I’ve taken three trips to New Orleans and have gone on swamp tours in the bayou three times now. It’s always one of my favorite experiences in Louisiana, but I must say — the swamp tour this time topped them all.
When you take a swamp tour, you have two basic options: airboat or passenger boat. On my second trip to New Orleans, we did the airboat tour. I’m not a fan. They’re fast, choppy, and noisy. In fact, we had to wear headphones. To me, it disrupts seeing alligators and other creatures in the wild. It’s almost more about the boat ride than seeing swamp life. And I want to see gators!
I much prefer the larger, slow-moving passenger boats. I made sure to book that type of tour this time. I remembered that when I went in the early 90’s, the guide stopped the boat frequently to toss marshmallows to the alligators to bring them closer to us. That happened this time, too. Alligators LOVE marshmallows. And chicken necks. They’ll come right out of the water for those.
I’d read lots of reviews before booking a tour with Cajun Pride and was dismayed to read that many people only saw one or two alligators in March because it wasn’t very warm yet. I was afraid that would happen to us, too, since we went the first week of April. I needn’t have worried. We saw dozens of alligators! And turtles. I took a million pictures, but these are two of my favorites:
We all took turns. She was surprisingly strong and surprisingly soft. Her belly felt like the inside of your forearm. Not at all what I expected. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to hold her, but since my mom was brave enough to do it, I figured I could. It was one of the highlights of my New Orleans trip. Like my once-in-a-lifetime experience petting a tiger last year, I never expected to hold an alligator. But I loved it. What an adventure! I hope someday I can do it again.
Have you had any alligator encounters?