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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour provided by River Ventures Manatee Tour Center

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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

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2 adults
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On this quintessential Florida adventure, you'll observe the endangered West Indian Manatee in Florida’s Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Cruise the Crystal River in a luxury pontoon boat that is fully enclosed and heated during winter (the best time to see the manatees). This small-group experience is designed to view the animals without disturbing them. Plus, if manatees are spotted, you'll slip on your fins and snorkel and swim alongside them. 
  • See and swim with manatees if they're spotted
  • Ride in a luxury pontoon boat that's heated in winter 
  • Fully narrated tour reveals little-known info 
  • A small group ensures personalized attention
What to Expect
Make your own way to a designated meeting point,  where your Coast Guard Certified Master Captain will share the itinerary and go over rules for snorkeling with the manatees. Slip on a wetsuit and board a covered pontoon boat (in the winter, it’s fully enclosed and heated). As you slowly enter into the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, keep an eye out for birds, fish, and other wildlife who call the area home. If manatees are spotted, you can slip into the water with them, staying at a respectful distance all the while. The best time to see the manatees is in the winter when they cluster in the warmer upstream waters of the reserve. An underwater photographer snaps shots throughout the day, and you can purchase photos or DVDs of your experience once back at the Manatee Center.
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Important Information
Departure Point
498 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA
Return Details
Returns to original departure point
  • Use of equipment (mask, snorkel gear and wet suit)
  • Beverages (bottled water, coffee and hot chocolate)
  • 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
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Additional Info
  • 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
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Children Under 3 years old are not allowed on this tour. Please call for other options.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 6 travellers
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Traveller rating
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Traveller type
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Popular mentions
Betty wrote a review 26 May
1 contribution
River Ventures in Crystal River, Florida provided an excellent experience for us to enjoy while in the area. Our Captain, John B. and our guide, Crystal were great to travel with! They were both so knowledgeable and informative regarding our safety, the manatee, and the
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Date of experience: May 2020
freelancer156 wrote a review Mar 2020
5 contributions
Although my wife and I are widely travelled nature lovers, this tour was an absolute highlight for us. We enjoyed it very much and can only recommend it without reservation.
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Date of experience: March 2020
tnewtona wrote a review Mar 2020
Graytown, Ohio1 contribution
Caption Wade and Trish are phenomenal♥️ We headed out early and found a mother and calf early on while we enjoyed the morning silence in the fog. Got to experience dolphins swim right past us to feed and watch a bald eagle pick up a fish! From orientation, to wetsuit
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Date of experience: March 2020
Jeri D wrote a review Mar 2020
1 contribution
Dave and Shellie were our Captain and guide. They were knowledgeable, friendly and very enjoyable. They both told us a lot about the area and the manatees. We got to see about five manatees as it was warm and a lot of them had moved on. It was great seeing them and interacting
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Date of experience: March 2020
Michael M wrote a review Mar 2020
4 contributions
Troy and JJ were awesome! Within 10 minutes we were in the water with a mother and calf. They educated about the manatees and the area. We snorkled in natural springs with crystal clear water. Our expectations were definitely exceeded! Thanks to Troy for excellent navigation and
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Date of experience: March 2020
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: River Ventures Manatee Tour Center
Awesome staff!
Manatee tour was awesome, but the staff is even better! JJ and Johnny b were so patient with the 6 year old and 8 y
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Manatee Swim
We had a great time on Memorial Day weekend. There were lots of boats around but the captain kept us away from the
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Fantastic Experience!
Our family thoroughly enjoyed the manatee swim through River Ventures Tours. Booking was easy; the center is very
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Amazing trip with Matt and Mike!
My husband and I decided to book this tour for my son’s birthday. My son is turning two and woke up that day very c
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Amazing experience
Great experience, we had a great time, plus the staff is really friendly and always trying to help, very organized
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Manatee swim
Crystal River Manatee adventure swim was awesome. Our tour guide Trish and Captain Wade were very professional, fri
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Awesome Tour!
My wife and I spent the afternoon with John and JJ and we had a wonderful experience “swimming with the Manatee’. W
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3 friends and I came from TN on vacation this week and a local friend sent us this way. LET ME TELL YOU IT WAS THE
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Kat L
JJ, and John were amazing for my friends and I. They we’re patient and understanding with my friends as it was thei
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Excellent Tour!
We had great time. Our captains John and Crystal were awesome! They were very knowledgeable and excited every time
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Swimming with the manatee during Covid-19
Our family booked a tour upon the reopening from the Covid-19 shutdown and we were all impressed with the effort
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Amazing experience - amazing company!!
I was fortunate enough to experience a manatee swim several years ago with River Ventures and from start to finish
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Mermaids and Manatees Pontoon Tour
We did the Mermaids to Manatees pontoon tour and they did not disappoint!!!! Gloria was friendly and kind helping
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Loved this!
We absolutely loved this and highly recommend River Ventures . My husband can't swim but loved chilling out on the
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Snorkeling with Manatees!
Drove 2 hours from Clearwater and our Manatee tour did not disappoint! We found manatees early into the trip and mu
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Key Details
  • Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, River Ventures Manatee Tour Center, and 1 more
  • Duration: 4h
  • Mobile Ticket Accepted
  • Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Instant Confirmation
  • Languages Offered: English
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  • Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
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