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“Lives up to their Reputation!”

Manatees In Paradise
Ranked #5 of 55 Tours in Crystal River
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: FREE U/W VIDEO of your adventure -No Walk-ins Accepted, small boat tours. We no longer offer tours from May-October due to overcrowding of larger tour companies and low manatee numbers. Reservations and confirmations by email only. We are a tiny, educational and fun tour company owned and operated ONLY by the owners/captains. We give each tour the "personal and educational" attention you want and allow the manatees to feel comfortable while we explore their world. We are proud to be a "NO TOUCH the wild manatees" tour company. Anyone encouraging touching/rubbing/petting manatees even after they initiate an interaction, is not promoting good stewardship towards wild manatees. Befriending wild manatees reduces their chance for survival as you habituate them towards boats and people. Keep wildlife wild.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Prior to booking I spent a good deal of time researching all of the companies on trip advisor for manatee tours. There are a lot! I narrowed it down to the 3 main ones (Birds, River Venture, and then this one) based on the reviews. I was almost in disbelief over the nearly 600 all five star reviews of Manatees in Paradise. It had to be too good to be true. I am SO HAPPY we went with Paradise (although all of the Captains of the various companies have a great relationship with each other - they were all in communication to find the best spot for everybody).

The thing that made me choose Paradise was the group size. There's a limit to 6 people on the boat (our tour had 5) and the price for it was very reasonable.

We had the most wonderful time swimming with the manatees. Right off the bat, in Kings Bay, we found a couple munching away (if you can, listen for their chewing sound! So cute). My husband and I visited in early May, and there were still enough manatees left to have a satisfying trip.

Capt Mike even took us to a more secluded area and we found a mom and a baby manatee playing around.

To put the icing on the cake, he then took us the to swim around 3 Sisters Springs - crystal clear water! There are no manatees there this time of year, but it is gorgeous to snorkel there. He took bunches of pictures and then emailed them to us later.

Capt Stacy, his wife, didn't join us, but she was wonderful in helping us book the tour. You confirm by email and pay when you are finished with the tour.

Crystal River really is paradise and my husband and I cannot wait to return.

1  Thank Susan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (827)
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"captain stacy"
in 211 reviews
"private tour"
in 104 reviews
"these gentle giants"
in 41 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 40 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 46 reviews
"manatee experience"
in 41 reviews
"wonderful animals"
in 15 reviews
"took pictures"
in 25 reviews
"small group"
in 32 reviews
"passive observation"
in 16 reviews
"three sisters"
in 35 reviews
"florida vacation"
in 9 reviews
"great pictures"
in 16 reviews
"personal experience"
in 13 reviews
"underwater camera"
in 18 reviews
"wonderful trip"
in 11 reviews
"face to face"
in 14 reviews

418 - 422 of 827 reviews

Reviewed May 7, 2013

I knew from the previous reviews I read that this tour with Captain Stacy would not be a dissapointment. Captain Stacy is the tour guide that you need to choose. Not only do you get the Manatee experience up and close, but she takes great care to make sure we are not bothering them in their habitat. There are other tour companies that are in this for the money, not the case with Captain Stacy. If you care at all about the Manatee's and environment, and the future of these interactions, please choose Captain Stacy. We highly recommend her and we will be back. Nothing negative whatsoever that we can say. We had many interactions even during the off time of May. She also took well over a hundred pictures for us to keep at no extra charge. The best, thank you Captain Stacy, and keep saving those beautiful creatures!!
Wendy from Minnesota

Thank wendy j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2013

Stacy was welcoming and so professional. Her passion for the Manatees was inspiring. Highly recommend going with her. No rushing and clear safe directions on how best to approach and interact with these beautiful creatures. A1+++ Thankyou for a delightful afternoon.

Thank JB1969NZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2013

Having had a fantastic trip out on Captain Mike's Private Boat Tour recently, we can thoroughly recommend it. Prior to even booking our trip, Stacy (Mike's partner) was extremely helpful with our email enquiries, and post booking ensured that we had all the necessary details to prepare for our trip, including directions to the marina. We arrived bright and early for our trip, having set off from Davenport, Orlando at 5:30am, to be greeted cheerfully by both Mike and Stacy on the jetty. Mike commenced the tour by getting us kitted out in our wet suits (much to our amusement) and showing us an informative video on the manatees. We then set off in search of some. Unfortunately for us, we visited Crystal River during Spring Break. The springs were therefore more busy than usual. Mike however was determined that this was not going to spoil our experience and ensured that he got us to the springs before the large tourist boats arrived. He then urged us to get into the water as quickly as possible in order to beat the crowds. We achieved this purely as a result of Mike's determination to give us the best experience we could get because I can honestly say that we didn't make it very easy for him. Despite her excitement, our youngest daughter (8yrs) had a slight wobble when she first entered the water due to having to wear a snorkel. As a result we weren't as speedy as Mike probably would have liked, however, if this caused him any frustration, he certainly didn't show it. In fact he was fantastic with the children and went out of his way to reassure them. On eventually arriving at the Springs we were not disappointed. Mike took us straight to see two manatees resting in the warm waters. We were stunned by how calm and beautiful they were and even our youngest daughter overcame her fear to observe them under the water. It was an amazing experience and by far more rewarding than any 'manufactured' dolphin experience we've undertaken in the past. Our eldest daughter in particular (10yrs) was totally in awe of the manatees and couldn't stop talking about them when she got back on the boat. Unbeknown to us however, our trip wasn't over yet. Despite being completely satisfied with our manatees encounter, Mike took us to an area of open water where no other boats were. Whilst the water here was not as clear as in the Springs, we had our most fulfilling experience yet, meeting several manatees, including a suckling calf with her mum. We couldn't believe how fearless the manatees were. We were initially worried that we may be getting too close to them but as Mike proved, if you wait, they very often come to you. Mike was a fantastic tour guide, thoroughly knowledgeable about the manatees and dedicated to giving us the best experience ever. We had an amazing time - well worth the early start! Not only that, but on our return, Stacy forwarded us around 150 amazing photos that Mike had taken during our time in the water, which our daughters have since proudly shown to their class mates, whilst spreading the word about these beautiful creatures. This was not part of the trip, but purely a kind gesture from Mike and Stacy, particularly as Stacy actually sent the photos twice as our email firewall didn't like them first time round. In summary, we would certainly recommend anyone wishing to book a manatee tour to do so with Mike and Stacy, rather than one of the larger tour operators. If you want to get up close to these beautiful creatures whilst ensuring their best welfare, then a private tour with Mike and Stacy is the way to go. Our daughters are still buzzing from the experience! and yes, if your reading this Mike, we followed your tip and visited the manatee discovery centre and couldn't resist bringing two manatees home with us - of the small and fluffy kind, of course!!

Visited March 2013

2  Thank Corinne1701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 27, 2013

Capt Stacy was brilliant at taking us out on our semi private tour. She clearly cares about the welfare of the manatees and does a lot to ensure their protection, as well as sharing their beauty with others. The other trips had loads of people grappling around for their opportunity to see & touch manatees and didn't seem to respect their well being. Capt Stacy not only had the knowledge to seek out the manatees for us to share a moment with and make the experience brilliant. I expected this to be a highlight of our trip and Capt Stacy ensured it was. Thank you.

Thank SaltyT123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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