Passionate About Our Eco Paradise
Key West’s mangrove islands and backcountry are a magical place so close to downtown Key West and yet so different. Since 2006, Key West Eco Tours provides our guests with intimate, personalized tours of this extraordinary ecosystem. Choose from our catamaran Java Cat 4 Hour Sail, Kayak and Snorkel Private Charter or our 2 Hour guided Backcountry Kayak & Paddleboard Tours and hourly rentals out of our Geiger Key Paddle Hut location at Geiger Key Marina. We also offer a Private Sandboar & Snorkel Charters aboard Dart. Tripadvisor consistently ranks us as one of Key West’s top attractions.
Key West Eco Tours is a family owned and operated business where we personally care about your enjoyment and safety. We are fortunate to have a Crew of knowledgeable, naturalist guides and captains. The owners themselves interview and hire our guides to make sure our guides are the friendliest and most knowledgeable in Key West. All our equipment is of high quality, modern, and designed for use on the ocean.
Capt. George Bellenger
is a co-owner of Key West Eco Tours and a 100 ton USCG certified Charter Captain. Over 20 years of experience as a local guide has given George extensive knowledge of Key West’s top eco sites. He is a member of the Tropical Audubon Society - if you want to find a certain bird, ask George! Passionate about preserving the fragile, unique Florida Keys eco-system, he is a long-time volunteer for environmental groups like Reef Relief, Florida Keys Environmental Coalition and C.E.R.T.S. (Key West's Community Emergency Response Team Services). George is an avid sailor and led the U.S. Team vs. Cuba's National Team in the Habana Challenge, a 16 foot Hobie Cat Race across the Florida Straits.
Capt. Carla Bellenger
is a co-owner of Key West Eco Tours and a USCG certified Charter Captain who grew up along the Alabama Gulf with a life-long love of the water. She started life-guarding as a teenager in Foley, AL then started crewing on boats. Carla, like George, quickly fell in love with Key West's amazing water and lifestyle (not to mention mangoes!) She is committed to helping preserve Key West's unique eco-system and is a long-time volunteer for community and environmental groups like the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, the Dolphin Smart Program, Florida Keys Wild Dolphin Alliance, Key West Bight Preservation Association, Reef Relief and C.E.R.T.S.
“Tortuga Jack” Hackett
was born and raised in Chicago - but is now part of Key West legend. Sailing is one of his passions. Jack stopped in Key West long ago and has been escaping ever since! Jack was once cast for a play to be himself. A one-time activity for Jack was “shark wrestling” but being older and wiser now, Jack opts for just viewing sharks. Jack is musically inclined and will on occasion burst into songs, ditties or obscure verse. He also enjoys immersing himself in nature’s mystical ways and sharing information with those around him.
Capt. Bethany Tietz McColley
has a 100 ton U.S.C.G. Masters Captains license. Growing up in Bethesda, MD, in her “previous life” Bethany has a degree in Geology and her “real world” job was in environmental consulting. She much prefers her Key West life where she loves any time spent on the water, especially snorkeling, paddleboarding and introducing people to Key West's amazing backcountry.
Capt. John Mahle
has a 100 ton Masters Captains License and grew up 45 degrees NW of Philadelphia, PA. Over the years, John has logged a few thousand ocean sailing miles delivering boats. John spends as much time as possible on the water flats fishing and enjoying all sorts of paddlesports. An important part of John’s life is volunteering at the local SPCA where you can find him walking dogs.
Eleonora “Elio” Hinds
was born in El Salvador and has been in Key West since 1994. Since 2003, she has taken many people on guided kayak tours of Key West’s backcountry. Elio has gained a deep knowledge of the area and the eco-system which lets her find the most interesting places to take you to. While kayaking in the backcountry off of Geiger Key, Elio helped rescue an injured 230 pound loggerhead turtle who was treated by Marathon’s Turtle Hospital and has been nicknamed “Waffles”.
is a longtime resident of the Lower Keys and Key West. Jeff attended the University of Florida where he trained in Horticulture. Jeff is a tropical plant expert specializing in the Keys marine environment and mangrove ecosystem including its native plants, butterflies, tree snails and tropical fruit. For over 20 years he has taken visitors and locals alike on guided nature tours and introduced them to the amazing bio-diversity of flora and fauna in the Lower Keys.
is originally from the Boston area. Just out of college, she first arrived in Key West on a schooner. After spending 4 years sailing and attending wooden boat building school, Margot returned to Key West to stay.
hails from Dallas, Pennsylvania. She enjoys recreational paddle-board racing and paddle-board yoga. If you want to improve your skills - ask Jamie - she is World Paddle Association (WPA) level 1 certified and ACE Paddle-board Yoga certified.
Capt. Joe Weatherby
is originally from the Jersey Shore. Joe has over 25 years of experience as a Key West charter boat captain and is also a scuba diving instructor. Joe has led all kinds of excursions throughout the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas and other parts of the world. His knowledge of the marine ecosystem shines through on his guided ecotours. Joe was recently awarded the Society of American Travel Writers’ prestigious Phoenix Award for Eco-Tourism. He works with Reefmakers, the company that is responsible for the Vandenberg Artificial Reef in Key West.
is a long-time resident of the Florida Keys, having been drawn here by Key West’s year-round water sports. Dave stands guard over the Geiger Key Paddle Hut. Dave's other specialty is serving as a Certified Hammock Instructor!
Capt. Kelsey Haas
is from Key West and grew up on her father's sailboat. Kelsey loves to sail and has a native’s knowledge of the best places to explore around the island waters.