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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

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We will let you in on a secret! You can get the high-end experience, with an affordable price tag! Our new heated (during winter), luxury pontoon aims to amp up the manatee sighting and deliver a more personal event! Observe the endangered West Indian Manatee in Crystal River’s idyllic Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Your US Coast Guard licensed captains and guides will take you into the 600 acre spring fed refuge waters for viewing and snorkeling with these slow moving wild giants. All equipment, fees, snacks and beverages are included.
  • 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 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
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
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Popular mentions
My sister and brother were visiting for the holiday weekend and we wanted to share a new adventure - swimming with the manatees. I researched all the companies and decided on River Ventures - and they were awesome! We were trained in-depth on how to behave around the manatees,
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JJ and Troy were great guilds. We saw a lot of manatees and they were very knowledgeable. The early morning trip was worth it.
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I have always wanted to do this trip, and it was a "trip of a lifetime." The River Ventures group was wonderful! Before going to the river, we were given information regarding "how" to have the best experience on this trip, including information about respecting the Manatees
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As a group we have done water excursion in many different places outside the USA. We are all in agreement that this was the best excursion we’ve ever done. We had Laura as our guide and Emerson as our captain. Both were EXCELLENT! When we return we will be requesting them.
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We went on early November morning (645) after a cold night which drives the manatees upriver. We did the small VIP Group. Within 3-5 minutes we saw our first manatees (a Mother and a Baby). The mother was sleeping at the bottom but the baby was playful from a distance. We also
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