It takes a lot of work finding the best Ice caves and if they are well known it can be crowded. The easiest and safest way to get to one is to book a Ice cave tour in Iceland. But any hole in the ice can be called a “ice cave”.
So here are 5 questions to keep in mind before booking a tour.
What do you think about when you imagine an Ice cave?
Keep that image in mind when and it will help you in your quest for the perfect Ice cave.
Remember that image because you will need it later.
Ice caves are water tunnels that have been created by water channeling through the glaciers. For that reason, it is very difficult to find them or get to them in the summertime. Because the winter the melt water stops and leaves huge gaping tunnels that can extend hundreds of meters (or feet if you like) into the glaciers. They change every year and with the glaciers melting so fast they can disappear in few weeks.
Because the Ice caves changing so fast you need to ask these 5 questions before you book a Ice cave tour in Iceland.
What color is it?
Yes, I am sure you think they can only be blue like an aquarium, but the fact is that glaciers can be so thick that sunlight can’t reach through the walls.
Iceland is a volcanic island and the glaciers are moving so the ice can be black because of the ash and gravel. It can be incredibly beautiful if you know what you are buying.
How big is it?
Glaciers are natural and they are melting fast. As a result the caves can get shorter or bigger or both. Because of the movement of the glaciers the caves can form crevasses that open the roof of the cave to the sky. In short when is a cave not a cave?
Can you only take 5 steps in or 300?
Is it crowded?
This can be a huge problem when dealing with tourist companies. For example, one time there was an ice cave that had around 300 people in it at the same time while it was only about 30 meters deep. With so many people and little oxygen few passed out.
So, ask if it gets crowded and how many tour operators work there. It can make a huge difference when deciding which company to go for and what time. Maybe it’s the same ice cave as another company is going to for less or more money.
What is it called?
Guides usually give ice caves names like the Crystal Ice Cave or The Black Pearl. It can help you distinguish between different trips going to the same ice cave.
The caves change every year and companies will use old ice cave photos again if they can.
Is it worth it?
Iceland is expensive. No doubt about it, even for us locals. Make sure what your buying meets your expectation.
There are many small tour operators that offer more private experiences and they usually have flexible hours to beat the crowds. Some guides can get you to an ice cave by driving a super jeep and other by traveling through the volcanic landscape.
The small operators can be more expensive than the big tour companies. But the locals know the best places and when to go there.
Keep in Mind!
People often find themselves in front of glaciers and find a small tunnel or Ice caves but always remember, the glaciers are moving and the caves in front can easily collapse. It is well recommended to rely on a professional.