Riding on an airboat across The Everglades was on my bucket list, so when I cruised from Port Everglades last year I decided to organise a tour on debarkation day. The Caribbean cruise I went on did stop in Port Everglades half way through the itinerary but didn’t want to rush this excursion so opted to go when I left the ship – this also gave me something to look forward to once the cruise was over.
I booked one night’s stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Miami (opposite the Dolphin Mall), which was near to the edge of The Everglades. Our flight wasn’t until the next day so we had plenty of time to visit The Everglades and the mall, which is the largest in Miami.
We actually stayed here on the night of the Superbowl, I remember it being on all the TVs in the lounge bar. The room was spacious and comfortable so served us well as a base.
Based on good reviews and feedback we had pre-booked a semi-private airboat ride with River of Grass Adventures. Our research had found that by booking a semi-private tour, we would still get a good quality tour without the price tag. Reviews also suggested that these tours are not always full so the groups are still relatively small.
We got an Uber to a gas station, detailed on the booking confirmation and the friendly staff met us straight away, from there we hopped into one of their vehicles to be taken to the airboat. It seemed a very relaxed and informal tour, which was refreshing; the guide was chatty and explained to us that the small family-run airboat company know The Everglades really well and put the customers’ experience first. It turned out that there was only one other couple joining us for the tour so there was only four of us, plus the airboat driver/tour guide.
The tour guide was so knowledgeable and was able to stop at known alligator ‘hang outs’ so we were able to see lots of them during our tour. The airboat ride was exhilarating and fun, it felt like we were going much faster than we were but we held on tight and enjoyed the ride!
The River of Grass Adventures’ semi-private tour, known on the company’s website as the 1.5 Hour – Best Everglades “small group” Airboat Tour is $85 per person, which I think is really good value for money as there were only four of us on the tour. You could also book a private tour for two people for $300.