We arrived at the villa after flying into Orlando International airport (MCO). Itinernary on this trip was Heathrow to Washignton DC, change flights and into Orlando. Total flight time was 10 hours with a 2 hour stopover in Washington. We took a day of rest and relaxation, whilst our daughter and friend went to Seaworld in Orlando. Enjoyed the pleasures of Orlando for a few days then we drove down to Naples, Florida. While in Naples we did the barrier isalnd – Sanibel island, just North of Naples, famous for its beaches and shells which get washed up from the Caribbean and other southern seas.
That night we walked Naples fith avenue and surrounds which was buzzing with people out for evening entertainment in restaurants and bars. Staying overnight we then made our way to the Everglades National Park. We stopped in the visitors centre near Everglades City which is about 30 miles south of Naples. The Gulf Coast Visitor centre is located near Everglades City where we learned of the four poisonous snakes, diamondbacks, pygmy rattlesnakes, coral snakes and water moccasins. Wild birds are in abundance, like osprey, egrets, endangered wood storks and bald eagles and of course the reptiles: alligators as well as manatees. We noted that swimming was not encouraged in the National Park – as if any of us were going to take a dip with so many creatures out to get you !
Some interesting history of the indigenous people in the Everglades was fascinating, the Tequestas who established villages at the mouths of rivers and elevated tracts of land. Seminole people habited Florida in the 19th century after being pushed south during the Seminole wars. Descendants of these tribes still live in the Everglades National Park. Efforts to preserve the wilderness in South Florida was established on Decmber 6 1947 when the Everglades National Park was formed. Thankfully this recognition as a unique ecosytem (the only everglades in the world) preserved the wetlands, and today it is recognised as a World Heritage Site.
We entered the Big Cypress National Preserve off US 41, Tamiami Trail. The Oasis vistorscentre is well worth visiting as a film show provides insight into the creation of the park and the wildlife contained therein.
We then turned off US41 at the Monroe station and took route 94, a single lane road that is only open during the dry season. It floods during the summer wet season. We stopped off at multiple points along the route and went for short walks where i took a plethora of photographs.
Alligator in swamp
Looking down on an alligator from a safe distance. They can move fast so prudent not to get too close.
Plenty of Alligators
Beautiful everglades forest scenery
The stillness of the pools and forest were somthing to witness with reflections omething akin to a Salvador Dali painting.
view of everglades pool reflections
After completing the circuit which finishes at the forty-mile bend on US41 we made the drive back to our Orlando villa, where i clocked about 190 miles an took 4.5 hours with a comfort and drinks break.