It was a day full of waterfalls and amazing views along to South Coast of Iceland. It was late afternoon when we arrived at one of my favorite places in Iceland – Jökulsárlón. My then-boyfriend and I were on an amazing 3-day adventure weekend road trip in Iceland. We both were super excited because we were going to head out to see an Iceland Ice Cave. We were being provided the Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier from Guide to Iceland.
Ice Caves are the most exciting of the Iceland cave tours. Ice caves are a uniques cave that are only found in cold climates. Most ice caves are found at the edge of glaciers. The ice cave is formed by water melting and moving underneath a glacier. As it moved, it starts to melt the ice above it and it slowly starts to form an opening.
Each season in Iceland, guides must scour the edges of the Vatnajokull Glacier to find this years ice cave. Some caves last multiple years but most are destroyed as the ice melts during the summer. During my first trip to Iceland, I visited an amazing Skaftafell ice cave. Alas on my return two years later, that glacier cave had collapsed.
The Meeting Spot
The meeting spot for our crystal ice cave tour was Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Jökulsárlón is about four and three-quarters of an hour drive from Reykjavik. The easiest way to get out there is to rent a car. I suggest Go Car Rental Iceland for that rental. Most ice cave tours start here but it is possible to get an ice cave tour from Reykjavik. These tours are a full day tour. Our tour was scheduled to be between 3-5 hours.
Our tour guide meet us outside the Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon Boat Tours and Cafe. The Cafe has a nice restroom with a gift shop and a small selection of sandwiches and snacks. Our guide was easy to spot. Just took for the person holding the clipboard. Actually, He approached us as we walked up. He marked us off.
The weather in Iceland is hit or miss and due to recent rain. This year’s best ice cave was flooded. He let us know this upfront. It was not safe to enter this cave but the tour would visit the entrance and a couple of other caves instead.
Promptly at 4:00 PM our ice cave tour left and started the long drive out to the Vatnajokull Glacier. We drove down the main road a couple of miles before our guide pulled over and deflated the tires to make the ride smoother and do less wear and tear on our massive off-terrain van. Our tour group had 12 people including myself and the then-boyfriend. It was a nice size group. The tour bus had several rows of seats and there was plenty of space for everyone and the backpacks.
The drive out to the base of the glacier was an adventure in itself. It was rough and very bouncy. Our drive handled the steep curves and deep drop-offs like a pro. It took about an hour to get out to the edge of the Iceland’s largest glacier.
We arrive at the entrance to the blue ice cave. It was full of water but standing at the entrance I could really appreciate the beauty of the cave.
I wish we could have gone in but that’s Iceland for you. Our next stop was a darker much less pretty ice cave. This cave was a little older and didn’t have water moving thru it so the ice was full of dirt and was the clear blue of the first cave.
We then walked back to the van and were handed crampons to wear and we were headed out on a tour of the Vatnajokull Glacier. We walked out to what our guide called an ‘Ice Cave with a sunroof.’ Aka, the ice cave had collapsed and had become a hole in the glacier. We walked down into this whole and explore a few of the features of the hole.
It was just starting to get dark but our guide took us the long way back to the van so we could spend some more time exploring the glacier. We walked passed some really deep hole and just generally enjoyed walking exploring the glacier.
The tours are a little expensive but nothing in Iceland is cheap. Guide to Iceland’s prices are on par with other ice cave tours in Iceland. They are 21,450 ISK (about $205.00 USD) per person. I would gladly pay the $200 bucks for this tour. It means I don’t have to waste time locating my own ice cave or risk a rental car driving out to the glacier (don’t do that).
Have you ever visited an Iceland Ice Cave?
Disclaimer: Guide to Iceland provided the Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier Tour free of charge for my review. All opinions are my own.