A must do in New Orleans is to take a swamp tour into the bayous to spot alligators and other wildlife. We took Cajun pride swamp tour located about 25 miles west of New Orleans in fernier along lake pontechatrain.
This was another holiday first for us - taking an adventure ride on a big air boat through the swamps of New Orleans. Gee that boat went fast! What an adventure :o)
I have a full travelogue of our adventure with Airboat Adventures booked through Viator.
Check out my travelogue for the full story of our adventure and the videos uploaded.
In the meantime, I just want to thank our Captain George for his boat skills, entertainment and expertise that he shared with us.
I recommend this trip!
New Orleans is surrounded by swamps. You can go in almost any direction. Fly in to the airport and you come in over swamps - or maybe the lake depending on the winds. We ended up taking an airboat tour from a company in Lafitte which is about 15 miles southwest of the City. Three varieties of tours are offered - a big boat, a big air boat and a smaller - 6 passenger - airboat. We opted for the later. Your captain is a downhome Cajun who knows his stuff. Lots of alligators and birdlife to be seen on your trip. We started out at a dock on the Intracoastal Waterway and made or way quickly into Salvador Lake. From there, we spent the rest of the time in bayous, swamps and marshes seeking out what there was to be seen. We saw a fair number of alligators - there are no crocodiles this far north because of the cold - and a few turtles. Ear protection is given and needed as you roll through the waterways. The trip is a great way to see what NOLA would look like if that Katrina Plus hits.
My wife and I are originally from New Orleans but moved to New York many years ago. On a recent visit a friend recommended we do a swamp tour. As a New Orleans native my wife and I were reluctant but our friend showed us the tour details and we were intrigued. The company is called Canoe and Trail and they have been guiding canoeing trips through the swamps of Louisiana for years. The owner admitted they do not have a strong online presence but I think it makes them a hidden gem. The guide, Tom, was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The entire tour was only 6 people which made the experience even better. On our next visit to New Orleans we will definitely tour with them again. If you want to see a natural swamp tour with Canoe and Trail.
It seems that everybody who visits New Orleans will take a swamp tour providing that they have the time. I did so I did too. I arranged my tour through my hotel so I cannot recall the name of the actual service that I took. The tour is conducted in swamps north of New Orleans not too far from the Mississippi state border.
I cannot understate how popular these tours are as the tour service that offer it was very busy. There were dozens of tourists a the lodge where the boats. The boat seated about 25 people and was full. The tour guide was quite amusing and offered some very humorous tales about the swamp and some interesting information about wildlife in the swamp and people life too.
The tour itself lasted about 2 hours. We saw four alligators including the one pictured here. It was the largest of bunch and was about eight to nine feet long. I was kind of curious about what the tour guide was using to lure these beast to the boat. He was using marshmallows which are not suppose to harm the local environment. We also saw several birds such as cranes and heron. Overall I enjoyed the experience but the cost might be steep for some as I had to cough up $63 for the tour.
Better to take this type of tour in the cooler months if possible. I grew up prowling the swamps around New Orleans, and the heat- humidity makes it feel like it is 110deg. in the shade. (heat index) Kind of like being broiled or boiled alive. The swamp tours are great, but I would not go in the summer if I had an option.
New Orleans is surrounded by water ways and swamps. A swamp tour is a must do thing, there are many and Bluecat Canoe has a page here on VT about swamp tours. There are many animals and sights to see close up and for real, not a phoney Disney ride.
There are many tours in New Orleans but a swamp tour is probably the most interesting.
There are many companies to choose from but we preferred Cajun Pride that was suggested by other travelers. The minivan of the company came to our hotel and we traveled there in about 30’,
We boarded at a weird boat (pic 2) and the tour lasted for 2 hours. It was really fun to be there, the driver/guide was very informative along the way and he answered every question we had about the swamps and the wildlife there. The route was scenic (pic 3) in many parts and we was many different birds and small animals but the highlight was the alligators of course.
I was surprised of how many of them we saw along the way (in some tours you just see 2-3 while we saw more than 20!) and what’s more we had the chance to feed them, take pictures of them and even to hold one on our hands!! It was a baby one of course! :) It seems the alligators are used of the company’s boats, they were coming directly to us all the time.
We stopped several times at specific spots where the guide got outside and feed with chickens many of the alligators and left one to walk into the boat!! Of course, by feeding them non stop the alligators weren’t really interesting about us!
You can book online or through your hotels or a tourist kiosk everywhere in French Quarter. You can drive there if you have a car or they pick you up from your hotel.
The tour costs $44(with transportation) or $22 without. Combo tour including a plantation costs $85(with transportation)
We lucked into touring with Captain Charlie with Honey Island and had a blast. Boat was not crowded, Charlie was great, super nice and informative without being teachy. It was enjoyable enough to keep my 16 and 18 year old sons entertained for 2 hours (miracles never cease). Will definately go back ASAP. Would love to do the tour in the late fall.
It was a little chilly out on the swamp in mid Feb, especially when the boat went fast! It was so cold I was not expecting to see anything. We did end up seeing I think 8 gators, a couple of them were quite large, and a lot of birds, etc. I loved seeing the houses all along the swamp. This was a wonderful experience in Slidell, located right outside of New Orleans.
We made reservations ahead and I would think it is probably a good idea to do so. As it was a cool February day and our boat was nearly full. It cost around $25 per person. The money was well spent. A+++
The forecast (accurate) said that it was going to be really cold on the next day, and this day was already chilly. I wanted to do the swamp part of the tour first when I thought it would be warmer, but that wasn't the way it was set up.
After we finished the plantation part of the tour and ate lunch, the tour bus driver drove us a long way to Jean Lafitte which is on the edge of the Jean Lafitte reserve.
We had a choice of a pontoon boat or an airboat. It was already a bit cool, and I knew that it would be colder in the airboat. Plus, I thought we could do the airboat in the Everglades (which was wrong) so we went out in a pontoon boat.
While it was cold, it wasn't so cold that there was no wildlife. We saw nutria (photo 4- a nasty invasive species) and several alligators, and birds (photo 5). Keep in mind that reptiles (alligators and turtles - photo 3) will hibernate if it is cold. The larger alligators were already 'winterized' and invisible to us. The tours will go regardless of how much wildlife there is to see.
The guide (photo 2) also showed us how catfish are caught (It is unattended bait on a line with an old milk bottle as a float), and he had a baby alligator in a bucket on the boat to show us, probably in case of none being available in the wild.
We got back to the hotel about 5
There are a lot of swamp tours in the Louisiana bayou/delta area. It is a popular side excursion, a chance to see the older parts of the area, as well as a taste of the ecosystem. It is a wondrous place. You see old fishing and hunting shacks, plus the abundant, verdant display which is the bayou. It is a sheer mass of vegetation, filled with wildlife and interesting secrets. Get luck you might spy feral pigs, deer, snakes, perhaps even an alligator.
Honey Island is one such tour group that operates about 30 minutes outside of the city proper. Easy to get to, and they also offer a shuttle service for those without a car in the city. The tour guides are informative about the countryside and all its inhabitants. It was a great afternoon out, reasonably priced ($25 for adult), and highly recommended.