Everglades National Park, Florida

About 97 km from Miami is the Everglades National Park which protects an unparalleled landscape, being the second largest national park in the United States of America (after Yellowstone).

The park provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species, such as the manatee, the American crocodile, and the Florida panther.

Of course, the most common animal that most tourists visit the Everglades for is the Florida alligator.

All animals are protected by law and visitors are asked to maintain a safe distance from wildlife in the park.

The Everglades is the most important breeding ground for tropical wading birds (waterfowl) in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere.

The tropical climate of the¬†Everglades¬†is defined by two main seasons: wet and dry.¬†From December to April, the dry season brings low humidity and mild temperatures between 12¬įC and 25¬įC (and mosquitoes are less of a bother). The wet season lasts from May to November. Temperatures at this time of the year can exceed 35¬įC and the humidity level is higher and it rains most of the time.

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The price is $30/car/day. The ticket can be purchased at the entrance points to the park or online.

One of the most rewarding activities in the Everglades is bird watching, where you can see up to 300 species of birds. 

The best season to observe is from December to March. This is the dry winter season when birds congregate around lakes, making them easier to spot. When the water level is low, Mrazek Pond is one of the best spots in the park for bird photography.

Much of the park is only accessible by boat.¬†If you don’t have a boat, you can drive a portion of the park in one day and take short walks on marked trails.

We stopped at the¬†Mahogany Hammock Trail¬†(800 meters) ‚Äď a trail that winds through lush vegetation that includes¬†gumbo-limbo¬†trees and the largest mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni) in the¬†United States.

Another trail is¬†the Pa-hay-okee Trail ‚Äď an observation deck that offers views of the “river of grass”.¬†The duration is about 10 minutes.¬†Unfortunately we didn’t see any alligators, but we enjoyed the wonderful scenery of the park.

We couldn’t get to the¬†Everglades¬†without taking an airboat tour.¬†There are three major companies that operate in¬†Everglades National Park:¬†Coopertown, Everglades Safari Park, and Gator Park.¬†All three are located between¬†Miami¬†and¬†Shark Valley.

We chose Everglades Safari Park because we had a ticket to enter the park and got a discount. The cost of a walk is $34/person ($29/person if you have a  National Park Pass). The walk takes 30-40 minutes. Private tours are also available, but prices start at $275/person.

Everglades National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with plenty of trails for hiking, biking and boating, various activities for water sports fans, camping sites or specially designed areas for fishing.

PS: Don’t forget sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

(Everglades ‚Äď December 2021)

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