FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Most frequent questions and answers we have experienced over the past years of our operations.

TRAVEL & LOGISTICS

Summer Tours:
During the summer months, April – October, our meeting point is at Freysnes gas station. It is located on road number 1, the main „ring road“ highway of Iceland, 320km east of Reykjavík. If coming from Reykjavík, it’s around a 4 hour drive and you will find Freysnes gas station on your right hand side, just a few minutes after passing the sign for Skaftafell nature reserve.

Winter Tours:
Our Local Guide base is located 370km east of Reykjavík at the main parking lot of Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon by the main highway, road number 1. It is very difficult to miss as you will see big ice bergs floating around and it’s across the road from the Diamond Beach.

If you are taking a private tour it may be possible to collect you from the hotel in the local area so please ask us about this option.

Read more here.

We ask you to please arrive promptly 15 minutes before the start time of your tour. In winter please consider the weather conditions and arrive 20-25 minutes before the departure. We have a seating area, hot drinks and snacks available to purchase at our booking house.

It is important to dress appropriately for the weather so that you will be as comfortable as possible on your trip. Please wear warm layers, waterproof jacket and outdoor trousers or leggings avoiding jeans where possible. We also strongly suggest that you have a hat, scarf and gloves as it can get windy and you will also protect your hands from the ice which can be both cold and sharp.

All of our tours include transfers to and from our base, a qualified local guide, crampons, helmet and ice axe and all safety equipment.

You can rent hiking boots for 1000 isk from our booking office. We are unable to rent clothing so please come well prepared for the tour with warm and waterproof clothing, hat, scarf and gloves.

Our public tours can be cancelled with 24 hours notice.

All other cancellations requested less than 24 hours from the departure time are non refundable. Because of extreme weather, road conditions or other factors, as a tour operator we may need to cancel the tour with a very short notice. In this case, we will assist you with rebooking to another date or provide a full refund.

For our private tours and groups (8+) the our cancellation policy is as follows:

– One month or more – no charge,
– One month to two weeks: 25% fee,
– Two weeks to one week: 50% fee,
– Seven days or less: 100% fee

Read more here.

 

We do not expect to cancel the tours due to regular rain. Unless the weather make it unsafe to go on the glacier then we cancel the tour and offer a client either to reschedule or refund the tour.

For public departures we approve a full refund 24h prior the departure. After this time you will be charged the full price of the trip.

For private tours and groups (8+) we apply our special cancellation policy created for this type of bookings.

It is important for you to know that we do not provide any drinks or snacks during any of our tours so please make sure you are prepared for the tour according to your personal needs in this matter.

We do offer private family glacier hikes for children as young as 5 year old, send us an email to info@localguide.is for more information.

Moreover, during the winter we are also able to accomodate younger children to join our ice cave tour as a private excursion. Our limit on this tour is 5 years old too.

See our private tours site.

 

We highly advise you to be staying in the area of Vatnajökull before or after the tour. Our recomendation would be to consider the area of Skaftafell, Öræfi, Glacier Lagoon, Höfn as the closest to both of our meeting points.

Unfortunately, we do not offer any pick ups in Reykjavík. Currently, our tours are leaving from Freysnes (summer time) and from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon (winter time) and you are asked to arrive to the meeting location on your own.

GLACIER HIKES

The main difference between two of our public departures is the time we spend hiking on Falljökull glacier, which is an outlet of Vatnajökull glacier. Our short glacier walk is called Glacier Encounter and is around 3 hours in duration with 1 hour on the glacier. 

For more information please check here.

The price for this tour is 10 900 ISK for adults and 8 900 ISK for children.  The age limit is 8 years old. Kids younger than 8 are welcome to join the tour only if it’s a private excursion. 

On the other hand, our longer glacier walk is called Glacier Discovery and is around 4 hours in total tour duration with 2,5 – 3 hours hiking on the glacier.

For more information please check here.

The price for this tour is 16 900 ISK and the age limit is 16 years old. You should be able to see our up to date availability online.

The Techniques tour is a private departure that can be customised depending on the goals and abilities of the small group. Because it’s a private departure we can begin the tour when it suits you.

Whether the group or individual is interested in beginners or advanced ice climbing we can dedicate as much time to climbing as you like and select locations based on what you feel comfortable with – or feel comfortable pushing yourself to try. The guide is able to find the best terrain and activities for everyone in your group and provide personalised assistance and opportunities for everyone.

The tour doesn’t just have to include basic up and down ice climbing. We can teach you different glacier travel and general climbing techniques that allow you to move safely through complex terrain and access unique areas of the glacier. 

We only offer this as a private tour so we can custom make the difficulty depending on the groups fitness level, your guide will have a chat with you prior the tour to discuss what you wish to do, focus more on climbing or hiking? Have a mix of both? No problem!

Read more about the tour here.

As for the hikes we do not require any previous glacier experience.

The Glacier Encounter hike is a very easy glacier walk suitable for people who wants to just try the glacier walk and do not have time for a longer, more demanding hike. This option is also a perfect solution for a family with kids. 

Our Glacier Discovery on the other hand does last longer so it requires more fitness than the Glacier Encounter hike but once you are used to hiking and you are active on every day basis then you shouldn’t find this tour challenging.

Read more about our tours here.

The Glacier Discovery tour is around 4,5 hours in total and our Glacier Techniques tour can last up to 6 hours, so it depends if you feel like you want to eat on the tour or ones you get back to our meeting point after the tour. There is a gas station next to our meeting van where you can buy sandwiches prior the tour or grab hot lunch after your adventure on the glacier. Very close to the meeting point there is also places like Hotel Skaftafell, Cafe Vatnajökull and Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon where you could plan to eat after the tour.

Our hikes are suitable for those that are comfortable walking unaided. We have had clients as young as 6 and as old as 90.

In the summer we can offer private departures for families with children under 8 years old.

Interested in private option? See more here.

We do offer private family glacier hikes for children as young as 5 year old, send us an email to info@localguide.is for more information or check our page dedicated to private bookings here.

ICE CAVE TOURS

Typically the ice cave season starts in October and ends in March. It is important to remember that the weather plays a huge part in the formation of the caves and we can sometimes access them earlier in the season and sometimes it may not be until later on. We are scouting for caves from late summer so as soon as conditions allow we are able to access these with our groups in winter.

During our public tours we try to schedule our tours in a way to avoid big traffic but even during our private tour we can never guarantee that we will be the only people inside the ice cave. If you are a photographer we try to choose less travelled ice cave, but it all depends on the conditions each day what are the possibilites  and what caves we have available for each season.

During the Ice Cave Discovery tour we are visiting the outlet of the glacier which is not as challenging as some of the other glaciers could be. We do not require any previous glacier hiking experience for either of our tours whether we talk about our summer or winter hikes. During this trip we will be hiking probably for up to 2h with breaks of course and we will visit possibly two ice caves. As long as you are fit and used to hiking and walking I believe this tour will be a nice adventure and a great experience for you both.

We provide all the glacier equipment for the tour so all you need to bring is warm and waterproof outdoor clothing, hat and gloves. Winter boots or hiking shoes are necessary.

Read more about the tour here.

We can arrange for you a private departure for children as young as 4 years old. Please send us an email to info@localguide.is for more information or check our website dedicated to private requests here.

No company has the exclusive right to visit any of the ice caves in Vatnajökull National Park. We work together with other tour operators to ensure that, if we visit the same cave at a similar time, we have more than enough space and time for our groups to experience and photograph the unique shapes and structures. We have scheduled our public Ice Cave Tour departures so that we do not overlap as much with other groups who may visit the same cave.

We accurately represent the changing conditions, size and colours of the ice cave on our instagram @localguide, where we are also tagged in photos from our clients throughout the season. These photos are often taken on phones, so the quality of your camera is no barrier to capturing the natural beauty. The colours of the ice caves can change slightly with the light and weather (rain, snow, bright sunshine) but this only enhances the individuality of the caves.

PRIVATE TOURS

For a private departure we kindly ask you to arrive on a scheduled time but preferably few minutes before a scheduled departure time.

All of our tours include transfers to and from our base, a qualified local guide, crampons, helmet, harness, and ice axe and all safety equipment.

Hiking boots are included in private tours. Unfortunately, we are unable to rent clothing so please come well prepared for the tour with warm and waterproof clothing, hat, scarf and gloves.

For our private tours and groups (8+) the our cancellation policy is as follows:

– One month or more – no charge,
– One month to two weeks: 25% fee,
– Two weeks to one week: 50% fee,
– Seven days or less: 100% fee

Even though this is a private tour we can never guarantee that we will be the only people inside the ice cave, if you are a photographer we try to choose less travelled ice cave, but it all depends on the conditions each day what are the possibilites  and what caves we have available for each season.

Since we are able to fully design and adjust the experience to your needs and expectationswe can make decidions regarding the complexity of a tour in line with your fitness level.

We do offer private departures for both the glacier hikes and ice cave tours. Please send us an email to info@localguide.is for more information.

Questions still unanswered? If you cannot find the answer to your question above please email us at info@localguide.is and we will be more than happy to assist you.