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Discussion: Iceland

in: Yvonne; Yvonne > 2018-05-27

Jun 2, 2018 7:21 PM # 
Been before? How long are you staying?
Jun 4, 2018 11:47 PM # 
Never been before - looking forward to it! We're staying 11 days and are working on putting together an itinerary but are probably going to try doing the loop road (w/ rental car), camp along the way, and hit the national parks. So many camping options!
Jun 5, 2018 6:06 PM # 
Cool. Loop road - as in 'all the way around the island'? We did that w exception of west fjordlands. Went counter-clockwise. It was a LOT of driving. If interested, i think i still have our itinerary.

I'd recommend getting one of these mobile wifi hotspots:

I think we used Trawire, but it looks like there are more options available now, and easier to pickup/dropoff.

We rented a cartop carrier along with the car. It was well worth the money.

We didn't camp, but we did plan on doing our own meals - breakfasts, lunches, and a few dinners. Restaurants are SUPER expensive. $40 for a pizza. $40 for a hamburger. Goes up from there. We took a trader joe's soft-sided cooler with us, and then used the fridge/freezer in the places we stayed. A cooler may be hard to find when you get there. We wanted to get a styrofoam cooler but unable to find.

Grocery stores are a trip. We ate a lot of yogurt (skyr) for breakfast & lunch, pasta and sausage for dinners. Be careful when buying meat, unless you don't mind eating horse....

Ice for the coooler was difficult to find. We refroze disposable water bottles every night.

Good rain gear, water proof boots, synthetic, convertable hiking pants, and packable down 'puff' jackets. You'll live in that stuff. Fast drying socks & underwear is a must as well. A swimsuit, shower shoes, and, I think we needed our own beach towels.
Jun 9, 2018 6:23 AM # 
Oh, that is super information. Thank you!

I meant ring road - yes, all the way around the island (but no west fjordlands). I was hoping it wouldn't seem like too much driving when spaced over 11 days. I would love to see your itinerary if you have it handy.

I will definitely check out Trawire - we weren't sure how to handle that kind of thing.

We're renting a small SUV, it's actually quite reasonably priced (manual tranny). Did you get the extra insurances (gravel, sand, ash) or is that unnecessary? I'm assuming gas to be around $8/gal - seem about right? yikes

I was aware of the exorbitant restaurant prices. We're planning to bring some freeze-dried meals and hit a grocery store in Reykjavik (Bonus) to stock up for camping. I hadn't thought of a soft-sided cooler - great tip. Will pack that. And the ice situation is very good to know.

We all have decent rain gear. We were thinking of trying waterproof socks instead of getting separate boots. It's amazing how many swimming pools there appear to be so we will be prepared there.

Did you do a whale/puffin tour? If so, where? We were scoping out Husavik for that. My daughter is dying to see nesting puffins...

What time of year did you go? I'm expecting the day length to be quite long - like it might not even get completely dark in the evening?

Thanks again for the great tips!!
Jun 10, 2018 8:20 PM # 
We went last week of July, first week of August for 12 or 13 days. It never got completely dark. Camping, you might take sleeping masks (eye cover thingies).

Weather was, well, be ready for cool and rainy. Expect wind. You'll probably get some sun.

We stopped at this grocery store on the way out of Reykjavik:

It's in a mall. This particular store had a wider range of foods than others. Supposedly the most similar to a US supermarket. We did Bonus pretty much for the rest of the trip. We were able to take about 2, maybe 3 days worth of cold food in the soft side cooler for 4 people.

We got a small suv too. Was supposed to be a Hyundai Tuscon 4x4 diesel. Don't remember the model we actually got, but it was a diesel all wheel drive. Did not do the extra insurance. I'd still recommend a rooftop box (32,000 isk). We also paid for extra driver (8,500 ISK) and that was money well spent. TAKE GOOD PICS OF THE WHOLE CAR before you leave the lot!!! They tried to charge us for a gravel ding that I'm sure we didn't do. WRT extra insurance - ash/sand/gravel is a real risk. Windshield chips/cracks and paint dings are definitely possible. If you get really unlucky, you might get caught in high winds and get ash or sand blasted. Luckily, we were on another part of the island when a wind storm hit.

We have a pile of paper from the trip, including a printed version of the itinerary. And we have a gimongus paper map of the whole island. You are welcome to borrow all. L will have an electronic version of the itinerary.

We didn't do a whale/puffin trip but it was def on the to-do list. I think it was non-refundable and very weather dependent. We did the glacier lagoon boat tour, and a private, guided glacier trek. Seems like every activity you do there is $200 a person (besides hiking).

This hike to the Hot River:

and this hot bath:

Both worth going to. The hot bath was kind of slimy - i didn't get in. But very picturesque. And, if you go up the valley another 200m(?) there's a place along the creek where hot water joins cold.

Go places as early as you can manage. Traffic and crowds get worse as the day goes on.
Jun 10, 2018 8:51 PM # 
Plan gas stops well. Stations can be few and far between, or not open. There are some that are 24hr unattended. Have to use a card and 'prepay'. They do only charge you for what you pump. I don't remember price of gas but $8/gal sounds about right.

For price conversions, i think we divided ISK by 100 and it worked out close. I think same is still true.

We only stayed in Reykjavik for a few hours. This was a good place to eat (awesome hot choc):

We did not go to Husavik, but we did drive the Dalvik, Vik, Hofsos peninsula. I don't know if this is common, but there were several tunnels that were oneway traffic. One of them the wait to get into the tunnel was between 30 and 60 minutes (factor into drive times). Other tunnels had 'wide' spaces where you could pull out to let oncoming traffic go by.

L says 'If we had done a whale trip, it would have been from Husavik'.

Do you still have yahoo email?
Jun 11, 2018 11:37 AM # 
We're currently using .93 cents/ISK at work for our 2018 spot rate. So, dividing by 100 is probably just about right when you add in charge for performing the exchange.
Jul 9, 2018 4:00 AM # 
Bill - thanks for your suggestions, especially the part about the ice. As you mentioned, it was very difficult to find and we planned accordingly. Very helpful! John and I told each other that if we ever move there, we will start a business selling ice to tourists.
Jul 12, 2018 5:48 PM # 
Sounds like you had a great trip! I think you could do well if you installed self serve ice vending machines at campgrounds and at popular points along the highway.
Jul 14, 2018 8:57 PM # 
Self--serve - great idea! Untapped market.

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