After 4 days in Miami and driving from Key West I arrived at the Everglades Hostel in Florida City, a hostel with a big outdoor area, pancakes for breakfast, free wifi and nice big dorm rooms, as I was out of season it was very quiet and on my second night I had the dorm room to myself. I love it when that happens, though it’s very rare. That night I spent planning what I wanted to do the next day in the Mexican restaurant next door.
As I was going to the everglades I wanted to do an airboat tour in a small boat and I decided to do this in Everglades City, which was a bit of a drive but the company I went with are the only company that go through both the mangrove jungles and grasslands, Speedy’s Airboat Tours.
I got there met our pilot and off we headed, as we set off from the marina we saw an alligator in the water, the only one we would see on the trip. As it was a cloudy and cold day I was told the alligators would not be out sunbathing so we were lucky to get to see one.
We also saw a mother and baby dolphin swimming around. (Not the best shot, after 4 years you would think I would know exactly how my camera works!!)
We then put our ear muffs on, increased our speed and headed through the Mangrove Jungles.
This was great fun, our pilot put his foot down and threw us around corners, loved it. After the mangroves we then headed through the grasslands, we didn’t see any more animals on the tour but by then the adrenalin was pumping.
After the tour the company recommended a drive down Turner River Road, it’s a few miles from the turnoff for Everglades City and it’s a 21 mile scenic gravel road, with a canal alongside the road, where you can see lots of alligators hanging out.
I then headed to Everglades National Park and the Shark Valley entrance. There are 2 options to see the area here, either hiring a bike or doing a tram tour as it’s a 15 mile circuit. As the clouds had arrived and rain was looking inevitable, I decided to go with the tram option, which when the rain arrived I was relieved not to be cycling around. The tour was great and they kept stopping and showing us different birds, alligators & snakes. Half way we stopped at the observation tower to get a great view of the everglades. Definitely worth doing unless you have the weather and time for the bike ride.
After my fun packed day I headed back to the hostel in the rain, certainly wasn’t expecting rain when I booked Miami.
The next day was my last before heading back to the UK, so my intention was to head into the park via the entrance near Florida City, unfortunately the weather that day was terrible, very little visibility and heavy rain.
I decided instead to facetime home before my flight, to put my dad off the scent that I was flying home to surprise him on his 70th birthday. His face was a picture when he walked in the pub and he couldn’t understand how I was there and not in Miami. What a great end to the trip.
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