Iceland whale watching and Northern Lights vacation - CZA

“Join a small group for a couple of days of cross-country skiing close to Reykjavik before taking a 6hr drive north to Akureyri to make tracks around the Eyafjordur ski area. ”

Highlights

Reykjavik | Blue Mountains | Skalafell | Akureyri | Eyafjordur area | Mount Hlidarfjall | Lake Myvatn | Dalvik ski area | Myvatn Nature Baths |

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Date
Price
Basis
10 Mar 2018
US $ 3795
excluding flights
8 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 10 Mar 2018 departure
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Iceland whale watching and Northern Lights vacation - CZA

Accommodation and Meals:
This trip visits northern Iceland in winter, staying in Akureyri and skiing in the surrounding areas. This is very much low season in northern Iceland. The boom in winter tourism has not reached this area as yet. The hotel we use is owned by a local family who are extremely happy to have groups in winter.
Sustainability in Iceland is managed differently, geothermal heating is the norm in accommodation and water supply is plentiful and clean.
The groups will dine in local restaurants, again providing a boost. Much of what is on offer is locally produced including lamb and fish and tourism is providing increased demand for local produce.
Lunches and snacks will be sourced in the local shops and supermarkets.

Activity:
Cross-country skiing has a low environmental impact, far lower than traditional downhill skiing, as it does not rely on ski lifts or large amounts of infrastructure. Groups are instructed on appropriate waste disposal and encouraged to use refillable water bottles rather than buying numerous plastic bottles.

Community:
Local communities benefit from this low season tourism, particularly the ski areas themselves, who have expressed huge enthusiasm to welcome our groups and open up trails for them.
Our Icelandic operators hire local guides for each trip and use a bus company from a small town in South Iceland for the driving in all of their trips. This is mutually beneficial in that the community benefits from employment opportunities, whilst clients gain an insight into the country from staff with valuable local expertise. Our operators are also eager to contribute to local organisations devoted to conservation and community efforts. They run various programs for local children with disabilities or disadvantages in conjunction with the Salvation Army, so that these children can take part in activities like caving, glacier walking and going on a rope course.

UK office
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Group size
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.

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