Wild Latitudes


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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.

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.

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.

AkureyriLake MývatnFlatey IslandLátrabjargHornstrandirReykjavíkICELANDN

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

Enjoy a morning of birding on Flatey Island. Then take the ferry to the spectacular Westfjords region. Make our way to our lodge.

Day 5

A day exploring the Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs! Get close-up experiences with seabirds like Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills!

Day 6

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

Day 7

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 8

A relaxing day around our lodge, in a quiet valley of the Westfjords. Optional activities include light birding and horseback riding.

Day 9

A travel day across northern Iceland to the Lake Myvatn region. Stops along the way to break up the journey—to see birds and cultural sites.

Day 10

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 the amazing Gyrfalcon. Along the way, we'll see sulfur fumaroles, recent lava flows, cinder cones, craters, hot springs, and more.

Day 11

Look for birds on our way to the amazing geological sites of Asbyrgi and Dettifoss, Europe's largest waterfall. Explore the numerous geological features of the Myvatn volcanic area.

Day 12

We head to Akureyri Airport, to say our farewells.

COST of MAIN TRIP: $3,645*

DEPOSIT: $2,700

SINGLE SUPP.: $1,500

START DATE: July 8, 2024

DURATION: 12 days

GROUP SIZE: Up to 14

TRIP FOCUS: Birds and Natural History

* Tour fee may change slightly as some trip details are still being finalized.

We'll update with the final info soon.


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


Steve Backus is an avid birder and naturalist with a background in the maritime industry hailing from North Carolina. An infinitely curious person by nature, he is drawn to explore the life around him and the environments they occupy. As a mariner, waterbirds are of particular interest to Steve and his time as a ship’s naturalist, a captain of wildlife cruises, a point counter at migration hot-spots, and many other employments and community science efforts has deepened his appreciation of birds.

David Jaffe has been guiding and teaching since 1991. His childhood interest in nature eventually led him to Evergreen State College, WA where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geology. Later, he earned a M.S. in Applied Ecology from the University of Vermont.

David has led backcountry trips in Denali National Park, learned from students in Kentucky, and gained great insights while hitchhiking home from work in Yosemite National Park. He has experience as a naturalist in many of the lower 48 states and Baja California. David worked as a divemaster in Australia, Costa Rica, and India. He assisted with the establishment of a marine protected area off the coast of Madagascar and researched birds in Canada and South America. His understanding, love and enthusiasm about the natural world continues to grow.

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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