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Nature in Miami

Everglades National Park
Aerial view of Everglades National Park
Owl in Everglades National Park
Anhinga Trail
Caimans in the Everglades

The blue of the water is the first colour to captivate visitors, but the green of its parks has the same effect. Let’s explore the Everglades National Park.
You can also enjoy Miami without your swimming costume. The ideal alternative to lazing on the beach is going to Everglades National Park, the wildest area of the United States. This swamp is approximately 6,000 square kilometres, making it the third largest in continental United States. Everglades National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

Just 72km from central Miami (an hour by car), you will find the main entry to the park, located in the town of Homestead. The first surprise is the vegetation, which extends beyond your range of vision. Indeed, almost everything you see is covered with plants. Its famous wetlands are a home to numerous species including caimans, crocodiles, snakes, pumas and all types of bird. The park is so large that it is best to go on a guided tour, with several operators offering these. You can also go to the visitor centre, where they explain all the activities you can do at the park: walks through the wetlands, hiking routes, kayak, bike or tram excursions, fishing and more.

The visitor centre is at the start of what is probably the best known walking trail through the Everglades National Park: the Anhinga Trail. At just 1.3km long, this is an easy and safe path, which guarantees you will see animals. Practically the entire route is a wooden bridge above the water., making it easy to spot caimans and turtles. Another route is available for visitors. It is a circular, 24km route you can do on a tram. During the trip, which normally takes a couple of hours, experts explain all about the flora and fauna of the Everglades. The most exciting point comes midway through the activity: you can climb up a viewing tower and enjoy the landscape of the park at your feet. If you would prefer a freer, engine-free mode of transport, you can follow the same route on a bicycle.

Water fanatics can sign up for a kayak tour through the mangroves. You can choose the one that best suits your preferences, in accordance with difficulty and duration. With such a wide range of nature and activities, it is logical that a day is insufficient to visit the entire park properly. This is why they let you camp inside, although you have to get a permit beforehand.

And for the climax, a surprise awaits you, one you can enjoy in very few places in the world: travelling through the wetlands at high speed on an airboat (a boat operated by a huge fan). Very near the Everglades you will find several businesses offering this activity. As you can see, there is no beach in this natural paradise in Florida, and it doesn’t even need one.

“See you later, alligator”

This expression is regularly used in the gator farms of the Everglades. During guided tours to these attractions, there are normally shows involving snakes and caimans, and they will tell you a lot about the stars. The guide normally climbs on top of the animal and plays with its jaw, to add some excitement to the talks. Afterwards, you can hold a baby caiman, if you dare, and have your photo taken with it. But, if you grow too fond of it, you may be put off trying the crocodile burger, typically offered at farms in the region.

Tips for visitors to the park

If what you want on your trip to the Everglades is to see as many animals as possible, it is best not to go in summer as it is harder to spot them in the heat. Don’t forget to take your sun cream, mosquito repellent and water. And, above all, be careful with the vultures: they like biting car accessories (windscreen wipers, the rubber around the window and that sort of thing). It is best to cover your vehicle with the fabric and rubber provided at the park.

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