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Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Montreal
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Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Objective opinions from travellers most welcome.

I will be in Iceland for a full 7 days at the end of June and will concentrate on southern Iceland, with a quick side trip to Snaeffelsnes and perhaps fit in one day for Landmannalaugar IF we can safely and affordably see something truly remarkable that we have not already seen. If not, I would rather spend another day in Snaeffelsnes or on the south coast. My husband and I love amateur photography and are well travelled. We have travelled around Alaska, hiked to volcanoes in the Galapagos (did a 16 kilometer hike to the top of a volcano and saw many lava fields and lunar landscapes) and Costa Rica (Poas Volcano ) and have seen rainbow candy coloured striated and wavy mountains near Kanab in Utah, USA. We will probably have a regular car as we do not see the point of a 4WD if we have to ford rivers . I am very confused as to whether we should consider a day trip from Reykjavik or whether we should sandwich it in from meeting up with a tour from Hella or elsewhere in order to save time and money. I only want to go if we will see things that are truly different from what we have seen elsewhere. I have seen lava fields and lunar landscapes before. We love to walk but are not formal hikers. I am not overly thrilled about soaking in the hot springs as they are supposed to have parasites. I have looked at several options:

1 coach tours from Reykjavik (at very reasonable prices-around $160 pp)-see Hjalparfoss waterfall, see Hekla from a safe distance, go thru Pjorsardalur Valley, Landammalauger’s geothermal pools, Hellisheidi plateau . There does not appear to be any hiking. Coach tours sound naturally very boring, but when I look at the pictures from real travellers, I like what I see.

2 Hiking tours with pick up from Reykjavik or Hella (about $170) . These pass thru Vondugil Canyon, climb the slopes of Brennisteinsalda Volcano, descend to mount Balhnaukur. There is supposed to be a real 4 hour hike in Landmannalaugar. Hike up to Mt. Blahnukur etc. Maybe hiking would be better as I would see more of the awesome mulit-coloured mountains than if I am confined to a bus.

3 Jeep or super jeep tour to Landmannalaugar and Hekla volcano guided tour. (around $300 pp. I will not pay $400 pp.) This tour costs an arm and a leg. It sounds very exciting, but I am naturally scared of driving close to the ridge of Hekla!! I would like to see Ljotipollur, but don’t really want to risk my life getting too close to Hekla.

As I said I welcome objective opinions from real travellers. People who have raved about jeep and super jeep tours may have never seen volcanos before. I have a very hard time justifying the cost. Also I want more than 30 minutes of warning if there are tiny earthquakes prior to the volcano blowing up for good!!! I also wish that someone could explain to me why I do not get any sort of price break in joining a tour on the south coast as opposed to departing from Reyjavik or Kevlavik. A huge thank you in advance to all who reply.

Reykjavik, Iceland
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1. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

About visiting Landmannalaugar, yes, do it. I cannot imagine you'd regret that.

About Hekla, never mind. I know two guys who were on Hekla when she erupted (not both on the same eruption) and they're alive, still bragging about it. And besides, the explosion comes from a slope, not from the crater, as in movies. She doesn't do the same spot twice, I believe.

About the cost: just take whatever is good for you. 😀

PS: What do you mean? Quote: " ... why I do not get any sort of price break in joining a tour on the south coast as opposed to departing from Reyjavik or Kevlavik."

Edited: 7:18 pm, May 16, 2016
Montreal
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2. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Thank you Kiana for your reply.

What I was trying to say is that if gas or petrol is so expensive and I join a tour that has several pick up stops beginning in Reykjavik and then some meet the tour at the gas station in Hella etc. , then because Hella is closer to Landmannalaugar I would have imagined that the tour would have cost less. Seems logical to me. But hey, I don't live in Iceland! I do try and see things from both sides of the coin!

Reykjavik, Iceland
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3. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Ah, ok. I can explain that.

Of course, if the original departure spot is Hella, then one would expect it to be cheaper.

The way you look at it is similar to the way a bus system works. But being a tour, it's not the same. Imagine... a person orders a cup of coffee in a nice café. But he drinks only half of the cup, and doesn't use the sugar nor the milk. Does the coffee cup become cheaper? No.

Montreal
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4. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

I like your sense of humour! What you are saying is that the tours can charge what the market will bear. They look at it as if they are doing this tourist a favour in that he or she does not have to drive back all the way to Rekjavik to join the tour. As you said earlier I was looking at it as if I was taking a bus or a train. I see-tours are different-if they start in one spot and I join in later on, it's still the same. Thanks for clarifying as this was bugging me.

As someone who lives in Iceland-if you only had one day would you prefer the views by doing more hiking or do you honestly believe you would get to see more awesome scenery by coach or jeep. What is the difference between a jeep and a super jeep tour? Thanks again

Reykjavik, Iceland
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5. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Me, I would take the off-road tour (that should mean the super jeep tour). But I must say that I do have an expensive taste, generally.

Jeeps are jeeps, and super jeeps have humongous large tires. The whole of it is explained in this blog, made by an Icelander who obviously knows what he's talking about: hiticeland.com/iceland/notes/if-you-have-bee…

:)

Boston...
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6. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

By the way, I have yet to hear about parasites at the spas. Potential lack of cleanliness due to poor hygiene or overuse of some pools, yes. But never have I read of parasites in Iceland spas.

Germany
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7. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

a) I would always choose a hiking tour in Landmannalaugar over a Jeep tour to Hekla or the short tour to Landmannalaugar. Loving photography you will wish you had allocated a week to Landmannalaugar.

b) There are no parasites in the water at Landmannalaugar. I think this information used to be around, seem to remember that it was in the Lonely Planet guides. But they obsessed about Leishmania in untreated water in every country of the world, too. In the newest Lonely Planet for Iceland they do not have this Leishmania obsession anymore. And no warning about parasites either.

Montreal
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8. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

Thank you to all of you and I am so relieved to hear that there are no parasites as I love to soak in hot springs. No Blue Lagoon for me. (too commercial ). I bought about 6 books on Iceland and also borrowed some from my library so must have read about "bugs" in an older Lonely Planet version. Sorry! Because I am so pressed for time and want to see as much as possible in this gorgeous country, I am tempted to stay overnight in Selfoss or Hella and take the regular bus to Landmannalaugar to take a 4 hour hike with Trek Iceland. I would also love to take a super jeep tour the following day to see the rest, but that would mean missing out on Snaefellnes and I really really want to photograph Kirkjufell as well as the beautiful coast. I have to little time thanks to Wow Air that tripled their price just as I was about to book. I have now booked with Icelandic Air and am only allowed a 7 night stopover. :(

9. Re: Day trip-coach vs hike vs jeep and scared of Hekla

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