Wildlife Watching in Iceland: Puffins, Whales, and Arctic Foxes

If you are like me and get a thrill from observing Wildlife in their natural habitats, then Iceland is an absolute paradise waiting to be explored. Seriously, this place is a hidden gem for all wildlife lovers! With its unique ecosystem and diverse range of creatures, you will find yourself spellbound by the wonders of Wildlife Watching in Iceland.

Today, I am here to spill all the secrets of the best puffin-watching spots, the heart-stopping moments of Whale watching, and the elusive Arctic fox encounters. So, buckle up because we’re about to embark on a wild adventure!

Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Unique Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Let’s talk about what makes Wildlife Watching in Iceland so special! Picture this: an isolated North Atlantic island separated from other landmasses for centuries. That’s the recipe for creating some extraordinary endemic species, my friends! Iceland hosts a variety of creatures that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.

From charming puffins and majestic whales to those adorable Arctic foxes, the biodiversity here is a treasure trove that needs our protection. So, as we venture into the wild, let’s remember to appreciate and preserve these natural wonders.

Puffin Watching in Iceland

Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Ah, the beloved Atlantic puffins – the clowns of the sea! Their vibrant beaks and expressive eyes make them the stars of any wildlife show. Now, you might wonder, where’s the best spot to witness these cuties in action?

Well, let me share my insider tips! Head over to the Westman Islands or the Westfjords’ cliffs, and you will be in for a puffin party! And guess what? If you visit during the nesting season, you will get a front-row seat to witness their cozy family life. Trust me, it’s a show you won’t want to miss!

  • Best locations: Westman Islands, Látrabjarg cliffs in Westfjords.
  • Prime nesting sites: Burrows along cliffs and grassy slopes.
  • Season: Late April to early August (breeding season).
  • Behavior: Skilled fliers and divers, entertaining courtship dances.
  • Photography tips: Use a telephoto lens, be patient, and maintain a safe distance.

Whale Watching in Iceland

Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Are you ready to be blown away by some of the planet’s largest and most magnificent creatures? Then, Whale watching in Iceland is a must! These icy waters are a playground for humpback whales, orcas, and minke whales.

Plan your visit between April and October, and you will have the best chance of spotting these gentle giants. But let me tell you a secret – the real magic happens when you least expect it. So keep those eyes peeled, and you might catch a once-in-a-lifetime moment!

  • Humpback Whales: Marvel at the acrobatic displays of humpback whales, known for breaching and waving their massive flippers.
  • Orcas (Killer Whales): Witness the majestic orcas in their natural habitat, hunting in coordinated pods and showcasing their intelligence.
  • Minke Whales: Spot the elusive minke whales, the smallest baleen whales, often seen gliding gracefully through the water.
  • Blue Whales: If lucky, glimpse the magnificent blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, during their migratory journey.
  • Best Time for Whale Watching: Visit between April and October for prime whale-watching opportunities when many species frequent Icelandic waters.
  • Reputable Tour Operators: Choose well-established tour operators with experienced guides who prioritize the safety and well-being of the whales.
  • Responsible Whale Watching: Practice ethical behavior, maintaining a respectful distance from the whales to minimize disturbance and protect their natural behaviors.
  • Educational Experience: Learn about these incredible marine mammals from knowledgeable guides who provide valuable insights into their behavior and conservation efforts.
  • Photography Tips: Capture breathtaking moments with your camera, and don’t forget to respect the animals’ space by using zoom lenses for close-ups.

Arctic Foxes in Iceland

Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Let’s talk about the sly little foxes that call Iceland home. These cunning critters are the only native land mammals here, and boy, they are worth the effort to find! They have adapted to the unforgiving Arctic environment, and their winter coats are to die for!

Now, tracking down these elusive cuties requires patience and luck. But your heart will melt once you spot one peeking out from behind the rocks.

  • Preferred Habitats: Arctic foxes are commonly found in Iceland’s remote and desolate regions, such as the coastal cliffs, lava fields, and mountainous areas.
  • Camouflage Abilities: Their thick, fluffy winter coats are pure white, providing excellent camouflage against the snowy landscape.
  • Seasonal Coat Change: In warmer months, their fur turns brown or gray to blend in with the earthy tones of the environment.
  • Resourceful Hunters: Arctic foxes are opportunistic hunters, preying on birds, eggs, small mammals, and carrion.
  • Survival Strategies: During harsh winters, when food is scarce, they store extra food by burying it in the ground—a behavior known as caching.
  • Adapting to Climate Change: These foxes are known for their adaptability, which is critical as Iceland’s climate shifts due to global warming.
  • Threatened Species: Though not endangered, Arctic foxes in Iceland face challenges due to the introduction of invasive species and human activities encroaching on their habitats.
  • Conservation Efforts: Iceland’s conservationists and locals play a vital role in protecting these beloved creatures and their fragile ecosystems.

Best Wildlife Watching Tours

Guided tours are your golden ticket if you’re as eager as I am to maximize your Wildlife Watching in Iceland adventure! Picture this: having expert naturalists as your wildlife encyclopedias, providing you with fascinating insights and fun facts about the animals you encounter.

Not to mention the incredible photography opportunities they will guide you through, ensuring you capture those awe-inspiring moments forever.

Wildlife Watching Ethics

Wildlife Watching in Iceland

As much as we love getting up close and personal with these beautiful creatures, we must remember that we are just visitors in their homes. We must practice responsible Wildlife watching to ensure minimal impact and preserve the delicate balance of their habitats.

So, let’s embrace a ‘look, but don’t touch’ approach and maintain a respectful distance, allowing them to thrive undisturbed.

Safety Tips for Wildlife Watching in Iceland

Safety first, always! When you are out exploring Wildlife Watching Iceland’s landscapes, unpredictable weather is just a part of the adventure. So, make sure to dress appropriately, with layers that can handle sudden changes in temperature.

Familiarize yourself with wildlife behavior to avoid any risky situations, and remember, never get too close to animals that may feel threatened. Let’s keep this adventure safe and enjoyable for everyone involved!

Capturing Wildlife Moments

For all you shutterbugs out there, wildlife photography in Iceland is an absolute treat! To capture these stunning moments, ensure you have the right camera equipment, like a good telephoto lens for those faraway shots.

But remember, patience is the game’s name – Wildlife can be unpredictable, and the best shots often come to those who wait. And don’t forget, being a responsible photographer means not disturbing the animals just for that perfect shot.

Conclusion

Wildlife Watching in Iceland is a living testament to the beauty and resilience of our natural world. Our adventure into this magical realm has shown us the wonder of puffins, the grace of whales, and the charm of Arctic foxes. As we reflect on these unforgettable moments, remember to be mindful of our impact on these precious creatures and their habitats.

By embracing eco-tourism and responsible Wildlife watching, we can ensure that Iceland’s wilderness remains a sanctuary for generations. So, let’s cherish these memories and continue to protect this paradise of wildlife wonders.

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Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.

Sea kayaking holidays in the humbling wilderness of Antarcticathe Arctic, and some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, are guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, absorbing the majestic scenery as it unfolds before you. 

In Antarctica, keep your camera on-hand for unforgettable encounters with penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, prepare to  paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large iceberg. 

Led by experienced guides, you and your small group of like-minded adventurers will paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Paddling is one of the best ways to access and intimately explore the beautiful coastlines we visit and therefore make the most of your time in the wild and remote destinations we visit

Top reasons to choose a Sea Kayaking holiday

Annotation 2023-04-28 030538

See wildlife unobtrusively

Kayaking is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife, from penguins to puffins.

Annotation 2023-04-28 030913

Better access

Access intimate bays and coves that bigger crafts can’t reach.​

Annotation 2023-04-28 030939

Knowledgeable guides

Our experienced sea kayak guides will help bring your chosen destination to life.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Become an expert

Hone your kayaking skills and gain a hobby for life!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Make friends

Become lifelong friends with your small group of like-minded adventurers.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Stay fit on your holiday

Being active every day on your holiday means you don’t have to feel guilty about being spoilt by our expert chefs!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Enhance your experience

Add another layer to your once-in-a-lifetime holiday and make the most out of your time in some of the most remote places on earth.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031213

It's fun!

Have the time of your life exploring some of the wildest places on earth from the water.

FAQs

Our guide to paddler ratio is 1:10 and we provide an accompanying safety Zodiac. There are 26 places available in Antarctica and tropical voyages, 20 in temperate regions, South Georgia and all Arctic trips except in Franz Josef Land where the maximum is 16 kayakers.

Kayakers must be 14 or over.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

We will give you a drybag for extra clothing, binoculars and anything that needs to be kept dry. You should also carry a water bottle. We recommend bringing a waterproof camera or phone, or ensuring you have a good quality waterproof case.

If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship and perhaps join a shore excursion. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and kayak guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe paddling experience. We do not attempt to paddle too far away from the ship. The emphasis is on experiencing the destination rather than travelling long distances.

The kayaks are made with a hard plastic and are easily paddled in swell and conducting shore landings, and through small patches of brash ice. We manoeuvre around the larger ice chunks and floes.

Polar regions

Kayaking in the poles offers a unique wildlife viewing experience. In Antarctica, we have many opportunities to encounter penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally we may even spot leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, we’ll paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large icebergs, however we maintain a safe distance from polar bears and walruses. Our guides carry rifles and flare guns in the Arctic to ensure your safety against polar bears.

Temperate regions

Kayakers in wild temperate regions will have a unique wildlife experience, with possible encounters with seals and basking sharks. You will have the opportunity to view some of the largest sea bird colonies in the northern hemisphere.

Tropical regions

The superb wildlife-viewing opportunities are endless in the astonishingly biodiverse nature reserves we visit. Kayaks offer a unique opportunity to view marine and land mammals, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea birds and an astonishing range of rainforest birds. We will bring our snorkelling gear with us during our paddles and take advantage of any opportunities to view marine life up close.

In the unlikely event of a capsize, your experienced guide will assist by righting the kayak, stabilising it then pumping it out. Paddlers will re-enter with the guide’s help, or with a support Zodiac. With drysuits and warm clothing underneath you will be comfortable in cold water for up to half an hour. Note that the kayaks have separate compartments with bulkheads, which means they will float after a capsize.

No. Each kayaking place is for one person only. Passengers are unable to share a kayaking place as we customise the kayaks and dry suits for each individual kayaker at the beginning of each voyage.

Contact Us

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Balcony Stateroom Superior

Deck: 4 & 6

Cabin and balcony combined size: 29.2m² – 35.2m² (314.3ft² – 378.9ft²)

Beds: 
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King bed

 
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Twin beds

Features

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Private en-suite (wheelchair accessible)

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Private balcony

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Full size window

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Desk area

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Closet space

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Room-controlled thermostat

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Room safe

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42″ flat-screen TV

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Mini bar*

Cabin Inclusion

  • 1 x 3-in-1 polar jacket per person (polar voyages only)

Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.

*Please note mini bar items are chargeable in all cabins except Junior Suite and Captain’s Suite

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.

Sea kayaking holidays in the humbling wilderness of Antarcticathe Arctic, and some of the world’s most biodiverse regions, are guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, absorbing the majestic scenery as it unfolds before you. 

In Antarctica, keep your camera on-hand for unforgettable encounters with penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, prepare to  paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large iceberg. 

Led by experienced guides, you and your small group of like-minded adventurers will paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Paddling is one of the best ways to access and intimately explore the beautiful coastlines we visit and therefore make the most of your time in the wild and remote destinations we visit

Top reasons to choose a Sea Kayaking holiday

Annotation 2023-04-28 030538

See wildlife unobtrusively

Kayaking is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife, from penguins to puffins.

Annotation 2023-04-28 030913

Stay fit on your holiday

Being active every day on your holiday means you don’t have to feel guilty about being spoilt by our expert chefs!

Annotation 2023-04-28 030939

Knowledgeable guides

Our experienced sea kayak guides will help bring your chosen destination to life.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Enhance your experience

Add another layer to your once-in-a-lifetime holiday and make the most out of your time in some of the most remote places on earth.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031035

Make friends

Become lifelong friends with your small group of like-minded adventurers.

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Better access

Access intimate bays and coves that bigger crafts can’t reach.​

Annotation 2023-04-28 031119

Become an expert

Hone your kayaking skills and gain a hobby for life!

Annotation 2023-04-28 031213

It's fun!

Have the time of your life exploring some of the wildest places on earth from the water.

FAQs

Our guide to paddler ratio is 1:10 and we provide an accompanying safety Zodiac. There are 26 places available in Antarctica and tropical voyages, 20 in temperate regions, South Georgia and all Arctic trips except in Franz Josef Land where the maximum is 16 kayakers.

Kayakers must be 14 or over.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

Sea kayaking is offered in place of regular shore excursions. We aim to paddle as often as possible. Depending on the voyage, we generally aim to paddle twice per day.

If the weather changes during our outing we will head back to the ship and perhaps join a shore excursion. The ship’s captain, expedition leader and kayak guide always maintain close contact to ensure a safe paddling experience. We do not attempt to paddle too far away from the ship. The emphasis is on experiencing the destination rather than travelling long distances.

The kayaks are made with a hard plastic and are easily paddled in swell and conducting shore landings, and through small patches of brash ice. We manoeuvre around the larger ice chunks and floes.

Polar regions

Kayaking in the poles offers a unique wildlife viewing experience. In Antarctica, we have many opportunities to encounter penguins, seals and whales, and occasionally we may even spot leopard seals or orcas. In the Arctic, we’ll paddle under nesting bird colonies, past massive glaciers and around large icebergs, however we maintain a safe distance from polar bears and walruses. Our guides carry rifles and flare guns in the Arctic to ensure your safety against polar bears.

Temperate regions

Kayakers in wild temperate regions will have a unique wildlife experience, with possible encounters with seals and basking sharks. You will have the opportunity to view some of the largest sea bird colonies in the northern hemisphere.

Tropical regions

The superb wildlife-viewing opportunities are endless in the astonishingly biodiverse nature reserves we visit. Kayaks offer a unique opportunity to view marine and land mammals, coral reefs, tropical fish, sea birds and an astonishing range of rainforest birds. We will bring our snorkelling gear with us during our paddles and take advantage of any opportunities to view marine life up close.

In the unlikely event of a capsize, your experienced guide will assist by righting the kayak, stabilising it then pumping it out. Paddlers will re-enter with the guide’s help, or with a support Zodiac. With drysuits and warm clothing underneath you will be comfortable in cold water for up to half an hour. Note that the kayaks have separate compartments with bulkheads, which means they will float after a capsize.

No. Each kayaking place is for one person only. Passengers are unable to share a kayaking place as we customise the kayaks and dry suits for each individual kayaker at the beginning of each voyage.

Contact Us

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