours.

This trip is a W:W “Standard” Package experience

What does the “Standard” Package mean? The Standard Package provides a convenient solution that bundles all major trip costs and activities into one pre-paid package fee. This package fee covers main intra-country transportation, all accommodation costs, selected activities, 8+ hours of Wanderlearn Classes,  as well as the “Choice Package” general travel itinerary, the group of traveling companions, and a travel savvy 24/7 on-site WanderLead.

The traveler will be responsible for their food, beverages, and any optional activities in which they may choose to participate. The Standard Package provides a simplified experience that is similar to managing discretionary spending like while at home. Flights to and from the destination are not included. Gratuities are not included and recommended as per standard tourism norms.

“Standard” Package highlights:

  • 24/7 on-site WanderLead for the duration of the trip. Your WanderLead for this experience will be Darren Kuzma
  • Small group trip! Allows you to enjoy the destination up close and personal!
  • Semi-inclusive: This trip includes the basics such as ground transportation, accommodations, and entrance to select activities (Blue Lagoon and boat tour of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon). It does not include flights, food or other activities (thus allowing you to save money!)
  • Full series of online WanderPreps classes to help you prepare!
  • Trip T-shirt!

Jump to a section to learn more about this trip: Itinerary | Flights | Accommodations

SUMMARY

Iceland, the land of Fire and Ice, is a true geologic wonder. This Arctic island is located on the boundary where the Eurasian plate is actively pulling apart from the North American plate, creating many geologic wonders. Incidentally, Iceland is also located above a geologic “hot spot” – places where the melted mantle of the earth comes oozing out onto the crust above. In fact, this is how Iceland itself was formed – straight from the bowels of earth! Located on the Arctic Circle, Iceland is frozen for the majority of the year, and the resultant landscape is one that is covered is glaciers and ice, and still alive underneath with geysers and hot springs! And if all that wasn’t reason enough to visit this true gem, Iceland is also a prime location to witness the Aurora Borealis – a magical and elusive event that fills the night sky with ethereal colors! (see notes below about Aurora Borealis) 

Your WanderLearn Lead for this experience will be Darren Kuzma. With a passion for getting off the beaten path and finding interesting things on the fly, he’ll find interesting experiences that most tourists miss.

Experience the W:W Difference!!!
W:W trips are different than what you will find anywhere else. Our trips emphasize travel experiences and cultural education as well as immersion in the local destination. W:W travelers are mentally active and are curious about the world around them. By learning how to travel and interact with locals, you will break down the cultural barriers to appreciate and absorb the world around you in a whole new way! Come and live the W:W EXPERIENCE!

Limited Group Size
All Wanderlust:Wanderlearn trips are small groups only (think 6-15 travelers). We do this so that you can have an up-close-and-personal, hands-on travel experience. The small group size also allows for truer cultural immersion and one-on-one learning opportunities with your WanderLearn Lead.  This all makes a better experience for YOU and for the group as a whole.

Wander:Preps
A Wanderlust:Wanderlearn specialty, Wander:Preps are included in every trip! A series of pre-trip classes, Wander:Preps are customized to your specific upcoming trip. You’ll learn smart traveler tips and more about your destination, all while getting to know your fellow trip travelers. Learn how to get your visas, passports, money tips, packing tips, cell phone tips, culture tips, history tips, basic language tips….you name it! Wander:Preps are for everyone – newbies and experienced travelers alike will walk away with plenty of new insights and savvy traveler tools.

SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL ITINERARY DETAILS!

ITINERARY

Day 1: Flight to Reykjavik, Iceland Wednesday May 3, 2017

Flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. Most flights depart in the afternoon/evening and we recommend flying overnight and sleeping on the plane. Please see “FLIGHTS” section in the middle of this page for more details.

Day 2: Welcome to Reykjavik! Thursday May 4, 2017

After arrival into Reykjavik Airport, we will dive right in, literally, to Iceland! First stop: The world famous Blue Lagoon! Just 20 minutes from the airport, this amazing natural geothermal spa will wash away all the stress of the flight, bathing you in pure relaxation, Iceland-style! Afterwards we’ll head into Reykjavik to check into our hotel. Once settled in, we’ll head out for dinner on the town!  Drive time: Keflavik Airport to Blue Lagoon 20 min, Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik 45 min

Day 3: Gullfoss Friday May 5, 2017

After a sound night’s sleep and a good breakfast, we’ll depart for Thingvellier National Park, a site of geological, cultural and historical significance, and our first stop on the famous Golden Circle. Thingvellier is most notable as the place where the earth is visibly being pulled apart and forming stunning deep valleys at the junction of the tectonic plates which provide a jarring view into the raw force of our planet! We will then head over to the not-to-be-missed Strokkur Geyser, a mesmerizing wonder which spews boiling water up to 70 meters into the air!  From Strokkur we’ll head to our accommodations in nearby Gullfoss where we’ll enjoy an Icelandic style dinner.  Drive time:Reykjavik to Thingvellier 1 hour, Thingvellier to Strokkur Geyser 1 hour, Strokkur Geyser to Gullfoss 10 minutes

Day 4: Gullfoss Saturday, May 6, 2017

Today we will spend the entire day in the Gullfoss region. After breakfast we’ll head over to the rightfully famous Gullfoss Waterfall. Located in the canyon, which forms three step terraces, the river Hvita plunges downward creating a powerful stream and the Gullfoss. The afternoon and evening will be on your own so that you may have quiet time to enjoy nature in your own way!

Day 5: Skogafoss Sunday May 7, 2017

After breakfast our first stop of the day will be the Kerid volcanic crater, believed to have formed when the cone volcano emptied its magma and subsequently collapsed onto itself, forming the lake. From there we will head to the Seljalandsfoss – a dynamic and magnificent waterfall with fabulous 360 degree views!   Drive time: Gullfoss to Kerid 1 hour, Kerid to Seljalandsfoss  1 hour 15 minutes, Seljalandsfoss to Skogafoss 30 minutes

Day 6: Skogafoss Monday May 8, 2017

On our second day in Skogafoss, we’ll start off with a visit to the Skogafoss Waterfall. One of the best ways to take this beauty in is with a hike… make sure you bring your raincoat so you can get up close to the falls! Enjoy a packed lunch and beautiful views!

Day 7: Skaftafell Tuesday May 9, 2017

Today we’ll head first to the coastal town of Vik, famous for its black sand beaches and even more famous for its iconic hexagonal basalt columns, formed by columnar jointing – the result of contraction by cooling of lava bodies. With luck you might see some puffins! After Vik we’ll drive to Kalfafell where you can wander the tiny earth roofed homes so famous in Iceland. By evening we’ll arrive in Skaftafell and check into our accommodations. Drive time: Skogafoss to Skaftafell 2 hours 30 minutes.

Day 8: Skaftafell Wednesday May 10, 2017

The next two nights we’ll be in Skaftafell – a great place for some amazing day trips! Today we’ll hit Europe’s largest national park, the Vatnajokull National Park. The highlights of this park which encompasses Iceland’s most diverse and awe inspiring sites,  include the Vtnajokull Glacier and the Skaftafell Ice Cave.  Weather permitting, we’ll take the 2-3 hour easy hike at the glacier.

Day 9: Skaftafell Thursday May 11, 2017

On our last day in Skaftafell we’ll head out on a day trip to the breathtaking Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. One of the best ways to take in this area is by boat which will take us up close and personal to two glaciers. On our boat tour you’ll hear the cracking of the calving glaciers and float amongst icebergs of all sizes. Afterwards we’ll stop at Lake Lagarfljot a historical place of interest interst. And, you’ll have to ask yourself – do you believe in the lake monster of Lake Lagarfljot? Drive time:Skaftafel

Day 10: Hveragerdi Friday May 12, 2017

Following a good night’s sleep, we’ll depart Skaftafell for the Hveragerdi region, well known as the hot springs capital of the world! We’ll stop in nearby Hengill where the steam rises from the earth in tall plumes. We then recommend taking a hike into Olfusdalur valley and ending your workout at the must vist Laugaskaro swimming pool. The largest pool in the country, it is heated with steam that comes directly from the earth underneath and has wonderful hot spas to melt your body to butter!  Drive time: Skaftafell to Hveragerdi 4 hours

Day 11: Reykjavik Saturday May 13, 2017

On our last day in Iceland we’ll depart Hvergerdi after a leisurely breakfast, allowing you to enjoy the countryside for just a little longer. We’ll then head to Reykjavik for one last day. You’ll have the afternoon to do some last minute souvenir shopping, catch the Kolaportio Flea Market and try out your haggling chops, or have your one last chance to try whale for dinner.  Drive time: Hveragerdi to Reykjavik 1 hour

Day 12: Depart Reykjavik Sunday May 14, 2017

All good things must come to a close. We recommend you depart Reykjavik anytime you wish on May 14, 2017. Please see “FLIGHTS” section below for more details.

 


TRIP MAP

ADDITIONAL DETAILS!

 

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Please note that a general level of fitness is required for this trip. A number of our activities range from short walks to longer hikes. There are also cobblestone streets and similar uneven terrain to be aware of. If you have physical limitations, please contact us to discuss the trip further.

AURORA BOREALIS & WEATHER DEPENDENT ACTIVITIES

Mother Nature without a doubt provides the best shows, and auroras are the pinnacles – the Broadway Superstar of the natural world! But inevitably nature is not predictable and one must be prepared for any outcome. We will make time to stay up late for aurora viewing, but it is of course never a certainty. The locations chosen for this trip are designed to provide you with a full daytime Iceland experience while still providing long, relaxed evening schedules so that you may sky-watch to your heart’s content. Even with these plans in place, we may or may not see the auroras – this is all up to Mother Nature, but on this trip will do the best we can to maximize your viewing likelihood!

Iceland at any time of the year is at the mercy of Mother Nature, and please be aware that all activities on this trip will be weather dependent, with the safety of our group as our main priority.

FLIGHTS

Please do not book your flights until you have submitted your application and received written notification of your confirmed reservation onto this Wanderlust:Wanderlearn trip.

Flights are not included in the price of this trip.

Recommended flight times:

  • to Reykjavik, Iceland: Please ensure you arrive into KEF – Reykjavik no later than 9am on Thursday May 4, 2017
  • depart Reykjavik, Iceland: You may depart from KEF – Reykjavik anytime you wish on Sunday May 14, 2017

ACCOMMODATIONS

Would you like to stay in an A-frame cabin with kangaroos just outside your window? How about a medieval castle in Europe? Maybe a Japanese style “pod” hotel? Wanderlust:Wanderlearn has made its mark by introducing travelers to a whole new concept of “standard accommodation”. On this trip you will have the opportunity to try out such unique accommodations – but don’t worry, you’ll never have to sacrifice the important stuff! All W:W approved accommodations must meet strict safety and cleanliness requirements and have 5 star reviews. Please note, all accommodations will be shared.

WANDER:PREPS

Travelers who engage their minds and are “active travelers” gain the most from their experiences.

Included in this trip package are the “Wander:Preps” – a series of customized classes to prepare you for your upcoming trip. In these prep sessions, you’ll get to know your fellow travelers and enjoy the cohesive benefits of a group of independent travelers traveling together.

For this Iceland trip, we’ll cover topics such as money-tips, packing-tips, flight purchasing tips, how to be a safe traveler, and more. Wander:Preps are for everyone – newbies and experienced travelers alike will walk away with plenty of new tools.

* Wander:Preps are an integral part of this travel experience. Please understand how important they are for yourself and the other trip members. If you miss more than two hours of Wander:Preps, you may be removed from the trip.

TIPS

Gratuities are not included and recommended as per standard tourism norms.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance (trip insurance and health insurance) is the sole responsibility of the traveler. Appropriate travel insurance is strongly recommended.

VISA / PASSPORT

All passport and visa requirements, legal requirements, any other necessary travel documentation, etc., are the sole responsibility of the traveler.

For more information about entry into Iceland: US Department of State – Iceland