Theme of the month - Adventure

 

Lufthansa Highlights travel reports Miami

 

Miami - Go with the flow

You won’t find another river like the “River of Grass” anywhere in the world: This unique waterway, 60 kilometers wide in places and 100 kilometers long, flows languidly through subtropical Florida down to the Gulf of Mexico. In many places only a few centimeters deep, the River of Grass is a marshy area densely overgrown with grass, bushes and trees, providing a lush natural habitat for alligators, bears, flamingos, pumas and hundreds of other species. Only an hour’s drive from the busy city of Miami, (population around 390,000), the wetlands of the Everglades are an adventure waiting to be explored.

 
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Go with the flow

Go with the flow

Anhinga Trail:
A fun excursion for the entire family: The Anhinga Trail is a 1.2-kilometer, fully wheelchair and stroller-accessible boardwalk path that winds from the Royal Palm Visitor Center into the Everglades. With luck, you can spot alligators, turtles and many different types of birds (including the eponymous anhinga) as you walk along the trail. The Ernest Coe Visitor Center, which is about 6 kilometers away, provides a wealth of information about the surrounding swamplands. There are several other boardwalk trails in the area, for instance the Long Pine Key Trails, which cover altogether 45 kilometers and are ideal for extended hikes.

Information:
Ernest Coe Visitor Center: 40001 State Rd., Homestead, Tel.: +1-305/242 77 00. Opening hours: daily 9am-5pm.
www.nps.gov/ever
Go with the flow

Everglades City:
Don’t let the name mislead you: this “city” has a population of only 500, but it lies right at the mouth of the River of Grass and is one of the gateways to the national park. Back in the late 19th century, the town was a popular destination for wealthy tourists from the north who would come here in the winter months to fish and hunt. Today, the town is a good starting point for expeditions into the subtropical swamplands and offers a variety of services, including canoe rental for visitors wishing to explore the Everglades on their own.

Information:
For example: Everglades Rentals & Eco Adventures: 107 Camellia St., Everglades City, Tel: +1/239-695-3299.
www.evergladesadventures.com


Go with the flow

Airboats:
Loud and laid back in the most literal sense of the word: Airboats are ideal for getting around the swamps of the Everglades, and they are just as typical for this area as flamingoes and alligators. Also known as fanboats, these vessels have a large and very loud propeller above the water, which allows them to pass through shallow water. Airboats leave from Everglades City for half-hourly rides around the nearby mangrove swamps. Longer tours can also be booked, offering a great opportunity to watch the many indigenous bird species and the occasional alligator.

Information:
For example: Everglades Tours: 200 Collier Ave., Everglades City, Tel: +1/239-695-4400.
www.captaindougs.net. Everglades Airboat Tours: 929 Dupont St., Everglades City, Tel.: +1-239/695 23 33.
www.airboateverglades.com


Go with the flow

Birds and fish:
The Everglades are a veritable El Dorado for anglers. The shallow waters of the Everglades provide a lush habitat for 300 different species of fish, and the national park is home to just as many different types of birds, including ibises, cormorants, pelicans, storks and flamingoes. Group tours or personal guides can be booked for those who don’t want to go looking for wildlife on their own.

Information:
www.nps.gov/ever


Go with the flow

Camping:
There’s nothing a true explorer loves better than sleeping in the wilds. There are numerous spots in the Everglades where campers can pitch a tent. If you are not planning to use one of the two official, vehicle-accessible campsites, you will need a special Backcountry Permit. Camping tours must be planned carefully in advance: Good maps and effective insect repellant are must-haves in this part of the world.

Information:
Campsites: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground, each US $16 per night. Wild camping: a Backcountry Permit must be purchased from a visitor centre on the previous day or before setting out (US $10 fee plus US $2 for each night).
www.nps.gov/ever


Go with the flow

Alligators:
These toothy creatures are the direct ancestors of the dinosaurs and have a fierce reputation as ruthless predators. The Mississippi alligators that inhabit the swamps of the Everglades grow to between three and a half and four meters long, with some individuals measuring up to as much as six meters from nose to tail. Adult alligators will hunt even large prey, such as sheep or pigs. Attacks on humans are rare, but not unknown. A safe place to get close to these giant reptiles is the Everglades Alligator Farm, which is home to around 2000 alligators.

Information:
Everglades Alligator Farm: 40351 SW 192nd Ave., Homestead, Tel: +1/305-247-2628. Open daily from 9am-6pm. Admission: US $23/US $15.50 for children up to 11 (includes shows and airboat ride; US $15.50/US $10.50 without the airboat ride).
www.everglades.com
 

Photos: Kremer/Bildagentur Huber, VISIT FLORIDA (6)

 
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