6.5 hours (approx.)
Availability: this activity often sells out. Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
Spend an unforgettable day sailing emerald waters, kayaking mangrove-shaded channels and snorkeling coral gardens in an unspoiled marine wilderness.Highlights
- Voyage into the Backcountry under sail on a traditional 65ft Skipjack schooner.
- Listen to a historical chart talk and learn about Key West maritime history.
- Paddle a kayak on a guided tour through the mangrove island ecosystem.
- Snorkel unspoiled waters to encounter tropical fish and exotic marine life.
- Enjoy beverages, snacks and a delicious picnic lunch afloat.
- Relax on a deserted island beach or remote sandbar.
- Celebrate happy hour in paradise with cold beer, wine and sodas.
The inhabited islands of the Florida Keys are just one small part of a 100-mile-long strip of shallow water flats, tangled channels and wild mangrove islands separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico. Much of this vast area is untouched marine wilderness preserved as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and in several wildlife refuges and national parks that lie within the Sanctuary. This is the Florida Keys Backcountry – the last remaining example of wild, untouched Florida and one of North America’s premiere ecotourism destinations. This nearly pristine environment is notable not only for its incredible variety of marine and bird life but also for the ease of access offered by its proximity to the bustling resort island of Key West. Key West visitors who love unspoiled nature will want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the world of primal beauty and natural serenity that awaits just a short sail offshore.
Our Key West Backcountry Safari is the perfect way to do just that. You will board a custom-designed replica of a 19th century Skipjack schooner and set sail out into the Key West National Wildlife Refuge to spend a day kayaking and snorkeling in a wonderland of clear water flats, coral patch reefs and mangrove islands. The marine topography of the Backcountry makes an ideal setting for this type of expedition as it is nearly always possible to find the calm, sheltered waters and good visibility that are perfect for kayaking and snorkeling. With the schooner moored off a choice mangrove island, you will be free to paddle through the shaded channels with an expert guide, don mask and snorkel to explore patch reefs and sponge gardens or simply relax and take in the sun, scenery and silence.
Simple to use even for total novices, the modern sea kayak is perfect for poking around the shallow water domains of mangrove-canopied islands. Agile and silent, the kayak will let you approach and observe the wildlife that lives both in and above the water. Spot exotic birds both migrant and resident, small invertebrates, tropical fish, rays, sharks, sport fish and maybe even a sea turtle. If it is your first time in a kayak, a few minutes of instruction from your guide will have you paddling like an old hand. The same goes for beginner snorkelers - a bit of friendly expert help and you will be ready to enjoy this exciting yet incredibly relaxing water sport. A few flips of your fins will let you glide effortlessly through the amazing underwater world of beautiful corals, lush sponge gardens, colorful tropical fish and incredible marine life of all varieties.
After a morning in and on the water, the crew will set sail again and a delicious picnic lunch will be laid out to tempt you with artisanal breads, deli meats and cheeses, curried chicken, tuna, and pasta salads, tropical fruit and beverages including soda, wine and beer. Eat lunch on deck, and if the weather holds, your captain will take you to a deserted island beach or sugar-white sand bar where you can celebrate the day with a cold beverage and some more exploration or just pure relaxation.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the wild side of Key West and a day full of fun on the water. Take an eco-tour into a marine environment that is world-renowned for its natural beauty and variety of life yet so easy to reach with a simple day trip. Everything is included – all you need is your swimsuit, beach bag and camera. Make your reservations now and plan an unforgettable Backcountry Safari into your Key West itinerary.