The Florida Everglades

Normally, when we think of visiting a grand natural wonder in the USA, we think of the Grand Canyon, Yellow Stone National Park, Niagara Falls, of the Sequoia Forest of Northern California. Seldom do we think of marshlands as an amazing National treasure with immense beauty and value. But the Florida Everglades are in a category of their own.

Unlike swamps, the Everglades are actually a river, that springs from lake Okeechobee in central Florida, and flows southwest into the Gulf of Mexico, spanning the Florida peninsula almost entirely from the east coast to the west coast. The water moves very slowly, at about a half mile per day, keeping the water fresher than swamps, while providing a much larger area of brackish water than other rivers. The shallow water also creates an effect of maintaining warmer water than other rivers. These qualities, along with specific water and ground conditions in Florida, make the Everglades a totally unique setting, that has thrived with amazing wildlife for thousands of years.

Everglades-Florida-Panther

The Florida Panther is one of the many beautiful endangered species that lives in the Everglades.

The unique conditions of the Florida Everglades make it the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators live side by side. They also make it the only place where many of its creatures can live, and is still in pristine condition, it has become a refuge of dozens of threatened and endangered species, some of which are very close to the hearts of many Americans, like the Florida Panther, the Southern Bald Eagle, the West Indian Manatee, the American Crocodile, and the Green Turtle.

But as well as unique, the Everglades are vast. The term Everglades comes from old English in some of the first nautical charts and maps of the areas. A ‘glade’, is a section of a forest without trees (grassland), and the term Everglades used in those early charts, referred to the vastness of the Sawgrass prairies out to the horizon, as far as the eye could see.

Some of the distinctions of the Everglades are that it is by far, the widest river in the world, and contains the largest continuous mangrove system in the world. It is also the most important breeding ground for wading birds in the American continent, and the largest sub-tropical wildlife in the USA. The diversity of life and uniqueness of the Everglades have earned it the designation as a National Treasure of the US, and a World Heritage site.

Because of land requirements for construction and agriculture, the size of the Everglades has been reduced to half of what it was a century ago. Because of hunting, human use of water, construction interruptions of water flow, and the use of pesticides in commercial agriculture, the wildlife population of the Everglades has been reduced to one tenth what it was a century ago. Many preservationist groups have created awareness of the situation and legislation has been enacted to protect the Everglades from future losses.

The better tours of the Everglades take people deep into the pristine wilderness in air boats with experienced tour guides, who comment on the sights and wildlife that are seen along the way. The experience of ‘flying over the river of grass’ is exhilarating, educational, and full of wonder. And is available from many points throughout central and coast to coast in the southern areas of Florida.

If you need ground transportation in Fort Lauderdale to reach the Everglades or other tourist destinations, there are shuttle services from major hotels, along with many companies that provide car services and limo services to take you to the Everglades. A great base camp to set out in exploration of the Everglades is Holiday Park, where the famous Animal Planet show ‘Gator Boys’ is filmed. They have an alligator show on the premises, and rent fishing gear and dinghies for those who want to catch and release in this amazing setting.

Miami Airport Ground Transportation Services

The Miami Airport is one of the busiest airports in the USA, and getting through the airport with the many detours and redesigns required for its expansion, has been a challenge for decades. The newest ground transportation layout has made the airport, an example of simplicity for the traveler.

What was previously a busy vehicle loop in both departure and arrival levels, hard to find where you were going and see the pick up vehicles, because of so many public buses, rental car buses, and ground links to the various public transportation services has improved dramatically.

MIA Airport Image

The Miami International Airport has a new simplified ground transportation layout.

A new tram called the MIA Mover is now a single entrance and exit that connects the main terminals of MIA to a new facility about a mile and a half east of the terminals, known as the Miami Central Station. In it, is the largest depot in Miami, which combines all the public transportation services like buses, the Tri-Rail, Metro Rail, and private mass transportation like Grey Hound and soon Amtrak. Across the road and also connected to the Miami Central Station is the rental car center with all the MIA rental cars.

The bulk of the buses that came around the loop are no longer in the area, which makes access to the private cars, limo services, and the Miami Airport shuttle service a lot easier.

If you will be flying in or out of MIA, the new layout will make it easier, regardless of your ground transportation service selection. Hopefully it will mean less stress, quicker transfers, and more time to enjoy your vacation and share with your family and friends in the beautiful area of South Florida, or at your final destination, wherever it may be.