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Our Values and Certifications

Our Values

Our mission statement is simply: “Nature is the adventure”. We have tailored our tours in such a way that there will be no harm to or impact upon nature. We show our clients how nature can be treated with respect, we can pass through it without leaving a mark and take away only photographs and memories.

We care

The Arctic Adventures team is fascinated by everything Icelandic and driven to preserve and cherish not only nature but also the culture and society. This we do by taking part in all sorts of fundraisers, by giving our old lost and founds to people in need, by donating to the Search and Rescue team and by bringing underprivileged teenagers on spring trips. We try our very best to contribute to society in any way we can and feel that this is our obligation as a big company in tourism in Iceland. An obligation we are happy to comply!

To us, Iceland is not only the unique nature but also the amazing people living here and the extraordinary culture and perspectives that the nation lives by and we are proud to take part.

Environmental policy

Iceland’s wilderness remains largely intact and undisturbed which makes it unique and very precious. The rapid growth in adventure tourism is subjecting this fragile environment to an unprecedented level of strain. The Arctic Adventures family is committed to sharing its love and respect for Icelandic nature with each of our guests to providing a one-of-a-kind experience. We lead by example, continuing to set new standards in Iceland’s young adventure tourism industry. We hope to promote attitudes and practices which will keep our wilderness areas intact for future generations to enjoy. We are continually striving towards new and creative ways to evolve our company in harmony with Iceland’s beautiful but fragile nature. We worked hard to achieve certification from Vakinn, the official quality and environmental evaluation system within Icelandic tourism. We are proud to be an officially recognized sustainable tour operator.

Our four guidelines to protect and preserve the Icelandic nature are:

1. Take nothing but pictures.
2. Kill nothing but time.
3. Leave nothing but footprints.
4. Make nothing but memories.

Sustainability declaration and environmental responsibilities

Although Arctic Adventures has achieved official recognition as a sustainable tour company we still strive to find improvements. We believe that if a company, such as Arctic Adventures, wishes to thrive in the future there is only one way to achieve this: to work in harmony with nature, local communities and the people living in them. We seek to purchase local goods where possible, to reduce long-distance procurement and to abolish the use of goods made by companies who fail to recognize environmental guidelines or their worker´s rights. Arctic Adventures undertakes voluntary work with local communities and landowners in the areas where tours are operated. We make donations to organizations and support charities in various ways. This declaration is revised annually.


Leave No Trace

Arctic Adventures is one of the largest tour operators in Iceland, as such, we are very aware of our obligation to protect and conserve the environment to the best of our ability. To not do so would, of course, be socially irresponsible and reckless. It would also be counterproductive and destructive to our business. The main demographic of Arctic Adventures clientele is focused on enjoying the Icelandic natural environment in its most pristine form. This is one of the factors which motivates Arctic Adventures to adhere strictly to a “leave no trace policy”.


Our staff are required to:

  • Remove all waste and refuse from Arctic Adventures tour areas of operation; “we carry out, what we carry in”. Additionally, staff must also dispose of any waste found in the area, even when that waste is not connected to the operation of their tour.
  • Properly dispose of all waste, for example, to recycle all recyclable materials. This applies to areas in the field of operation, not just the facilities of Arctic Adventures.
  • Inform clients of the “leave no trace policy” and explain how it applies to them.
  • Discourage the taking of natural ‘souvenirs’: take only photographs.
  • Ensure all participants minimize their environmental impact by keeping to marked paths and trails whenever possible
  • Ensure no contaminants enter water sources or systems.
  • Ensure campsites and resting areas should be left in a condition which is at least as good as the condition in which they were found.

Our Green Commitment – The Importance of Green Thinking

“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time”

Only a few places are found in the world where people are living but nature is still left as untouched it is in Iceland. This is something we take great pride in and are focused on preserving. In all of our operations, actions and thoughts we think green, we think of eco-friendly ways to go about and we want to make an impact.

The Arctic Adventures family is always looking for new and better ways in sustainable tourism and we are not afraid to swim against the current to do so.

Landmannalaugar geothermal wonderland

Supporting and Respecting Local Living
  • We like to use local food products to support small local farmers and producers. This also decreases carbon dioxide release.
  • Constant monitoring, re-focusing, re-thinking and adapting to changes both environmental and cultural to ensure a perfect balance between limits and usage.
  • Thinking long term in all of our plans and actions.
No printing – Limited Paper use
  • We made the decision to quit printing brochures or buy advertising in printed mediums. This step was taken to decrease the usage of toxic chemicals used to break down ingredients for paper production and ink, as inks used in industrial printing affects the environment in various harmful ways.
  • We accept e-vouchers – no printing needed 🙂
  • We use online documents for all contracts and file keeping.
  • We recycle all paper at the office.
Public Transport
  • In 2016 we decided to have all of our Laugavegur trail participants join to use the public transport system to get to Skógar or Þórsmörk. This was done to decrease carbon dioxide release and increase fuel efficiency.
  • Arctic Adventures made a deal with Strætó (The official Public Transport) so our team could buy yearly cards at a better rate to encourage the use of public transport.
  • We have showers at the office to encourage people to walk, run or bike to work and back.
  • Joining a tour is a more eco-friendly way of exploring and traveling. Even on small group tours like we offer, the fact stays the same, with more people sharing each vehicle less carbon dioxide gets released and fuel efficiency better.
Recycling and leaving no trace
  • We recycle all waste, paper, plastic, and bottles at the office and encourage our team to do so out on the field as well.
  • We use multipurpose culinary on our tours and are extra careful with not using disposable cups for hot chocolate and coffee when served on snorkeling and northern lights tours.
  • We bring zip lock bags on all of our highland expeditions to make sure nothing gets left behind, food, waste or toilet paper.


Icelandic Nature


Our Certifications

Being a sustainable tour operator is something which we, at Arctic Adventures, take very seriously. It is also important for us to be able to reassure our customers concerning this. Our Certifications are an official recognition of our sustainability status. We are motivated to find additional ways to improve and to keep pace with new sustainability developments.

Vakinn Travel

Arctic Adventures is very proud to be a Vakinn Certified travel services and accommodation provider. To achieve this we needed to do far more than adhere to the highest standards when operating our tours and choosing accommodation. Our guides must hold the correct professional certificates and strictly comply with all safety requirements. Each activity has its own comprehensive operating policy and safety plan.

We are bound by the fifteen aspects of Vakinn’s comprehensive Code of Ethics. For example, we must provide a high standard of confidentiality, equality in the provision of our services, clear pricing and fairness in all of our dealings and advertising. We are required to uphold excellent standards of hospitality, service and sustainability and comply with all laws, requirements and regulations.

Vakinn is a quality and environmental system run by the Icelandic Tourist Board in cooperation with The Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Innovation Center Iceland and the Icelandic Tourism Association. It is based upon the Qualmark system from New Zealand which has been adapted to suit Icelandic conditions.

Vakinn Bronze Class Environmental Certificate

Arctic Adventures has been awarded the Vakinn Bronze Class Environmental Certificate which is an official recognition of our high standards concerning sustainability, the environment and social responsibility.

The preservation of magnificent of Icelandic nature for future generations to enjoy has always been very important to us. The protection of fragile ecosystems and wildlife habitats is as necessary as finding ways to reduce our individual and collective ecological footprints. A lot of expert knowledge and research went into the development of the Vakinn system. This is very reassuring for us! We developed our environmental policies to comply with Vakinn, so we know the steps we have taken will be valuable!

The Vakinn environmental system requires us to comply with their guidelines related to eight main categories: strategy and work procedures, purchases and resources, energy, waste, nature preservation, social responsibility and community engagement, supplies and market, and last but not least, information to customers.

The same as Vakinn Travel, the Vakinn Bronze Class Environmental Certification system is run by the Icelandic Tourist Board in cooperation with The Icelandic Travel Industry Association, Innovation Center Iceland and the Icelandic Tourism Association. Stefán Gíslason M. Sc. oversaw the adaptation of New Zealand’s Qualmark system to suit the unique conditions in Iceland.

Vakinn Quality Certified Travel Service   Vakinn Quality Bronze-class Enviromental


Arctic Adventures is registered as a tour operator with Ferðamálastofa, the Icelandic Tourist Board.

We hope that our permit or license will provide our customers with welcome reassurance. As a Licensed Tour Operator, we have to make certain of a few factors which are important for your confidence in us, enjoyment, the quality of your tour and, of course, your safety.

Everyone in the company has the correct level of qualification for the work they undertake. The qualifications of your guide will always meet or exceed the level required by Ferðamálastofa for the activity they undertake with you. The expertise and professionalism of your guide is so important, both for your enjoyment and safety. We want you to really get that special once in a lifetime experience!

Operating guidelines with safety plans are in place for all of our tours. The operating standards of licensed tour operators are defined by the Tourism Act of Iceland.