My spouse and I just got back from the most magical week in Iceland, and I cannot thank this travel company enough! I have used Zicasso to find the best local travel agents for many previous trips (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Australia/NZ), but this was absolutely THE most perfectly planned trip of any we’d ever taken. I know for certain (from reading social media posts of many others who have been to Iceland) that we saw more in our 6 days there, learned more about the island and its culture, history, and politics, and got many more amazing pictures and saw more “secret spots” than the vast majority of tourists who visit the country, and I could not be more pleased.
I compared two local travel agents that Zicasso had provided, along with one that I had found on my own online, and this company quickly distinguished themselves. The owners (an Iceland Air pilot and entrepreneur) and his wife were extremely friendly, patient, and responsive to my needs (I should mention that as a scientist and researcher, I’m a very picky and demanding customer with a lot of pre-existing ideas about what I want, and they went above and beyond in order to ensure that everything about my trip was perfect and was exactly according to my preferences and personality). I talked with the owner many times on the phone, and he was willing to continually revise my itinerary to find one that would make me the happiest (e.g., he revised it to reduce the cost when I requested it but still found fabulous boutique hotels; he revised it to reduce the amount of driving by changing our hotel stops; when I wanted a more relaxing first and last day before and after travel days, he changed the order of the tour days, etc.). Most importantly of all, he was responsive to my concerns about safety—we’re not very adventurousness people by nature, and driving on dangerous roads makes me nervous (Iceland is a rugged country, with a lot of two-lane undivided roads, mountainous driving, some river crossings, etc.)--by pairing us with a guide/driver who he knew would be a good fit for us because he is so safety-conscious and thoughtful.
Our family’s consensus is that our private driver/guide was the best guide we’ve EVER had, any where in the world. He had a very interesting background (e.g., he’s a musician, has a career as a sound engineer, and also has a masters degree in international relations) and thus was so incredibly knowledgeable and interesting to talk to—we had great conversations about every topic imaginable, which not only made us feel very bonded (we feel like we have a friend for life) but also ensured that we learned about every aspect of this beautiful country (e.g., politics, culture, geography, history, plate tectonics, relationships, social psychology) and its people. It not only made the time in the car fly by, but I feel like I have a real sense of Iceland far beyond “checking off boxes” at the most popular tourist sites. Besides being charmed by his intellectual curiosity, we especially appreciated how safety-conscious our guide was; despite being an anxious person, I had such complete and utter trust in him (he is a perfectionist) that I never once felt anxious or nervous on our 4 touring days with him, whether driving on undivided roads, crossing rivers by Land Rover, or hiking on a glacier (we did notice, by contrast, that other groups on the glacier had not been taught proper glacier walking technique by their guides as we passed them on the glacier, and we worried for their safety as we saw them stumble past us). Finally, our guide was so accommodating and went out of his way at every level to ensure that we were happy. A few examples: driving back from Thorsmark, I mentioned the US women’s world cup final game that was on TV at that moment (that I assumed I would not get to see), and he immediately streamed it on his cell phone so that I could watch the game live on the way back to our hotel (he also translated the Icelandic commentary for us). At all the locations (e.g., waterfalls, hikes, glacier boat rides, etc.), he would walk us up to starting point, hang out with us for a little while and explain its significance and answer our questions (as a professor, I ask a LOT of questions, and he not only was not annoyed, but really seemed to appreciate my engagement; and of course he knew the answers to literally everything!). Then he would tell us to spend as long as we like, and he’d be waiting in the car for us. My spouse and I never felt rushed, and always felt like we were completely relaxed and on our own schedule, which I’ve never felt on a multi-day tour like this. Somehow, no matter how long we took, the timing always worked out perfectly. Because he could often drop us off at one spot and be waiting for us at another, we were able to take many interesting hikes without having to double-back the way we came, which was really helpful (and made the trip more fun). If we had rented a car and tried to do things ourselves, we would have been able to do less than half of the things we did. An added bonus is that our guide is an avid photographer, and he brought his nice camera along with him and would take pictures (both posed and natural) of my spouse and I as we explored the waterfalls, glacier, and continental rift); as a result, we have amazing vacation pictures of the two of us that we would never have otherwise (his skill is far beyond the photos that other tourists or past guides have taken of us; many of his pictures look like magazine advertisements). I could obviously go on an on singing his praises, but be assured that you and your family will absolutely love him as a guide!
In short, I cannot praise this travel agency highly enough. When the owner drove us back to the airport on our last day and asked for constructive feedback on what we would change (a good sign that he’s a conscientious owner), I literally could not think of one thing that we would have done differently, which is saying a lot for anyone who knows me and how picky I am. Indeed, I already have several friends, neighbors, and family members who were so captivated by our trip that they are signing up to use this agency on essentially the same itinerary and using the same guide (the magnificent guide), so they can have the perfect trip without having to worry about a thing. If you are wondering if you should tour on your own or take a multi-day tour with an experienced local tour guide and driver, I cannot recommend this option highly enough! Give this travel agency a call and let them plan the trip of your dreams!
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