DECEMBER 07–11 | 2018
Behold the midnight sun or northern lights amidst geological wonders rich with Scandinavian history.
Join Next Step Travel for the trip of a lifetime in an unrivaled location: a wintertime adventure in Iceland. Explore the planet’s northernmost capital city, learn about Iceland’s unique culture and history, bask in geothermal spas, and experience the magical long sunrises and sunsets of the Icelandic winter. At night, imagine yourself bundled up, inspired from the day’s magnificent hike, surrounded by new and old NPCA friends—until the sky suddenly begins to glow in greens, yellows, and even blues with the pulsating aurora borealis. Together, NPCA will enjoy the varied culinary delicacies and experience the awe-inspiring geological wonders of the Blue Land.
Peace Corps Community and Culture: Engage in conversations on conservation in Iceland with a local nonprofit and sustainability experts and returned Peace Corps volunteers living in the planet’s northernmost capital city. Learn why Iceland is one of the world’s most peaceful countries, including their role in international peace summits and how they inherited a piece of the Berlin Wall.
Eye-popping Landscapes: Iceland is, quite literally, a country in the making, with volcanoes, geysers, mud pots, and hot springs. And, for our visit, Iceland offers front-row seats to the aurora borealis, which we’ll hunt for each night.
Optional Extension: Extend your 5-day, 4-night trip by a week—and get a free night! Get outside of Reykjavik and explore the depth of this magical isle.
Accommodations are charming, locally-owned 3- and 4-star hotels and country lodges. Prices are based on double occupancy. Private accommodations are available for a $465 for the base program and an additional $465 for the extension (get one night free!). As a solo traveler, if you prefer, we can also pair you with another traveler (two twin beds, requiring no single supplement, based on availability).
Iceland is known for its vast moonscapes and dancing skies. While this trip is accessible for most healthy travelers, please note that the trip can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of walking (including stairs, varied elevations, and uneven surfaces) and non-technical hikes. Further, Iceland is notorious for exciting, and sometimes unpredictable, weather. It’s critical that all travelers pack appropriate all weather gear and be prepared for winter temperatures (additional details and recommendations will be provided after registration in a suggested packing list). If you have any medical conditions or other concerns, there will be opportunity for you to make us aware of them, and then we can determine if the trip is appropriate for you.
- All activities as listed in the itinerary
- Accommodations as described in the itinerary
- Meals as outlined in the itinerary
- Transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach as well as transfers for the group as appropriate
- 5 days, 4 nights, options at family-friendly hotels.
- Dedicated bilingual guides and private transportation throughout the trip.
- Comprehensive briefing packet for each participant, including country information, logistical and contact information, reading list, and packing list.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
- Flights to and from Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport (KEF)
- Expenses of a purely personal nature (including cab fares, laundry and other personal items, room service charges)
- Transportation of luggage in excess of weight allowance
- Travel insurance (We strongly advise that each participant arrange for their own travel insurance)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not noted in itinerary
- Medical expenses
- Passport application fee
- Costs associated with trip interruption or modification due to weather, travel conditions, political/civil disputes, medical emergencies or other causes beyond our control
Cancellation by Traveler
The $250 trip deposit is non-refundable.
- 25% non-refundable 120 days or more prior to departure
- 50% non-refundable 119 to 90 days prior to departure
- 75% non-refundable 89 to 60 days prior to departure
- 100% non-refundable 59 days or less prior to departure
If a traveler leaves the trip for any reason after it has commenced, we are not obligated to make any refunds for unused services. If a travelers fails to join a tour, join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, no refund will be made.
Cancellation by Trip Operator - Insider Expeditions (IE)
IE may cancel a trip at any time prior to departure if, due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events, it is not viable for us to operate the planned itinerary. If IE cancels the trip, traveler can transfer amounts paid to an alternate departure date or alternatively receive a full refund. In circumstances where the cancellation is due to external events outside our reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable costs. We are not responsible for any incidental expenses that you may have incurred as a result of your booking including but not limited to visas, vaccinations, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.
BASE TRIP PRICE - $3,499 ($465 Single Supplement)
EXTENSION TRIP PRICE - $3,499 ($465 Single Supplement)
This trip is coordinated by RPCV Mary Bruce of tour operator Insider Expeditions.
Full Ticket orders available 90 days before departure. Reservation fee will be credited towards full ticket.
Day 1, December 7 - Venture to the Blue Land
Take an overnight flight, arriving by the morning of December 7 to explore the Icelandic southwest. Enjoy the Viking World museum, famed Blue Lagoon, and Leif the Lucky’s Bridge. Then get an exclusive tour of an old fish factory by the café’s owner, who will show you around and provide insights on the fishing industry in Iceland. Explore the steaming, primeval landscape of Krýsuvík before settling in for a welcome feast in Reykjavik—where we hope to get our first peek of the northern lights! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 2, December 8 - Journey to the South Coast
Our day’s adventure starts with a scenic drive up the southern coast. We’ll start out with an otherworldly hike, taking in the moonscapes and a magnificent waterfall, feeling the spray of Seljalandsfoss from the inside out. Over lunch, we’ll learn more about churches and homes from the late-1800s and taste some local delicacies at a historic farm. Before we head out for another northern lights hunt, we’ll enjoy dinner at a quaint and cozy restaurant, tasting more of Iceland’s unique cuisines. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 3, December 9 - Geology and the Golden Circle
Snack on treats from a geothermal bakery, then jump into the nearby thermal hot springs and pools. Explore the eye-popping Kerið Crater Lake along with the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and legendary Geysir. Tonight, meet at the Harpa Music Hall and take a private boat ride to see the Imagine Peace Tower and Viðeyjarstofa, the oldest stone house in Iceland. Then, if we’re lucky, we might even catch some northern lights on our ferry ride back home! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 4, December 10 - A Day in the Icelandic Life
Hike up an ancient lava channel and enjoy a favorite local’s lunch. Cool off and warm up with a dip at one of the best geothermal (and totally local!) pools in the capital—including a geothermally-heated water slide! Soak in the tubs and enjoy the afternoon before delving into the sites of the world’s most northerly capital, including Tjörnin Lake and the Old Quarter, Reykjavik Harbor, and the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church. Tonight, enjoy a final night of exploring—enjoying all this magical city has to offer. We’ll check out the live music scene before heading back to the hotel to dream Icelandic dreams. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 5, December 11 - Fare-Whale or Venture On!
For those departing today, visit the Whales of Iceland Museum before heading to the airport. For those venturing on for the optional extension, we will depart for the Snæfellsnes peninsula. En route, we’ll visit Bogarnes for a stop at the Settlement Center to learn about the heroes of the Icelandic Sagas and the discovery of this frigid isle. Then, we’ll warm up at our Snæfellsnes hotel before heading out a northern lights hunt. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 6, December 12 - Lava River
Start today with a visit to Djúpalónssandur, a black beach and former home of fishing boats. Test your strength with the lifting stones, traditionally used to qualify men for onboard work. The Fullsterkur ("full strength") weighs in at 339 pounds! We’ll explore the vast area with amazing bird life before visiting Vatnshellir cave, an 8,000 year old lava tube created by volcanic eruption from a nearby crater in the Purkhólar crater family. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 7, December 13 - Boats on the Bay
Head to Stykkishólmur, a beautiful old fishing town, where we’ll depart on a boat tour around the bay with a taste of sushi fresh from the ocean. Explore this little town, exploring the shops and chatting with locals. If weather permits, our afternoon route will take us to the glacier, before returning home for a special guest lecture. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 8, December 14 - Icelandic Snjór (Snow) Day
Take the morning to relax, or for those feeling more adventurous, book a snowmobile or snow cat tour on the glacier! We’ll also offer an optional hike, spotting birds and learning about this ever-shifting landscape. Tonight, we’ll head back to Reykjavik to explore some of the 100-plus bars, meeting locals and toasting with their beloved Viking Gold beer (and hear the tales of when it was illegal). Skál! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 9, December 15 - Fjords and Farms
Head out to Hvalfjörður for a sightseeing tour, giving us an excellent opportunity to enjoy the unique beauty of Icelandic fjords, with their sloops, shores, canyons and waterfalls—and somewhat controversial history of whaling. The area is especially quiet and tranquil with few people around while we marvel at the undulating landscape. We’ll also stop by a local farm for lunch and have a visit with the animals. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 10, December 16 - Departures
For those of us who stayed on for the extension, it’s time to say our goodbyes. Enjoy a dip in the the newly-renovated geothermal pool in the city center before heading back to the airport for midday flights. Breakfast.
A Note on the Final Itinerary: Itineraries and pricing are subject to change. This particular tour has been designed with specific events in mind, and schedules and availabilities may change in coming months. If any activity or person that is advertised is missed or not available, it will be replaced with an activity or person of equal interest and value. A final itinerary and briefing packet will be ready two weeks before the trip.