Day 12 (March 15, 2014) Miami


Map of Miami


   This day is for knowing Miami and the Everglades until the time to get our final return flight to home, at 6:10 PM.

   The idea is optimizing our time in Miami, so we will probably join an organized tour there.

   The spots marked at map are:

 0- Baltic Hotel in Miami Beach
 1- Miami airport
 2- Everglades


   At 8 AM we’re ready to go downstairs for our breakfast but then the phone rings. It is the woman in charge of the hotel telling us the tour bus is waiting for us. A lot of questions and exclamations come to my mind, like “What!?”, “Shouldn’t it be at 8:50 AM?”, “And the brochure estates they start picking up people at 8:30 AM!”Baltic Hotel entrance

   The answers come downstairs, when the woman asks if we got sleep or what and I explain we were up since time ago, just getting ready our baggage with no rushes and coming to breakfast at 8 AM as we told yesterday. Then she says “It is 9 AM now!” and we understand. What I don’t understand is why when we confirmed the local time with her last night she answered yes to my question “It’s just one hour difference with Mexico, isn’t it?” We just added one more hour to our clocks when we should add two. The clock beside our bed in the room was showing the time we adjusted, the wrong one, and the woman tells us people set that clock at the time is good for them.

    So we get into the bus without breakfast, but leaving our room free as the baggage was kept downstairs. We spend the next hour seeing how the bus is taking people all along North Beach and then goes down to complete South Beach. In our way we can see mansions across the water with big boats in front of each one of them. One passenger asks about them and the driver answers: “There are no celebrities living there, they’re just millionaires”.

Mansions in Miami Beach
Views of Miami BeachViews of Miami Beach

   When the bus is finished with the island take the bridge to go to Miami City. And we get beautiful views from it.

Views of Miami from the bridge
Views of Miami from the bridgetour bus to Everglades

   Once at city can see the airport from the road and then it stops in a meeting point where we’re distributed in different buses by tours. The ones going to Everglades take the bus labeled as “Miami tours plus”. It seems regardless the tour you take and the agency from where you take it, the picking up and the tour itself is centralized in the same operators.

   We finally leave the city and soon the road appears surrounded by an endless green sea made of vegetation. We already are in Everglades National Park and you cannot say below that dense green surface is full of water. We arrive two hours after being picked up at our hotel.

Road through EvergladesArriving to Everglades NP

   As we’ve got some time until the airboat ride we go to the restaurant to get some sandwiches and coffee for breakfast. When we arrive to our assigned airboat, the 9, I’m still eating and, as we’re the last ones, just take the spared seats in the third row.

airboat row waiting for the toursthe ranger driving our airboat

   They deliver earplugs to each one of us and it makes us thinks about how noisy this vehicle can be and we leave following what looks like a river. But it is not real, the river is just a clear of grass in the water and this airboat can go over whether the clean water areas or the ones with all the weeds. Our ranger demonstrates this by making some tricks with the airboat as if it was skidding.

Exploring Everglades National Park
Exploring Everglades National Park
Exploring Everglades National Park

   We can see a heron and some other birds, but also alligators of different sizes, including three babies, and a big turtle. All this in a landscape so different to any other one we’ve ever seen. We really get surprised by the demonstration from the ranger about how deep is this place: just a few more than one meter. If it weren’t dangerous animals here anyone could come back from this point just by walking, he explains.

Heron on a tree in EvergladesThree baby alligators in Everglades

Turtle in Everglades

   We come back by a place recalling a river through the rainforest and where we can see a young alligator with no reaction for our pass.

Eveglades landscapeEveglades landscape

Young alligator in Everglades

   The airboat completes this ride in the same visitor’s center we left from 40 minutes ago and we’re addressed to a hut with some grandstand around a fenced sand pitch with four big alligators on it.

Alligators pitchBig alligators in the show

   A ranger appears and goes inside with the animals for some explanations and demonstrations for us in a show where is clear these animals don’t move often. IT seems the 95% of their lives they’re quiet taking some sun or, in his words, doing nothing. He disturbs them as long as he cans to show us there is no reaction. It is only coming when he puts his hand inside one open mouth alligator, touches its tongue and removes the hand very fast, as the mouth gets closed immediately with a hollow sound.

   Then he comes to the public to show an alligator offspring closely. He says we can hold and get a picture of it with our own camera by 3$. We take the offer.

Ranger in the showRanger with an alligator offspring

   As we still have some time until the time we were asked to be back at bus, we explore the area at our will. They have other species of reptiles from different countries.

Reptile area in EvergladesAfrican crocodile in Everglades

   As it is an area opened to the park, we can find some alligators in their sun bath. Due to the previous explanation we feel confident of these animals and we take each other some pictures with them really close. Too much close as a ranger comes complaining about our audacity.

Free alligator in EvergladesFree alligators in Everglades

   At 12:30 AM we’re back at the parking lot to get the bus back to Miami. We’re living the opposite of this morning process, seeing how the bus is getting empty until we’re delivered at our hotel at 2:15 PM. In the way, we’ve been able of taking some beautiful images from the city.

Miami skyline
Views of Miami CityViews of Miami City

Views of Miami City

   Our travel is over. What we must do now is following the classic steps: calling a taxi to the airport, checking in our baggage there, passing the security control and, after finding our boarding gate, leaving it to look for a place for lunching.

   We eat the menu of an Italian restaurant, where we can extinguish our desire of pasta. We spend some time at our table, taking advantage of the coke cup we can fill all the times we want.

   Before boarding, we go to a exchange desk to get euros for all our remaining dollars at a quite low rate.

   The plane takes off on time and we get some beautiful views of Miami and South Beach in the process.

Bird view of MiamiBird view of South Beach

   It will be Sunday morning when this plane lands in Barcelona and this travel, which we’ve enjoyed a lot, is no more than a collection of memories the pictures will help to keep alive.