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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

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Crystal River, United States
Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

Select Date and Travelers

Number of travelers
2 Adults3 Adults4 Adults5 Adults6 Adults
Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Swim with the manatees on a half-day pontoon boat tour of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, a marine refuge designed to protect the threatened Florida manatee. Learn about the fascinating marine mammals on a tour designed for spotting manatees without disturbing them or disrupting their habitat, and explore a scenic Florida ecosystem. This small-group experience is limited to six people for personalized service, and all equipment, entrance fees, water and hot drinks, and snacks are included.
  • See native wildlife in their natural environment
  • Family friendly
  • Fully narrated tour
  • Choose to dive in and swim with manatees if you spot them
Saved to wishlist!
Use of equipment (mask, snorkel gear and wet suit)
Beverages (bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate, tea and adult)
Professional guide
Introductory/instructional video offered in English, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish
Gratuities
Food and beverages (unless otherwise specified)
Photo DVD (available to purchase)
Towel and swimsuit
498 SE Kings Bay Dr , 498 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA
This activity will end right where it started.
Make your way to a departure point in Crystal River, where you’ll meet a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain who will share your itinerary, as well as guidelines for snorkeling with the manatees.

Suit up in a wetsuit, then board a covered pontoon boat for the trip into Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. During the winter months, the pontoon boat cabin will be fully-enclosed and heated, and drinks will be available throughout the cruise.

Manatees aren’t the only thing to see in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, so as you cruise the Crystal River, watch for birds, fish, and other wildlife. If manatees are spotted, slip into the water with your snorkeling gear to see what’s beneath the surface. While sighting the wild animals can’t be guaranteed, the best chance to see them is in colder weather, when they cluster in the reserve’s warmer, sheltered water.

An underwater photographer will join you throughout the tour, and if desired, you’ll have the option to purchase DVDs or digital photographs of your experience. This tour concludes at the original departure point in Crystal River.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
River Ventures
Embark on your journey with a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain who will be your in water chaperon, educator and photographer. Your tour will run four hours from start to finish and everything you will need is included for one price. You will begin at our full-service tour facility, where you will be educated about the animals in a classroom type setting and receive tips for your snorkel tour to make the most of your day. You will be taught the in’s and out’s of ‘passive interaction’ as this ensures that the animals enjoy the experience as much as we do! You will then be suited up and transported to the dock, where a Coast Guard certified covered pontoon will be waiting for you. This rich estuary will amaze…..birds, fish and wildlife abound! Submerge yourself in the manatee’s world! Finish your adventure by viewing your Captain’s photos back at our facility and be sure to visit our one-of-a-kind gift shop! Our well-informed staff will direct to other local attractions, restaurants and answer of your questions before you are on your way.
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Wetsuits are available in sizes from toddlers (2 years old and up) to adults up to 5X
  • It is advised that you have your swimsuit on underneath your clothes for a quicker check-in
  • Please bring a towel and a plastic bag to hold your belongings
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Children Under 3 years old are not allowed on this tour. Please call for other options.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Post COVID-19 Policy- We are mindful to thoroughly clean water vehicles between visitors.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 6 travelers
  • OPERATED BY River Ventures
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour?
A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
See all safety measures taken by Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour.

Traveler Photos

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Reviews

5.0
star-5
550 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 550 reviews
star-5
Manatee Adventures
Susan_V
, May 2022
We had a great time exploring Kings Bay, met several Manatee and really enjoyed our guide Liz and Captain Emerson:)
star-5
Bucket list: checked off
Marilyn_B
, Apr 2022
We really enjoyed ourselves. I was a little worried it was too “late” in the season, but the experienced driver and guide spotted two for us. My sister was inexperienced with snorkeling, but Shanna coached her through her anxieties. Would definitely do this again, maybe more in the prime months
star-5
Amazing experience!
Roberta_K
, Apr 2022
Captain Troy and our guide Gloria were knowledgeable and professional. Gloria even showed our 5-year old how to snorkel and held his hand so he could experience the manatees. The trip was amazing and we swam with many of these gentle giants. Two of them even came to the surface to meet us! Would definitely recommend and so this tour again! Snacks and drinks were provided onboard the boat.
star-1
Family Pfister
Urs_P
, Apr 2022
The trip was first class excellent! The reservation with Viator a total catastrophe! Never make a reservation with viator otherwise you come crease!
star-5
Do the Vip tour with Trish and Wade!
Ashley_H
, Apr 2022
The place was very nice and clean with a great gift shop! 1st we watch and info video and got tips from the tour guide Trish. Trish clearly loved the manatees and was very knowledgeable. She did a great job of explaining to us what to expect and helping us find wet suites. We went on a 2min bus ride to the docks to meet captain Wade. Wade was great about explaining all the rules to us again and what to expect from the tour. We swam with 3 manatees 1st one and them a mom and her baby! It was the best excursion I have been on to date! I would highly recommend it and doing VIP as more than 6 people would have made it hard to see the manatees. Book this for sure you will not regret it! Ask for Trish and Wade! Amazing!!!
star-5
Sweet and safe
Ximena_R
, Apr 2022
My daughter and I, wanted to have a calm experience with an encounter with the manatees. This was a very nice experience with the captain and Sara. We were only 4 people. Of course, they can't guarantee that we were going to see manatees but the captain had a drone to look for them and we were able to see at least one manatee. As we were only 4, we could see it, swim along it, take care of not touching and keep the enough distance to look at it to eat sea grass...how cute it was...The crew educates you to know how to do it and respect their habitat. I highly recommend this experience with them.
star-4
Small group manatee experience
Kate_M
, Mar 2022
Sara was great and tried hard to find those elusive few manatees. Had a hard time decifering the difference between the small and bigger tours. The Spring fed Lagoon snorkeling was just beautiful . Thank you for trying so hard to locate manatees and for your work to educate and wrangle tourists in snorkels and noodles to where an opportunity for hanging with manatees could be. It was a thrill to see snouts and tails and lovely full figured manatees !
star-5
Best way to swim with manatees!
Richard_C
, Mar 2022
We had a wonderful experience on the manatee tour. The team was friendly and the pontoon boat was very comfortable. Snacks and drinks were included (including beer). It took a while to track down some manatees, but we finally found 5 of them - including a baby - and were able to get up close! It was great having a small group - so that we didn't bother the manatees much. The water was pretty cold, so the enclosed boat with heater were very much appreciated once we got out of the water! Highly recommend this trip!!!
star-5
A must do experience
Cheryl_b
, Mar 2022
The manatee swimming adventure was amazing. Our guides were very knowledgeable and made the experience even better.
star-5
Bucket List Experience!
Andria_M
, Mar 2022
Had a wonderful time! Shanna and our Captain Shellie knew the best places to locate the manatee! I recommend going as early as possible as the area gets crowded. Small group tour is worth the extra money! Can’t wait to come back next year!
star-5
Relaxed and informative experience
Shona_N
, Mar 2022
Didn’t know quite what to expect. Troy was so welcoming and laid back, particularly as we were a few minutes late. The setup is perfect and personal. Sticking to 6 people on the boat was ideal as we didn’t feel we were crowding the manatee. Mike and Troy were informative and chatty. The whole experience was wonderful from start to finish.
star-5
Highly recommend this tour and the folks running this business! They love the manatees!!
Wenda_N
, Feb 2022
Captain Matt & Sarah did an amazing job of finding manatees for us to see without endangering the beautiful creatures.
star-5
Great experience
Robin_M
, Feb 2022
It was an amazing experience with a great captain Troy, and guide Paige, both talented and kind. Swam with a baby manatee and observed mating manatees. Loved this experience!!
star-5
Great time! Will go again
Jason_F
, Feb 2022
Captain Wade and Courtney were the best! They made sure everyone was comfortable including the 10yr old. We will ask for them by name next time we go.
star-5
Great experience
annabelle_c
, Feb 2022
We had an amazing time. Wade and Trish were so fun to spend a few hours with. We learned so much and we also had a great experience with the manatees . We cannot wait to do it again.
star-5
Awesome adventure
Monica_S
, Jan 2022
Such a cool nature experience being that close to the gentle manatees. Our tour guide Shelly and our captain Irish Dave were friendly and informative. Everything about this experience was top notch!
star-5
Manatee snorkel experience
Sarah_C
, Dec 2021
Coming face to face with huge, beautiful, gentle manatees was an incredible experience. Troy was a fantastic boat captain, and Hailey was incredible as a guide. Both did a great job getting us to where the manatees were, explaining about behavior and environment, and they were so good with our kids ages 3-14. (The 3yo stayed on the boat the whole time)
star-5
Fabulous
Evelyn_Z
, Dec 2021
This was an amazing experience!! From the moment your walked in the front door you felt welcome. Once you arrive at the fabulous boat (best one I’ve seen in the area) our captain was so friendly and our guide Faith was the best!! She made sure we got alot of close up pictures and experiences with the manatees! I can’t say enough great stuff about them!! I will be back!
star-5
Fantastic!!
Rod_K
, Nov 2021
The guide and captain were very knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. We had the most amazing time!! It was incredible to see as many manatees as we did and it will be something we will never forget!!
star-5
Fun with manatees
Rhonda_C
, Aug 2021
Liz, our guide, was very personable and knowledgeable… Our Captain Ross was also very experienced .. he knew where to look for the manatees.. We had so much fun and are referring others to enjoy the experience with the manatees..

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