Adventurer of the Week: Jason and the Traditional Tastes

03. November 2016 —
Jason Belanger
Colorful ice cream at Efstidalur farm

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

My wife and I, we travel a lot. It’s one of  our passions. We wanted to be able to take in the two types of Iceland: winter Iceland and summer Iceland, and then we had an opportunity to go and take in some of the winter time, and we tried to schedule it to get it as close as possible to the winter solstice, but we ended up coming a little later instead.

One of the biggest things for us was to see the Northern Lights; being Canadian, we don’t have a chance to see them very often because we are very close to the border with the US. Iceland was always a fascinating place to go for us.  It’s that part of the world that not everybody gets a chance to go to. We really wanted to touch down on the island.

Throughout the travels that I have done, its key to point to the people that have done a fantastic job: this is one of those cases. He was a great ambassador for Iceland and for the company.

Jason Belanger

How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

My wife and I came in January 2016; we flew out thursday night, arrived friday morning and then we flew out at about 6pm on Sunday: giving us three full days: friday, saturday and sunday before heading back home. 

Jason Belanger
Rolling out with Esja in view

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

We did the Golden Circle  and Traditional Tastes tour; it was a fantastic tour. It encompassed a lot of what we wanted to see; we didn't want to get a vehicle, we didn’t want to worry about getting meals. It was a perfect, all inclusive kind of package. We felt so small on the field of ice and snow at the ridge of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Such a beautiful landscape to behold. I can understand why the founders of Iceland chose Thingvellir as their first parliament. 

The tour guide was fantastic. Throughout the travels that I have done, it's key to point to the people that have done a fantastic job: this is one of those cases. He was a great ambassador for Iceland and for the company. We had 100% confidence that the buses would pick is up, and everything ran like clockwork, and it met our high expectations. 

The tour guide was a fantastic guide. Throughout the travels that I have done, its key to point to the people that have done a fantastic job: this is one of those cases.

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

For my wife, one of the most fantastic things was Frídheimar, the geothermal farm. It was a breath of fresh air, a nice respite from the cold day we had on our tour. 

For me personally, what I enjoyed the most was the geography and the scenery, the way Iceland exists along the fault line and the fact that it’s volcanic.  Having an opportunity to see the geysers I think as what struck me the most, it was just astounding. Combined with the geography of the rest of the country, it was just gorgeous. Lastly, we could easily see the Milky Way and the Northern Lights among the tens of thousands (more likely millions) of stars, including a couple of shooting stars. Truly a sight to remember.

Jason Belanger
Frídheimar geothermal greenhouse farm

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

You feel like it's a different world, but it's not that far away. You think that you would have to go South America to experience something different, so it's a refreshing experience that is not that far away: it's getting closer and closer with the number of flights and destinations increasing all the time.  You don’t have to go very far to experience a whole new world; the food is very different, the language is very different. 

Being from Canada, helped me to feel very much at home in Iceland, at least climate-wise. The people are nice, the air is fresh, and the food is good. And although we share many characteristics, I’m surprised of how little I know about Iceland; and how much I want to know more.

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

We do plan to return to Iceland. We want to be able to experience the other season, that is to say summer; I think we would like to do a helicopter trip, visiting some lava fields, and getting a closer look at the volcano as part of our fascination with geography and natural history.  

I would love to go scuba diving in the fissures and in between the tectonic plates; I have done quite a bit of scuba diving in the Caribbean and in other places around the world and this would be one of those strange places to dive and a great places to dive.

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

If you are going to go, don’t go cheap, do your research and really be strategic about what you want to see and how you will line up your schedule, you want to see as much of it as you can, after all.  Iceland is the kind of place where you can’t go for a week long break and do nothing. You better go and do something, whether you go for the food, or the culture, or the nature. Plan properly, spend appropriately, and you will enjoy it.

Jason Belanger
Shark and Icelandic Brennivin (Black Death)

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure? 

Our next big vacation will be to the Caribbean and Mexico: some resting, scuba diving and some good food with some friends. When it comes time to do another big adventure, my wife and I have either been talking about going to Hawaii to visit the volcanoes and scuba diving there or Yellowstone. We want to see some of the wildlife and the geological wonders out there.

Jason's Golden Circle and Traditional tastes tour is only one of the many features that make for an unforgettable experience. Book your tour and join us for an excursion that is guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime.  

About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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