Iceland High School Expedition

Iceland is a country of extremes, where geysers and lava flows coexist with powerful waterfalls and calving glaciers. Located at the edge of the Arctic Circle, much of the island remains under ice, yet it is also one of the planet’s most volcanically active countries. Take advantage of long days and bright nights to explore the wonders of these otherworldly landscapes.


  • Explore a glacial lagoon filled with icebergs , and trek atop a glacier with a professional guide to witness the impact of climate change on the ice formations of the far north.

  • Hike black-sand beaches, ride Icelandic horses, and spot colorful puffins, then create a photo essay documenting your experiences.

  • Discuss geology with Icelandic scientists, and see the Earth in action while exploring thundering waterfalls, gushing geysers, and bubbling mud pots.

  • Learn the art of filmmaking, and produce a video that contrasts Iceland’s fiery, volcanic wonders with its icy elements.

Dettifoss and the Lave Tube

July 26, 2019

This post features student writing.

Today was a cold, adventurous day filled with exciting trips to a gigantic waterfall — Dettifoss — and the exploration of Iceland’s best known lava tube!

At our first stop to Dettifoss, the team visited one of the last waterfalls we were seeing in Iceland! Perfect for photographers, the water’s intensity could be photographed in so many unique and creative ways. Although it wasn’t the tallest waterfall that we have seen, it was the most amazing view to see after a hearty breakfast.

As we got back to the campsite (Hlin) to have lunch, National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez and the rest of the team — including a few other travelers — discussed the rising issues of climate change. Many of us learned the importance of power and change in an ecosystem that is continually becoming unstable. Exposed to the uncomfortable facts, we discussed this issue that has to be heard worldwide in order to prevent the possible outcomes of climate change. Other travelers from around the world also provided us additional insight of their ideas on climate change.

After wrapping up the collaborative forum, we packed for the rest of the day ahead of us. We all headed out (split into two different groups) to see the wonders of the lava tube, experiencing the rare beauty of dried magma and ice. Photography students had a cold blast in the cave, taking pictures of the magical castle and tower in the darkness with Stephen and Anton. They got to learn more about how important collaboration and time is when trying to get that one perfect photo.

Having spent three hours in the bone-chilling cave, we were ready to jump into warm, comfortable clothes and eat a nice, delicious dinner. Ready to sleep, we got together and finished up the day with our golden circle.

A good sleep and another day was ready to begin.

— Mirue K.