Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Puffin tours

General FAQs

What is the difference between the Premium and the Classic Puffin Watching Tour. 

Even though the tours visit the same areas the experience can be quite different as they are operated on very different type of boats.  They both offer a live guidance from a marine biologist so you should be able to get answers to any puffin questions. 

The Classic Tour is operated on a comfortable sightseeing ship that has a bathroom and an indoor area. That boat can take up to 38 passengers. The Classic Tour is suitable for the whole family and the duration is around 1 - 1,5 hrs

The Premium Tour is operated in custom designed RIB speedboats. Those boats are smaller and faster and can get you the closest to the islands where the puffins are nesting while not disturbing their everyday lives. This tour is 45-60 minutes but we still spend more time at the islands watching the birds than on other tours since it only takes these fast boats around 5 minutes to reach the first stop on the tour. This tour has an age and height limit and feels more adventurous as you are out in the open air boats getting beautiful views of the city and the islands from sea level.

Where do you go on your tours?

We cruise off to the islands there are located just outside of Reykjavík. On the RIB boats it only takes us approx 5 minutes from the harbour to reach the islands, and on the classic boats it takes 10 to 15 minutes. They are called Engey, Lundey and Akurey and it varies between tours and sightings how many visits per tour.

Why are there only puffin tours available in summer? 

Our fluffy friends the puffins unfortunately leave Iceland and therefor us for winter and autumn. They arrive in Iceland in April and start making their way towards the islands and other areas where they nest from May until the end of August. 

How close can we get to the puffins?

This actually varies from tour to tour depending on the sea conditions as well as the tides. If it suits your itinerary we would recommend joining the tour at high tide as we are usually able to get the boat closer to the islands. It depends on conditions but we like to visit two islands offering different viewing experiences during the tours. One of the islands (Akurey) has had very high abundance of puffins in the past seasons but they are usually seen from a greater distance as the surrounding reef is very shallow. This island is often our first stop on our tours. In order to see the puffins at a closer proximity we attend another island (Engey) that has deeper water and steep rocks where the birds are often closer, depending on tidal conditions. They may not be as numerous at this location but it is the area where you can get closest to the wildlife.

You are always welcome to contact us to get information on the tides and sea conditions before booking your tour. 

Can we go on to the islands?

Unfortunately not. The islands are nature reserves and we place great emphasis on not disturbing the puffins that are nesting and other wildlife inhabiting these small islands. Therefore we approach the islands carefully and our crew monitors the behaviour of the birds and depending on that they decides where and how to approach the islands.

Is there a best time of day to see many puffins?

This is something that is very difficult to predict. The feeding pattern and everyday behaviour of the birds changes based on the weather conditions, tides and also which time of their nesting period they are in. We visit a variety of locations on the tour and some offer a closer proximity in locations where the puffins may not be as numerous. In the early part of the season as well as closer to the end of if it we usually do not see as many but during the summer months we can often see thousands of them during the tour. 

What kind of wildlife am I likely to see?

You will also see a variety of seabirds including but not limited to;  the puffins make a spectacle of themselves from approx. the 15th of May to the 20th of August, as well as gulls, oystercatchers, geese, eider ducks, fullmars, guillemots, skuas, Arctic terns.

I am prone to seasickness, is the tour advisable for me?

With our puffin tours, sea sickness is not usually an issue, as the puffin islands are close to land and fairly sheltered, although it always depends on the conditions on the day of the tour. In the ticket office you can get the current information about sea conditions. We also offer free motion sickness tablets if you want to take one before the tour. 

What kind of shoes should I wear?

Wear just about any kind of shoes as long as they are not open (like sandals, high heels etc). So that means that running shoes, hiking shoes, wellingtons, boat shoes (yes, like the hipsters wear) are all good. If you only have open shoes, then you can still go since we can supply you with special over-shoes in our service center.

Do you offer discounts for children?

Not for the Premium tour because our RIB boats only seat 12 passengers and are very often sold out so every passenger pays the same price. If you are travelling with a large family or a group you can always contact us beforehand and inquire about an offer.

On the Classic tour there is a 50% discount for children 7-15 year old and free for 6 years old and younger.  

Do you offer discounts for groups?

Please contact our sales office at with your details and we will be happy to make you and your group an offer.

Do you offer wheelchair access?

Unfortunately our RIB boats are not wheelchair accessible. If you require wheelchair access for the Classic Tour we recommend you contact our service agents and we can check if the tour is suitable for you. It can depend on which pier we are leaving from and what boat is being used for the Classic Tour if it is possible. 

I am pregnant, can I join the tour?

Yes, you are able to join the Premium tour if you are pregnant in the first trimester, but we recommend consulting your doctor before doing so. Please keep in mind that pregnant women can often be more vulnerable to sea sickness. If you are further along than 3 months we do not recommend going on the RIB boats. You can still go Puffin watching on our classic tour.

What is the minimum age for children to go unsupervised on a tour?

Children under the age of 18 years cannot go alone on our boats unless we have some form of written permission from the parents.

I need to cancel my booking - can I get a full refund? 

Individuals can cancel bookings up to 24 hours prior to departure without penalty. If you are booking a combo tour or through a third party, please keep in mind that other cancellation policies may apply. 

My tour was cancelled. What do I do next?

The Mr Puffin team happily advises and assists you to find a new departure date if possible when the weather conditions are better. No charge is made on our behalf if you cannot join our tour due to cancellation of the tour. That is we will give you a 100% refund of your money if we cancel your tour due to weather and you can not go on another date.

Do I need to book a seat on the tour before hand?

Yes, that is most definitely recommended. We have a very limited number of seats on each tour (only 12 per boat!). So if you want to be sure to get a seat, book and pay for it well in advance. Having said that you can always give us a call to check on the availability. Our telephone number is +354-497-2000.

Is hotel pick up available for the tours?

Yes, that is most definitely recommended. We have a very limited number of seats on each tour (only 12 per boat!). So if you want to be sure to get a seat, book and pay for it well in advance. Having said that you can always give us a call to check on the availability. Our telephone number is +354-497-2000.


Premium Puffin Tour

So, how does the Premium tour work? How is the tour organised?

We start by putting on our special overalls (flotation suits), PFDs and more at our service center in the harbour 30 minutes before departure. Next you will meet your nature guide and the captain of the boat you will be travelling on. They will introduce you to the safety procedures and give you a general overview of how the boat works. Next up is the tour itself. We start with a short 5 minute ride over to the puffin islands, then we zip around the islands for 45 minutes trying to get the best viewing spot for the birds. We then cruise back in the direction of Reykjavík and ride along the coast, viewing the Sun Voyager sculpture and the skyline of the city. Our final view is of the ocean side of the famous Harpa Concert Hall.

How many are on the RIB tour?

Our boats seat 12 passengers plus one guide and one captain.

How should I dress for the RIB tour?

We recommend wearing sturdy flat bottom shoes and dressing in warm clothing, maybe a wool sweater or fleece, as it is a bit colder on the water than on land. On board we will use  warm float-able overalls along with a personal flotation device which are both supplied by us. If you have gloves and warm hats bring them along!

 How do the flotation suits work?

They are designed to keep you warm on the boat as well as warm and floating in the ocean. Wearing these excellent suits is compulsory, by law in Iceland, when travelling on these kinds of boats. These fancy suits also make for some fantastic selfie opportunities.

Do I have to take my clothes off to wear the flotation suit?

No, you wear them over your normal clothes. We recommend a fleece or warm wool sweater underneath. However we kindly ask you remove your shoes while getting dressed in the overalls.

Do you supply gloves and hats?

We have some neoprene gloves available for guests but we recommend you bring your own gloves and hat, they are very useful on the tour and most people are more comfortable with wearing their own. 

Can I wear glasses on the tour?

Yes, you can wear your glasses and sunglasses if you'd like, we can explain to you on location how to keep them safe. We will supply you with special goggles to wear over your glasses if you prefer. If you have contact lenses, we recommend using them on the tour. 

Why is there a height & age limit for the RIB boats?

Those limits are set for safety reasons. Each individual in our tour needs to be able to touch the bottom of the boat with their feet while sitting on the saddle-like seats. That is very important especially during the full speed of our scheduled tour as we will teach you a technique we call "riding" the waves to maximise your comfort and safety during the tour. If in doubt you are always welcome to come visit us down at the Harbour and a member of our crew will escort you down to the boat to check if someone you are travelling with can sit safely on the boat.

However when we are running private tours we are more flexible in regards with these limits as we can drive more cautiously or slowly then the scheduled tours demand to meet the requirement of every passenger on the boat. 

Is it safe to bring a camera?

You are of course welcome to bring your camera or phone along on the tour but it's always at your own responsibility. Most of our guests, as well as our crew members, do bring phones and cameras with them on the tours and some have captured unbelievable photos and videos. There are pockets on the overalls you wear that are ideal for storing smartphones and small cameras. Larger cameras or SLR with straps is best to keep around your neck and strap in under your suit while sailing on the boat. We don't want to risk it moving around while the boat it sailing. Your guide and captain can explain all of this and how to best keep the camera stored both safely and in a way that you can quickly grab it if something exciting starts happening all of a sudden!

Even though our fluffy friends the puffins are great models they are a lot smaller than many think. Therefore we recommend bringing a zoom lense. Most of the puffin photos we use on our website and brochures are shot with a 300 or 600 mm lenses. 


Classic Puffin Tour


So, how does the Classic tour work? How is the tour organised?

You arrive at our ticket office 15-20 minutes prior to departure time to collect your tickets and make your way down to the boat. There you will meet the crew and the guide will explain the safety information about the boat and the tour as heading out of the harbour. Then we sail towards and around the islands where the birds are nesting and making various stops on the way for watching the birds and their everyday lives. On the way back we will have some beautiful views of Reykjavík’s shoreline. 

How many are on the Classic tour?

It can vary based on bookings and sea conditions which boat is used for the tour but usually we use Elding II which can seat up to 38 passengers. 

How should I dress for the Classic tour, is there any specific gear?

The boat has a nice indoor area but we  always recommend dressing warmly and weather appropriately. Wearing warm and comfy layers as well as flat bottom shoes so you can easily walk around the boat. It will always feel somewhat colder out on the water then on land. There is no specific gear that is compulsory to wear but life jackets are available on board both for children and adults.