Wild Latitudes

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Iceland

Birds, Botany, and Geology

Interested in this tour?

You’ve probably heard that Iceland is a great place to visit for nature travelers. It’s true! This small island country in the North Atlantic is like nowhere else in the world. Iceland’s combination of geologic wonders, abdundant and ever-present bird life, and subtle but fascinating flora make Iceland a delightful place to explore.


Iceland emerged from the sea less than 20 million years ago as a great cluster of lava-spewing volcanic fissures. During the last Ice Age, the entire island was covered in thousands of feet of glacial ice. All life on the island today has descended from colonizing plants and animals that arrived after the Ice Age, which ended only 12,000 years ago.


The plants and wildlife of Iceland are an interesting mix of European and North American species, as well as species representing either boreal or arctic environments. The low human population density on the island has allowed for nature to dominate Iceland’s beautiful landscapes.


What this far-flung land lacks in bird species diversity, it makes up for in sheer avian spectacle. Birds are singing, nesting, and foraging seemingly everywhere you go in Iceland. Millions of puffins and other seabirds crowd seaside cliffs while shorebirds and waterbirds are practically underfoot in many fields and wetlands. Their songs and cries fill the air 24 hours a day in the perpetual summer daylight.


Naturalists who also love geology will get their fill of stunning volcanic landscapes, many of which have been sculpted over millenia by glaciers or the pounding sea.


Iceland is sure to impress you deeply and leave you with lasting memories of a hauntingly beautiful, wild island. We hope you’ll join us on this great adventure!

Tour Highlights

 Standing in the place marking the geological divide between North America and Europe: Thingvellir.

 Visiting the tiny, charming island of Flatey.

 Getting up-close looks at Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds at the Latrabjarg Cliffs.

 Hiking the wild and remote Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

 Birding around Lake Myvatn and exploring its many geological sites.

Map_Iceland_Tour_1

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1

Arrive in Iceland (Keflavik airport). Local birding near the airport, then drive to Reykjavik to our hotel. Orientation and then some free time to explore the city.


Day 2

Visiting the major sites on the Golden Circle: Thingvellir, Geysir, and Gullfoss waterfall.


Day 3

Drive north to explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula before getting on the ferry to Flatey Island, where we'll spend the night. Birding around the island in the evening.


Day 4

Board the ferry and continue to the spectacular Westfjords region. Walk the Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs to see puffins, razorbills, murres, and more.


Day 5

Drive eastward across the Westfjords, exploring and birding sites along the way.


Day 6

Experience an epic full day of exploring the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in extreme northwestern Iceland, just shy of the Artic Circle. Look for Arctic Foxes here!


Day 7

A travel day across northern Iceland to the charming town of Husavik.


Day 8

Birding around Lake Myvatn, one of the world's top birding locations due its high density of nesting ducks-- 13 species in all. This is also our best chance to see Gyrfalcon.


Day 9

Look for birds on our way to the amazing geological sites of Asbyrgi and Dettifoss, Europe's largest waterfall.


Day 10

Explore the numerous geological features of the Myvatn volcanic area. We'll see sulfur fumaroles, recent lava flows, cinder cones, craters, hot springs, and more.


Day 11

We head to Akureyri Airport, to say our farewells.

TRIP FULL

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COST of TOUR: $4,695

START DATE: July 8, 2019

DURATION: 11 days

GROUP SIZE: Up to 14

TRIP FOCUS: Birds, Plants, and Geology




WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Double-occupancy lodging
  • Ground transportation
  • Breakfasts and lunches
  • Excursions and park fees
  • Guiding services


Get the brochure for this tour

The PDF brochure includes:

  • A detailed itinerary
  • Tour Map
  • Registration Info
  • And more!


YOUR GUIDE

Ivan Phillipsen, Co-owner of Wild Latitudes, is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He holds an M.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in zoology. Natural history is Ivan’s true passion and what he is most excited to teach to others. Although he is fascinated by just about every aspect of nature, Ivan is particularly fond of birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, plants, and geology. Everything is interconnected in nature and Ivan takes a holistic approach when teaching about the natural world.




If you love nature travel, you’re in good hands with us

How We Travel

We gauge the success of a tour on how well it was enjoyed by all. Providing a rich, rewarding experience for each individual is our top priority. Our tours generally have an easy pace so that everyone gets to experience all a region has to offer.

We create a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere that encourages tour participants to help each other in the field. Just as safety and comfort are cornerstones of our tours, so are humor and the simple joy of learning. The good cheer and camaraderie on our tours often inspire post-trip get-togethers and new, life-long friendships.

Our Focus

We’re crazy about birds, but they are only part of the story.

Our tours offer a holistic experience by taking the time to appreciate all of the animals we encounter– including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. They all interact and play vital roles in their ecosystems. We also take time on our tours to explore the plants and geology of the regions we visit.

Fostering a deeper understanding of new cultures is one of our goals. On your tour, you’ll taste exotic cuisine and hear local music. You’ll have time to peruse the market, stroll through villages, and share stories with the people you meet.

Protecting the Wild

Ecotourism is a powerful tool for protecting the wild regions of the world. For example, parts of Uganda are now devoted to the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla. Though still endangered, ecotourism has pulled this species back from the precipice of extinction.

We aim to make a positive conservation impact wherever we travel. We often use local guides and stay in small, locally-owned lodges. On every trip, we donate to a local conservation organization that works to protect a native species or ecosystem. When you travel with Wild Latitudes you are helping to protect wild places and the amazing species that call them home.

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