Seriously, aren't there enough 5 star reviews of this establishment that you need one more to convince you? Well, just in case I will post my 2 cents because it would be a shame for anyone to go all the way to Capri and then miss out on the best part of it.
With all its allure from tales of ancient times, this island could easily be called a tourist trap today without argument, and I will say there were moments we were like "what the bleep have we gotten ourselves suckered into?", but there were plenty of other moments where we completely understood why the locals lived here, why so many people visited more than once and were glad we came. This is one of those moments.
The tour was the best part of our trip, hands down. When you rent the boat, the boat and its captain are all yours, no sharing with other tourists (unless you want to of course). You can go a couple hours or a half or even a full day. I opted for the half day because I love being on and in the water, but wanted to have time to go back to the hotel and get cleaned up for dinner. I was especially looking forward to swimming here because the water is known for being so clear, warm, shark free and buoyant so you can swim or just float around for hours and not feel tired.
We met Stefano (Wendi's husband) in front of the shop (they own a souvenir shop at the waterfront) and he suggested a little grocer right by there where we could pick up some snacks and drinks four our outing while he got some ice for the ice chest on the boat. He was waiting for us when we got out. I apologized that we had taken so long and he smiled and said "relaaax, there is no need to rush here". We walked to the small pier where our guide Alessio, who prefers to be called Alex (trust me on this one) was just pulling up. A small, charming boat which could easily seat 4 or more people with terry cloth padding all over the front for laying out. Alex was just as laid back as Stefano and just as personable. I thought it was funny and charming how we picked up a couple row boaters in tow, on their way to work at the Blue Grotto. When he drops them off there, I'd suggest you keep moving forward after you take a moment to gaze at the touristic madness. It wasn't worth the 24 euro to be crammed down on our backs and into a tiny rowboat among other reasons, especially when you're about to be taken to other grottoes that are bigger, swim-able and just as beautiful. Some would say even more so...
Alex made some great suggestions for areas to go to (on the tour and around the island) and impressed us with historical information on every point across our tour around the island. We even tried our hand at fishing off the boat (with no luck) as we made our way to each stop. In case you are interested, there are beachfront restaurants you can stop and have lunch or a drink at along the way too, but I was all about being on the boat or in the water. Besides, who can beat champagne, fruit, cheese and Italian Twinkies for lunch?
I had a lot to celebrate on this birthday. More than you can put in a review, but needless to say it meant that my expectations were all the greater. They were met and more. I spontaneously hugged Wendi when we got back and thanked her over and over for being there and for making the day so memorable.
The trip itself cost us about 300 euro (with generous and well deserved tip) and was well worth every penny.
Know before you go: go before you go because there's no bathroom on the boat, bring a towel, mosquito repellent and sunscreen (though they have a great overhead shade for those fair skinned ones). If you forget to bring any of them, no worries, they sell them in their shop at a reasonable price. Also, the water can get a bit choppy, so if you're prone to sea sickness, take Dramamine before (I don't know if they sell that in the shop or not) or wear "Sea bands" on your wrists. They work brilliantly.
Things to note: If you drink from plastic cups, never clink them together. It's considered bad luck! Turn them in and clink the outside of your hands instead (per Alex). Also, bring bottled water because the sea is very very salty and you're bound to get a gulp of it.
If you don't want to swim or stop at any of the sites/restaurants then 2 hours should be plenty for you. Otherwise, go for the half day. Either way, you will love it, Prometto :-)