There was a time, in the not so distant past, when I labeled myself as an adventure traveler. While I still do enjoy some adventure experiences, many of them I just don’t like. For some reason though, in Iceland things are different; I change. I revert to my old adventure traveling ways and embrace the moment, always happy for the experience. One of the most thrilling adventure travel experiences I enjoyed on my most recent visit to Iceland was a last minute addition, but one I’m thankful I tried out – a buggy tour in Iceland. This is where we see some differences between British and American English, but this adrenalin pumping adventure is a lot more exciting than its simple name might suggest because it throws the driver out into the stunning countryside near Reykjavik for an off-roading adventure no one will soon forget.
Like many people obsessed with travel, I never miss an episode of “The Amazing Race,” pretending it’s me circling the globe and pushing my own limits. On a recent episode I was thrilled to see Iceland featured, but curious about an activity I’d never seen there before, a buggy tour. What others would call an ATV, this larger than normal quad is versatile enough to handle just about any type of terrain, including the ruggedly beautiful country of Iceland. Buggy Adventures is located on the outskirts of Reykjavik, and was the ideal diversion as I drove from Husafell in the West back down to the capital city to finish out my trip. Offering a variety of different tour options and lengths, I really just wanted a taste of the experience and so opted for the 1-hour excursion into the wilderness; sixty minutes that seemed to fly by in an instant.
I met our guide for the morning at the company’s offices, where we suited us up to prepare for another frigidly cold day in the country. It may have been cold, but for once the sun was shining and there was barely even a cloud in the sky, the perfect weather to get out and explore. The vehicles themselves are extremely safe and the only requirement needed is a valid driver’s license. The buggies are also incredibly easy to drive, which means I had no excuses as we set out for the morning. The typical tour, regardless of length, features two people in the buggy who each take turns driving. I was a little worried that I hadn’t booked a longer tour, but thankfully even the 1-hour drive was more than enough time to enjoy some of Iceland’s best natural wonders.
Let’s be clear though, off-roading in Iceland is illegal, which means that Buggy Adventures uses trails for all of their tours. Those trails though are along training paths that felt more like mogul skiing, through streams and rivers and into mountain valleys nearly incomparable in their beauty. In the summer months, the experience would be better called mud bogging, but in the winter the new snow and icy streams provided a different, and I think more beautiful, driving experience.
Carefully following the lead of our guide, we gunned the engines and stomped on the gas and took off like a rocket into the countryside. The entire experience is a series of flashes to be honest, visions of rivers and ponds, mountains and farms and snow. It was a beautiful morning and an exciting one. Definitely not my normal style of driving, it was a great way to quickly get out into a very rural part of the country, but one that’s easy to access. Buggy Adventures is located right on the main road leading into/out of Reykjavik and spending an hour there didn’t interrupt our day in any way. No, far from an interruption, the entire experience quickly became a highlight of the trip and one of my new favorite adventure experiences in this always surprising country.