Swimming with manatees is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Florida locals and guests. With that in mind, the Plantation on Crystal River – a hidden gem on Florida’s “Nature’’ Coast – created a new one-night package that offers guests the rare chance to enter the underwater world of the gentle West Indian manatees.
The riverfront resort, located in Crystal River, is the only location in North America where it is legal to swim alongside and interact with these “sea cows” in the wild. Hundreds of the slow-moving mammals are making their way from the cooler winter waters of the Gulf of Mexico to Crystal River’s network of the pristine springs, where the waters remain a constant 72°F (23°C). To celebrate the winter return of the manatees, Plantation on Crystal River is offering the new Swim with the Manatees package starting at $299 for two guests.
The package and includes:
1. Overnight accommodations in a garden view room
2. Manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center, with all equipment provided (mask, snorkel and wetsuit).
3. Breakfast for two at West 82⁰ Bar & Grill
4. Welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts, and manatee interaction guidelines.
The Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop is located at the resort, providing semi-dry masks and snorkels and wetsuits that allow for maximum buoyancy and body heat retention, avoiding the need for cumbersome floatation devices. All manatee tour boats, which are enclosed, provide hot chocolate and coffee, warming boat coats and towel service.
All tour captains are licensed, insured and USCG certified, and each boat is equipped with power poles to limit environmental impact. Upon return from their tour, guests are treated to a hot shower facility and changing rooms for those who already checked out or snorkelers not staying at the resort. High-quality photos and videos are available for purchase after the tour. Manatee tours leave directly from the resort’s on-property dock at the Plantation Adventure Center.
Manatee tours are offered year-round at the Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop, headquarters for Florida’s best spring dives, but guests are more likely to see manatees in the winter months, when they seek out the relatively warmer waters of Florida’s second largest spring system.
The eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay and more than 25,000 surface acres of pristine lakes and rivers, as well as wildlife refuges and state parks.
Photo Credit: Plantation on Crystal River