Cajun Encounters Tours: Plantations, Swamps and the City

This post is a review of Cajun Encounters Tours, a family-owned New Orleans area business, specializing in swamp tours, but also offering bus and walking tours.  This outfit strives to give tourists an authentic Louisiana experience. Tours are led by local, licensed guides with deep passion for New Orleans. Guests visit some of the city’s most famed landmarks and districts. These tours are designed to give participants both a fun and historical experience embodied in the city’s beauty and fascinating. Whether visiting for a short period or an extended stay, Cajun Encounters has a tour or package that will fit your desired New Orleans experience.

Swamp Tours

City Bus Tours

Tour Packages

Cajun Encounters Reviews

Plantation Tours

Free Tours by Foot

 

 

REVIEWS OF CAJUN ENCOUNTERS 

Overall, reviews of Cajun Encounters are quite good. They have earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and 4 out of 5 stars via the Yelp community. While reviews suggest that all of the tours offered are worthwhile, the majority of praise comes from participants of the Plantation and Swamp Tours. There are thousands of reviews that rave about the tour guides. Not only are they given praise for the abundance of history and fun stories they tell, but are consistently complimented on their friendliness and overall passion for New Orleans.The majority of poor reviews are directed towards prolonged wait times for buses. Keep in mind the city is a popular tourist district and the site does urge to allow a 30 minute window for buses. When scheduling, it’s also a good idea to consider the season you are booking in. At peak season there are many events and festivities that can also impact wait times.  TIP: Gray Line New Orleans departs from one location at a set time, so you will not have wait for the bus to pick you up, or for you to ride the bus as it picks up others.  You could find Gray Line tours on our main swamp tour page.

 


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SWAMP TOURS

There are three different swamp tours offered by Cajun Encounters, including a VIP Boat Tour, a Night Swamp Tour and their basic Swamp Tour. All of the bayou tour explore the famous Honey Island Swamp. Riders will have a unique opportunity to see this diverse ecosystem up close and personal. Many of the captains are field experts and have lived on the water for a majority of their lives. Expect to see a range of wildlife from alligators to wild boar, snakes, owls, egrets and so much more. This tour has a hotel pickup option for most French Quarter hotels which affects the pick-up times and pricing. You are also free to provide your own transportation (see address below).  

TIP:  You can explore other options to traditional swamp tours such as Airboat swamp tours and Kayak/Canoe swamp tours at our guide to the best New Orleans swamp tours.

 


 

Reviews for Cajun Encounters’ Swamp Tours are nearly all extremely positive on TripAdvisor. Users seem most impressed with the captains of the boats. Reviews claim the guides are remarkably passionate about the swamps and offer a great deal of knowledge about the wildlife. The tour itself is described as both eerie and incredibly beautiful.

The convenience of the hotel pickup is noted often; however there are complaints about the wait times. This tour is one of their most popular and wait times for bus pick up has been noted to stretch from 30 to 60 minute wait times. Most users aren’t too burdened by the minor setback; concluding the tour well organized and a must do adventure.

For those using their own transport, boats depart from 55345 Highway 90 East, Slidell, LA  70461 (click for directions by car). 

Standard Swamp Tour (approximately 2 hours long)

Enjoy a two-hour boat ride down the Honey Island Swamp in the company of an expert captain, on a small, 22-passenger boat.  

  • Ticket Price
    • With hotel pick-up:  Adults: $56, Children under 12 $36
    • Providing your own transportation:  Adults $29,  Children under 12  $19
    • More information and to book.
  • Schedule 
    • Boat Departs 7:30am; you must provide your own transportation
    • Hotel pick-up 8:00am     Boat Departs 9:30am
    • Hotel pick-up 10:15am    Boat Departs 12:15pm
    • Hotel pick-up 1:15pm       Boat Departs 2:45pm
    • Hotel pick-up 3:30pm   Boat Departs 5:00pm (Seasonal only, contact company)

VIP Boat Tour   (approximately 2 hours)

An ultimate swamp experience featuring an 8-10 passenger boat. This option is ideal for private groups such as Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, wedding parties and family gatherings.

  • Ticket Price
    • Adults $89 with or without hotel pick-up
    • No price is listed for children, please inquire with the company
  • Schedule
    • Hotel pick-up 8:00am     Boat Departs 9:30am
    • Hotel pick-up 10:15am    Boat Departs 12:15pm
    • Hotel pick-up 1:15pm       Boat Departs 2:45pm
    • Hotel pick-up 3:30pm      Boat Departs 5:00pm (Seasonal only, contact company)

Night Swamp Tour (approximately 2 hours)

This unique experience utilizes a spotlight to illuminate the hidden wildlife on this serene tour.

  • Ticket Price
    • With hotel pick-up:  Adults: $56, Children under 12 $36
    • Provide your own transportation:  Adults $29,  Children under 12  $19
  • Schedule
    • Hotel pick-up 6:00pm     Boat Departs 7:30pm
    • Hotel pick-up 6:45pm     Boat Departs 8:15pm (Seasonal only, contact company)

 


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PLANTATION TOURS

Cajun Encounters offers tours of three plantations: Oak Alley, Whitney and Laura. Participants can take a combo tour of Oak Alley and one of the other two plantations, or choose to take a full in-depth tour of Oak Alley. Each location has a unique history that attendees will have plenty of time to learn about over the 6 ½ hour mark.  Be sure to read our post on all the different companies offering plantation tours from New Orleans.

 

 

Reviews for Cajun Encounters’ Plantation Tours suggest that they are a “must-do”.  Guests express immense satisfaction with visits to all sights, most commonly to Laura Plantation. Many reviews propose taking one of the combo tour packages as the distance to the actual plantations is rather lengthy and made more worthwhile with visits to two sights. There have been some complaints expressed for the long wait times for bus pickups; it is suggested to allow a 30 minute window for bus arrivals. While there is a restaurant option at the end of the Oak Alley tour, users recommend packing a lunch as there isn’t always time to grab food. 

Oak Alley

The famed Oak Alley gets its name from the double row of giant Oak Trees that line the passageway to the Plantations entrance. Built in 1839, this magnificent and classic plantation facing the Mississippi River is a must see while visiting Louisiana. The plantation has been featured in movies such as “Interview with a Vampire” and the music video for Beyoncé’s “Déjà vu”. The tour is designed as an immersive experience.

Your expert tour guides will be dressed in period attire and lead you through many interior rooms featuring outstanding views. The end of the tour explores the expansive grounds of Oak Alley featuring exhibits and recreated slave quarters. A restaurant serving traditional southern food complete with a bar is also made an option for guest.

Whitney: Dedicated to Slaves of the South

Dating back to the 1700’s, Whitney Plantation now serves as a dedication to the many slaves whose brutal labor led to the direct success of the plantation. This experience is meant to capture a more realistic perspective of the Old South. Participants will explore The Big House, slave quarters, Wall of Honor memorial, Antioch Baptist Church, and many other exhibits.

Laura: A Creole Plantation

Originally run by a French Creole family, later to be taken over by a German family, Laura Plantation is a great image of the diverse cultures at play in the South. Participants can expect a riveting portrayal of what it was like living on the Plantation over 200 years ago.

Your tour guide will lead you through the basement and living quarters of Laura showing you photos of its original residents and furnishings. You’ll gain insight into the 1870’s, “Tales of Br’er Rabbit,” which have since been adapted into a Disney movie. Following your tour through the house, tour the gardens, banana grove and expect in-depth stories of the plantations troublesome past told from within a slave cabin.  

Single Plantation Tour: Oak Alley 

  • Tour last approximately 6.5 hours
  • Daily pickups at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
  • Adults $62, Children (under 12) $49
  • More information or to book.

Combo Plantation Tour: Oak Alley and Laura

  • Daily pickups at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
  • Tour last approximately 6.5 hours
  • Adults $92, Children (under 12) $69
  • More information or to book.

Combo Plantation Tour: Oak Alley and Whitney

 


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CITY BUS TOURS 

Cajun Encounters offers three bus tours daily that depart in the morning, mid-day and afternoon. Each tour features popular attractions like the World War II Museum, City Park and Frenchman Street. Riders will visit famous neighborhoods like the Garden District and Museum District, and view renowned landmarks like the Antebellum and Creole mansions. Note that because of the times of the day, each tour ends with a different activity, including a tour of oldest café in New Orleans, a drive through the 9th Ward and a tour of a local distillery.  (See the above video). Be sure to read our review of all New Orleans bus tours.

Reviews via TripAdvisor for the City Bus Tour are mostly very positive. The guides are said to be extremely knowledgeable and polite. Users judge the bus itself to be very clean and comfortable. Many reviews suggest this tour covers many must-see districts and landmarks in its 2 ½ hour stretch. It comes highly recommended for those new to New Orleans and looking for a crash course in its engaging history.

Morning Tour  Daily at 8:30 a.m.

  • This tour features a full city tour and concludes with a stop for coffee and beignets at Morning Call, the oldest café in New Orleans. Tour last approximately 2 hours
  • Adults $52, Children (under 12) $36

Mid-Day Tour  Daily at 11:15 a.m.

  • This tour explores the most popular neighborhoods in the city tour and ends with a drive through the famed 9th Ward. Tour Last approximately 2.5 hours
  • Adults $52, Children (under 12) $36

Afternoon Tour  Daily at 2:30 p.m.

  • This tour features the full city tour and caps off with a visit to the Seven Three Distilling Co. in the Treme neighborhood. Tour last approximately 2.5 hours.
  • Adults $52, Children (under 12) $36

To purchase  tickets click here.

 


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TOUR PACKAGES 

By bundling several tours and attractions into one price, Cajun Encounters makes it possible for you to save some money on the activities you are interested in! The more you see, the more you save!  Once you choose one of the tour types above, you will have the opportunity to add on additional tour types at a discount.

“Pick Any Two”  Save $8 when you choose any TWO of these three tours: 

  • Swamp Tour
  • City Bus Tour
  • Plantation Tour

 “Top 3 Attractions” Save $15when you buy all three! 

  • Swamp Tour
  • City Bus Tour
  • Plantation Tour

 “Top 4 Attractions” Save $20 off of the total cost of all these 4 activities put together

  • Swamp Tour
  • City Bus Tour
  • Plantation Tour
  • Choice of any Legendary Walking Tour

“Super City Saver”  Save $30 off of the total cost of all these 5 activities and see it all!

  • Swamp Tour
  • City Bus Tour
  • Plantation Tour
  • Choice of any Legendary Walking Tour
  • World War II Museum ticket

 

If you need any more convincing that Cajun Encounters will meet your expectations, let Kelly Ripa of KELLY LIVE! tell you what she thought of her tour!

P.S. If you are up in New York City sometime, find out how you can see a taping of Kelly LIVE! or other great TV shows. Just click here for more information .

 


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