66° Degrees North: Journey to the Blue Lagoon
Welcome to the Blue Lagoon. Twenty minutes from Iceland’s airport or 45 minutes from Reykjavek city center, this is paradise, this is the Disneyland of Iceland, this is one place you really should put on your bucket list.
Tip #1: Buy your entrance ticket to the Blue Lagoon online. The cost is the same as the door prices, about $40 (a bit more if you want to rent a robe and towel), but it will save you the thirty minute plus wait time you’ll experience weaving back and forth between retractable belt stanchions. (This is what I mean about being like Disneyland.)
Tip#2: If you want a massage, facial or algae sea wrap (oh yes), book ahead. Their team of five massage therapists can’t keep up with the demand of hundreds of visitors a day from around the world. Simply book online by filling out a form requesting your treatment and preferred dates and times. Even though I tried booking a week ahead, I still didn’t get my preferred date/time. You’ll have to be flexible. Massages start at around $75 and go up from there, but the costs are within reason for a world-class spa.
Tip #3: Do buy a bar of Icelandic Chocolate at the Blue Cafe. The creamy rich cacao is exactly what the body needs after an invigorating soak in the lagoon. You can also buy sandwiches, sushi and salad from the display coolers. I loved my mango smoothie made with skyr–Icelandic yogurt. Similar in texture to Greek yogurt, it’s thick but made with skim milk so it’s half the fat and double the protein–the best thing I’ve discovered since turning 40!Tip #4: Don’t wear your expensive swimsuit, (you know the one you paid too much for because you think it makes you look skinny?) The water content is so rich in minerals and salt my nice black swimsuit just wasn’t the same. The good news is, whatever suit you do wear, unlike many European spas, you get to keep it on! Swimsuits are mandatory in the lagoon as well as the two shared steam rooms and sauna.
Brighter than the sky, the ethereal glowing blue waters seem to turn the world upside down. The contrast against the jagged black lava rock makes the lagoon feel even more otherworldly.Steamy haze fills the air shrouding visitors in a kind of welcomed privacy. Though people are everywhere, there’s a sense that each has found their own escape. Ahhh….The milky quality of the water comes from the high sulfer, silica and salt content–renowned for helping skin disorders.As you wade around, you can find what I call “little hot pockets.” On average, the temperature is between 99-102 degrees, but where the water first emerges from the pipeline, it can get much hotter.This aerial shot shows the central peninsula. Most of the people you see are gathered around the drink bar. In the distance, the power plant regulating the temperature and water flow of this man-made geothermal hot spot launches steam into the air. About the middle of the photo, between the peninsula and power plant, is the In-Water Spa Treatment Area. For my birthday Cooper booked me an Energizing and Nourishing Algae Treatment. Two hours of bliss! Here’s a photo taken from the website.
My treatment began with me lying in the water on a floating mattress, hot towels arranged over top to keep me warm while one limb after another was scrubbed with “salt glow” to a fine sheen. (Seriously ouchy.) Once through, I was slipped into a plastic bag while simultaneously covered in black algae and sealed like a Ziplock from neck to toe. With the aid of a floating neck pillow and the therapists hands, I was suspended in the water, gently towed until my mind became one with a strand of sea kelp. Ask me anything you want to know about sea kelp and I can tell you exactly how they feel drifting, massaged by the currents, sensing life around them. After emerging from my plastic cocoon, I was again massaged from limb to limb, but this time with comforting oil. As the ad promised, I felt totally renewed.