Much like the other tribes in South Florida, the Tequesta were hunters, fishers and gatherers. They did not practice any form of agriculture. They relied primarily on fish, shellfish, nuts and berries for their everyday diet.
The Tequesta tribe's men were responsible for fishing, which they did from dugout canoes. They caught sharks, sailfish, sea cows (also known as manatees), porpoises, alligators and other fish in the waters of Biscayne Bay and the Miami River. They would frequently travel long distances in their canoes to find a manatee or other large mammals. When they were fortunate enough to catch a manatee, it was usually served only to the chief and other tribal leaders, as it was considered a delicacy.
Most of the Tequesta's food came from the sea, but the men also had the hunting duties. They hunted bear, deer, wild boar and small mammals in the Everglades.
The tribe's women and children collected clams, conchs, oysters and turtle eggs in the shallows of the Bay and the River. They also travelled inland to gather palmetto berries, coco plums, sea grapes, palm nuts, various fruits and the roots of certain plants, which they ground up to make flour for unleavened bread.