Some like it hot geothermal. And I am one of those people. What is better than a massive body of 102 °F water, magic face mud, beer, and the color blue? NOTHING! Those are all fantastic things! I don’t even care that visiting the Blue Lagoon is the most “touristy” thing to do in Iceland – it is the dopest. Yes, I said dopest.
WHAT IS THIS MAGNIFICENCE?
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a barren lava field outside of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Sounds awesome already. Because of Iceland’s location on one of Earth’s moodiest fault lines (the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which separates the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates) it is rife with volcanic activity. Because of all these underground goings-on, things really get to cooking under there, providing Iceland with an endless supply of scorching hot water and steam that is then used to create power for the island. Until someone flushes the toilet. Totally kidding. I’m getting to it, hold your horses.
Iceland harnesses this geothermal energy in power plants located around the island. These plants run the superheated ground water and steam through turbines that generate electricity. In one such plant, the Svartsengi Power Station, the water is then expelled from the plant and into a man-made lagoon where we bathe in it and cover ourselves with its precious waste. Yes, we are a weird people.
The water in the lagoon isn’t just old power plant backwash though. These waters that run a constant 98-102°F are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur that make it perfect for exfoliation and treating skin ailments, hallelujah! White silica mud is scraped from the bottom of the Lagoon and left in buckets for you to smear all over your face.
VISITING THE BLUE LAGOON IS LIKE SPENDING A DAY ON ANOTHER PLANET.
To get there you have to drive* into what seems like the middle of nowhere through black lava fields covered in moss, the only sustainable life form, aside from the trolls and elves that is. (Iceland is AWESOME!) You see steam billowing out of the ground all around you and the air smells like the hard-boiled eggs you forgot to eat for lunch 3 days ago that have been festering in the back seat of your hot car.
*Take a shuttle bus that displays signs that say NO POPSICLES and NO HOT DOGS
VISITING THE BLUE LAGOON IS LIKE SPENDING A DAY IN THE FUTURE.
You enter and are greeted by beautiful blonde Icelandic woman who clearly don’t eat popsicles or hot dogs. They speak in hushed tones with sexy space voices and give you a bracelet that is itself, smarter than a 5th grader. This is real. These fancy bracelets do it all. They get you in and out of the spa, they open and close the lockers in the locker rooms, but most importantly, they get you beer! The locker system, not surprisingly, outwitted us and forced us to spend an extended amount of time in close proximity of some very naked ladies. A butt touched me. After figuring out the locker system* and storing everything except the suits** on our bums, we headed to the showers. I should mention that the showers also stumped me and I ended up washing my hair and entire body with the stupid water wand.
*Doing a whole bunch of random shit until it actually locked
**You are also able to rent bathing suits because sometimes you just need to rent a bathing suit.
So before I went to Iceland I did a lot of research and everything I read about the Blue Lagoon stated that you are:
- required to shower before entering the lagoon
- required to shower naked
- required to shower naked in a communal shower rubbing butts elbows with other visitors.
I want to set the record straight here, peeps. First of all, there aren’t any locker room monitors forcing you to strip down. This.is.not.prison. Secondly, there are plenty of shower stalls with doors with frosted glass. And if you’re wondering, yes – your neighbor can see your boobs if you press them up against it – I won’t say which side of that I was on.
I know a couple of people who skipped out on the Blue Lagoon’s magnificence and one who almost did because of the public nudity fear mongering. Also, no one is looking at you – just beware the moon landings.
DO THIS NOT THAT // ICELAND’S BLUE LAGOON
DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE COTTON BALLS & Q-TIPS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Because they are there and they are free. And because Iceland is one expensive mo-fo so prepare to go all Ross Geller on those swabs.
DON’T WORRRY ABOUT NUDITY
Unless you are about to attend an important business meeting. Unless you are horseback riding. Unless you are roasting marshmallows. Unless you are preparing to kick a field goal. Unless you are skydiving. Unless you are collecting honey from the hive. All other times, jus’ be cool.
DO RUN LIKE THE DICKENS FROM THE SPA TO THE LAGOON*
It’s 30°F outside and you are in a bikini. Also, you can enter the water inside the spa and then work your way outside for a more agreeable transition. I have no idea how this works but I know it’s an option. Just not for me – I like to live dangerously.
DON’T FORGET TO TAKE A WATERPROOF CAMERA IN THE LAGOON WITH YOU
Trust me, you will want those photos of your friend in her rented bathing suit and your husband in his mud mask. This will be a memorable, unique experience you will want to document. I recommend this awesome Fuji and even talk about it another post full of awesome pictures I took on a snorkeling trip. Cuteness warning: there are baby dolphins.
*For more on the best travel photography gear, go here.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE HEALING POWERS OF THE BLUE LAGOON
It has been proven that these waters are beneficial to those with all sorts of skin ailments including psoriasis and eczema. However, my belief is that it cures more than just skin diseases and hangovers. Three months before traveling to Iceland I suffered some nerve damage in my hand due to a freak flying trapeze incident and had lost all feeling in my left middle finger down to the palm. After leaving the Lagoon all feeling was restored and has been 100% ever since. I’m a believer!
DO SPEND AT LEAST 3 HOURS IN THE MAGICAL WATERS OF THE LAGOON
We thought that would be a good amount of time but our pruney old man bodies definitely wanted more. Pruney old man bodies – another time to worry about nudity.
DON’T STAY IN ONE SPOT THE WHOLE TIME
The Lagoon is huge – wander around! Some areas of the Lagoon are hotter than others. Find these areas, park it for a while, wig out when you think your ass might actually be on fire, determine that it’s not, exhale, go get a beer at the swim-up bar.
DO COVER YOUR FACE IN THE SILICA MUD MASK AND LEAVE IT ON FOR AT LEAST 5 MINUTES
This gives you plenty of time to walk around shouting, “Heewllooooo” to see who around you is worthy of your friendship.
DON’T GET YOUR HAIR WET, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
Guys, whatever, no one cares. But Ladies! Keep your hair away from the water. It’s easier for some but for people like me whose hair often gets stuck in her own waistband, tie it up on top of your head. The minerals in the water make it great for your skin but a nightmare for your hair, unless dreadlocks are actually what you’re going for. In the showers they provide all the hair conditioner you could ever want free of charge. Smother you hair in it and leave. it. in.
DO ENJOY SOME ICE COLD ICELANDIC BEER WHILE YOU SIMMER
No explanation needed, am I right?
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR LAGOON-ING?
LET ME KNOW BELOW!
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