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Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

San Francisco, Ca
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Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

We are flying into Ft Myers the week of Feb. 7th and staying on Marco Island..

I would like to rent bikes to ride the loop at Shark Valley.

Do they have bike rentals at the visitor center or do you have to bring your own bikes in from another location?

Gator Etiquette? Are they lounging in the sun? How do you share a bike lane with a gator??

I'd like to do kayak Eco tours in the mangroves one day after riding bikes.. I'm a lil nervous about kayaking next to a gator so I'd like to get close to one on land first..

Don't want to spend hours driving in the Everglades

Any other suggestions? Love dolphins, sea life, etc.

Thank you,

Sophia

Hartford...
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1. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

You can rent bikes right at the shark valley visitor center or bring your own. I did't encounter gators when i was there last february. But if you do they will be likely lazy since it is cooler that time of the year. Someone else can chime on what you are supposed to do, but pretty sure you just cruise past them giving them some space.

I wouldn't worry about kayaking near gators, they aren't interested in you. Also it depends on where you are kayaking, but in the mangroves its usually where fresh meets salt water. Gators stick to fresh more inland. American crocodiles hang out in the salty water, but the odds of seeing them are slim as they are endangered. Just to note there are some that hang out near the dock at flamingo, but that is out of the way for you.

England
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2. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

Previous poster gives good advice about giving gators space as you cruise past. Do not approach on foot as they can run pretty fast in short bursts. If you are staying on Marco you will probably see dolphins from the beach but a great trip I can recommend is the Thriller www.sanibelthriller.com which operates from Sanibel island which is not too far away. It's a power boat trip around the islands and the dolphins just love to follow in it's wake. A great opportunity for photos or videos.

Marco is also near Everglades city and there are numerous boat /airboat or eco friendly trips which run from there. See the chamber website www.evergladeschamber.net

Chicago
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for Pompano Beach
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3. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

I wondered the same thing as I first encountered them at Shark Valley. Then I saw a person walking between them on the path coming towards me! Next, a ranger on a bike passed by, so I asked how safe it was.

The ranger advised to give the gators as much room as possible as you cruise by. Bikes ride in the opposite direction as the tram. Thus, if you find a gator to be too intimidating, wait for a tram to come along and move it for you. It was a great ride. The path is wide and paved. The gators are much more interested in the sun than anyone on the path.

Have a great time!

Sunrise, FL
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4. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

I have been to Shark Valley many, many times and must say that as long as you respect the wildlife it respects you. Dont try to touch, feed or get to close to the gators in general. I have taken several pictures of me and/or friends standing close, but by close I mean a few feet away. With the right camera angle you can make it look closer than it is.

Perhaps your biggest concern are the birds. After years they have learned hot to "unzip" bags and can/will go after your food. :) Its cute, until they are eating your sandwich. Its really not big deal unless you leave your stuff unattended and slightly open.

Otherwise, its a blast and a lot of fun. Remember that gators are cold-blooded so they will do whatever it takes to stay warm. Keep that in mind when you are planning on what time to go.

Hartford...
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5. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

Another shark valley tip...check the weather forecast for wind. When i was there it was a very windy day, a lot of people on bikes were having trouble and ended up walking even though its flat. The bikes they rent are singlespeed beach cruisers...not the best thing to be on when you have some resistance.

Edited: 19 January 2011, 19:39
South Florida...
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6. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

The bike rentals sometimes sell out so it's worth it to get there early. If you have kids in the group (under 16? under 12? I don't quite recall the rule), they must wear bike helmets. These are also available for rent but ran out more quickly than the bikes. Think about bringing your own if this applies to you!

San Francisco, Ca
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7. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

I appreciate everyone's suggestions and will definitely be mindful of their personal space on my bike trip..... I have picture in mind of a gator quickly running in short bursts of energy.. AAAHHH ....

I'm looking forward to arriving early and checking wind conditions before departing.... I'm sure it will be an amazing experience..

Thank you,

Sophia

Miami, FL
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8. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

Hi Sophia,

There has only been one incident at Shark Valley in all its years of operation, a child fell off of his bike ONTO a gator. The parents were able to fight the gator off the 7 year old and in the process the child received a punctured lung, but fully recovered from his injuries. Considering the amount of people that visit, this is a tremendous safety record and this incident was considered a freak accident.

The gators in Shark Valley are accustomed to humans, so they don't shy away. I don't know what area Eco tours operate in, but if the gators there don't see humans as much, you will find that they run/swim away if approached, they are actually pretty shy animals...but I wouldn't go chasing them....its dangerous and illegal.

Please remember suncreen and drink plenty of water BEFORE you feel thirsty.

I know you will have a grand time.

Saludos,

Yogi

9. Re: Gator Etiquitte & Bikes Shark Valley & 5 day Itinerary

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