The Everglades is a national park located about 40 minutes from downtown Miami. It is a nature reserve made up of swamps, tropical jungles and grasslands, and inhabited by various endangered species such as the West Indian Manatee, Florida panthers and American crocodiles. It is the natural and untouched part of the United States and has been declared a World Heritage.
The park is open seven days a week and you can enter with an excursion tour, or on your own in a rented car. At the main entrance, you will find the Ernest Coe Visitor Center offering an interactive presentation of the park with information on the flora and fauna, and maps; also you will find optional tours that can be taken through The Everglades.
A two-hour long tour that goes through about 15 miles of the Shark Valley Center. This tour lets you get to know the history and the ecosystem of the marshes, and takes you through wonderful views of the park. In Shark Valley, you are allowed to use bicycles that you can either bring yourself or rent in the visitor’s center. The tour allows you to observe different kinds of birds and crocodiles of all sizes.
Get to know The Everglades on an ecological boat that uses wind-powered energy to move between mangroves. It can be a very interesting experience for adults and fun for kids. The airboat tour is an extremely enjoyable, hydrofoil ride that lets you enjoy nature with the whole family.
The Gumbo Limbo Trail is one of the most popular Everglades trails, ideal for those travelers who like quiet walks. It is a very serene journey, shaded by a short paved trail about a quarter mile through the woods. It is essential to bring bug repellant.
This trail is located next to The Gumbo Limbo Trail. About 0.8 miles long, you can spot a great variety of species along the trail; such as darters, also known as needle American birds, egrets and cranes. There is also interesting wildlife found living in the water, such as freshwater turtles and alligators of all sizes. In the parking lot you will notice a sign with a warning about the potential of vultures damaging your vehicle; making it important, if your car is rented, to buy a full insurance package (RentingCarz offers total protection rates).
The best time to visit The Everglades is from December to April. These months make up the dry season, when the weather is nice and there are fewer insects. However, it is advisable to always bring bug repellent.
There are different access points to The Everglades, and only two routes that cross through the park: Highway 41, known as the "Tamiami Trail" which runs from West Miami to Naples, and Interstate Highway 75, known as "The Lizards Corridor," which runs from Fort Lauderdale to Naples.
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