We started at the big red umbrella on Biscayne Blvd. after parking in the convenient nearby garage. We had a Groupon offer and made good use of it. The guy at the umbrella was very helpful, speaking fluent Spanish to the lady in front of us and switching to fluent English with us. He checked us in quickly and gave us a run-down on what to expect and where the route would take us, explaining the tour very well using their map. He even flagged down an on-coming bus for us to board so we didn't have to walk back to the starting point. This also gave us our pick of seats when the folks got off. We took the front seats, on top. It took about ten minutes to get everyone on board and get on the road, first the Beach Loop and then the City Loop. Jake was our guide for the Beach Loop and he was very good. He had a lot to say and was easy to understand. (He did tell us to try Mango's on South Beach, which we did with a mixed experience, but that's another review.) Jake was enthusiastic and informative and obviously enjoyed his work. When we got back to the start point, he tells us we can stay on the bus as it will continue to the City Loop which we intended to go on anyway. Ricky is our new tour guide and he isn't Jake. There were long periods of silence and he didn't have as much to say when he did talk. The tour itself was good and we enjoyed both legs and would do it again.
Regarding some reviews (which I will say I did not read until after our trip(s), I can understand some of their concerns). A pre-recorded tour, in my opinion, would not be as interesting as a live one. Both Jake and Ricky answered questions from people, not really possibly with a tape recorder. Both tour guides (Jake more than Ricky) warned us of low hanging branches, bridges, etc., I can only imagine how it would feel if you got beaned with a tree limb. People did hop-on and hop-off on both our tours, we didn't but that is what we planned and we went in the afternoon so wouldn't have been able to spend much more than the 20 minutes between buses to see or do anything. We did gather a lot of information for future visits, however. As with most reviews, there are always the bad as well as the good, this one being no different.
We'd do it again, especially if we got another Groupon offer, probably even if we didn't.
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