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We went on the full day tour and our guide, Dave, made the difference all the way. He was with us the entire day and spent all his time telling us about the everglades, the flora and fauna, the history, and more. The day included a ride in a comfortable tall van, and a fun Captain Jacks airboat ride in the mangroves (See separate reviews.). There we saw and could hold a young alligator. We then went for a delicious lunch at the Oyster House Restaurant (See separate review.), then on to a flat boat ride through the ten thousand islands. There we saw many, many birds, osprey nests, manatees, fish, and so on. Finally, we ended our activities at Wootens (See separate review.) for a fascinating alligator show. Seeing the everglades was a bucket list item for me and this all-day tour was perfect; I can check thiss off my list.
- Travel4Bee, November 2016
Kenny, our driver was very knowledgeable and made the ride interesting to say the least. He had lots of stories and was even kind enough to go get us some gator bites while we were out riding the airboat.
Captain Jack's Airboat Tours wasn't bad; but, having been out on an airboat ride before, we were surprised to not have seen more wildlife. Maybe it was the hot weather. Javier, our captain, was nice and gave us a good airboat ride. He wasn't very talkative; but, we did get to see him feed a wild raccoon. That was pretty cool. When we got back to the dock, we got to hold an alligator and get our picture holding it.
The animal sanctuary which did seem like more of a small family zoo was okay. However, watching Devin entertain us with Charlie the gator was the highlight of the visit to Wooten's.
Overall, it was nice spending time with our family; but, it wasn't quite the thrill we thought it would be.
- Jeff K, September
We took this tour in mid-August, opting for the full day experience. As it turned out the other four people with us that day had only booked the half-day which meant that my wife and I basically had a personal guide with us for the whole day. I have to say that Phil Hymel, our guide, was extremely knowledgeable of the area and history, but the thing that impressed me most was the appreciation and respect he has for the area residents. Not the super-rich hanging around Fifth Avenue, but the regular people in Everglades City, Chokoloskee Island and environs.
The tour included an airboat trip trough the Everglades mangrove swamps with an extremely knowledgeable guide who enjoyed showing off his prowess with the boat's acrobatic abilities as well as his knowledge of the flora and fauna of the swamps. We saw alligators, racoons, catfish, more alligators. Quite a thrilling experience that included a lot of history of the Everglades area.
Another highlight was a boat trip off Chokoloskee Island out into Big Cyprus and the waters of the 10,000 Islands where we had dolphins jumping and diving alongside our boat, manatees circling us, and got to view Roseate Spoonbills in their natural environment.
One of the slightly controversial stops was at Wootens, which also runs an airboat tour, but is primarily an annual sanctuary. I've read some negative reviews of this operation, but keep in mind that the big cats and other animals are all rescued. For example, the Florida Panther on display, admittedly in a cage smaller than one would like to see it in, was admitted after being hit by a car. The reason he walks with a stiff gait is because he was operated on and has pins holding his bones together. Wouldn't have happened without Wootens.
The tour also included lunch at the Oyster House, stops at a couple of small museums that weren't on the official agenda, and a visit to Smallwood General Store Museum, a part of Chokoloskee history for over a century, and still run by descendants of the founder Ted Smallwood.
All in all I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting the area for the first time as it gives you a great appreciation for the history and current state of the Everglades region.
- Wes S, August 2016
We did a half day tour departing Naples a little after 8am. Although not that far down to Everglades City (about 40 mins), it was nice to let someone else do the driving and get to take in the scenery. It's surprising how much you miss when you are watching the road when driving yourself. The tour guides narration on the drive was very informative. We did an airboat tour and a visit to an alligator sanctuary. With hindsight we probably should have done the full day which would have included a lunch, but the morning trip meant we could go to the beach later in the afternoon. Plenty of free parking from the pick up point also.
- Simon T, August 2016
Traveling out to the Everglades, our NT tour driver Dave was very pleasant provided a lot of information and stopped at a few stops along the way to highlight some interesting stops and got us back to the Marriott safely! We booked the all day tour and it was well worth it. Our air boat guide, Troy stopped along the trip to make sure we saw alligators and raccoons and answered all of our questions. He was very knowledgable about the area- even the Mangroves. We had a nice lunch and then took a boat ride through the Everglades out to the gulf. We can't remember the captains name but this gentleman was also a wealth of knowledge (grey hair- from the area- wish we could remember his name). He saw to it that we saw Dolphins, Manatees, a shark and a variety of birds. Overall a great day. Thanks
- Stephanie D, August 2016