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Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour

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Crystal River, United States
Small Group VIP Manatee Pontoon Tour
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Number of travelers
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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


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
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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
Food and beverages (unless otherwise specified)
Photo DVD (available to purchase)
Towel and swimsuit

Departure Point

498 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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471 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 471 reviews
Awesome adventure
, 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!
Manatee snorkel experience
, 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)
, 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!
, 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!!
Fun with manatees
, 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..
They guides were very accommodating and informative
, Jun 2021
Still able to enjoy the manatees while keeping them safe. My 9 year felt enjoyed and we felt he was always safe.
1 traveler found this review helpful
, Jun 2021
Surrounded by Manatee! It was a positive experience our entire party enjoyed. Will be back with other family members when they visit me in Florida
Great time, they should charge more!!
, May 2021
Absolutely the best time!!! Everyone was super friendly, and knowledgeable. We learned so much about manatees and saw so many❤❤ It was truly magical. We also enjoyed the trips to the different natural springs they took us to. Totally worth the drive from Orlando.
What a great day!!
, Apr 2021
Derick and Troy were our great captain and guide. They were very friendly and conscientious and made our experience perfect. They are both passionate about manatees and it spilled over onto us. Because of all of the employees- we have a new appreciation of these wonderful gentle giants. We would absolutely recommend this company!
Fun with Manatee!!!
, Apr 2021
We were able to snorkel just above the manatee as he ate grass 2-4 feet below us. Derek from River Ventures showed me how to stay on top of the water without flailing around so I could stay in one place and not disturb the manatee. I was having problems with my snorkel and Troy put me in a full face mask that was so much better than a regular snorkel. These two guys made my trip with their helpfulness. I highly recommend a trip with River Ventures.

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