Tours and Tickets

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

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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

COVID-19 update: See the added health and safety measures this experience is taking.Read more
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₹ 7,791.65
2 adults
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Travel safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during this experience
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Hand sanitizer available to travellers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Updated 21/06/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
Updated 21/06/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
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
  • Children Under 3 years old are not allowed on this tour. Please call for other options.
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Post COVID-19 Policy- We are mindful to thoroughly clean water vehicles between visitors.
  • 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
  • 289
  • 3
  • 2
  • 0
  • 0
Traveller type
Time of year
Popular mentions
Michelle P wrote a review 23 Nov
Lake City, Florida1 contribution
Had the best time! Mike and Shellie were such great tour guides. We really had the most wonderful experience we could have had!
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Date of experience: November 2020
Ron-Donna Y wrote a review 22 Nov
1 contribution
Capt Dave and Ross made our trip great with facts and cool info about the manatees. As an amputee, I was concerned. It truly wonderful. Ross watched to make sure my daughter and wife saw the sleeping manatees. Thanks 👍
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Date of experience: November 2020
RyanH wrote a review 16 Nov
18 contributions1 helpful vote
Only rationale for 4 stars vs 5 was the fact that there were several other tour operators operating simultaneous that detracted slightly from the "VIP" experience. Captain Mike and Tour Guide Matt were both 5 stars and very knowledeable about the area and the manatee. They did
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Date of experience: November 2020
Alyssa L wrote a review 10 Nov
1 contribution
I can't say enough good things about River Ventures! I refuse to book with any other company! Everyone on staff is welcoming and wants you to have the best experience possible. The picture package is definitely worth it. Our fourth annual mother daughter trip was another
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Becca wrote a review Oct 2020
1 contribution
Captain Wade and our guide Tricia were extremely knowledgeable and professional. The duo showed a sincere and passionate desire to educate us about the local wildlife management efforts. Their care for the animals’ welfare was very impressive and very much appreciated. All
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Date of experience: October 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
Erin D
Best Experience of my Life
Words cannot explain how awesome this was. I did NOT want to go because I am TERRIFIED of swimming in non-pools. I
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Excellent guided experience
Derek and Troy were really good at spotting manatees. They were also very accommodating and knowledgeable of the ar
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We had the BEST time! From the moment we walked in the door it was all happy. We were on time leaving for our adven
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Amazing and so fun!
Please go here if you want the best manatee experience!! Caption Shelly and John were amazing and really took care
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What an amazing adventure! Trisha and Wade were so fantastic. Super friendly and Very knowledgeable. We were very
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Bucket List item Checked Off in a most spectacular way.
Captain Gavin and JJ were our guides and boy were they great at what they do. We went before the manatees actually
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Swimming with manatee
Trish and Wade were great. We had a wonderful experience with great people. We had an amazing time!!
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Once in a Lifetime
Irish Dave and Matt made our Manatee experience great!! They were professional, hospitable, knowledgeable, and fun
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Swim with the manatees - better than you could even hope for
We had an amazing private houseboat tour to swim with manatees. Capt. Wade & Trish were marvelous. We saw several a
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Amazing Tour
I found this tour company because of Trip Advisor and the reviews are accurate! They accommodated us with a same d
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Only place I'll go
Ross and Gavin rock!. But besides that, the whole experience was amazing. There are a lot of other businesses like
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Such an amazing experience!
We had such an awesome time with Captain Gavin and Swim Guide Heidi! We saw probably 20 manatee that swam right up
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Wonderful experience, staff was beyond awesome, courteous and professional. Dave and Ross were our guides and did a
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Swim with manatees
Best ever, do not miss. Bucket list checked. This may not always be available, do it now while you still can. Great
Read more
Birthday swim with manatees
Trish & Wade were so much fun!! My mom, BFF and I just finished our tour for by birthday. We got to see a baby mana
Read more
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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Frequently Asked Questions about Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour