Let me start this review by prefacing that I had never considered taking a group tour (fun fact, I now host group tours!) before this trip. I didn’t like the idea of being cooped up with the same people (what if they suck?) or following an itinerary that could be sup-par.
So, if you’re not only interested in a review of G Adventures but are also on the fence about taking a group tour in general, this review is for you!
After years of being adamant about never taking a group tour, I considered it for Iceland because my time was limited, and I didn’t want to drive. It seemed like the smartest option to cover both of those items and get a good overview of the country from a local (all of G Adventures guides are local) — which was important to me.
I’ll admit right up until we left for Iceland, I was worried we had made a mistake booking this — if the booking hadn’t been last minute, I might have even canceled it.
Ultimately, I am glad I didn’t have the opportunity to back out.
This trip broke all of my preconceived ideas about small group tours. It will always be one of the most memorable — not just because Iceland is a pretty unique country but because G Adventures did a great job with the itinerary, and we got to share it with some really lovely people.
Iceland definitely won’t be my last G Adventures tour! Keep reading for a full review of my G Adventures experience, including the Iceland adventure.
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G Adventures Review: Company Overview
What is G Adventures Known For?
G Adventures is a small group (most tours are less than 16 people, mine had 12) tour company that specializes in adventure travel, but I think what sets them apart is their commitment to the community. They share on their website that they are a “social enterprise as much a small group travel company.”
To be honest, this is what drew me to G Adventures in the first place. All of their itineraries are created to impact the community positively — most people assume that if they spend $1 in a town, all of it stays there, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A recent report from the World Tourism Organization showed that only $5 of $100 actually remains in a community. All of the G Adventures itineraries come with a Ripple Score to show on a scale from 1 to 100 how much of your money is staying in the destination.
In addition to that, all of their itineraries have high standards for animal and child welfare practices and respect local cultures. Some itineraries also support the non-profit Planetterra, which ensures that local communities can benefit from tourism through economic opportunities.
Travel has the power to do great things, but as we’ve seen repeatedly, it can also be really destructive. As a traveler, blogger, and travel agent, I always want to support companies working to find ways to be better and care about how their business impacts others.
The G Adventures Booking Process & Customer Service
Whichever way you choose, the process is straightforward (honestly, if you book through an advisor, you don’t have to worry about anything). If you book on your own, G Adventures offers a live chat feature on their website, which can be helpful if you have any questions or concerns.
Regarding customer service, I found G Adventures to be very responsive and helpful. I had a few questions after I booked the Iceland tour, and they responded (via email) to each question in less than 24 hours. They have a 24/7 customer service line you can call if you need assistance while on your trip.
What Does a G Adventures Tour Include?
Exactly what is included in each tour varies, but it is always clearly described in the tour description. All tours will include your accommodations (the type of accommodations varies by tour), a guide, some activities, and transportation during the tour.
Things that aren’t included are optional extra activities, airfare, airport ground transportation, travel insurance (which is required), meals (some might be included), and gratuity.
At the bottom of every tour, there is always a section that’s titled “What’s included,” and if you click on the “tour details” link, it will take you to a massive breakdown of the entire trip that covers things like emergency contacts, packing lists, visa requirements, etc.
What Types of Tours Does G Adventures Offer?
G Adventures offers an enormous variety of tour options called “Travel Styles” — there is something for everyone. Their Travel Style (tour) options include:
These tours are a great balance of comfort while having a unique adventure. Accommodations can include standard hotel rooms, homestays, or jungle lodges — all of the accommodations are always described in the itinerary, so there are no surprises. Classic Tour options are generally a pretty solid option for most individuals.Check Out Classic Tours
National Geographic Journeys (including a family option)
If you want a more culturally immersive experience, check out the National Geographic Journeys. These unique tours include local experts and more opportunities to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the destination(s) you’re visiting.Check Out Journeys
18 to 30-Something Tours
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you fall within this age range and want to travel with others around the same age, these tours are for you.Check Out 18 to 30 Something
These tours perfectly balance experiencing the destination with ways to relax and rejuvenate. Some options include relaxing in geothermal pools, yoga sessions, and hiking. If you want to take a break from constantly going and come home feeling recharged, check these out.Check Out Wellness
If you love hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting, and more, these tours are for you.Check Out Active Tours
A fantastic way to see a country is by train (it’s also a greener travel option). These tour options include some of the most iconic and scenic rail routes worldwide.Check Out Rail Tours
These aren’t your ordinary cruises. G Adventures uses a network of small ships that allows access to areas others don’t go. You can cruise down the Amazon, see Blue Footed Boobies in the Galapagos, or experience the frozen tundra of Antarctica.Check Out Marine Tours
Local Living Tours
The best way to get to see and understand a destination is from a local, and that’s just what these tours are curated to do. In each of these tours, you get the opportunity to stay with a local host family.Check Out Living Local
These family tours are for all ages and curated specifically for younger travelers.Check Out Family Tours
Book with Your Bubble Tours
Want to travel with just your friends or family? This option is for you! Bubble Tours allows you to book a group of 8 or 12 on one of their 55 tours or 36 mini-adventure itinerary options.Check Out Bubble Tours
The Jane Goodell Collection
From gorilla trekking to penguin watching, all of these itineraries have been created with the highest animal welfare standards and endorsed by the world-renowned ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall. A portion of these tours’ profits also supports the Jane Goodall Institute.Check Out The Collection
This is another tour aimed at 18 – 30 somethings who enjoy staying in hostels. G Adventures teamed up with Hostelworld to create immersive experiences while staying at some of the best hostels worldwide.Check Out Roamies
Where Does G Adventures Offer Its Tours?
G Adventures tours are available worldwide — from Asia to North America and everywhere in between.
What Age Group is Appropriate for G Adventures Tours?
It’s dependent upon the tour that you select. Most tours are for ages 12 and up (as long as an adult accompanies them). For children under 12, check out the Family Tours, which are open to all ages.
Does G Adventures Have Sustainability Initiatives?
G Adventures launched the Plastics Partnership Project to reduce its plastic footprint. Through the project, G Adventures works with its suppliers to reduce plastic consumption on its tours and encourages travelers to bring reusable water bottles, forgo sample-size personal care products, ditch straws, and more.
In addition to the Plastic Partnership, all tours are created to support the local community; this means supporting local businesses through activities, dining, accommodations, and more. They also work with the non-profit Planeterra to support sustainable tourism options. Planeterra works in collaboration with local communities, NGOs, and partners to support projects that support local communities, preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment, and improve livelihoods through tourism.
The organization provides funding, capacity-building support, and expertise to help develop and sustain community tourism initiatives. This includes initiatives such as homestays, cooperative-run guesthouses, women’s weaving and handicraft projects, and other community-led enterprises. Some of Planeterra’s projects have been integrated into G Adventures’ itineraries, allowing travelers to contribute to the local communities they visit directly.
To further bring all of these points together, G Adventures was involved in the production of the documentary, The Last Tourist. The film looks are the impact tourism has on the environment and local communities and begins the discussion for what’s next.
Would I Book a G Adventures Tour Again?
The bottom line for this review is that I would highly recommend G Adventures to anyone seeking a unique and immersive travel experience. The company’s commitment to responsible tourism and the support of local communities is terrific. I would suggest researching the specific tour you are interested in to ensure it aligns with your interests and abilities.
Best of Iceland G Adventures Tour Review
If you’re interested in exploring a large portion of Iceland but are short on time, this itinerary is for you! Word of warning, the itinerary is jam-packed, so if you don’t enjoy early mornings and being on the go, then you’ll want to scroll down to the final section of this review, “Other Iceland itineraries to consider.”
Best of Iceland Itinerary
This 7-day itinerary covers many of the highlights of Iceland’s famous Ring Road (Route 1), starting in the capital, Reykjavik. The itinerary is broken down as follows:
Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Akureyri
Day 3: Akureyri to Bakagerdi
Day 4: Bakkagerdi/Hofn
Day 5: Hofn/Vik
Day 6: Vik/The Golden Circle/ Reykjavik
Day 7: You can depart anytime from Reykjavik (or extend the trip if you have more time).
The itinerary included many popular stops along the way, with a few extras. One of the bonuses of traveling with a small group and with a local guide is that you can make detours if time allows. Our group really wanted to see puffins, so our guide added an extra stop just for us (also, probably to get us all to shut up about the puffins)! In addition to the puffins, we also saw:
- Dimmuborgir, and Námaskarð stops
- Mývatn Lake visit
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon visit (the boat tour was extra but well worth it)
- Diamond Beach
- Reynisfjara Beach
- The Golden Circle
Plenty of waterfall visits, including:
- Goðafoss Waterfall
- Dettifoss Waterfall visit (plus an additional hidden waterfall nearby)
- Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
- Gullfoss Waterfall
The price is dependent upon the time of year that you visit. The high season in Iceland is June, July, and August, and the low season is early fall through late spring. The average tour price ranges from approximately $3,800 – $4,200 per person, but G often has deals! If your travel is even a little flexible, join their mailing list or follow them on social media for special deals. When I just looked, I saw a deal for $2,949!Check Out Tour Deals
Tour Complaints (From Other Travelers)
Overall, the Best of Iceland itinerary is highly rated and comes in with 4.5/5 stars. While scanning the reviews, the biggest complaint I saw was that the tour was too busy — to be honest, that’s not G Adventures fault; that’s the traveler’s fault. It is abundantly clear that it is a jam-packed itinerary with an average physical rating.
Another complaint is that the trip’s price didn’t reflect the overall comfort, specifically with hotels. The hotels included in the itinerary are basic for US or even European standards. Before booking, I encourage you to look up the hotels but keep in mind that you are visiting some rural areas, so you shouldn’t expect the Four Seasons.
In regards to the price, Iceland is an expensive country. I actually did the math before booking the tour, and what I would’ve paid if I had booked almost everything on my own was a little less but didn’t include a guide for the entire trip or all of the local information — to me, that’s an essential part of the trip.
What I Loved About the Tour
There are quite a few things I loved about traveling with G Adventures, some things I expected to enjoy, and some were a surprise to me!
I loved that there were opportunities to add on an activity or go and do your own thing. Since this itinerary was so busy, there weren’t too many opportunities for this, and that’s ok; we were well aware of what we were getting ourselves into.
It was fantastic to have a local with us the entire time. We could ask questions, and as we got to know him better, we could have deeper conversations — that’s not an opportunity you get on every trip.
I thought I would hate traveling with strangers, but our group was fabulous! I think the ethos of G Adventures draws fairly like-minded and flexible people (you must be flexible to travel this way). By the end of the trip, we had definitely made new friends.
What I Didn’t Love About The Tour
There were only a few things that I didn’t love — did they majorly hamper our trip? Nope. Are they things I would cause a stink about? Nope. But because I want to provide a complete and honest review of my G Adventures experience, I’ll share them with you.
Not knowing if a human actually read my vegan/gluten-free special request
When you book, they ask if there are any dietary things that should be considered, so I wrote that my husband is vegan, and I am vegan and gluten-free. After that, I didn’t hear anything. We’re both flexible (in the way that we’re ok if we have to eat fruit, protein bars, or French fries), but it would’ve been nice to know that someone did see this and was sharing it with the hotels or guide ahead of time. I did share it with the guide on the first day, and honestly, he kind of blew it off as, of course, you’ll have options (I think that honestly made me worry more — overconfidence is generally a red flag). Some of the hotels had better choices than others, but that was to be expected, and there was only once when my meal consisted of French fries and tortilla chips!
The Hotel in Reykjavik
Before leaving, I read the reviews about Hotel Cabin, which weren’t stellar. Most people disliked the accommodations, which Matt and I found absolutely fine. Others had issues with the staff, which is my complaint as well. When we first arrived, the front desk wasn’t staffed (it’s supposed to be 24 hours); once I found a person, she snapped at me that we couldn’t check in yet, which I knew, but requested to drop off our bags. The next morning, the hotel had a sign in the breakfast room that said something along the lines of, “Have special dietary needs? Let us know, and we can check the ingredients.” So, I asked which cereals were gluten-free, and the staff person threw the bag at me which was in Icelandic. Needless to say, I stuck to coffee and oatmeal that morning.
Visiting the Golden Circle
I know the Golden Circle is one of the most popular things to do in Iceland, but after you’ve been able to explore non-touristy parts of the country, it really just feels like Iceland’s Disney Land (our group had a running joke about this for the entire day). Instead of visiting the Golden Circle, I wish we would have started with a visit to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and then headed north. You probably would need an extra day, but it would be worth it (there is a Best of Iceland option that adds on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, but you still visit the Golden Circle).
These things were annoying but nothing to make me think twice about booking again.
Other Iceland Itineraries to Consider
If you’re thinking you can’t wait to go to Iceland, but this itinerary doesn’t sound up your alley, or you’re curious about the other options, you’ve currently got nine others to check out! One note: the included pricing reflects current special offers, so it could be more when you look (another good reason to join their mailing list). Some of the tours include:
Best of Iceland: Golden Circle & Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Classic 9-day tour
Available late April – beginning of October
Starts at $3,849
Hiking Southern Iceland
Active 6-day tour (this is a strenuous tour)
Available June – September
Starts at $2,549
Iceland Family Journey: Geysers, Glaciers, and Fjords
National Geographic Family Journey 8-day tour
Available late June – August
Starts at $4,899
Wellness-focused 7-day tour
Available May – September
Starts at $3,059
Iceland Northern Lights & Golden Circle
Classic 5-day tour
Available October – the beginning of April
Starts at $1799
Iceland Adventure: Northern Lights & Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Classic 7-day tour
Available October – the beginning of April
Starts at $2,649
Wrap Up G Adventures Review: More Iceland Travel Help
Now that you’ve read this review you might be considering a G Adventures tour or still thinking about going at it alone. No matter what you choose, I have more to help you plan! Check out these other guides and articles to help plan your adventure.
The Best Day Trips from Reykjavik to Explore Iceland
Is the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Worth Visiting?
The Best Iceland Vegan Guide: Where to Eat & Stay
Ultimate Vegan Reykjavik Vegan Guide: Restaurants, Hotels, & More
The Best Hotels on Iceland’s Ring Road