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“More than fantastic!”

Manatees In Paradise
Ranked #2 of 52 Tours in Crystal River
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: No Walk-ins Accepted - Small boat tours - We no longer offer tours: May-October due to the water quality and manatee numbers. Tour Reservation Confirmation Required by email only -We are a private 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. While on tour if you ask, we'll even explain how manatee rescues are performed and what we do in our spare time as manatee volunteers to help PROTECT and PRESERVE, this incredible species for future generations. LOOK- DON'T TOUCH the wild manatees, touching/rubbing/petting manatees reduces their chance for survival as you habituate them towards boats and people. Keep wildlife wild.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed July 23, 2013

On my way down from Tallahassee tot St. Petersburg I noticed the roadside billboards for swimming with the manatees. I've been travelling to Florida for more than 20 years but never had the luck to spot a manatee in the wild.
We stayed at Waterside at Coquina Key in St. Petersburg and right in front of our condo I spotted a manatee and now I was really triggered to look into the swimming with manatees. Based on the great reviews here I decided to contact Manatees in Paradise and got a very quick mailresponse from capt. Stacy. I was lucky to find two (cancelled) open spots on a semiprivate tour for the day after. She mailed me exact directions, taking into account the roadwork near the pickup location.
We started at 8 AM sharp (after a two hour drive for us) and got teh instant feeling that some friend or relative was taking us on her boat. There were only four people (a young British couple, my son and I) on our tour, so it felt like a private tour.
Capt. Stacy gave us all the background information you can think of and carefully explained the process of finding the manatees. She made the effort to put down the top of the boat so we could go under the low bridge leading to Three Sisters. It was high high tide so most boats weren't able to pass under the brigde. It was very quiet at three sisters and we enjoyed the fantastic clear waters!
On our way to the springs we spotted turtles, a watersnake and our first manatees. The manatees were clearly migrating at moderate speed so capt. Stacy didn't make the stop for swimming. On our way back we got lucky. In the middle of the bay we found 5 manatees who were friendly enough to stay with us. One even rolled under our boat while grabbing the boat with his (or her?) fin. After interacting with them for some time we went to another spot cloaser to the marina were found some more manatees. Quick into the water for some more swimming.
After a last visit to one of the deeper freshwater springs we returned to the marina after almost four (!) hours.

This was absolutely one of the best things I ever did in my life and capt Stacy was absolutely the best guide I can think off. She really cares for the manatees but is still continue working to give you the best experience possible, carefully guiding you while in the water. A 3-hour tour worked out to be 4 hour, just because it turned out that way. As a bonus she's taking pictures all the time and sends you the pictures by mail, absolutely for free!!

I hope to return to Crystal River some day in the winter and will not hesitate to contact capt. Stacy immediately!

Thank Roger_vd_L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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374 - 378 of 793 reviews

Reviewed July 21, 2013

Captain Stacy treated us to a fantastic trip. Although outside of the best season as we went in early May we still got to swim with these awesome mammals and Captain Stacy spent time going over how to swim with them and what to do/what not to do. We saw a couple of people on other boats swimming after them and she made sure they didn't do it again! This was the highlight of our trip to Florida and I'd recommend this trip to everyone! It's made all the better as Captain Stacy took lots of photos and emailed them to us afterwards so I had mine and hers to remind me of this once in a lifetime (although I hope its not!) trip.

Thank MCartwright27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

We did know that at the time we where in Chrystal River, most of the Manatees moved out and the visibilitycould be worse. Therefor we searched for the best Manatee trip, which we found by Manatees in Paradise, and Captain Stacey did not disappoint us. This is not like most of the commercial trips which takes out a big amount of people (and even couldn’t find one Manatee at the day we did the trip with Capt.. Stacey)! Capain Stacey is able to locate Manatees the best. We were lucky to swim close to the three sister spring, in clear water with a mom and its calf.
After the trip we received beautiful photo's for free from Capt Stacey and even a short movieclip on youtube!

Thank Jimmy v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013 via mobile

Where do I start? This was single handedly one of the best experiences of my life. Kind of makes the rest of my Florida Vacation pale in comparison.

What the other reviewers say is spot on: Capt. Stacy is THE BEST tour to book. Not only is she knowledgeable and safe, but she is respectful of these gorgeous mammals.

The BIG plus for Capt. Stacy's tour is that she has a boat that can take you to the 3 sister's spring. You have to go under a bridge to get there, and the big tour company's boats can't fit under (haha!). The Springs is simply beautiful and had the clearest water for snorkeling. We also had the springs to ourselves! Summer isn't busy here, so it can be a great time to visit!

The biggest plus to heading into the springs area is that since the water is really clear, it provides a great opportunity to actually see manatees in the water in the summer (since the rest of the bay is so murky with algae in the summer and it makes visibility difficult). But. .. you need to get lucky. We were lucky!!!!! We saw a couple mamas and a few babies on a few different occasions.

It was difficult to be in the water and be still (this is necessary to get the manatees to come to you). The swim noodles helped, but took some getting used to.

They came right up to us...swam right against us. This is a little unnerving at first, but also very exciting! I had one do a roll for me (I had my hand on him and he did a roll so I could run my hand around his whole body). WOW!!!

I also had two babies come up to me at once (I had one hand on each). Double WOW!

The whole time Capt Stacy took photos of everything and then emailed them to me later that day. Must've been close to 100 photos... and this is something she provides at no extra cost.

Capt Stacy deserves HUGE kudos for running the most ethical tour in Crystal River. She cares about the manatees and is mostly interested in spreading awareness. Don't get me wrong. She makes every effort to get you an encounter... even if she didn't promise anything. As you can tell by her reviews, hardly anyone leaves disappointed!

1  Thank Pokee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Super freundlicher Kontakt mit Capt Stacy und Mike.
semi-private Tour - 3 Stunden im Manatee-Paradise. Sehr professionelle Einfuehrung und respektvoller Umgang mit den Manatees. Absolutes Highlight war das Knutschen des Manatee-Babys - hat mich wohl wegen meiner Figur mit seiner Mutti verwechselt.

Absolutes Muss - kann ich nur jedem empfehlen - I'll be back.

I loved my encounter with the manatees, especially the kiss of the baby manatee. Absolut a must for a vacation in Crystal River. I can recommend Stacy and Mike's Tour because oft their respect and love for these peaceful mammals. I'll be back. Thanks for the fotos.

Thank sandra1503
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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