Sterna Tours - Iceland

I was super excited to take a tour. Yes, our rental car gave us the freedom to come and go but I was looking forward to the full experience of each location and the history. Sterna travel offers a variety of tours around Iceland.  We decided to tour “The Beautiful South Coast.” Our trip started with an 8:30am pick up at our hotel and about an hour ride to our first location.

The first stop was massive Skógafoss said by many to be one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Second stop: Lunch! We ate in the small village of Vík.  FYI: Hot dogs are a huge deal out here.  Kind of like what pizza is to NY.

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Reynisfjara beach: I had the chance to walk along this beautiful black sand beach. It was full of columnar basalt formations and ocean carved caves. It was breathtaking!!

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My favorite part of the tour was being up close to the fast melting Sólheimajökull glacier...

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Last stop: The Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can walk behind in mild weather.  I decided to be brave because YOLO and I got about half way because the spray of the water was frigid, LOL!

My hat and jacket were SOAKED but so worth it!

I wanted share some info with you all that will be useful when planning your trip to Iceland.

Tips:

  • Bring an extra set of clothing (including underwear and socks). While I was on this tour, it rained the ENTIRE time.  So needless to say, I was soaked throughout the whole trip.  But besides that, like I’ve mentioned before the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable so you have to be prepared.
  • You can drink the water out of the tap!  It’s good *think Smart Water*. Just bring an empty water bottle and fill it up in the bathroom.  And no need the worry about the cleanliness of the bathrooms, they are all super clean.
  • Pack snacks!  There was at least 45 minutes to an hour to reach a destination and the worst feeling is to be hungry on the road. I would suggest bringing something easy like trail mix or dried fruit.

To sum up, I was able to stand in front of two waterfalls, touch a glacier and walk on a black sand beach. And you can too! For more pricing and info on other tours, click here.

THANKS to Sterna Travel for such a wonderful experience!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Sterna Travel however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Laugarvatn Fontana pools

During our visit, we arrived at Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths around 2:00 pm.  Just in time to catch the tour of their traditional Icelandic geothermal bakery, which goes on every day at 11.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.  We experienced it first hand and I was blown away!  Our tour guide explained to us the history of the bakery and what the process entailed. Honestly, I don’t remember all of details because I was so hungry and I wanted to just try whatever was cooking. Our tour guide proceeded to dig out a pot of fresh rye bread from the hot black sand that was buried underground and baked for 24 hours.  Check it out!

As a guest, you are offered to taste the bread, served hot from the ground with some butter. FYI: It was sooo delicious! Even though the tour is not free (it costs 1500 ISK which is about $14.00) per person, it's definitely worth it.

So after I indulged in several pieces of buttered bread, it was time to relax. I went around the various pools testing out each of them before settling on the Viska, the hot tub.  It is positioned at a higher level than the rest of the pools so it provided such an amazing panoramic view of the mountains and beautiful landscape.

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All of that relaxation definitely put me in the mood to eat.  The restaurant at Laugarvatn Fontana offers a selection of healthy and locally produced dishes and refreshments (including beer).

They offer a soup of the day, a lunch and dinner buffet that is served daily. I was really ecstatic that the buffets offers a variety of fresh and healthy options.  The line up consists of fish, meat (beef and pork), chicken, salads, and vegetarian options. 

Pricing:

  • Soup of the day 1.200 ISK (about $11.00)
  • Lunch buffet 2.950 ISK (about $26.50)
  • Dinner buffet 4.500 ISK (about $40.00)
Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

Coconut, carrot and ginger soup with a side of rye bread.

The food was just as delicious as it looks!

Before I forget, I want to offer you all this tip.  ** Bring your own towels, bathing suits and bathrobes. Even though they are all available for rent, you can save quite a bit of money by bringing your own.

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My experience at Laugarvatn Fontana pools was delightful.  I really enjoyed my moments of solitude and being surrounded by such breathtaking views was definitely a treat on its own.  

Many thanks to Laugarvatn Fontana pools for the lovely accommodations!

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Laugarvatn Fontana pools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Travel: Driving in Iceland with Lagoon Car Rental

I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive all over the world but I honestly had no idea what to expect in Iceland. I just imagined being surrounded by glaciers lol, just kidding. From what I researched, I knew Iceland was cold and had some breathtaking landscapes but had no idea how my friend Carla and I were going to get around.  Thankfully, we partnered up with Lagoon Car Rental to make getting around the island easier.  I chose the Mitsubishi Outlander because it’s a great car for traveling out of the city in all road conditions. Like I mentioned before, the weather in Iceland is very unpredictable and this car had four wheel drive and great ground clearance which definitely came in handy during the winter weather conditions we experienced. 

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So here are some tips you should know about renting a car and driving in Iceland:

1.  To rent/drive a car from Lagoon Car rental, the driver needs to be at least 20 years old. The driver also needs to have held a driver license for at least one year.

2. If you are picking up a car in Keflavik Airport, a representative from Lagoon Car Rental will be waiting in the arrivals for you with a sign with the Lagoon Car Rental logo and your name.  This was a life saver for us and THANK GOD the airport has great wifi.

3.  When you pick up your car, you will be required to provide your normal driving license, issued by your country of residence and your passport.

4.  PURCHASE THE EXTRA INSURANCE!!  I repeat, PURCHASE THE EXTRA INSURANCE!

Ok, let me explain. The rental fee includes mandatory vehicle insurance, including liability insurance and accident insurance for the driver and the owner as well as a collision damage waiver. The self risk cost is 2980€ (about $3,200), self risk meaning what you would pay in cost for an accident on top of other damages. 

Additional insurance that can be added:

  • Super collision damage waiver (SCDW) lowers the deductible of the standard collision damages waiver from 2980€ (about $3,200) down to 600€ (about $635) Cost : 13€ a day. 

This was confusing for me because in the US if you purchase full coverage insurance for a rental car, you are covered but in Iceland it just lowers the deductible. So if you were to get into a wreck and did not purchase this insurance, you would have to pay the full amount of 2980€ plus the cost of any additional damages.

Other additional insurance for purchase:

  • The Gravel protection (GP) covers the windscreen, headlights and the body of the car from damages resulting from gravel or stones that can hit the vehicle by another car. The self risk is 98€ (about $103). Cost 11€ (about $12) a day.
  • Theft protection (TP) covers the theft of rental vehicle. The self risk is 0€. Cost 5€ (about $5) a day.
  • Sand and ash protection (SAAP) offers insurance against damage due to ash and sandstorm damages to the paint of the car, windows, lights and plastic. The self risk is 600€ (about $633). Cost 9€ ($9.50) a day.
  • Insurance bundle:  includes all the insurance coverage offered at a discount. It includes the SCDW, SAAP, GP and TP for the cost of 32€ (about $34) per day.

** We went with the most common issues and purchased the super collision damage waiver and the gravel protection.

5.  If you have a great data plan on your phone, use you Google maps to for directions.  We ended up getting an Icelandic GPS but it was kind of confusing for me to understand and to type in certain Icelandic letters.

6. Beware of speed traps!  I could not understand what some of the signs said but if you see a blue sign with a white camera – follow the speed limit!  Speeding tickets are extremely expensive and the last thing you would want to spend your money on is a ticket.

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During our road trip, we came across an Icelandic horse farm!  They totally look like ponies but they are just that small.  

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We took full advantage of the beautiful landscapes to take some pictures like most bloggers do :-)

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All in all, I’m so glad we were able to drive around Iceland and just explore.  It gave us the freedom to enjoy everything at our own pace without an itinerary.  A HUGE thanks to Lagoon Car Rental for providing us with such a great vehicle to make this road trip worthwhile and special.

Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Lagoon Car Rental however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.