- 3 hours (Approx.)
- Mobile ticket
Enjoy a close, personal encounter with the West Indian Manatee as you snorkel with them under the guidance of a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain. Our small group (no more than six guests) tours are conducted daily in the beautiful Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Get up close and personal with these amazing mammals and learn about the ecosystem and their habitat.
Unlike many tours, these Captains will actually swim with you and your group to ensure that you have a memorable experience. While in the water, your captain/tour guide will take high-definition photos and videos of you and your group which you will be able to view and purchase at the end of your trip.
Your price includes all snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, wetsuit) and complimentary coffee or hot cocoa.
- Close encounter with wildlife
- Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
- Ideal choice for families
- Private guide for a more personalized experience
- Tour is wheelchair accessible
- Professional guide
- Use of Snorkelling equipment
- Bottled water
- Souvenir photos (available to purchase)
Gulf Coast Expeditions, located at Twin Rivers Marina in Crystal River
Upon arrival at the dive shop, guests will be fitted for wetsuits and asked to watch a brief video from US Fish and Wildlife outlining their encounter with the manatees. The captain and guide will then take the group to the boat and embark all passengers and give a short safety brief. Once underway, the guide will further explain how to interact with the manatees once in the water and fit the guests with their masks and snorkels. While transiting to the swim areas, the captain and guide will present information about the area wildlife and what guests can expect to see during your tour. They will also answer questions and take pictures along the way. Once the vessel sights manatees, the captain will anchor the vessel and the group and guide will proceed into the water for your encounter. The guide will stay with the group the entire time, ensuring that the guests get the most out of their experience, all while taking photos and videos of your adventure!
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Wheelchair accessible
- Children must be accompanied by an adult
- Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Captain Ron and Lauren were marvellous - brilliant family day and swimming with the Manatee was amazing!
It was a beautiful day and we had a great time on the water and interacting with a Manatee. The captain and mate were very knowledgeable and very courteous, we would recommend them to anyone.
While it was very unseasonably warm on Saturday (most manatees had moved since the weather was so hot), Captain Ron and Phil were persistent in scouring the horizon to find us a manatee to swim with. The boat was clean and both Ron and Phil were super nice. I was especially impressed by Phil's protection of and concern for the manatee. He kept our group close enough to enjoy, but not close enough to harm our new "friend". Wonderful day out and I would highly recommend it, especially since some of their "competitor's" boats had over 20 people in their group - we only had 6 plus Phil in the water. Much more enjoyable then one of those overloaded boats would have been!
Even though the manatees had recently moved out of the springs, the captain found a mother and calf, and the an adult male in the bay. While snorkeling near them, the calf came up to look me in the eye, then gently bumped my goggles with its nose. What an experience! Then the captain took us to the 3 Sisters Springs to snorkel in. Crystal clear water - it was beautiful.
This was an amazing experience!!! I've traveled a lot and have done a number of snorkeling tours and this one tops them all! Ron and Lauren have been phenomenal in accommodating our needs and making us feel welcome. They thought of everything, including extra towels and hot coco. They made this experience very pleasant and memorable for an adult traveling with 3 kids 15, 13, and 10. We all had a blast! All of us felt very comfortable with Lauren while snorkeling, she also took great pictures and videos! Mr. Ron was very knowledgeable about manatees and their habitat. I've recommended it to several of my friends and colleagues already.
The experience itself is a must and very unique - crystal clear waters made warm by the fresh water springs combined with a close encounter with gentle giants - fun, fun, fun! And photos and videos to take home for a reasonable price to top it off. We are definitely planning to come back to Crystal River to plan our next summer adventure with Mr. Ron.
Captain Ron and First mate Lauren were awesome! They had everything we needed and could just enjoy the ride! I would recommend this tour to everyone!
Perfect family adventure. Captain Ron Ross was was a lot of fun...great sense of humor and really informative.Ricky was a great guide. He showed us tons of things underwater that we may have missed with out him. He took beautiful pictures of our time with the manatees! Then on the way back Ron spotted some dolphins and he turned the boat around and got them to interact with the boat. They were so playful and we were able to get some good shots of them as well. All around, it was an awesome experience to remember for a lifetime!!! Worth the time...don't miss out!
Despite Hurricane Irma we were able to have an amazing time with Gulf Coast Expeditions. Everyone was really friendly, they kept us informed all the way through on the impact caused by the hurricane, were able to re-arrange without any additional fee and treated us to additional time as well. Great customer service and a wonderful experience. It was amazing to hear the manatees crunching on the grass whilst at the surface. I was also impressed that we were given a full briefing beforehand about behaviour in the proximity of the manatees in order to ensure we observed without causing problems.
This was an awesome tour! The Captain and Ricky were fantastic! Both were very knowledgeable, kind and helpful. We loved seeing the manatees. We saw 5-6 of them on our trip. It was off-season for them so we were very pleased. We even saw a mother nursing her baby...adorable!!
Kapitein Ron en Corey waren geweldig. Ondanks dat het niet de juiste tijd is om manatees te zien, gaven ze niet op en bleven net zo lang zoeken tot ze 2 manatees hadden gevonden waar niet tig mensen omheen zwommen erg vervelend gezicht en gelukkig vond Ron dat ook niet wenselijk voor de manatees. Hij nam alle tijd zelfs de groep na ons gebeld dat we later zouden zijn. We hebben veel informatie gekregen over de manatees. Daarnaast gaat Corey met je in het water en maakt ook nog foto's die je naderhand voor een hele schappelijke prijs allemaal op USB mee krijgt. Wij raden deze trip zeker aan en gaan de volgende keer zeker weer voor deze organisatie.
Familie met 2 jongens 12 en 10 jaar oud.
Foto's bijgesloten zijn van mijn onderwater camera niet die van Corey! Die zijn namelijk veel beter, maar heb ik helaas tijdens het posten niet beschikbaar.
This was a fantastic small boat tour only 6 seats that got our family of four and two others a lot of personal attention and up close manatee experiences in a relaxed off season cruise. Captain Ron and our guide Rob took good care of us it was quite clear that they are knowledgeable and passionate about marine life in the Kings Bay area. Rob was full of manatee trivia and we were able to see the difference between our tour and others that were out on the water. Some other tours did not use an in water guide. there were some very large groups out as well and clearly not everyone had been taught how to have a respectful and successful interaction with the manatees.
We got to swim up close with two nursing mothers and their babies, the animals were comfortable enough to interact with us and our experience has help shape our childrens approach to respectful interactions with wildlife in a profound way.
Thanks guys you made this an awesome day!
We visited Cristal River on June 7. The day gets a rating of two stars it was cloudy and it rained on our way there but, Captain Ron's professionalism and knowledge definitely get five stars. Captain Ron explained that on the days prior had been raining also and the visibility in the water was not good. He told us we could re-schedule if we wanted and he would honor it at any time. It was our last opportunity so we decided to go any way. Being late in the season the usual amount of manatees was reduced. But Captain Ron knows were to find the few permanent residents or the area. He took us to those spots and we were able to see them in their usual habitat. The trip was very exiting to our 6 years old granddaughter Paulina. Being a non-swimmer, my wife was terrified to even get in the water. But with Captain Ron and his mate's assurances and help not only did she get in the water but also she enjoyed the whole adventure. On top of everything, Paulina was very exited about driving the boat. We plan to go back during the months of January or February the best time of year to see them and we will definitely will ask for Captain Ron's boat.
If you are reading this and considering going, I urge you to do it. You'll be happy you did. On top of it, the cost beats the outrageous cost of swimming with the dolphins at Sea World in Orlando. This is absolutely not a tourist trap but an adventure you and yours will remember for many years to come. Thank you, Captain Ron for making our trip during a gray and gloomy day such a bright and enjoyable adventure. We will be back hopefully soon.
Great captain and guide - both seemed to be very knowledgeable about the area's geography and wildlife. Small group max 6 - there were 3 of us is much more conducive to a pleasant snorkeling experience than the cheaper, large group tours. Captain found us a manatee to swim with, even off season. We could have stood in line with the large tour boats to see a mama with a new baby each boat had perhaps 20 snorkelers, who seemed to cluster frantically in the water and get in each others' way, but we all thought it was more important not to stress out the new mama, and opted to swim in Jurassic Spring instead. Loved the latter - the huge school of mullet dancing in the clear water above the spring was fabulous.
We had a lot of fun! It's the end of the manatee Hot Springs season and our Capt Ron would not give up on finding manatee to swim with... after a beautiful day of searching we did have 3 manatee swim all around us! So cool! And Ron got great photos of the experience! I will book here again! Capt Ron is very knowledgeable on the area and manatees