Faculty

Howard (Howie) E. Epstein, Professor of Environmental Sciences

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Pricing

$6,095 per person, double occupancy, land only.

$6,295 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, plus $402 airline taxes and fees.

$6,695 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville, VA, plus $402 airline taxes and fees.

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Overview

Discover Iceland’s remarkable natural history and rich cultural heritage on this 11-day small group tour that traverses an astonishing land. Begin your journey in Borgarbyggo’s scenic environs, touring the beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula with its lava field, fishing villages, bizarre rock formations, and nesting cliff birds. Enjoy three nights in the region’s charming capital, Akureyri. Call on a farm featuring famed Icelandic horses. Encounter Glacial River Canyon National Park and Dettifoss, Iceland’s “Niagara.” View one of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn, and its bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic craters; and stop at Godafoss, “waterfall of the gods.” Embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island where, based on seasonality, you may see thousands of seabirds. Visit fascinating Thingvellir National Park; Seljalandfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall; Skogafoss waterfall with its rainbows; and the Skogar Folk Museum. Conclude your journey with two nights in Iceland’s sophisticated capital, Reykjavik.

Program Highlights

  • Tour the awe-inspiring Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  • Explore Lake Myvatn’s mud flats, lava fields, and volcanic craters
  • Embark on a dramatic bird-watching coastal cruise
  • Admire the magnificent Dettifoss waterfall, Iceland’s “Niagara”
  • Visit the remarkable Glacial River Canyon and Thingvellir national parks
  • Encounter sophisticated Reykjavik

Faculty

Howard (Howie) E. Epstein, Professor of Environmental Sciences

howard_epstein howieHowie has been at UVA since 1998. His research expertise is in the area of plant and soil ecology for dry grassland-shrubland ecosystems and cold arctic tundra ecosystems. Epstein has spent part of each of the past six summers doing research in the Arctic of Alaska, Canada and Russia. Before coming to U.Va., he worked as a Research Associate for the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado in Boulder and has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on these topics. He received his Bachelors from Cornell, and an M.S. in Rangeland Ecosystem Science and Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University. Howie has accompanied Alumni & Parent Travel trips to Alaska twice.

Itinerary

DAY 1 - Saturday, June 9

Depart U.S. for Reykjavik, Iceland

DAY 2 - Sunday, June 10

Arrive Reykjavik/Borgarbyggo

Upon our early morning arrival in Iceland’s capital, we meet our tour director and enjoy a scenic drive to our hotel in Borgarbyggo, stopping for breakfast along the way. After time for lunch on our own, we take an afternoon excursion to the thermal spring of Deildartunguhver and also to Hraunfossar Falls. Then we visit the Settlement Centre, a museum whose exhibitions detail the story of Iceland’s earliest settlers and bring to life Iceland’s most famous saga chronicling the adventures of 10th-century Viking Egil Skallagrimsson. Tonight, we gather at our hotel for a briefing on the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner.
Hotel Husafell
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DAY 3 - Monday, June 11

Borgarbyggo/Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Iceland Puffin
Puffin

Today we encounter the stupendous scenery of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. We begin with a walk along the shell sand beach at the abandoned fishing village of Budir, surrounded by a vast lava field. We also explore the caves and bizarre rock formations along the rugged shore at Arnarstapi, site of thousands of nesting cliff birds. After stopping for lunch – a traditional fresh seafood soup – at a rustic oceanfront restaurant, we visit Djupalonssandur where we see the haunting remains of abandoned coastal farms.
Hotel Husafell
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DAY 4 - Tuesday, June 12

Borgarbyggo/Akureyri

We travel towards the northeast corner of Iceland today to Akureyri, Iceland’s northern capital and second largest city, situated between snowcapped mountains and the head of Iceland’s longest fjord. Along the way we call on a Gauksmyri farm featuring famed Icelandic horses – small, hardy, and with long manes. We also tour Glaumbaer, a folk museum featuring authentic turf houses. In Akureyri, we have free time for lunch on our own then we tour this urban gem by coach and on foot before checking in at our hotel.
Hotel Kea
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DAY 5 - Wednesday, June 13

Akureyri/Lake Myvatn

Today we travel to beautiful Lake Myvatn. One of the world’s natural wonders, Lake Myvatn and its environs of bubbling mud flats, lava fields, and lunar-like volcanic crater comprise a stunningly beautiful national park. Our explorations begin with a walk up to the fascinating Hverfjall crater, a local landmark. Later we see the unique “pseudo craters,” the boiling mud pots at Namaskard, the bizarre lava formations at Dimmuborgir, and the flat volcano system at Krafla. Our last stop is the incredible Glacial River Canyon National Park, yet another of Iceland’s natural wonders, where we walk to jaw-dropping Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall and Iceland’s “Niagara.” After this day of stunning scenery, we return to our hotel in time for dinner on our own tonight.
Hotel Kea
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DAY 6 - Thursday, June 14

Akureyri/Jökulsárgljúfur National Park

This morning we visit Hljodaklettar Echo Cliffs where we explore the labyrinth of “echoing rocks” created by the spiral basalt formations of arches and canyons here. We travel next to Asbyrgi, a huge canyon enveloped by towering walls; in the middle of the partially wooded canyon sits a huge hoof-shaped rock called “The Island.” We continue on to Husavik, where mid-afternoon we embark on a bird-watching cruise to Puffin Island to see the thousands of seabirds here (based on seasonality): puffins, black guillemots, fulmars, and Arctic terns. Then en route back to Akureyri, we stop at Godafoss, the “waterfall of the gods,” named for the carvings of Norse gods discarded here when the country was declared Christian a thousand years ago.
Hotel Kea
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DAY 7 - Friday, June 15

Akureyri/Reykjavik/Selfoss

This morning we fly to Reykjavik; upon arrival, we coach to Thingvellir National Park, known both for its historic import and as the place where the fissure between the geological plates of North America and Europe is most evident. It’s also a gem of nature, with canyons, caves, waterfalls, and ponds surrounded by snowcapped mountains. We learn about the historic parliament founded here in 930 CE, and walk along a gorge into the rift valley itself. After a lunch of wild freshwater trout at a lakeside hotel, we depart for famed Great Geysir and Gullfoss, Iceland’s immensely popular “golden” waterfall. Then we drive down to the southern coast to the beautiful agricultural area of Selfoss.
Hotel Selfoss
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DAY 8 - Saturday, June 16

Selfoss/Vik

Iceland ReynisfjaraThis morning we walk along the black-sand beach at Reynisfjara, lined with columnar basalt-filled caves. Next, we visit picturesque Seljalandfoss, Iceland’s most visited waterfall, followed by a stop at the Skogar Folk Museum, which depicts traditional life in Iceland. From here we walk to nearby Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, known for its rainbows on sunny days. After lunch on our own at the museum, we continue on to lovely Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town, where we’re free to explore on our own and to shop for items of locally produced wool. En route to our hotel, we stop by the Solheimajokull “sliding” glacier, so named for its rapid advance in the 1990s.
Hotel Selfoss
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DAY 9 - Sunday, June 17

Selfoss/Reykjavik

Heading back to Reykjavik today we travel through “saga” country, the setting of one of the country’s famous medieval stories. We stop along the way to see the geothermal exhibit at the Hellisheidi Power Plant, Iceland’s largest. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we have lunch at a local restaurant then embark on a city tour of the Icelandic capital. Home to more than half of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik ranks as one of the world’s safest and cleanest cities. Later, we check in at our well-located hotel in the city center. Dinner tonight is on our own in this stylish city.
Grand Hotel
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DAY 10 - Monday, June 18

Reykjavik

Iceland Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

Today is at leisure to explore and enjoy Reykjavik as we please; those who wish can join an optional tour to the Blue Lagoon for a soothing bath in geothermal waters rich with silica, sulfur, and other minerals. The city is a sophisticated European urban center with museums and galleries; theater, symphony, and dance; boutiques and restaurants. Tonight, we celebrate our adventure over a farewell dinner.
Grand Hotel
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DAY 11 - Tuesday, June 19

Depart for U.S

This morning is free, perhaps for some last-minute shopping. Early this afternoon we depart for the airport and our return flights to the U.S.
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Accommodations

  • Borgarbyggo – Hotel Husafell
  • Akureyri – Hotel Kea
  • Selfoss – Hotel Selfoss
  • Reykjavik – Grand Hotel

Meals

20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners

Program Fees

$6,095 per person, double occupancy, land only.

$6,295 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Boston, New York, and Washington, DC, plus $402 airline taxes and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

$6,695 per person, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville, VA, plus $402 airline taxes and fees.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,395 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Business class upgrade on roundtrip international flight: $1,495 per person from Boston, Newark, New York, Wash, DC (Dulles); $2,195 per person from Chicago, Minneapolis; $2,395 per person from Denver, Seattle.

Included in Tour Price:

  • Round-trip air transportation from specific cities
  • 9 nights’ accommodations in First Class hotels
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Not Included in Tour Price:

  • Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city
  • Costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified
  • Airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package
  • Communication charges
  • Optional sightseeing
  • Gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day)
  • Travel protection insurance

Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking often on uneven and possibly wet terrain in a natural environment. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

How to Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646 or 434-243-4984. Or e-mail cavaliertravels@virginia.edu with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately 110 days prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made by personal check or credit card. Our tour operator, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., reserves the right to cancel any reservation that are not paid in full at any time after final payment is due. If you make your reservation after the final payment date, payment in full will be required upon reservation.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (March 6, 2018) before departure.

Included in Tour Price: Round-trip air transportation from specific cities; 9 nights’ accommodations in First Class hotels; extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; luggage handling for one bag per person; gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; airfare from your hometown to your departure city; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; optional sightseeing; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.

Cancellation, Refunds, and Changes: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon the University of Virginia’s receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; cancel 29-0 days before departure: no refund. If you make any changes to your reservation from 94 to 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.

Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, and restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, or of their employees, agents, servants, or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including, without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise lines, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in fairly good health to participate in this University of Virginia tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

Air Transportation – Important Information: Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities, and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservation, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.