boat tours

Naturally Wild – An Everglades Backcountry Pontoon Tour

If you really want to safely get up close and personal views of the crocodiles that call the Florida Everglades home, then the best way to do it is with a pontoon boat tour.

John and I took a 90-minute tour with Flamingo Adventures, and we had hardly left the Flamingo Marina when we had our first close up crocodile sighting. A 14-foot croc that is often seen near the marina. In fact, he hangs out there so much that the staff has affectionately given him the name of Freddie. His bottom jaw’s deformity can easily identify Freddie, speculated to be an injury from a territorial fight at one time. I hate to see the other guy.

Meet Freddie

The tour takes you on a 90 minute adventure into the Everglades back country where you will most certainly see crocodiles of all sizes, from youngsters to mature adulthood.

As the 90-minute tour ventures up the Buttonwood Canal through Coot Bay to Tarpon Creek and into Whitewater Bay, an onboard nature guide highlights facts about the landscape and wildlife.

I was fascinated to learn about the importance of the Florida Everglades, not only to the State of Florida but the oceans as a whole. The vast mangroves serve as the nature guide put it “kidneys to the ocean” as they filter out impurities. The mangroves also provide a safe haven for the eggs and young of many species of marine life.

On the tour, you will encounter all types of wildlife; John and I were even lucky enough to get an up-close view of a pre-adult manatee munching out on some algae on the roots of a mangrove tree.

If you have never been to the Florida Everglades or don’t know much about its importance to the environment as a whole, then the pontoon boat tour is an excellent way to start your Everglades adventure.

Directions and Costs

To get to Flamingo, you will enter Everglades National Park through the Homestead entrance. The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center’s physical address is 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034. The entrance fee to Everglades National Park is $30 per vehicle, and it is good for 7 consecutive days. From the entrance, you will travel 38 miles on the main road, to the Flamingo Visitor Center. The physical address to Flamingo Visitor Center is 1 Flamingo Lodge Highway, Flamingo, FL 33034.

The cost for the 90-minute backcountry tour Adults (Ages 12+) – $40
Children (Ages 5-11) – $20 Young Children (Ages 4 and under) – FREE

To book a tour, here is a link to Flamingo Adventures’ official website for your convenience

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