Gator Encounters With Cajun Encounters
While planning the 50 Campfires Field Trip: Great River Road, and realizing we’d end up in Louisiana, we all agreed the road trip wouldn’t be complete with an up close and personal encounter with some native fauna – namely, some toothy alligators. Getting close, in the wild, at night would be a new adventure for all of us and something we didn’t want to miss.
As you would imagine, there is no shortage of tourism companies looking to take you out gator spotting in the swamp. But think about it, finding the RIGHT guide to take you out in the swamp … at night … is something you want to be sure of. After a little online research, a company called Cajun Encounters became the obvious choice. The reviews were solid everywhere we looked – and hey – Brad Pitt went there to see gators. It must be good, right?
You have the option of being picked up in a van, but we wanted to grab a bite on the way there so we drove. If you’re hungry swing, into Swamp Boyz Seafood for a Po’boy. It was cheap and and delicious. After some southern fare we rolled into Cajun Encounters and were greeted by the happiest people we had met all week.
The gift shop is large and – be warned – your kids are going to want everything in there. After a few pictures outside we were ready to hop on a boat for our night tour. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t the least bit nervous, but that’s what makes travel so amazing. We had no idea what to expect. How big were they? 30 feet? 40 feet? How many tourists did they eat a day? These all seemed like valid questions to us.
A fellow by the name of Bishop was our tour guide and proceeded to give us the most incredible tour imaginable. He was hilarious, knowledgeable, and above all, concerned about everyone’s safety. The evening started off with a 3-foot alligator here, a 4-foot one over there, and before we knew it we had a 9-footer roll right up to the boat. As dusk turned to complete darkness the tour only became more surreal. Quietly cruising deep into the bayou brought spiders (non-venomous of course), nesting birds, fish, and best of all more alligators. Seeing them at night is completely different from day. Their eyes glow red and you’re almost certain they have ill intentions as they glide toward the boat with no apparent effort on their part.
The entire experience at Cajun Encounters was full of surprises and wildlife facts that never ceased to be fascinating. We felt truly taken care of and give the experience 5/5 stars. If gators are on the agenda when you’re in Louisiana, you won’t do better than Cajun Encounters. Tell them 50 Campfires sent you!