See you later alligator!
Ok, so everyone knows the Everglades are amazing, beautiful and huge and most people would just jump on one of those hovercraft and breeze through a whole ecosystem in 30min or less. But if you really want to enjoy the Everglades up close and personal, I can guarantee you that nothing beats the Wet Walk and the Canoe trip.
Our guide picked us up with a Van from the hostel where the owner told us that we could pick out random sneakers to wear during our Wet Walk. Brilliant! Otherwise without them or rubber boots you could throw your sneakers away afterwards. Because the most important thing to know is that the Wet Walk is indeed – very wet!
The car comes to a halt somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We stop and literally walk into the Everglades. No sign, no entrance, no path. After a few steps I am standing knee deep in the swamp and he is giving his security briefing. Considering we are surrounded by alligators, snakes, spiders and an occasional panther I should be paying attention…but as always the gist is: Don’t do anything stupid and keep your walking stick (a piece of wood) in front of you and follow the guide.
A few hundred meters into the forest/swamp the sound of nature envelopes me completely – ducks, crickets, mosquitos, rustling of leaves, and suspicious bubbles in the water next to me. My guide agrees and confirms the position of the alligator that I didn’t see until that moment. Time to move on. Funny enough the feeling I am having is not fear but amazement. Leaving no trace behind we keep exploring the area and he tells me about the flora and fauna of the Everglades especially the fascinating birds. Without a doubt the most immersive way to get to know the land around you is by walking through it.
The van that is carrying our canoes comes to a stop. We are standing in front of a small lake as he instructs me to get ready. 3,2,1…The cold water splashes in to my faces – an excellent way to keep the summer heat at bay. Paddling closer to the marshland and mangroves small water pathways open up like streets with the floating islands being the houses in a huge city called the Everglades. Flocks of snowy egrets fly overhead as I paddle my way through the huge maze that opens up in front of me. The mangrove tunnels lead to bird nesting sites, water turtles and yes a couple of alligators chilling in the water.
After confirming with my guide I am allowed to jump into the waters to cool off always having an eye on my surroundings and more importantly to keep my boat between me and any alligators at all times. Thanks!
I loved both adventures and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in really experiencing the true beauty of the Everglades.
There are more and more operators who are moving away from the huge boats and closer to nurturing their environment and through that giving every tourist the opportunity to experience something unique.