Is the Clear Kayak Tour in Florida Really Worth It?
If you are a traveler or love to experience new things, you most likely follow travel pages on your social media account. I am one of these people, and I stumbled upon Get Up and Go Kayaking tours years ago. I kept telling myself, "One day I'm going to go...", and I saved it into the notes in my smartphone, only to completely forget about it for years to come.
Recently, I was clearing out old notes in my smartphone when I stumbled upon this adventure again. I found myself saying the same thing I said years ago, "One day I'm going to go...". I suddenly stopped my thoughts. Why do I keep saying this? Why not do it when I'm vacationing in Florida next month? I did my research and found out this company has 5 locations total in Florida that offers similar, and yet different, experiences. Rock Springs in Kelly Park was the one that I was drawn to the most due to pictures online, and it being one of the closest tours to where I was staying.
The following are aspects of the tour that I reflected on in considering if this tour really is worth it.
1. The Clear Kayaks
I was slightly disappointed by the clear kayaks. You could see through the sides very well, but the bottom of the clear kayak was all scratched up. Therefore, the visibility of what was under your clear kayak was not the best quality.
On the other hand, you are very busy paddling during this clear kayak tour. There are a few spots the tour guide will allow the group to stop at for a dip in the water and to take pictures. As a result, I was hardly looking at the view through the bottom of the clear kayak.
2. The Scenery
The scenery is out of this world! The water was crystal clear, and the plants around you will make you feel like you are on a tropical island out of the country. The sand in the water was the softest sand my feet have ever felt in my entire life. There was even a beautiful spot that seemed to be the hub of everyone's adventure on the river. You could swim around, and you could even swing on a rope into the refreshing water.
For people who are scared about what could be in the water: do not be scared! The only thing I saw in the water in the clear kayak, and outside of the clear kayak, was little fish. You can see everything that is around you and coming your way because the water is so clear. You will have to be careful in some spots though if you decide to get out of your kayak. There are sticks and pieces of bark standing erect in the sand, which can really harm your feet if you are not careful where you step.
The Clear Water
Our tour guide said we were very lucky that day. The weather and season influences the clarity of the water, and the day we went just happened to be a great day for clear water.
3. The Wildlife
We did not see a huge amount of wildlife on our tour; nothing is guaranteed when it comes to mother nature. There were no manatee, snake, or alligator sightings for our group; however, another group that paddled by us did say they saw a snake in the water. My group saw some spiders up in the trees (away from the river), turtles, fish, and birds throughout our tour.
The wildlife was not disappointing for me as I was aware going into it that it was possible I may not see anything. It could have been a disappointment for others who had a higher expectation. No one in the group on my tour complained about this aspect to my knowledge. Everyone seemed very pleased with the wildlife they saw.
4. The Length of the Tour
The length of the tour is 2 hours long. For the first hour you are paddling upstream the entire time; this will be the toughest part. After, you turn around and paddle back with the current to where you started the tour; this will be the easy part.
My tour guide had our group take 4 stops along the way upstream. I exercise every now and then and have experience with kayaking. For me, the paddle upstream was not that hard. My arms did get sore during the tour and after, but I have paddled a lot harder upstream at other locations in the past. If you are not used to kayaking, be prepared to do work and know what you are getting into!
So...Is the Clear Kayak Tour Worth it?
Getting the clear kayak is part of the experience, and I found to be worth it despite it being scratched at the bottom. It was an incredible experience to see what was around me underwater in the clear kayak. The tour guide my group had was also very knowledgeable about the park during our tour. He definitely contributed in making this tour a fun experience.
If I was to go back for a second time, I would rent a regular kayak to save a little more on money, and go off on my own. I am sure you can get just as good of an experience doing that as you would with the clear kayak tour. I also briefly met a woman who takes her own paddle board on the river frequently and ventures off on her own. All of the workers know her there, and she said she always has a blast. The idea of a clear kayak may not be worth it for you, but I can guarantee that this beautiful park will definitely be worth it regardless of what kayak you choose.
Advice for People Interested in Bioluminescence Kayaking
One of the 5 locations this company has in Florida offers a Bioluminescence tour. I asked the tour guide at Rock Springs how it was because I did not get the full experience in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The water looked like it had sparkles in it, and there was no glow as advertised. The tour guide said if a hurricane has happened recently, that disrupts the organisms in the water that creates the glow. He said always call the location to see how the phenomenon currently is.