The airboat Safari was really fun and is a must see if you go to Miami. But you do not need to book it through Viator who uses Miami Double Decker, who were terrible. The Everglades is only about 35 to 40 minutes south of Miami so if you are renting a car, go there yourself and book the safari with Gator Park directly. The tour consists of an airboat ride with an informative local guide and a gator show at the end. The bad review is for Miami Double Decker. All they provided was the ride to Gator Park. We were told to check in at 1:00 pm for a 1:30 pm trip. We showed up much earlier, checked in. Then the bus was very late, did not show up until 2:15 pm. We stood in the rain for over 1.5 hours. Finally we were all loaded onto the bus, then the bus went all around town including the cruise port to pick up more passengers. We finally reached Gator Park after 4pm! The guide on the bus kept blatantly asking for tips and all he did on the ride over was point out Miami Airport and the Baseball Stadium. Everglades is a must, but skip this excursion and go yourself. You will save several hours of frustration and being treated like a dumb tourist.
Booked the Everglades Airpboat Safari for a sister's weekend in Miami and the Keys. A few things I wish I had known beforehand are: the bus leaves from SouthBeach and the only free hotel pickups available are in/around the SouthBeach area. For an additional fee, you can elect to have the bus pick you up at a different address, but we did not do this, so I'm not sure what their pickup radius is. After you book on Viator, you DO need to call and confirm the time/date of your booking direct with the tour company in order to reserve your spot. The bus leaves promptly, and since long-term parking in SouthBeach is a bit tough to locate and expensive, you'll want to leave plenty of time to get there. We ended up parking at one of the public lots near Lincoln Square Mall, which was just a few blocks away and was just 8 for 4 hours a bunch of the other lots closer to the beach were between 18-20 for 2-4 hours. The tour bus is a double-decker, and sitting on the top, we were able to get great views of Miami, the beaches, and lagoons as we headed toward Everglades State Park. There is an additional 3 per person National Park Fee that you have to pay upon arrival this is NOT included in the booking fee. Traffic in Miami is terrible we were on the Friday morning, 9:30AM trip, and most of the tour is spent driving to and from the alligator park about 45 minutes there and over 1 hour to return to South Beach. The boat ride and alligator demonstrations take place at a rather small alligator park that is NOT the National Park endorsed Everglades Safari Park as I had hoped, but rather a place called Gator Park Airboat Tours. The boat ride was about a 30-minute loop through some lagoons and into the wide grass river area of the Everglades. We saw about 1/2 dozen large and small alligators on the boat ride itself, as well as some interesting water birds, and we learned a bit about the Everglades park and the plant and wildlife in that area from our captain. Afterward, we wandered around the gator park where we saw dozens of other captive alligators, and enjoyed a live demonstration about alligator and crocodile behavior that was quite fascinating and educational. The things I found to be a bit disappointing about this tour I've never done one, so I don't have anything to compare it with, so please keep this in mind, were the length of the boat ride and alligator demonstrations in proportion to the time we spent driving to/from Miami seemed very short, you don't really see much of the Everglades - just a few minutes through the canals, then a few minutes out on open water before turning around, the gift shop and restaurant at the park were pretty sub-par, and the only bathrooms at the place were in a trailer outside the building where there was 0 water pressure and none of the toilets were flushing the day we were there and it was quite busy, so it was rather an unpleasant experience. We did, however, see dozens more alligators in the wild along the canal by the highway as we drove back to Miami, which ended the trip on a more positive note. My recommendation for anyone who isn't worried about getting transportation to the Everglades from Miami for anyone that wants to experience the Everglades itself a bit more would be to drive directly to the north end of the park, visit the actual Everglades Safari Park - if you're set on doing an airboat ride - then drive down to the southern end of the park to the Royal Palm visitors center and walk the Anhinga Loop Trail - where you'll see tons of alligators, fish, birds, wildlife and beautiful bog foliage up front and personal.
This was a fun trip and well organized. We saw about four gators on our boat ride, one of which swam only a few feet away from our boat! The boat ride through the Everglades was very enjoyable.The alligator show was very informative and the crocodiles in park confinement looked well taken after. All the staff were entertaining and professional. The double decker bus ride was comfortable and provided great views of the city. The drop off back at the hotel could have been better arranged as there was over an hour to wait for a ride- we ended up taking the free city Trolley instead.