Melissa

Trip to iceland, Iceland - Mar 23 - Mar 30, 2019

Traveler: Melissa D. - Local specialist: Preeti Bhide

Our 7-day excursion to Iceland went very smoothly, and we were very pleased that all the logistics involved with the reservations and itinerary planning worked out well. Except for the hike to the airplane ruin, I think we did all the recommended activities!

Before engaging with KimKim, I had considered just piecing together an itinerary and reservations by myself. In the end, I'm glad we paid the premium to have specialists organize everything. It was extremely helpful to have someone with local knowledge of the terrain and travel conditions to sketch out our daily schedule.

Driving at the end of March brought us a little more wintry conditions than I had expected. We drove through a couple of snowstorms on the Ring Road, and it was scary for some moments with zero visibility, but fortunately we had no problems. (The last time I visited Iceland was in 1997, and I skidded off the road into the snow on the way back from the Thingvellir Park. A nice family stopped and helped jack up my rental car to clear out the snow from around the tires, so all turned out well in the end.) Driving in Iceland is no joke! There were days when I was mentally planning to not be able to drive because of the weather. (But we did drive daily). It was nice that our itinerary wasn't jam packed, and we had some time flexibility.

We enjoyed every part of the trip, but our absolute favorite parts were:

-The snorkeling in the Silfra fissure: Our guide, Taz, from Arctic Adventures was excellent! She had a very sunny disposition, was very careful about getting us suited up properly and kept a good eye on us while we were in the water. I actually felt very light headed at the very end of the snorkeling route, and she had to tow me to the stairs and help me get out of the water. I felt like I was going to faint, but she was extremely attentive and helped me walk back to the parking lot without incident. I will write to Arctic Adventures directly to thank her again - Taz was truly an outstanding professional.

-The ice cave tour outside of Vík: Our guide, AJ, was great. We weren't sure if the tale he told us about the Katla eruption in 1311 was a myth or not, but he made the details very entertaining. The small cave we visited was beautiful, and the pristine, desolate surroundings were stunning. We were very glad to have been the first tour of the day, so we were able to go out and see the cave by ourselves with no other visitors around, because we were the only ones on the tour. (The other clients didn't show up.)

-The hike to Svartifoss: Wow- what a beautiful waterfall and a pretty little route to get there.

-The hike between Arnarstapi and Hellnar was a majestic path that gave us a tiny bit of solitude for a while.

Since I visited in 1997, tourism in Iceland has obviously grown exponentially. I remember going to visit Gullfoss and not seeing anyone else around for miles. This time around was obviously quite different with hordes of tourists stepping off buses.

The next time we visit Iceland, we would like to tour the north and the interior and do a lot more walking or hiking. This trip was a great introduction to the country for my husband and daughter and inspired them to also want to return someday.

Thanks for your help in making this a great experience!