Why you should visit the Everglades

Since I do work as a tour guide in the Florida Everglades I am probably a little biased. But I am convinced that this is one place that everyone should make an effort to see. Many people have a preconceived notion that the Everglades are just one big swamp, but I can promise you that this is certainly not true. When you are in the Everglades it is like being in your own world, and you never know what you could see. To help convince you that this is a place that you should visit I’ve decided to devote this post to one of my favorite places.


While everyone knows that the Everglades are home to American Alligators and now some truly huge boa constrictors, did you also know that a wide variety of endangered species also live here. The docile manatee makes it home in the Everglades, and while these are magnificent creatures I still don’t know how sailors could ever mistake one for a mermaid. Florida panthers also call this unique area home, and I have been lucky enough to actually catch a quick glimpse of one. The fact that this area is also recognized as a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance should be more than enough to convince you to visit this beautiful area.


If you aren’t already convinced that a visit to the Everglades is in order, maybe this will help convince you. There are several campgrounds in the Everglades that visitors can take advantage of. During the night the area simply comes to life, and it is also when I saw my panther. The Florida heat keeps many of the area’s inhabitants asleep in the cool water or shade, and when the sun goes down there is not telling what you might see. If you stay at one of the resorts you can even sleep in relative luxury. If you do decide to stay at one of the campgrounds I recommend Camp Sable. One of its main draws is its gorgeous beach.


Boaters often come to the Everglades for the sole purpose of following the 99 mile Wilderness Waterway. This water trail generally takes around 8 days to complete and it might be one of the best trips of your life. Not only do you get to travel through the entire system, but you will have some of the best views of the land and water. Canoes, kayaks and powerboats are all welcome on the waterway, and you can even rent one at the start of the trail. You’ll also pass by several campgrounds so you don’t even have to sleep in the boat.



The Florida tour guide

My name is Jerome Swanson and I am a tourist guide in Florida. I principally offer guiding tours at the Everglades reservation. My main attributes are to show to groups of people the main attractions of the reservation, guide them into the wilderness, join them in various activities, but also give indications when necessarily. It’s not an easy job, as it requires you to be polite all the time, give your attention to several people at the same time and respond to their requests.

Welcome to Florida USA

Tourism is a field where you can get all sorts of questions, related to basically any aspect of the place you are visiting. The topic of the questions spans from historical events to mere curiosities. As such, you can’t afford to practice this profession unprepared. You must always be well documented on various fields and keep yourself updated on any novelties related to the area you are guiding in.


Of course, you need to master perfectly the subject you are talking about, so that you are able to explain it to others. Otherwise, you won’t be considered a skilled guide and you won’t attract people to come back to that site.  However, sometimes, even if you are the most experimented guide with years of practices behind you, it’s still hard to give the proper explanations about a place or culture. For example, it’s mighty difficult to explain the importance of the Pantheon to people who have no notions of architecture, engineering, or the Roman Empire.


The baggage of information that the tourists dispose of when visiting a famous tourist destination is crucial so that they grasp the meaning and importance of that location. Most of them visit a place because they’ve heard it is an important one to visit, without having any knowledge whatsoever about it. In these cases, it’s really difficult to make the information you provide them with to stick. Indeed, it is easier for tourists to entertain themselves when visiting a natural reservation, such as the Everglades, particularly if you compare it to the experience a normal person has when visiting an archaeological site. The difference is tremendous, as an historical site needs more than the simple image in front of your eyes to be properly understood and categorized.


So, to unleash my frustrations, I have decided to start this blog and write about the main problems that us, professionals in the field, encounter daily. Also, I will try to battle some local tourism problems related to disinformation by sharing posts about various places worth visiting in Florida, so that interested people get some basic ideas on what should they look for when they get at the wanted location. Besides, I’ll try to come up with methods through which we can make public interested and curious about natural reservations and other local monuments important for this region.


Catching tarpon – the best fishing experience

The large fish called tarpon belong to the genus Megalops, the only members of which are two. One species is native to the Atlantic while the other to the Indo-Pacific Oceans. Growing to more than 7 feet long and over 300 pounds heavy, tarpon is typically sighted close to shore, which makes it the perfect target for someone who doesn’t own a big watercraft. Primary food for tarpon are crabs, shrimp and fish. The large scales of tarpon make a great souvenir. Tarpon are not good for eating due to their plentiful bones so they end up being released after getting caught.


The largest tarpon are all captured in Africa, with Sierra Leone being popular in this respect. It is said that you may not get plenty of tarpon there but the few you do get are quite huge. Costa Rica on the Caribbean side shows plenty of potential for tarpon fishing. In Nicaragua, there is a small fishery near the Rio Indio Lodge that enables easy access to the open ocean compared to plenty of spots in that region.


Hooking a tarpon is a huge challenge because its mouth is uncommonly bone-tough. Tarpon can put up a big fight when hooked, attempting to throw you off by getting rid of the hook or a section of the leader when it does battle with you. Tarpon can thrash wildly about, making big leaps almost twice the length of its body as it tries to free itself right out of the water. Baits and hooks seem to work well where lures only lose you more than you actually land.



Tarpon is considered one of the great saltwater game fish thanks to its enormous size and the fight it can give you due to its ability to make high leaps. It is also present on in their top 10 fighting fish. Fishing tarpon doesn’t require heavy duty tackle. You can even land a 100-pound tarpon using just an 8-pound line, if you are a seasoned angler who relishes the challenge. If not, go for a 30-pound test line, which would be light enough to withstand a fierce battle but with enough heft not to get the fish extremely tired. Monofilament line can take the violent struggle the fish makes although braided line can work fine as well. Juvenile tarpon will not need such super heavy tackle despite the fact that they are also not that easy to land as their larger counterparts.


Try your hand at tarpon fishing nearshore and in estuaries and rivers. You can hook the fish on jerkbaits but be prepared for the treble hooks to get dislodged. Tarpon will succumb to different lures such as poppers, jigs and soft plastics. Go for lures with a single hook, if possible, so the fish won’t have too many opportunities to shake the gear loose. Hooks outfitted with slide-away lures provide less leverage for the tarpon.


A hooked tarpon will nearly always leap high in the air instantaneously and start thrashing violently around. Keep a slack line to offset all the wild activity. An overly tight line can snap easily. When the fish leaps back into the water, that’s the time you reel the line tight and raise the fishing rod. When the tarpon ceases to leap, apply as much pressure as you can and shift your angles often so as to get the fish disoriented and to help you land it more quickly. If you don’t do so, the tarpon can easily become aware of the pressure it needs to exert against your unidirectional and constant pressure and it is most likely to bring the fight to you once again. The constant pressure also gives the opportunity for the tarpon to get a breather so it can come up for air and then do battle with you again.

If you want to see a giant tarpon caught in Florida, you can watch this video:


Fishing in Florida

Florida is an excellent fishing place due to its climate and the many sweet spots of freshwater and saltwater. These two characteristics offer fishermen a large palette of choices when it comes to fishing and nature in general. It doesn’t matter if you come here with family, friends, work colleagues, if you love fishing from a boat or from the land, you can find something that will satisfy you and those accompanying you.


The great tourist offer associated with fishing in Florida gives birth to a high competition between providers and so, to fairly affordable prices in this sector, thus, even those who want to go on a low budget trip can pamper themselves by visiting many exquisite fishing locations, where they can test their skills in almost any type of fishing. If you decide to give the Everglades a try, you may want to know that the reservation offers a myriad of options for anglers. You get the opportunity to fish in freshwater and saltwater, from a kayak, boat or from the shore. You can also pick from fishing in organized settings or into the wild, in which case you must secure optimal transport means and gear. As the waters abound in various fish species, organizing your equipment accordingly is a mandatory requirement, if you want to leave the reservation with a good catch.


As Florida’s temperatures are hard to handle, especially if you are not a local, your main concern, or if you’re taking your kids with you should be protecting yourself and them from the powerful action of the sun. As such, sunscreen with an elevated SPF and that is waterproof, comfortable clothes that will provide proper ventilation, sun hats and sunglasses are not to be considered a holiday contrivance, but mandatory items to take with you. In addition, even if you come fully protected against the heat, during the afternoon, when temperatures reach extremely high values, you should stay in the shadow and avoid the sun at all costs.


However, the Everglades is not the only place where you can go on a fishing trip, as the state is overfilled with dozens of opportunities for those interested in this sport. If you want to experience Florida’s best fishing spots, I would recommend a specialized guide or getting in touch with a local, thus being given the opportunity to get to know a few places off the tourist maps and routes. The presence of a guide is all the more important if you are at your first visit to Florida, so that you are able to enjoy your experience instead of roaming around by yourself, looking for transport and lodging.

If you’re wondering what you can fish in Florida’s waters, you may want to know that the most commonly encountered species are: largemouth bass, yellow bullhead, bluegill, Florida gar, mackerel, porgy, sea bass and many others. I hope you enjoy your trip and come back next year!