Journey Jotters

Bitten by the travel bug

Three years ago today, the JJ family was enjoying their first day in Reykjavik along with our friends, the T family. I have written all about the rest of that day here.

The one post I had meant to write but never got around to was our trip to the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is located in Grindavik, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik and a 15-minute drive from Keflavik airport. Blue Lagoon has a travel partner that arranges transportation to and from both places. Since our flight landed early that morning, we spent some time exploring other areas before driving to the Blue Lagoon. Our visit was scheduled between 1300 and 1400 hours, We were asked to be on-site within that time. After enjoying a quick pizza lunch, we headed to the huge parking lot at the Blue Lagoon. We carried paper copies of our tickets to the reception area. The check-in line moved quickly. We were given wristbands that would function as keys to the lockers and for charging refreshments while in the lagoon.

We were booked under the Experience Comfort (versus the Premium). The ticket (at the time of our visit) included entrance to the lagoon, a towel for our use, a silica mud mask, an algae mask, and a drink of our choice while in the lagoon. The Premium included the use of a bathrobe and slippers. According to the Blue Lagoon website, “Silica enhances the skin’s barrier function, bringing strength, protection, and radiance. Algae increases collagen production, nourishing the skin from within and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”. Well, the use of these two masks certainly made sense.

Children above 2 years are admitted and all children below 10 years have to be under an adult’s supervision. Luckily, ours were a little older than that. After checking in, we were directed to the changing rooms. As expected, different rooms were set apart for men and women, and children above the age of seven accompanied parents of the same gender.

Once in the locker room, we got our swimwear ready and put away all other items in the locker. Our first task was to find the shower stalls. The rule is that everyone should shower first, without clothes on, before donning their swimwear. This process took a bit of adjustment as some of us were unused to seeing unclothed women of all ages walking to the stalls and back. Soon it was our turn and we use the provided shower gel and applied hair conditioner to keep the hair soft. Once out of the shower and safely ensconced in our towels, we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the lagoon.

The boys met us at the entrance to the lagoon. We left the towels there and shivered in the cool weather. The lagoon looked mellow and enchantingly blue. The water was very inviting with its heat and we waded into its arms gratefully.

I have included a little information on the lagoon waters, according to the Blue Lagoon website,

“The Blue Lagoon’s storied waters come from volcanic aquifers 2000 meters within the earth. In this subterranean realm of searing heat and immense pressure, freshwater and ocean water converge, becoming the extraordinary, mineral-rich resource that gave life to the Blue Lagoon: geothermal seawater.Geothermal seawater’s benefits for the mind and body have been researched for four decades. Rich in silica, algae, and mineral salt, the water strengthens, renews, and moisturizes the skin—bringing radiance and rejuvenation while stimulating circulation.”

Interestingly, according to the origin story on the website, this body of water collected in a lava field next to a geothermal plant. The water was expected to seep through the lava and return to the earth’s aquifers. But because of the high concentration of silica, proper drainage did not happen and this lagoon was formed.

The water temperature fluctuates between 98 F and 104 F on any given day. Once we got past the heat of the waters, we started to relax and enjoy ourselves in the pool. The deepest part of the lagoon is just over 4.5 feet, so it was comfortable enough for all the adults and kids (even non-swimmers) to walk around in.

We took advantage of the included drink and a couple more at the lagoon bar. We had fun applying the silica mud mask and then the slimy algae mask. Because of the heat of the waters, we were asked to stay hydrated often, which we did. We also experienced the steam room. One thing we did not do on this outing was to carry our phones/cameras. We didn’t see much point in getting them wet and so I have no photos to share from the experience. The website has plenty of photos that captures the elegance of the lagoon.

After spending over an hour, playing, talking and sipping on drinks, we decided to move on. After changing into dry clothes, we met again in the lobby and grabbed a cup of coffee at the cafe. Then we stopped by the skincare shop. Our ticket gave us a 15% discount, so we bought hand creams and body lotions. Although pricey, they were thick, spread easily, and kept the skin soft and well-moisturized. We used them with enthusiasm that winter.

I am sharing here some of the more useful tips in the email that Blue Lagoon sent us prior to the trip.

  • Luggage storage Blue Lagoon offers safe luggage storage, where you can store your bags while bathing. The luggage storage service is located in the parking area.
  • Lines/Queues on arrival When you enter the Blue Lagoon facilities, there will be several different reception lines. Check your ticket to see which line applies to you.
  • The wristband has multiple uses Upon your arrival, you will be given a wristband. This colorful item is the key to your changing room locker. But it also functions as an in-water credit card. You can use it to purchase drinks and refreshments anywhere in the spa area.
  • Sunglasses and sunblock During the day, the Blue Lagoon reflects a substantial amount of sunlight. Therefore, it is wise to wear sunglasses in the lagoon. Similarly, on sunny days, there is an increased risk of sunburn, so please consider using some form of sunblock.
  • Prescription eyeglasses If you have prescription eyeglasses and choose to wear them in the Blue Lagoon, be sure not to submerge them in the water. Silica—one of the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal treasures—can damage the lenses.
  • Contact lenses Salt, minerals, and other elements found in the seawater of the Blue Lagoon can irritate your eyes. Therefore, if you wear contact lenses, we recommend that you remove them before entering the lagoon.
  • Children and the Blue Lagoon The Blue Lagoon has a minimum age limit of 2 years old. Children aged 2-to-13 are welcome to enjoy the Blue Lagoon–free of charge–with their family or guardian. Due to the fluctuating temperatures and color of the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal seawater, it is mandatory for children aged 2-to-8 to wear inflatable armbands (aka, ‘floaties’, ‘water wings’) in the lagoon. These are provided free of charge. Also be aware that each guardian is only allowed to supervise two children under the age of 10. For safety, and out of respect for other guests, please keep an eye on your children at all times.

A couple of others that I thought were important:

  • Schedule your visit ahead of time, the lagoon is open year-round and visit at the allotted time
  • Condition your hair before and after using the lagoon
  • Bring a bag to carry the wet swimsuits in
  • Leave all jewelry in the lockers so they are not tarnished

At the time of our visit in June 2017, construction of the hotel was ongoing. The website now shows that the Silica Hotel and the Retreat Hotel are open for guests. Guests also have an option of an in-water massage that can be booked ahead. We had a pleasant and invigorating visit to the Blue Lagoon.

Happy armchair travels!!

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