Cape Ingólfshöfði and its Puffins

Date 22 January 2020

Cape Ingólfshöfði and its Puffins

Cape Ingólfshöfði and its Puffins

Cape Ingólfshöfði is located southeast of Skeiðarársandur in the Suðurland region, about halfway between Höfn and Kirkjubaejarklaustur. There are some real bird-watching hotspots in Iceland, including Latrabjarg, Vìk and the Melrakkasletta peninsula, but Ingólfshöfði is a veritable bird-watcher's paradise!

What kind of place is this?

You'll see the sign for Ingólfshöfði about 30 minutes from Skaftafell Park, between the Hofsnes and Fagurholsmyri farms. But you can't get there on your own, tours of Ingólfshöfði are only possible with professional guides.

There are tours departing from the car park twice a day (10AM and 01:15PM) from May to August, when birds are most present.

The 75-meter promontory rising from the water is in fact a tidal island and only accessible at low tide. And that's not even the strangest part, because once you get to the shore, you get to cross the tidal flats in style... behind a tractor.

A tractor hitched to a huge trailer carries two dozen tourists across the black sand lagoon twice a day. This is the only way to get across to the promontory and you'll need to make reservations as there are limited spaces, only a few dozen people twice a day.

It takes 25 minutes to drive the 6 km from the car park to the beginning of the tour of this splendid black sand lagoon: the Skeidararsandur.

The Ingolfshofdi Tour

macareux à Ingolfshofdi

The whole tour takes 2.5H in total, describing a wide loop that hugs the edge of the cliffs. It's at least a 2 kilometer walk to reach the cape and even begin seeing the birds. But when you do, it's hundreds of thousands of the majestic puffins, great skas, guillemots, and fulmars.

These animals are not afraid of us, and it's sometimes disturbingly easy to approach and interact with them. Throughout the tour, the guide will be at your side explaining the biology and history of the region. These guides are local experts, in fact members of the same family living on the Hofsnes farm right next to the car park.

As the tour progresses, the sand and cliffs give way to grassy plateaus where Arctic terns reign supreme. Keep in mind these birds are rather aggressive if you get too close to their nests. They won't hesitate to “attack” by flying over your head with loud threats...

Please note that excursions are only possible from May 5th to August 18th, every day except Sundays. You'll have about 1.5 hours on site to explore the cape and admire its birds before returning inland.

While tempting, it is strictly forbidden to drive your own rental 4x4 to the cape, and potentially dangerous.