EXPLORE ICELAND - THE FOOD, CULTURE + NATURE | REYKJAVIK AND BEYOND | JULY 5 - 10, 2017

About the trip:

Iceland’s natural environment is both wild and fragile. Scenic, desolate landscapes, vast expanses of strange terrain, and surreal spaces as if not from this earth filled with geysers, glaciers, fumaroles, volcanoes, lava fields, boiling mud pits, thermal springs, towering rock formations, giant waterfalls and iceberg lagoons.

But dramatic natural beauty is only part of what this amazing country has to offer, the counterpoint to this beauty is found in Iceland's cultural life, which celebrates a literary legacy that stretches from medieval sagas to contemporary thrillers by way of Nobel Prize winners. Live music is everywhere, as is visual art, handicrafts and locavore cuisine. Local residents take a lot of pride in their country’s natural beauty and their large scale reliance on renewable energy.  Hydroelectric and geothermal power supply Iceland’s primary energy and water sources.

Icelandic culture has been shaped by isolation and the extreme forces of the surrounding environment. These conditions have created a resilient people, where family ties are close, the sense of tradition is strong.

On this Ace Camp we hope to share stories from both worlds with you, including intimate experiences with locals and spectacular nature you just cant find elsewhere. We will explore the magical culture of this country by spending our time wandering the colourful streets of the capitol, strolling through the picturesque countryside, tasting local delicacies, 4x4'ing in super jeeps across volcanic landscapes and relaxing in thermal pools. 

As the locals say, Iceland is not a destination. It is an adventure.

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 5 nights*  (based on shared occupancy)
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • Culinary Walking tour of Reykjavik
  • Visit to a family sheep farm and wool dyeing workshop
  • The world-renowned Blue Lagoon!
  • Super Jeep off-road tour across Volcanoes and through Canyons
  • Icelandic Horses! 
  • Visit to a Glass Blowing Workshop
  • Swim in a primitive seaside pool


*Due to the high cost of accommodations in Iceland, all rooms have shared bathrooms.

Tour is limited to 10 people.

Fee:  $2459.00 - airfare is not included

Deposit:  $1400.00 - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $1059.00 due April 5, 2017

There will be no refunds for this trip - please know you can make it before your registration.

WHERE WE'RE STAYING:

REYKJAVIK

Housed in an old biscuit factory in downtown Reykjavik and furnished with salvaged materials and found objects from various places, KEX is an organic concept blending a vintage industrial feel with an eclectic, contemporary touch. More than just a hostel, at KEX you will find a restaurant and bar, lounge area, heated outdoor patio, tourist information desk, laundry room, old school gym, guest kitchens, meeting room, free WiFi, and more. 

KEX is just steps away from an interesting array of cafés, museums, shops, bars, music venues and various attractions. More or less everything that matters is within walking distance – the main shopping street, the harbour, the city centre, the main bus terminal, a swimming pool, etc.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A note about food in Iceland: as it relies heavily on meat, dairy and seafood be prepared that vegetarian options are more difficult to come by but not impossible to find. (Here are 9 great options for vegetarians in Reykjavik)

Happy hour in Reykjavík is a great time to sample some of the countries great local spirits such as Brennivin and all kinds of craft beers brewed nearby. 

In need of a caffeine fix? Check out Reykjavik Roasters, Iceland's finest independent coffee roaster is a haven for creatives and visitors a like. The place feels more like someone’s living room and it’s not unusual to see groups of locals knitting pairs of gloves while sipping on a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:  

- A night out at the brand new HARPA CONCERT HALL to see the show:  "How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes" (ticket cost not included in tour, this is an optional event).

After registration we will send out response information and ask if you would be interested in participating in this activity. 

 



TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

ACE CAMPS administration will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 60 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 60 prior to the camp. 

Transportation to Reykjavik is very simple from the airport via FlyBus. Departures from Keflavik Airport are in connection with all arriving passenger flights. Busses are located right outside the terminal building. 

WEATHER

Reykjavik is a beautiful travel destination, but it might be considered cold by travellers coming from warmer locations.  Summer months are more moderate, with average temperature being about 50F degrees. 

The weather is somewhat unpredictable all year round, so best to pack layers and rain gear just incase. At this time of year, the sun rises around 3am and sets around midnight. 

ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER

The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.

They also work with the local guides to insure the right combination of pace, information, and duration - and, well...keep the ball rolling.


ITINERARY

DAY ONE - ARRIVAL

Travel day - make your way to our accommodation for check-in.

7:30pm - Meet + Greet and Dinner @ KEX hotel.

DAY TWO - CULINARY WALKING TOUR

Breakfast at hotel

Late this morning we depart on a culinary walking tour of Reykjavik.

Icelandic food isn’t well known by the rest of the world, but locals are hoping to change that. They have long, dark winters where they spend a lot of time indoors, and have an abundance of fresh meat, fish and dairy. You’ll learn what the Vikings ate and how Icelandic people have survived harsh winters thanks to their special cooking and preserving methods.

We will taste local dishes such as grass fed and free roaming Icelandic lamb that every Icelander grew up loving, home made Icelandic ice cream from a secret family recipe, the best local cheeses of the season, rooted tradition of Skyr, authentic seafood soup, a visit to the famous Icelandic hot dog stand and more! We’ll also share hidden, local spots with you; things you’d miss if you didn’t know what to look for. After the tour, we will wander the streets to check out some local shops and boutiques featuring Icelandic fashion designers, jewellers + ceramic artists to name a few. 

Dinner on your own

If you are interested in some live music this evening, you might consider stopping in at Café Rosenberg, a short walk from our hotel. This big, booklined shopfront is dotted with couches and cocktail tables, and hosts all manner of live acts, from local singer-songwriters to jazz groups and storytellers.

DAY THREE - EXPLORING ICELAND'S NATURAL BEAUTY, OFF-ROADING IN JEEPS

Breakfast at hotel

After breakfast we will be picked up in our 'super-jeeps' and head out for a day of exploring volcanoes, glaciers and waterfalls, among other beautiful settings. This adventure takes us into a spectacular nature reserve named after Thor the norse god of thunder. We head into the ancient valley of Thorsmork, crossing a number of rivers, some ice cold, fast flowing, coming down from glaciers. 

The valley lies between the glaciers and volcanos Katla and Eyjafjallajökull. We will take a trek to see the famous 2010 eruption site of Eyjafjallajokull, where the lava is still warm!

Picnic lunch in Thorsmork valley.

We get a close look at an outlet glacier where the floods came down from the erupting crater above. There you can see where the steaming hot water from the crater melted a tunnel into the glacier, on it’s way down the canyon. 

On our way back we visit at the rugged and picturesque gorge of Stakkholtsgja for a short hike and we stop at a magnificent waterfall which cascades from ancient sea cliffs over 60 meters down to a shallow pool. A sight to behold.

Return to Reykjavik and dinner with group at TBD.

 

 

DAY FOUR - LOCAL STORIES WITH FARMERS & CRAFTSPEOPLE

Breakfast at hotel

Departing Reykjavik in the morning, we soon leave the main road to follow the shoreline around Hvalfjördur fjord towards western Iceland. This area, once buzzing with activity, is now an oasis of calm, with farms tucked away between the ocean and the mountains. Get an insight into the life on a typical Icelandic farm, taste local treats and enjoy the stunning scenery at an easy going pace. We start with a guided visit to a glass blowing workshop as well as a wool dying workshop, where the botanist uses the same methods for dying wool as was done in the Viking times. Along the way we hope to make friends with some beautiful Icelandic horses.

After lunch in a local cafe, we visit a sheep farm that has been in the same family for generations. We hear about the life on a farm and have an introductory workshop with samples from their farm (meat, vegetables, & seaweed). Before we leave, we soak in the warm water of a primitive but beautiful natural pool with a stunning view towards Hvalfjörður bay. 

Return to Reykjavik and dinner on your own.

Optional Evening-Watch a show at Harpa Concert Hall "How to become Icelandic"

DAY FIVE - FREE DAY

Breakfast at hotel

A day to explore on your own. You may want to head to one or two or Reykjavik's art and design museums or galleries ( there are a lot!) or check out the Saga or Natural History Museum, visit Kolaportið weekend flea market -the big indoor market by the old harbour, take a quick ferry ride to Videy island, take a boat tour of harbour, go puffin spotting in Faxaflói bay. The hotel may also be able to help guests book other day tours, such as whale watching, riding tours on the surefooted Icelandic horse, exploring caverns as you go lava tubing in the dimmest depths of Raufarholshellir + so much more!

Another option is to pick up a Reykjavík City Card which offers 24 hrs of entry to a great selection of museums and galleries, all swimming pools in Reykjavík, ferry rides to Videy Island and unlimited travel by bus within the Reykjavik Capital Area (this card is available for purchase at KEX). 

This evening we have our final group dinner together at TBD.

DAY SIX - BLUE LAGOON + DEPARTURE

Breakfast at hotel

Check out of hotel

Enroute to the airport, we travel to Reykjanes Peninsula for a dip in the world famous Blue Lagoon, a unique wonder of nature with mineral-rich geothermal water in a middle of a black lava field. 

After your time at the Blue Lagoon, you can hop on a shuttle bus that will take you directly to the airport. There are hourly buses that run direct from the Lagoon to meet outgoing afternoon and evening flights. 

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED FOR THIS ACE CAMP.

 

Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modest modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.