Glacier Kayaking in Iceland: A Life Changing Experience

On our kayaking trip with IceGuide, Daniel and I got to paddle past glaciers and icebergs, walk on them, physically stand on them and push them apart, and marvel at their beauty up close and personal.

Had I known this from the start, I would have never thrown the fit that I did right before I decided “f**** it” and booked it the night before we went.

how much did it cost?

The price for two adults for the “Ultimate Experience” Glacier Kayak Adventure was 31,800 ISK (257 USD). It felt like a crazy expense to make on a whim, but hey, it was Iceland. It was so incredibly worth it. I realized that the moment we pushed off shore and into the glacier lagoon.

all the waterproof things

We arrived to the Flatey Farm (near the Jökulsárlón Iceberg lake) and found a small building filled with all of the keep-dry-as-possible gear we could hope for. The rental of all of these items was included in the price.

They asked us to dress as warm as possible, which for me meant wearing 3 jackets, 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, and a hat. Luckily enough, they also provided waterproof bags for our electronics. They really were wonderfully waterproof.

In true Iceland fashion, it rained for the entire time we were on the kayaks. That definitely didn’t stop us, though!

I was worried  that the rain would ruin the experience, but for some reason it only enhanced it. It forced me to keep my electronics in my bag and experience it without the distraction of trying to capture it in photo and video. I still remember everything I saw with absolute clarity, and it was so special. (Note to self, though…buy a freaking GoPro).

The kayaking

After everyone was suited up, we piled into gigantic “lifted” 4×4 vans and were taken to a private part of the glacier lagoon to get started. We didn’t see any tourists other than ourselves, which was a first since we had been in southern Iceland.

IceGuide uses sit on top kayaks which means they are user friendly, especially to users who have never kayaked before (pointing at myself).

I was under the impression that we wouldn’t be able to touch the icebergs and it would be a “all hands and feet inside the kayak at all times” trip, but it was quite the opposite. The moment we rowed up to an iceberg, the guides encouraged us to interact with them and get a feel for them – it was incredible, especially in the bits that were bright blue!

Interacting with the icebergs

Early in the kayak adventure we reached what looked like a dead end. Instead of turning around and ending the trip, our guides hopped out of their kayaks and started to push the icebergs apart. Eventually, the ice moved and there was a clear path for us to paddle through.

Each time we hit a dead end moving forward, the guides would ask one of us to move the icebergs. It was incredible to feel the giant ice slowly moving underneath us!

What we found on the other side of each dead end was a vast array of glaciers and icebergs seemingly untouched by man.

walking on a glacier

We were eventually lead to a huge glacier that we got to walk around on top of. The guides gave us ice spikes to wrap around our boots and set us loose to walk around anywhere we wanted.

It was truly a surreal experience being surrounded by thousands of years of ice on a cold, rainy day in Iceland. Daniel and I could not stop smiling the entire time. Our heads were soaking wet, our feet were going numb, and our hands were… let’s just say we both happened to grab the only non-waterproof gloves they had to offer. 

Swimming in glacier water

To finish off the trip, our guides brought us to two glacier water pools. The water appeared to be bright blue because the ice under it was bright blue. As a joke, they suggested we check out how waterproof our suits really are and jump in the pools.

To their great surprise (and mine too) several of the people on the trip jumped right in, and Daniel and I eventually joined them. The suits really are completely waterproof, by the way. The water was absolutely freezing, but it was one of those “I’m never going to have this opportunity again so I might as well” moments. I live for those moments.

In summary

The kayaking trip with IceGuide is absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, worth every penny. The experience that Daniel and I had out on the water among the glaciers and icebergs is unlike anything we’ve ever seen and will never forget it. The bright blue hue of the ice and the thousands-of-years-old glaciers were beyond incredible.

What made this experience so wonderful was how hands on it was. A lot of activities and attractions in Iceland can only be seen from afar, but with this kayaking trip, we literally walked around on and interacted with what we came to see.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland, be sure to check out IceGuide for a fun, crazy, unforgettable adventure! Let me know if you end up booking!

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