After the pretentious glamour of South Beach, I headed to the Everglades for some much needed adventure in the wilderness.
The Everglades Hostel & Tours is probably the most interesting hostel I’ve ever been to. First, it’s in the middle of nowhere - there are no major attractions (or even minor ones) besides the park itself. The property is large, has a little waterfall and tree house. You can even just setup a tent and rent access to the showers/bathroom. About half of the people staying there seem to be employed by the hostel in some way. Most of them staying for a few months or so.
I signed up for a full day tour which gives you a single-day overview of the park.
To start, we hiked through a cypress dome. The water is at most thigh deep, but there is nothing swimming around it so you don’t need to worry about leeches. The guide even went barefoot.
The area is eerily quiet - devoid of even birds or other noise making fauna. There are plenty of interesting plants to look at but not much else.
Next, we went kayaking through The 9 Mile Pond - a freshwater pond full of cypress. There are some alligators just hanging out and you can get remarkably close without any problems.
After the pond, we got back into the car and headed down to Flamingo Marina to do some kayaking out in the ocean. There are mangroves and much more wildlife. We went pretty far out and, of course, right as we’re about to turn around, a storm hits. It was good exercise to make it back to the marina.
Despite the weather, I enjoyed The Everglades and recommend doing a tour. I spent the next few days hanging out at the hostel. There a great fruit market here in the middle of nowhere - perhaps making it the sole non-park attraction.
Friday, I packed everything onto the bike and headed down to Key West.
P. S. Thanks Elfy for the Everglades pictures.