Only 25 minutes from New Orleans’ famous French Quarter lies the undeveloped bayous of Louisiana. Thousands of acres of swamp lands offer travelers an experience like no other in the world. Tours of this mostly untapped ecosystem have become more and more popular for those traveling to the New Orleans’ area and tops the “must do” list for families, couples, and adventure seekers alike.
During a visit through the backwaters of Southern Louisiana you can expect to see the alligators and nutria the area is so well-known for, but don’t miss out the countless other animals and plant life found along the way. Crowd favorites include wild boar, eagles, turtles, blue herons, pelicans, and the occasional snake.
So, what is the best way to spend a few hours exploring these parts like a local? With a local Cajun tour guide of course.
All tour guides at Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat Tours are born and raised in the area. These trained navigators of the murky waters of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve are experts on Cajun culture and master storytellers of the legends and lore of Louisiana’s untamed wilderness.
“We want to make sure our guests have an experience that is pure Louisiana,” says Lindsey Manthey, Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat Tours Manager. “To make your trip a breeze, you can also purchase round-trip transportation in a comfortable, air-conditioned bus with stops at eight convenient locations in the metro New Orleans area!”
If you want to see parts of New Orleans where only the Cajuns go and learn about the local culture, ecology, and wetlands conservation along the way, then this is the tour for you. The only question left is do you like to explore FAST or EASY?
FAST: Airboat Tours
For vacationers with a need for speed, Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat Tours recommend trying an airboat ride. Feel the “Cajun AC” whip through your hair as you cruise along the bayou on a traditional Louisiana flat-bottom fan boat. See areas that once were only accessible by pirogues, a flat-bottom canoe, while your guide offers a colorful, cultural history lesson. Expect quick water and land skimming bursts between exciting alligator interactions, propelled by a Chevy 454 cubic-inch 450-horsepower engine. And, take our word for it, after your trek through the bayou, you will never look at a marshmallow the same!
EASY: Swamp Boat Tour
For those travelers looking for a more leisurely pace, a relaxing and educational swamp boat tour could be a perfect choice. You will cruise deep into the protected bayous of the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve, giving everyone a taste of Louisiana swamp life. You’ll see moss-draped cypress trees, fascinating plant life and the creatures who make their homes here. Explorers learn why the wetlands are disappearing due to coastal erosion and, in turn, the efforts to correct the damage it has done and restore this vital habitat. Riders aboard this slow-moving vessel also enjoy onboard restrooms and concessions, as well as a chance to hold a baby alligator.
Whether fast or easy, you’ll fall in love with the area on these exhilarating and educational swamp tours. Before your arrival in New Orleans, visit www.bigeasy.com/attractions to learn more about these swamp tours and the other activities and attractions they offer.
** Photography provided by Hospitality Enterprises