Helpful Info-
Marco Island Boat Tours

Dedicated to the experiential education of students, families and travelers from Florida, the Americas and the World. Only through education, do we have the opportunity to preserve the Everglades, its culture and its heritage.

Why don't you use airboats for your ECO tours?
Everglades Area operates directly in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. All out experiences are based on fun and ethical experiential outdoor education. In fact, we are only the second tour operator certified by the Florida Society for Ethical EcoTourism. Our most common and popular experiences last about a half of a day. All tours are conducted by professional educators and Florida Master Naturalists and it is out intend that you thoroughly enjoy your experience, but also learn and come away with a greater understanding of the this very special place.

While the airboat is a "neat" piece of equipment, it is NOT a mechanism for ecotourism and education. Most rides last 45-50 minutes and are designed for thrills and screams. They are loud and require hearing protection and are simply too loud for anyone to hear an interpretive guide. As well, their noise has an big impact on the wildlife. So much so that they are NOT ALLOWED in Everglades National Park where we operate

Why use kayaks and canoes for ECO tours?
Our tours are not the typical canned tours where raccoons, acclimated to humans, are hand fed. We venture deep into the natural environment. The wildlife there is just that ... wild. They shy from large boats and loud noises. We use the kayak transport boat to get us near an area and then deploy the kayaks to quietly get close. So, there are no long aggressive paddles ... just the opposite. The kayaks, along with being very stable and easy to paddle, are quiet, stealthy and unobtrusive to most wildlife. They allow you to get as close as possible to the wading birds for example. Further, these tours are an educational experience. The kayaks are an excellent tool for this as we can get you up close to things. Close enough to touch. We can actually pick up the "ball of oysters" and see the crabs and critters that live in the small eco-system. The experience is much more intimate.

What if I do not want to paddle far?
You do not need to. The long distances are coved in the transport boat. We only deploy the kayaks once we arrive. We sometimes have some guests that choose to stay in the boat or roam the beaches while others are on the paddle tour. We do encourage you to join the paddle part of the trip, however. Your Everglades Experience will be much more complete if you do.

How long are the boat assisted tours?
The total tour is 3 1/2 hours but we request that you allot 4 hours of your day. There is a 1/2 to3/4 hour interpretive boat tour each way; the paddling part of the trip is about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. If we do a beach walk,the paddle time is broken up with the walk and we sometimes do not paddle as long. Many tell us the boat trip alone is "worth the price of admission". These trips are not canned, so the times can vary depending on the day. If you have a time constraint, please let us know at the beginning of the tour.

Are the kayaks stable?
Yes, very much so, and they are very easy to paddle. Many actually use the kayaks as fishing platforms and some fishermen even standup to fish while in the kayaks.

During the rainy season (June through September) we can see them on our Boat Assisted Kayak Eco Tours. However, on the Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Eco Tours we see them on most every tour throughout the year.

Where do you suggest for lodging?

Parkway Motel and Marina Port of the Islands Chokoloskee Island Park The Everglades City Motel The Captains Table River Wilderness Outdoor Resorts Rod and Gun Club The Ivey House

What about cancellations?
Everglades Area Tours requires a credit card with a deposit to secure your reservation, Once confirmed, we will send you a confirming email with all the needed details. As a matter of convenience, we will charge the balance of your trip to your card the day of the trip. If your experience is booked within 21 days of the departure date, we will collect the entire fare. We do offer a 5% cash discount. Should you wish to pay with cash, please let us know at the time of your reservation.

Fortunately, we are in an area where weather rarely forces us to cancel a tour. We have many choices and options in this wonderful area. However, the captain and guide has the ultimate responsibility for your safety and will make all "GO" or "NO-GO" decision. In the case of a "NO-GO" decision, you will have an option to re-schedule, receive a full refund or join another tour that is not affected.

During the months of June through September, South Florida becomes a tropical/sub-tropical paradise. The heating of the land mass triggers afternoon thunderstorms and convective sea breezes, so we encourage guests to book our experiences in the mornings during these months. The mangrove tunnel tours are rarely affected by the breezes and the warm rain showers can be pleasant. We will conduct the tours in the afternoons if desired by our guests. If the tour departs and we must return due to bad weather, we will a refund prorated up to 50% of the tour value.

Everglades Area (EAT) wants you enjoy our tours and have a great time so you can tell others!!! All our tours are reserved in advance. However, we realize that situations occur that alter travel schedules and plans. If you cancel your tour prior to 14 days from the schedule tour date, your deposit will be completely refunded. If you cancel the tour within 14 days prior to the tour date, you will be offered an option to re-schedule the tour to another date. However, if the tour cannot be rescheduled, the deposit amounts may be forfeited or a gift certificate issued for the deposited amount at EATs sole discretion. If a tour date is cancelled within three days of the tour date, the complete tour booking fees may be forfeited or the trip re-scheduled at the sole discretion of EAT.