As a result of her June visit, Andrea Miramontes has published an article on Viagem about wild Florida and included Punta Gorda/Don Pedro Island. Since it’s a Brazilian publication, below is the Google Translation.
Forget Florida of shopping and amusement parks. The American state, darling of Brazilians, also offers scripts in which wildlife is a protagonist.
There are several nature reserves and preserved areas with native animals and no zoos or captivity. Here, the idea is to see free animals in swamps, rivers and islands.
Face to face with alligators
The most celebrated animal of the script is one of the oldest residents of the destination, the alligators - the American alligator, which can pass three meters and 200 kilos.
Thinking about these numbers, how would you like to paddle alongside these excellent swimmers, rivers and mangroves?
In addition to the famous Everglades National Park, giant marshland reserve in the south of the state, other places offer this experience.
The site is about a three-hour drive from Miami and houses the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge wildlife reserve.
With 21 square kilometers of swamps and trails, the attraction is free to observe free American alligators in the largest mangrove ecosystem in the United States.
During the visit, which can be done on foot, by bike or with the transport of the reservation, you can bump into an alligator crossing your way on the road that cuts through the mangrove. And there are no fences. After all, you're at their house.
If you face the animal, the rule is to shoot from afar and not dream of getting close, for safety reasons. Attracting them with food, for example, can bring a fine that passes the R$ 2,000 (US$ 500).
Palm Beaches, Florida
An hour from Miami, the 39-city region is best known for cool restaurants and luxurious hotels, but the place has preserved beaches and is rich in wildlife.
The rowing adventure takes place in Riverbend Park, a nature reserve in the city of Jupiter, with more than 10 kilometers of hiking and cycling trails. The park is cut by the Loxahatchee River, where alligators live.
Tossing with an alligator in the river gives an ice in the spine, but in fact, animals are not even interested in humans in an area so rich in wildlife. In other words, there's a lot better to eat.
More peaceful hosts
In addition to the alligators, other animals can be observed very closely off the coast of Florida it is possible to see these animals free.
Captiva and Sanibel, where the alligator park is located, are also surrounded by dolphins, which can be seen in families of more than 10 animals playing at sea during walks.
In Punta Gorda, in the Charlotte region, playful mammals accompany the kayaking and stand-up paddle tours of tourists going to the beach of Don Pedro Island State Park. This place, a show apart, since it is uninhabited and attracts visitors behind a beautiful landscape, as well as a shark tooth hunt in the sand, as well as colorful shells.
In addition to dolphins, another highlight is the encounter with the giant manatees, an endangered American manatee species that reaches three meters and can weigh 450 kilos.
Crystal River, an hour and a half drive from Orlando, is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with these free animals in their habitat. As in all wildlife tourism, you can't touch, kiss or feed.
The impressive animals can still be seen free around the transparent waters of Peanut Island, islet located in the Palm Beaches region. The small uninhabited island is surrounded by minnows and sea stars, as well as harboring iguanas that show off sunbathing on the rocks.
The location is only accessed by boat or kayak. It's 10 minutes of paddle from the mainland. There are no houses, but only a curious bunker created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. It is a nuclear bomb-proof shelter, a most feared danger during the Cold War.
The doubt, which will hardly be resolved, is gossip about Marilyn Monroe, an actress who had an affair with the former president. Everyone wants to know if the actress actually used the nuclear shelter as a hiding place to spend nights next to her lover.