Email Us at info@nativevacations.com

Private Manatee Tours
Swim with Manatees: 6 Hour Private Manatee Safari

We can only accommodate 6 people per boat, including babies,
small children, and persons who are just riding on the boat.
Notice: You must book 48 hours in advance of your trip when using the Online Booking link.

3 Hour Private Tour

Join Native Vacations, Inc. for a truly Mini Private swim with manatees excursion, accompanied only with your family/party.

We offer this very special and unique opportunity to snorkel with manatees in a private setting, including; snorkeling gear, wetsuits, drinks, snacks, towels, sunscreen, hot chocolate/coffee/tea(winter months).

Our private swim with manatees tour begins at 8:00 am and 11:30am. Each Mini Private Manatee tour lasts about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  This tour is truly private, as you will not be sharing the boat with others, this is for your party only.

If you are staying at a nearby hotel/motel, you may need to check out prior to the tour, or ask for a late check-out time, as our tours are on the manatees schedule, and not necessarily ours. You can expect to return to the dock around 3:00-3:30 pm for the afternoon tour.

Rates are as follows: 3 1/2 Hour Mini Private Manatee tour Includes:

  • $85.00 per person / 6 people Max.
  • Private boat and captain just for you!
  • minimum trip price $280.00 if fewer than 4 people
  • plus tax

Included in the package are:

  • Wetsuit & Snorkel Gear
  • Drinks & Snacks
  • Towels & Sunscreen)
  • No age restriction/18 and under must have a guardian on the boat
  • We can accommodate up to 12 passengers, ask for details when booking.
  • Notice: You must book 48 hours in advance of your trip when using the Online Booking link.

6 Hour Private Tour

Join Native Vacations, Inc. for a truly private swim with the mantees, accompanied only with your family/party.

We offer this very special and unique opportunity to snorkel with manatees in a private setting, including gear, drinks, snacks, towels, sunscreen, hot chocolate/coffee/tea, and lunch.

Our private swim with manatees tour begins at 8:00 am (Since this tour is private, you may choose your arrival time, we do recommend as early a possible). Each private manatee tour lasts about 6 hours, however, as your enjoyment is important to us, your time on the water may be extended to try to ensure everyone has a good encounter, especially the manatees! This tour is truly private, as you will not be sharing the boat with others, this is for your party only.

If you are staying at a nearby hotel/motel, you may need to check out prior to the tour, as our tours are on the manatees schedule, and not necessarily ours. You can expect to return to the dock around 2:30-3:00 pm.

Rates are as follows: 6 Hour Private Manatee tour Includes  

  • $119.00 per person
  • Wetsuit & Snorkel Gear
  • Drinks & Snacks
  • Towels & Sunscreen
  • Lunch

Private manatee tour has a minimum of 4 people (if you have less people in your party, the price is the same as for 4 people)

  • We do not have an age restriction
  • All minors must be accompanied by an adult on the boat
  • We only take 6 people per boat

Native Vacations, offers lunch at a local restaurant called Crackers Bar & Grill and Tiki (If you have a special diet, please let us know during your booking procedure)

Also available at our shop and/or boat:

  • Underwater, disposable cameras
  • Underwater, re-usable cameras
  • Manatee souvenirs & gifts
  • Private shower and restrooms
  • Coffee or tea and pastries
  • Cold drinks & Snacks on the boat
  • Towels & Wetsuits/Snorkel Gear
  • Notice: You must book 48 hours in advance of your trip when using the Online Booking link.

Join Native Vacations, Inc. for an experience of a lifetime, the way nature intended.    Below is what you can expect when you visit us for your manatee swim experience.

Upon arrival, and after signing the necessary paperwork, each guest will change into the rental wetsuits, or the wetsuits each guest is allowed to bring of their own.  After ensuring all the wetsuits fit properly, we will play a short DVD, (filmed in cooperation with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service) which demonstrates how you must behave while on a manatee tour, interacting with them in their natural habitat.

Next, all guests and their US Coast Guard Certified Captain will proceed to the dock area and board our comfortable pontoon boat to embark on your manatee tour.

manatee tour boat

NOW Available at our shop and/or boat:

  • Underwater, disposable cameras
  • Underwater Digital cameras for rent/ bring your own SD card
  • Underwater cases for your iPhone/iPad or Andriod, take your gadget in the water for photos and videos.
  • 4G SD Memory cards
  • Manatee souvenirs & gifts
  • Private shower and restrooms
  • Coffee, Hot chocolate, Hot cider or tea and pastries
  • Cold drinks & Snacks on the boat
  • Towels & Wetsuits/Snorkel Gear

 







crystal river manatee

While touring King’s Bay in search of manatees, your Captain will teach you about manatee and their habitat, and answer any questions you may have. 

You may also expect to see Bald Eagles, dolphins, otters, wild pigs, raccoons and a large array of local and snow birds. 

Once the captain has found some friendly manatees, the anchor will be dropped and everyone will quietly enter the water to interact properly with the manatees.

 You may be allowed to take pictures, swim/snorkel with the manatees, and even, if the manatees allow, touch these amazing creatures. Snorkeling with manatees tours are conducted all year long, although many of the manatees will leave the area during the Spring and Summer months, however, King’s Bay boasts a year round manatee population.

Manatee Tours are conducted throughout the year Reservations are required

Soft-In-Water Encounters: "Swimming with Manatees"
While visitors to the Crystal River Refuge are often surprised by the number of Florida/West Indian Manatees and are thrilled by the variety of surface behavior on display, what draws most people is the opportunity to enter the Manatees watery world to encounter them on a more personal level, an activity commonly referred to as "swimming with manatees." The Crystal River Refuge is part of the much larger Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of Citrus County. This Refuge is one of the few places where people are permitted to enter the water with manatees. As a Refuge, all activities within its bounds are subject to regulation, and there are very specific regulations that apply to the activity of swimming with the manatees as well. These regulations serve several purposes. They protect the manatees from harassment, and they also happen to provide the best possible chance of a lasting and meaningful encounter.

Soft-In-Water Encounters:
The foundation for a meaningful encounter with manatees The technique outlined by the regulations is referred to as a Soft-In-Water encounter. It is the only type of in-water encounter permitted in the refuge. The basis of a Soft-In-Water encounter is a passive, non-aggressive activity wherein the participants float quietly on the surface of the bay in the vicinity of a tolerant and cooperative manatee or manatees, and allow the natural curiosity of the manatee to draw it closer. Participants in a Soft-In-Water encounter may use mask, snorkel; but no SCUBA or re-breather equipment of any type is allowed. In a Soft-In-Water encounter there is no aggressive swimming or free dive. Participants are also required to stay together as a group. So though it is commonly referred to as "swimming with manatees," there is little swimming involved! By entering the water quietly, and floating peacefully as a small group, the participants minimize any disturbance to the manatees, and then allow the manatee to choose to approach or not. It is an encounter in their environment, on their terms.

You Don't Approach the Manatee; the Manatee Approaches You:
To better explain it, consider that you cannot get close to a manatee, a manatee has to want to get close to you! Granted, with our technology, we do have the ability to zoom up in a boat and jump on a manatees head. That kind of behavior is obviously blatant harassment, a total violation of Refuge regulations, and a violation of the spirit of the Crystal River Refuge itself. There isn't a single operator in Crystal River that would even consider that approach for one second. But relevant to this discussion is the end result: a very unhappy manatee that will bolt for the horizon, leaving you swirling in its wake as you stare into now-empty water. Aggressive swimming has the same effect as zooming up in a boat: the sudden end of an encounter. But a Soft-In-Water encounter is a passive approach that puts the participants in proximity of an appropriate manatee and allows the manatee to set the distance, mood, tempo, and duration of the encounter. They are not threatened by the approach, and therefore are much more comfortable in choosing to interact more closely. By staying together as a group, participants make it easier for the manatee to keep track of their location, which helps to keep the manatee calm and accepting. Since manatees are wild animals, there is no way to accurately predict the outcome of every opportunity, but using this non-aggressive technique in the past has resulted in manatee encounters that have lasted anywhere from minutes to hours.

Successful Manatee Encounters:
Vital to the success of any in-water encounter is the initial selection and approach of an appropriate manatee. There is a wide range of behaviors exhibited by the manatees in the Crystal River Refuge, and many are not conducive to in-water encounters. A great deal of time is spent by the guides to find manatees that are likely to welcome interaction. Through years of experience observing and interpreting manatee’s behavior, your guides have developed the skills needed to successfully place you where you need to be for the greatest chance of success. For example, manatees that are cruising or involved in rowdy behavior are not candidates for an in-water encounter, while non-resting manatees or surfaced manatees are. Experienced guides will not only explain and educate about the behaviors seen, but will also prevent participants from wasting time by trying to impose themselves on uninterested manatees, which is better for both the participants and the manatee. Sometimes guests may learn that the best way to successfully encounter a manatee is to not get in the water at all! Although this rarely happens.

Understanding the Manatee and Its Environment:
With that in mind, it is important to understand that the manatees of the Crystal River Refuge are wild animals in their natural environment, and are therefore impossible to predict with total accuracy. A journey to the Refuge is filled with opportunity, but as with any other wildlife activity, there may be times of greater or lesser activity, and not every excursion in the tenders will result in an in-water encounter, again this rarely happens but is possible. During the slower moments it helps to remember that this is a wilderness area, and full of potential surprises. Spend this time learning from your shipmates or sharing with them, or simply lost in thought, but always keep a curious eye to the ocean...

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Note: Until confirmed, rates are subject to change without notice.

Notice: You must book 48 hours in advance of your trip when using the Online Booking link.

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Native Vacations, Inc.
2880 N. Seabreeze Point, Crystal River, Fl 34429
Phone 1-866-
Go-Native (466-2848)

Taxes not included on prices above PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE
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