Since 1992, the Everglades Day Safari has offered the finest ecotours in Florida. We have always valued the importance of protecting our natural and cultural heritage and operating our tours in a sustainable fashion. We feel it is the responsibility of tourists and tour operators to protect what we have for future generations.
The Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism began as a grass roots effort in Southwest Florida in 2000. it has grown into a statewide organization that champions the ideal of sustainable ecotourism. They offer education programs for the general public as well as programs designed to help tour operators function at the highest levels.
Additionally, Florida SEE has developed a rigorous certification and recognition program that tour operators can voluntarily participate in with the end goal of achieving a metal status depending on the level to which a company goes above and beyond what is reasonably expected of an ecotour company.
The Everglades Day Safari began the process in July of 2012 and we are very proud to say that on December 4th, 2012, we became Florida SEE Gold Certified Ecotour Operator!
According to The International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of the local people.
Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
- Minimize impact.
- Build environment and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
- Raise sensitivity to region’s political, environmental and social climate.
Certified Florida SEE members provide quality opportunities for eco-travelers to experience nature in ways that lead to greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment by adhering to the following ecotourism ethics:
- Employ knowledgeable staff/guides that provide accurate information.
- Are sensitive to and involve indigenous cultures.
- Contribute to the conservation of natural areas and local resources.
- Provide constructive and ongoing contributions to your local community.
- Evaluate programs and procedures to incorporate up-to-date knowledge and practices.
- Marketing which is accurate and leads to realistic expectations.
- Consistently meets client and community expectations
- The Everglades Day Safari is the only Florida SEE certified safari.
- We are the only van tour permitted to operate in Big Cypress National Preserve.
- We are a locally owned company.
- We offer small, personal tours.
- We have never and will never feed or harass wildlife.
- We employee local guides who have strong ties to the Everglades.
- Our tours are fun, educational and one-of-a-kind.
Everglades Day Safari was visited by two separate Florida SEE Assessors who participated in the day long safari.
We met our guide in Estero to begin our all day adventure. Our guide had a wealth of knowledge which she shared throughout the day. There weren’t many questions that she couldn’t answer! Our guide kept us on pace to be able to do everything that was scheduled, yet we didn’t feel rushed at all.
Throughout the course of the day we did a nature walk, a nature van tour (saw lots of birds and alligator “action”), a pontoon boat ride (my personal favorite, with the chance to see some white pelicans resting on an island alongside our local brown pelicans which looked SO small next to the whites!), lunch at a local restaurant in Everglades City (provided & enjoyed), and an airboat tour.
Even though the driving seemed a bit long at times, at the end of the day it was totally worth it. It gave us a chance to share together and, at times, the ride time gave us a chance to quietly reflect on all we had experienced over the course of the day, before we rushed back to our sometimes, too busy lives.