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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Iceland

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Iceland. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document sent to all tour registrants, whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING ICELAND: U.S. citizens will need a passport, which is valid for at least six months beyond intended length of stay. A visa is not required for stays up to 90 days. Citizens of other nations should contact the nearest Icelandic consulates for entry requirements. 

MAP AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Iceland in the University of Texas series at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/iceland.html . You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/iceland.html the CIA World Factbook background notes on Iceland at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ic.html

HEALTH: No vaccinations are required, but you should be sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date for measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc. 

Insects: Black flies can be a nuisence at Lake Mývatn but are mostly absent in July. The black flies in Iceland are not agressive biters, but please bring suitable clothing and repellent. 

Motion Sickness: If you suffer from motion sickness then appropriate pills/wrist bands/patches are strongly advised for the whale watching trip. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC’s Internet site at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/iceland

PACE OF TOUR: This is not a strenuous tour but the plentiful hours of daylight can mean long days. With one exception (see below) there is no rough walking. The day spent on Flatey island is all on foot, but the island is flat and smooth (walking on fields and dirt road) and those who get tired can always rest in the local restaurant. The walk to the great Dettifoss waterfall (no birds) is however a bit rough (large rocky steps). Normally the whole visit takes 40 minutes and even people  with walking difficulties can make the trip, with patience. Then again, one can stay in the bus. Sometimes we do a walk for Great Skuas, across a flat land, about 2-3km in total. It‘s easy walking. 

We will return to our hotel in plenty of time to shower before dinner. With so much daylight on some evenings there will be the option to go out birding again after dinner. 

On some days there will be long drives; on one day in particular there will be a 500km (310 mile) drive, but the scenery will be spectacular. 

ACCOMMODATION: At the time of writing, all our hotels will have private facilities (toilet, shower, etc.) in the room. However, guaranteeing accommodation in some places can prove difficult, and we may end up moving to accommodation other than we originally planned to use. Should this happen, we may find that some bathroom facilities are shared. If you have difficulty sleeping at night because of the natural light, you may want to bring an eye-mask for total darkness. 

FOOD: We will have breakfast at our hotels and lunch will normally be sandwiches bought from roadside cafes. Evening meals will generally be a set menu, consisting of soup followed by a main meal of meat or fish. Vegetarian food is available on request. Generally the standard is very high. 

Drinks: Water and/or a soft drink, a beer, glass of wine is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. Please note the minimum drinking age in Iceland is 20 years. Bottled water will be provided in the vehicle during the day. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room is the responsibility of the individual. Despite the occasional smell of sulphur, tap water is safe to drink in all our hotels. 

CLIMATE: Generally the weather is changeable throughout the year and you should be prepared for the unexpected. Summers are usually cool and cloudy with periods of sunny weather (July average 10.6°C /51°F, maximum 30°C /86°F). 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be using a small coach or large minibus throughout the tour with a local driver. The leader will arrange a seating rotation system. Participants must be willing to ride in any seat in tour vehicles. 

Updated: August 2014