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Adventure Guide Program - Iceland

Outdoor Guide Training & Industry experience


12 Weeks




Enormous cascading waterfalls, incredible natural hot springs, moon-like ancient lava fields and rainbow-striped mountains.

Join us for this epic 12-week program in Iceland. We will hike to remote mountain tops as we try to catch the northern lights, learn about Iceland’s culture and unique environmental features, dine with the lovely locals and explore some of the best rock climbing and hiking spots on the planet.

You’ll also gain industry standard hiking and climbing qualifications and your Wilderness First Aid certification. Upon completion, you’ll have the essential tools to gain employment in the adventure tourism industry or become an outdoor guru capable of global adventure to any corner or peak on the globe.


15 June - 6 September


17 Jun - 9 Sep


Our Iceland Adventure Guide Program offers you an epic 12 weeks in one of the most impressively diverse landscapes in the world. 

Dramatic cliffsides and rainbow-coloured mountains set the scene for your itinerary, featuring instagram-worthy and utterly unforgettable volcanoes and geothermal geysers as well as glaciers, sparse river valleys and windswept coastal shores.The format of the course is straightforward, but you will be moving to a different home-base every week, ensuring that you will constantly have new landscapes to explore and be inspired by. You will walk away with outdoor instructor certifications in hiking, rock-climbing, and international wilderness first aid, ensuring your place as either a future leader in nature or as someone capable of travelling to any adventure location in the world!

This summer abroad program is suitable for anyone who wants to embark on a career to become a global guide, or simply to challenge their own understanding of what it means to take on the wild. Gain skills you'll use your whole life as a hiker, climber and lover of exploring untouched regions. Bring on the adventures!



Iceland is a country of unbelievable beauty and farfetched mythology. It was still uninhabited in the late 800s, long after the settlement of the rest of Western Europe. The Vikings and their slaves are credited with being the first to arrive on the island, primarily coming from Norway. To this day it is the least populated country in Europe, numbering just under 350,000. Iceland’s nature draws tourists from the farthest corners of the earth. Its landscape is characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers. Icelandic culture is just as unique as its nature. Though the language is still one of the ancient Vikings, and the importance of the folklore and 13th century world-renowned Icelandic Sagas are not lost on anyone, the country and its citizens have embraced and developed modern-day art and innovations.

From a hiking perspective, its isolated beauty remains a big drawcard for those who are keen to get away from well-worn tourist trails in other countries and experience something unique. The chance to combine a stunning Icelandic hike while seeing the amazing Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) is enough to get most adventurers hyped for the beauty of this country. We can't wait to share it with you!




  • Twelve week adventure tourism training and qualification program based in Iceland
  • Industry standard Bush Leader & Rock Leader qualifications
  • International Wilderness First Aid certification
  • Pure Exploration Certificate of Adventure Guiding
  • Modules on guiding and leadership skills, critical incident management & technical skills
  • Accommodation and food allowance during training
  • All technical equipment, in-program related transport & travel
  • Develop hiking and bush skills
  • Develop rock-climbing skills, both top-roping and leading
  • Learn, understand and practice Wilderness medical skills, including pre-hospital emergency care
  • Peer Assessments
  • Three multi-night hiking trips through the colorful mountains, past active volcanoes, and under roaring waterfalls
  • Informal lectures and discussions on history, culture, society and environment
  • Very personalized small group experience, maximum of 12 participants
  • Experienced Pure Exploration program leader supported by local guides


  • English Language Fluency
  • Be 18-35 years old at the time of commencement
  • Moderate fitness is recommended. All professional development and training is provided
  • Have a passion for travel, adventure, & tourism
  • A desire to accept challenges, a thirst for knowledge, a love of outdoor activities or for our natural environment
  • Be a social team player that enjoys helping others discover adventure!

Note spaces on this program are extremely limited! Most of our candidates apply 8-12 months in advance of the start date. 




A diverse and exciting program designed to keep everyone interested and busy throughout their stay, balancing plenty of action, learning, social and free time.

WEEK 1: Orientation/Exploration, Reykjavik

velkomin to Iceland!

On arrival in picturesque Reykjavic, you’ll be met by your program leader. After a comprehensive program briefing, you’ll immerse yourself in the epic nature surrounding your new home base. Your days will be spent digging into the country’s history at the local museums, checking out the local street art scene, and getting to know your fellow participants. You'll discuss the learning outcomes for the program, spend time participating in team bonding exercises, play various games and have time to explore your new back yard whilst taking part in an organised scavenger hunt! It's a really great few days and will begin lifelong friendships with your Pure Ex family!

WEEK 2: Hiking Module 1, Reykjavic


You’ll embark on a multitude of hikes, ranging from cruisy panoramic coastal walks to challenging and rewarding less discovered paths providing unrivalled scenery.

You will hike through lava fields covered in moss and blueberries, loop through icy rivers that feed the country’s biggest waterfalls and bask in the hot waters of hidden natural spring pools. You’ll be introduced to overnight hiking, learning the most effective and comfortable ways to pack your bags and set up camp for the night.

Hike Module 1 will introduce you to day-hikes, overnight hikes, navigation, weather and map reading then introduce you to essential training in group management, risk analysis, and leadership.

WEEK 3: Rock Climbing Module 1, Reykjavic

Time to hit the rocks! You’ll spend the week learning and absorbing the different techniques involved in rock climbing, including vital safety precautions, harnessing, belaying, rappelling, top-roping and an intro to Lead climbing.

WEEK 4: Hiking Module 2, Landmannalagar

This week will have you packing your bags for the stimulating days ahead and experience the epitome of Icelandic wilderness. Your first multi-night trek is the world-famous Laugavegur trail, showcasing colourful valleys, rough volcanic mountain ranges, massive glaciers and fields of hardened lava. It is a popular trail, so you will have plenty of opportunities to engage with other like-minded travellers appreciating the immense beauty this tiny country holds.

The second leg of the module is the lesser-known Hellismannaleið trail. It will be more challenging both with its terrain and its exposure to the elements, and you will push your boundaries – and be breathlessly rewarded. Each day you will be provided with the rare experience of disconnecting from the online world and reconnecting with the outside world, and each night, after setting up camp, you will have the important practice of digesting it all.

WEEK 5: First Aid Training, Vik

Ground yourself in the special town of Vik, Iceland’s most southernmost city. With its black volcanic sand beaches stretching out into the dramatic Atlantic Ocean, it’s not hard to see why it is a commonly used marketing backdrop to lure tourists to Iceland. You will be based here for the duration of your Wilderness First Aid training week and have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the fantastically diverse surroundings.

WEEK 6: Rock Climbing Module 2, Hnappavellir

Discover why the local climbers make a yearly pilgrimage to this unique rock-climbing paradise, with its beautiful basalt rocks stretching across a cliff over 2 miles long, overlooking waterfalls and sheep, beaches and foxes. This sets the scene for your second rock climbing module, which will introduce you to lead climbing single-pitch sport crags. You will test your endurance and your courage every day, discovering what you are truly capable of achieving with your mind and body.

Week 7: Hiking Module 3, Skaftafell/Vatnajokull National Park

Set up basecamp at Iceland’s biggest national park, providing you access to some of the most enviable hikes in the country. During this weeklong module you will focus on orienteering and invaluable safety measures while you’re leading clients in the wild.

WEEK 8: Hiking Module 4, Viknaslodir Trek

Put your knowledge and strength to the test in this remote part of the country. Known as the Land of the Elves, the eastern region of Iceland is rich in nature and folklore. As the stories go, there are hundreds of elves throughout the countryside, including the Elf Queen herself! Although they are known to keep to themselves, they have been rumoured to retaliate against any trespassers disrespecting their nature. The elves have inhabited arguably the most beautiful part of the country, with its unspoiled fjords, brightly coloured mountain ranges, and abundance of playful puffins.

WEEK 9 & 10: Rock Climbing Modules 3-4, Akureyri

For your final two rock-climbing modules, you will be based at crags right around the corner from Akureyri. The climbing will expose you to original routes, requiring you to develop more creativity in your continually evolving climbing habits. The fishing town of Akureyri is positioned at the base of Eyjafjordur Fjord in the north of the country.

Week 11 & 12: Client Days, Assessment, Program Wrap, Reykjavik

Your final two weeks of the course will see you putting your practice into action. You will have the chance to lead clients in both bush and rock climbing days, followed by your final assessments. We find most of our students feel they are more than prepared for assessments, finding their climbing and hiking knowledge far exceeds the standards required to pass. What does this mean? As long as you do the work, you'll fly through!

After assessments are over, there is some great time at the end of program to rest, reflect on your adventure, celebrate at a fun graduation dinner and start planning your next epic international mission with your new best mates! We absolutely love seeing where our Pure Ex grads end up, some in guiding roles, some continuing travelling, some back to study or their careers, some joining us to work for us or our partner company Pacific Discovery! Some find the trajectory of their life has completely changed post-program, and head off to climb more mountains with new friends, new girlfriends or boyfriends, new priorities and new values. The journey is just beginning!


If you're keen to maximise your time with us, you might want to consider the following paid add-ons...

Other Pure Ex Programs
We have a number of exciting programs in a range of countries that you may be keen to experience. These include:

Expedition Leader Program - For those keen to push their skills in high alpine regions, and begin to specialise in altitude and advanced technical hiking. A global course that finishes in the Himalayas.


This is a sample itinerary. Modules may occur in a different order due to weather conditions or scheduling requirements