Coming back from Key Largo, my friend and I (along with her 13YO grandson) discussed taking the day from diving and doing a something a bit different. This was a spontaneous decision and was booked at 11a.m. on the July 29 for a 1p.m. departure.
Upon going to the address on the website (www.airboatusa.com) we found nothing. Following a phone call, we found this was simply a meeting place by the "Indian" casino.
When speaking to gentleman (who turned out to the be owner/manager, Mr. Gary Matthews), I was told twice in the first one (1) minute or so. . . . "don't worry, you will be on one of our new $85,000 boats." I finally said, "sir, I'm a bit straight forward and frankly, I do not care how much your boat cost. We want to see wildlife, enjoy the Everglades", etc.
Well, we had a lunch down the road and made it to the departure site about 1240PM. The trip was to leave at 1p.m. for a two (2) hour safari. We already knew the trip was running a bit late (no problems, we had nothing to do) due to the previous guests arriving late.
We did get off the dock about 110/115pm. After 50 yards, the boat stopped and the young man running the trip, Cory, did full introduction of himself (it was only us on the boat).
As we began running out the canal (to which we came to find out, we'll never depart from), the boat was slowed a good distance from a boat ahead. Here Cory said, "I don't know why he stops all the time. . . . I don't know what he does", referring to the owner. Some "non-professional" business words were also spoken about the owner.
Well, what the boat owner was doing was actually showing the local grasses/fauna to his guests. . . talking about it. . . and explaining.
On our trip, we were told NOTHING. NADA. Zero. Zilch. We stopped, and saw four (4) (maybe five) 'gators. Including one that was protecting a next.
On the return trip, our boat captain took us "off course" to do one (1) minute of 360 degree turns and "show off his skills".
Upon return to the dock, Cory slowed the boat, and stated, "well, I hope I did not bore you too much?" (not the business thing to state).
If we really were not going into the Everglades because of "low water", we should have been notified of this. Our party is fully aware of things that can "dictate a trip/vacation, etc" (it is our life), and we accept that. . . . the only thing we knew is we'd be on an $85K boat.
BTW, our return to the dock was at 135/138PM. The tour last 1hr. 25+min.
I called the Airboat USA office and spoke to the receptionist (who I'd previously spoken to re: the trip) at 146PM (I could not see the casino ahead).
Upon returning to our hotel (in Jupiter, FL area), I spoke to Gary Matthews. He was going to research everything and get back with me. Nothing. After three (3) days, I then proceeded to take this up with my bank and "stop charges".
We did not ask for a complete refund. . . only partial. But now, I'd like the entire thing. . . .
Don't be fooled by the Everglades tours. The best time to go is Nov-Apr. Hoping your trip is better than mine, and I'm happy to answer any personal questions re: this experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.