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This Snorkeling Experience Between 2 Tectonic Plates in Iceland Was Just Named One of the Best Experiences in the World

Waterfalls, geysers, and volcanic formations greet your eyes at every turn in Iceland, so when our tour guide pulled up to a nondescript lake in the middle of a rather muddy patch of land in Thingvellir National Park, I was rather unimpressed. Skeptically, I followed his instructions putting on a dry suit and snorkeling gear, and lowered myself down the metallic staircase into the water.

But the experience that unfolded in front of me in the next few moments was completely out of the ordinary. Here we were in Silfra, a rift between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates filled with glacier meltwater. Instead of feeling like I was underwater, it was as if I was suspended in mid-air above a dramatic rocky valley. 

While I went on that trip with a private guide nearly a decade ago, more Icelandic visitors have also been taking a dip into the experience, which was just named one of the top experiences in the world in Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards.

Courtesy of DIVE.IS

Earning the No. 10 spot, the winning tour is operated by Meeting on-site, the 2.5-hour excursion includes all the necessary equipment, the snorkeling tour with a PADI-certified guide, the Silfa entry fee, and hot chocolate and cookies to warm up afterward. 

While in the water, guides will point out the four main features of Silfra. First, there’s the Big Crack, the narrowest section, where the two plates are so close that you can practically touch them. It then opens up into Silfra Hall, filled with all the natural colors of the formation. There’s also the Silfra Cathedral, with sections as deep as 75 feet — the area where I felt like I was flying. Finally, there’s Silfra Lagoon, where visibility seems to drift through eternity.  

Daily tours start at $139 per person and can be booked online. For safety reasons, restrictions may apply for certain travelers, so be sure to read the details before committing. 

Other iconic experiences to earn spots on Tripadvisor’s top experiences list this year include Machu Pichcu’s Inca Trail hike, Amsterdam canal cruise, and a champagne balloon ride in Cappadocia

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