A wild race on a shaky hovercraft in the mangrove jungle of Everglades National Park, passing through narrow marshy passages at breakneck speeds. This is the best way to enjoy the extraordinary flora and fauna in the area and visit the endless floating mangrove forests inhabited by pelicans, kites, ospreys, manatees, otters and, above all, the famous crocodiles and alligators of Florida.
The perfect way to visit Everglades National Park is by a propeller boat, though there is also a road of over 20 km through the park, so you can drive if you prefer. Just past the main visitor center, on the left, we find two paths leading to one of the park's most spectacular sites. The trail is short, just over 1 km, and enters a swamp where over a hundred alligators live (it is said that the best time to see them is early in the morning). Besides these alligators, I was lucky enough to see some snakes, lizards and lots of birds.
I hate organized tours. They make you feel like a real tourist, and you only see what the guides want ... so on my trip to the Everglades, I decided to do it myself! I went by car along the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades. I would go for thirty minutes at a time without seeing another car on the single lane 70 mph road. I really felt like I was in the States! Completely immersed in nature, with animals and reptiles occasionally popping out onto the street, birds above my head, and old abandoned Indian reservations, it was incredible! I drove for miles and miles through the trees, on a road through the swamp with no human presence beyond my own.
At one point I stopped the car to see what was in the hut beside the road and received a nasty surprise: there was an organized tour, with high-priced airboats, and the chance to take photos with a sedated baby alligator. I left, upset, and didn't stop again until I came to a micro camp run by locals in front of an Indian store. There were no cars parked there, and just one wooden boat. Inside, the Indian lady asked me to wait a moment while she fetched her son, a boy of 20 years. Intimate and small, it was exactly what I wanted. The son took us out on the lagoon to a deserted Indian village, and he explained its secrets and helped us spot the animals hiding in the trees, and the alligators in the lake. Amazing!