If you’re visiting New Orleans and you want to get out of the city for a day, then a popular thing to do is a swamp tour. When I checked into India House hostel I noticed posters for various tours and activities, from walking tours to plantation tours and spooky ghost tours, but I was pretty keen to visit the Louisiana Bayou.
Voted #1 Cajun Swamp Tour by locals, Cajun Encounters takes you to visit the famous Honey Island Swamp and get up-close to the wildlife. They have transportation to pick you up directly from the hostel, but I met some really great German girls who had their own rental car, so they kindly offered to drive us there.
Oddly, our swamp tour in New Orleans got off to a rather confusing start. Cajun Encounters uses smaller covered and uncovered boats, but In June the weather in Louisiana is very humid and very very hot. We were allocated one of the uncovered boats, and therefore had no shelter from the scorching sun, but our driver Mike insisted it would be a lot cooler once the boat got moving. We were prepared to deal with it, but there was a family on board that was less than impressed.
The parents expressed their concern about the lack of shade and decided to disembark the boat, leaving the kids unsure of whether to get off or stay on. Eventually they all marched onto shore, and we went on our way, which was a relief because I was gradually melting as they dithered about what to do. As we cruised along the water I was thankful for the cooling breeze, but 5 minutes later we were turning the boat around and heading straight back to shore. I presume the family hadn’t been allowed on another tour boat, and had now decided they wanted to get back on.
Despite the awkward start, it was a treat to be able to see one of the last remaining preserved wetlands in Louisiana. It was incredible to see the greenery and the abundant flora and fauna…we were so close I could touch it with my hands!
Having seen so many alligators of all sizes on an airboat tour in Florida, I was feeling a little underwhelmed at the alligators we saw. For a while I wondered if we were going to see any at all, but half way through the trip we did spot a baby alligator, and so the kids on our boat threw marshmallows into the water. Who new alligators like marshmallows?! I understand though that there is never a guarantee of seeing alligators…they are wild animals after all, and a lot depends on the time of year.
The scenery was beautiful though and so lush and green! Here are some pictures from the tour: