On a recent trip to Louisiana, my sister and I had the pleasure of touring the Louisiana Swamplands with Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours booked through Tinggly.
Disclosure: As a Tinggly Ambassador, I was able to take this tour for free. All opinions are my own and this post was not reviewed or approved before being published.
The swamps. Picture them in your head. Mangrove trees with Spanish Moss dangling and casting shadows on the waters below. Is that a shadow you see up ahead or a big alligator getting ready to snap a fish up for dinner? It could be either! Jean Lafitte tours gave us the chance to get up close to the alligators in their natural habitat and see a Louisiana that is oh-so-different from New Orleans.
We were picked up right in front of our hotel the morning of the tour, which was great considering we didn’t have a car. The only somewhat confusing part about the whole process was that our pickup time that was listed was off by about 25 minutes. I was very concerned that we had been forgotten about so I called the contact number I had and was told that the pickup times listed are about fifteen minutes before the actual pickup time. I understand why this is done because tour companies can’t afford to be waiting five to ten minutes for every group they need to pick up, but for someone like myself who is almost always early, it meant that my sister and I ended up sitting outside waiting for about 40 minutes for the pickup.
That is where the negativity ends. The ride to Jean Lafitte was smooth and comfortable. Once there, we had to get our tickets and had about 15 minutes to use the restrooms and look at the baby alligators and turtles that live on the premises.
The swamp tour itself was calm but still interesting. The large boats move pretty slowly through the water and the guide was able to tell us a lot about the swamp and point out many different animals including turtles, snakes, birds, and of course, alligators! We had to have seen at least a dozen different alligators all at various activity levels. Since we were visiting in the cooler months (December), many of the alligators were on the calmer side because their cold-blooded nature leaves them a little bit stiff when it is not warm out.
Jean Lafitte also offers airboat tours. Airboats are smaller, carry less people, and are therefore able to get into the more narrow areas of the swamps and sometimes closer to the animals.
I would definitely recommend taking a swamp tour if you are visiting New Orleans but would like to get out of the city and experience some nature and hopefully see some alligators!
The highlight of my tour with Jean Lafitte was definitely holding one of their babies — they raise a few every year until they have a better chance of surviving into adulthood. Gators may seem fierce, but babies still have a lot of predators.