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Florida's Fragile Coastal Treasure: Snorkel the Coral Reefs

Program Number: 14677RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/17/2013 - 3/23/2013; 1/11/2015 - 1/17/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/14/2015; 3/8/2015 - 3/14/2015; 3/29/2015 - 4/4/2015; 4/19/2015 - 4/25/2015; 11/1/2015 - 11/7/2015; 11/15/2015 - 11/21/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Key Largo, Florida
Price starting at: $1,542.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the aquatic treasures of John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo during this outdoor adventure. Snorkel and kayak as you explore the continental United States’ only living coral reef. An expert delves into the Keys’ natural history and culture. Park rangers focus on reef fish and environmental threats to coral reefs and sea grass beds.




Highlights

• Embark on a light hiking adventure in Everglades National Park to study marine and mangrove ecology.
• Visit the Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park and walk along eight-foot-high quarry walls to see ancient coral.
• Snorkel in living, shallow-water coral reefs.



Activity Particulars

Hiking less than one mile two days. Snorkeling up to 1.5 hours. Kayaking up to four miles. Beginners encouraged.




Key Largo

The most northern of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is a popular diving and sports-fishing destination. Kayakers, birders and eco-tourists flock here because of its location between the Everglades and the country’s only living coral reef. At nearby John PenneKamp State Park, visitors can take snorkeling, diving or glass-bottom boat tours of the reef.



Accommodations
All-suites resort hotel with swimming pool and private beach.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
  Key Largo Florida Keys 6 nights
 Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Type: Resort
  Description: Ocean Pointe is an all-suite resort located directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Their 60 acres are part of a protected mangrove forest and is entered through a private gatehouse and road. Your vacation begins the moment you drive through our gatehouse entrance into their beautifully landscaped tropical grounds and enter your spacious room.
  Contact info: 500 Burton Dr
Key Largo, FL 33070 USA
phone: 305-853-3000
web: www.opsuites.com/Hotel_Overview/key-largo-ocean-pointe-overview.asp
  Room amenities: Living room with queen sofa bed, full kitchen, dining area, separate bedroom with queen bed, private balcony and whirlpool tub in the bathroom. As a condominium hotel, no maid service but complimentary towels and linens delivered upon request. and have washers and dryers in every suite
  Facility amenities: - Oversized heated swimming pool with whirlpool spa - Free tennis on 2 lighted courts - Marina with boat ramp and rental slips - Waterfront cafe and lounge - Small, private white sand beach, volleyball court and kayak rentals. - Courtesy guard at gatehouse - For kids there is also a childrens play area.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $169 - 239 Call the resort directly to make the reservations. Mention your are part of the World Event/Road Scholar Group.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $169 - 239 Call the resort directly to make the reservations. Mention your are part of the World Event/Road Scholar Group.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM Shuttle depart Miami Airport Terminal H Baggage Claim # 6 . 5:30 PM Hospitality and Orientation at the Hotel Reception (lower level) You will be staying at Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends approx. 10:00 AM when Shuttle depart to Miami Airport. You will be staying at Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. World Events LLC require a waiver be signed before starting the program. Its sub-contractors may also require liability waivers for certain activities.
  Parking availability:
Free except for RVs, large vans and cars with trailers. Call provider to make special arrangements for these types of vehicles.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Key Largo Florida Keys
  Nearest highway: Hotel is just off US#1-aka Overseas Highway
  Nearest airport:  Miami International (airport code MIA)
  From End of Program
  Location: Key Largo Florida Keys
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Key Largo/Tavernier

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
World Events LLC
phone: 800-971-3884
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

90 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

45 miles

   

A one time complimentary shuttle service is provided on the first day of the program from Miami Airport (MIA) for flights arriving before 2 PM only. The meeting location is Terminal H Baggage Claim # 6 by the benches. Please fill out Travel Form Attached to reserve your space. We do not recommend relying on a 45 minute connection between Ft Lauderdale Airport (FLL) and our Miami pick-up. A commercial shuttle service is also available from MIA and FLL- call 888-765-9997 for rates and schedules.

 

Key Largo/Tavernier

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
World Events LLC
phone: 800-971-3884
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

90 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

45 miles

   

A one time complimentary shuttle service is provided on the last day of the program to Miami Airport (MIA) for flights departing after 2 PM only. We do not recommend relying on a 45 minute connection between Ft Lauderdale Airport (FLL) and our Miami drop-off. A commercial shuttle service is also available to MIA and FLL- call 888-765-9997 for rates and schedules.

 

Miami

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
KEYS SHUTTLE
phone: 888-765-9997
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 hrs 

   

CALL THE COMPANY FOR PRICING AND SCHEDULES

 

Miami

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
Thrifty
phone: 877-283-0898
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call Thrifty directly for pricing and reservations
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.5 

 

Distance:

 

45

   

Thrifty is the closest location to Ocean Pointe

 
Driving Directions
  FLORIDA’S WEST COAST Take 1-75 Alligator Alley East to the Miami exit, and South to the Turnpike Extension. Follow signs to Key West. The turnpike (821) ends at US #1 in Florida City. Follow US1 over the causeway to Key Largo. When you reach the island, continue south to mile marker 92.5, About 1/4 mile before you reach 92.5, you will see a highway sign on the center median: Harris Harris Park Burton Drive. Turn left at the next corner at the Circle K Convenience store. The Ocean Pointe Suites gatehouse entrance will be on your right side approximately 1/4 mile from US1.
  MIAMI Take the Florida Turnpike south to the end, when it becomes US1 south. Follow US1 over the causeway to Key Largo. When you reach the island, continue south to milemarker 92.5, About 1/4 mile before you reach 92.5, you will see a highway sign on the center median: Harris Harris Park Burton Drive. Turn left at the next corner at the Circle K Convenience store. The Ocean Pointe Suites gatehouse entrance will be on your right side approximately 1/4 mile from US1.
Elevation Note: No elevation above 100 feet

Equipment Requirements: Snorkel, Mask, Fin and Flotation vest are provided free of charge. Should it be necessary wetsuits are available at $8.00 per session. Also, there are a very limited number of prescription masks which should be requested in advance at Orientation. If this is critical participant should bring their own.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: 3:00 PM Airport Shuttle depart from Miami Airport departing from Terminal H Baggage Claim # 6 and Orientation at 5:30 PM.
(Sunday, March 17)

Note: For those taking the complimentary Shuttle meet at Terminal H Baggage Claim # 6 at 2:45 PM.



   
 Afternoon: 5:30 PM Orientation and Hospitality at Lower Level of the Hotel Reception.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant at 7 PM.
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Kayaking and Snorkel Instruction
(Monday, March 18)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: Learn about the Keys' natural environment and the area’s history as well as its future. Search for wading birds and creatures of the sea as we journey through mangrove forests, across tidal flats and out along the Atlantic’s edge. Great experience! Your leader will show you the kayaking basics and will familiarize you with the necessary paddling equipment. On the water for approx 60-90 minutes with instruction for beginners. Participants will be assigned to tandem or single sea-kayaks according to their abilities. In the interests of safety and enjoyment couples and companions may well be in different kayaks. This will be determined strictly by the instructor(s). Water will be provided please bring your water bottle.
 Lunch: Picnic style lunch
 Afternoon: Snorkel training sessions in the pool to review your skills and explore, Also instruction for beginners will be conducted in the afternoon. This will include the all important procedure and practice for getting in and out of the water safely from a boat at anchor. Others may wish to peruse the activities along the canal or simply relax after the morning's kayaking.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant at approx 6 PM
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Presentation at John Pennekamp State Park and afternoon Snorkel on John Pennekamp Coral Reef/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
(Tuesday, March 19)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: Presentation at John Pennekamp State Park by Park Ranger includes a mile long walk through mangrove habitat over pathways and boardwalk. This walk includes narration about the importance of mangroves to the reefs and why the mangrove system is the second most productive bio-zone on the planet. Walk is followed by a slide presentation on reef fish identification to help identify reef fish to be seen on reefs.
 Lunch: Picnic style lunch
 Afternoon: Our first reef snorkel will be at the living, shallow-water coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which are vibrant with color and activity. Our 2 and a half-hour snorkeling tour is strictly non-scuba for the comfort of our participants. Site is determined by weather and tidal conditions, Captain's experienced knowledge and other pertinent factors.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant at approx 6:30 PM.
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field trip to Everglades National Park
(Wednesday, March 20)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: Visit to Everglades National Park. Approx mile long walk on pavement and boardwalk at the Anhinga Trail. Guided by provider, who is a certified Florida Master Naturalist. Sunscreen and hats needed as most of the trail is in the open.
 Lunch: Picnic style lunch in Everglades National Park.
 Afternoon: Stop at Everglades National Park Visitors Center for presentations on the Park and to peruse the exhibits and tasteful book/gift shop.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Free Time/ Second Snorkel Trip
(Thursday, March 21)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: Free Time
 Lunch: Picnic Style Lunch
 Afternoon: Second Snorkel Trip
 Dinner: At a local restaurant approx 7 PM.
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Field trip to Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park and Snorkel on John Pennekamp Coral Reef/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
(Friday, March 22)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: Visit the Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park and walk along eight-foot-high quarry walls to see cross sections of the ancient coral and learn about the quarry and its operation- an important part of Florida's 20th century history. Samples of the quarry machinery have been preserved at the park. Formed of Key Largo limestone, fossilized coral, this land was sold to the Florida East Coast Railroad, which used the stone to build Henry Flagler's Overseas Railroad in the early 1900s. After the railroad was built, the quarry was used until the 1960s to produce exquisite pieces of decorative stone called Keystone.
 Lunch: Picnic style lunch
 Afternoon: Our third reef snorkel will be at the living, shallow-water coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which are vibrant with color and activity. Our 2 and a half-hour snorkeling tour is strictly non-scuba for the comfort of our participants. Site is determined by weather and tidal conditions, Captain's experienced knowledge and other pertinent factors.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at local restaurant at approx 6 PM.
   
Accommodations: Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Breakfast and Adventure Recap
(Saturday, March 23)
   
 Breakfast: As hotel does not have a breakfast room but does have full kitchens in all suites a breakfast cash allowance will be given out at Orientation.
 Morning: After breakfast we will be meeting for a Week Adventure Recap. Approx 10:00 am direct to Miami airport for those travelling on the provider's scheduled shuttle for flights leaving after 2:00 pm. Due to road and bridge construction on US1 and Miami traffic we have to allow at least 2 hours travel time to ensure participants arrive at the airport no later than 12:30 pm
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Key Largo Florida Keys African Queen
Historic replica (or original) boat used in the movie of the same name. Located approx 5 miles south of the hotel.
  Casino Ship
Some Participants enjoy this form of Free Time
  Key Largo Library
Local library with Internet access is approx 1.5 miles north of the hotel.
  Keys Bird Rehab Center
The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehab Center is located 5 miles south of the hotel. There are numerous species of birds under temporary or permanent care. The facility is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization run mostly on private donations. A $5 per person donation is considered the norm.
  Local neighborhood
Some Participants have found strolling along the canal to be a pleasant way of unwinding after dinner or as an early morning leg stretcher.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life - Florida - Caribbean - Bahamas


Author: Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach


Description: Good visual guide to fish and creatures likely to be seen on the reef



Scuba Diving and Snorkeling for Dummies


Author: John Newman


Description: Typical of the "for Dummies" with lots of well presented facts, tips and fundamental information on snorkeling and equipment. Perfect for novices and experts alike.



Eco-Touring the Florida Keys


Author: Mathew Landau and Larry Gates


Description: Good source of information about the Keys' native plants and animals and the overall eco-system.



Insiders Guide Florida Keys & Key West


Author: Victoria Shearer and Janet Ware


A Land Remembered


Author: Patrick Smith


Florida’s Fabulous Fish


Author: Gary Cochran




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