Kayak tour in Jokulsarlon: The Review

kayak Jökulsárlón review

This post is also available in: Español

We have just returned from Iceland and we have lived many adventures that we like in Howlanders. We want to tell you how everything went and we already explained to you how was renting a car in Iceland, so now it’s time for action. Today I’ll tell you about the kayaking tour in Jokulsarlon, an activity we did on the largest glacier lagoon in the country and I assure you, it was one of the best memories I take from this trip. Let’s get started!

Arrival at the Fjallsárlón parking, the first lake

The big day arrived, and I was so eager that I jumped up as soon as the alarm clock rang. The tour started at 13:30 and the hostel where we spent the night was a two-hour drive from the glacial lakes.

Along the way, we made several stops to take pictures. We saw different glacier tongues, landscapes of volcanic lava covered with radioactive green moss, meadows with lots of sheep, and some farms. In this part of the country, there are rather few services and very little human life.

We arrived at the parking lot of Fjallsárlón, the smallest of the 2 lakes we were going to visit during the day. We arrived hungry, so we took out our camping gas: a good coffee and lunch. Afterward, it was all signposted, so we followed the signs along the road to the lake. It was calm in this place despite having a small cafeteria, although it was not very busy.

My first time on a glacial lake

It was the first time I had seen a glacial lake. It wasn’t long, really, and I could see the ice wall that ended where the lake began. It was just as I expected, just like in movies and documentaries. Thousands of icebergs of all sizes and colors, gray, white, and blue that fascinated me. They looked so clean!

Arrival at the Jökulsárlón parking lot

We walked along the lake, which every three steps changed the perspective of a place. The overlapping of the icebergs hypnotizes, what a beauty! We were only 15 minutes away from the Jökulsárlón parking lot and as we had to arrive a few minutes before the meeting point, we decided to end the walk.

Getting equipped for the kayak tour in the glacier lagoon

Once there, we introduced ourselves to the rest of the group and they started to equip us, what a great outfit! It was impossible to be cold like that, besides the sun was with us that day. We left our boots, jackets, and backpacks in a container they have for personal belongings. Then we put on a jumpsuit with built-in socks, an anorak with a zipper, wellies, and a life jacket. That dry suit was wonderful!

tour jokulsarlon kayak

They also lent us a small dry bag perfect for our cell phone and camera.

Jökulsárlón kayak tour begins

We were given a paddle each and walked a few minutes to the edge of the lake. There the kayaks were waiting for us and those views that had impressed me so much on the way. This time the lake was much bigger, and it was hard to differentiate where the ice wall was.

kayak jokulsarlon

Our guide asked us about our experience and the group was diverse; there were those who needed a brief refresher, and for others, it was our first time. Within minutes we were all ready, so I was reassured to see that the tour was suitable for all levels.

Once we were all in the water inside the kayaks in pairs, it was my turn to the captain: “Now two left and now 4 right we’re drifting!”. The spectacle of whites and blues was so incredible that sometimes I forgot to paddle.

kayaking in jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

After a few minutes, we were in the middle of the lake surrounded by icebergs. It scares me to think that what we see is only a tenth of the iceberg and that the rest is submerged. At this point, we could only hear the bustle of boats and zodiacs. Suddenly, in the middle of absolute silence, there was a deafening crack: a large block of ice in front of us broke off and fell into the water. I can’t explain the speed of my heart from the adrenaline and the shock.

It was a bittersweet feeling. I understood that we were in the thawing season and nature’s course continues. On the one hand, I felt lucky to be able to live that experience, but on the other hand, it made me sad to think about climate change.

Then, the guide brought us together and encouraged us with a reflection on our role in the world. He couldn’t have chosen a better time for it, bravo for him!

End of the activity

On the way to land, we were lucky and some curious seals peeked out to show us their whiskers. After the last paddles and after an hour and a half of activity, we arrived at the starting point where we left the kayaks.

seal in jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

Finally, we retraced the path at the beginning, each with our paddles, and exchanged our drysuits for our belongings. What a treat of a morning!

Right here, in the parking lot of Jökulsárlón there are public toilets, several food trucks, and a fast-food cafeteria-restaurant where we took the opportunity to eat.

After a coffee overlooking the lake, we decided not to move the car from the parking lot and walk along with the mouth of the lake. This water reaches the sea, Diamond Beach: a beach of black volcanic sand that contrasts with the white icebergs that migrate from the lake to the sea and look like small diamonds. A spectacle of nature.

So much for my review of the kayak tour in Jökulsárlón, one of the most impressive experiences I have lived and one of the best memories I have of Iceland. Have you been a little envious? I encourage you to live it, it’s worth it!


Javi, along with Daniel, was the one who gave life to Howlanders and formed this team. Each of his trips and the experiences he accumulated in his backpack, gave him the idea of helping other travelers to live them too.

At Howlanders, he is one of the people in charge of deciding which tours we offer. While in this blog he gives us his travel diaries.

He has traveled Torres del Paine for all its circuits and knows it to perfection, so he gives us all the recommendations and tips that can't be found elsewhere.

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