Florida: Manatees & Springs Eco-Adventure – Women’s Trip- March 2018

 

Florida

5 Days

03/01/2018

03/05/2018

 Easy Physical Activity

 1695.00

Description

Fun outdoor Florida adventures like snorkeling with manatees, an airboat ride, kayaking in backwater springs, and nature hikes will introduce you to a Florida few people ever experience.

Join us for a women’s travel adventure that will get you immersed in and acquainted with some of Florida’s wild residents. Our adventures take us through rivers, springs, forests, and out to the Gulf of Mexico to help participants learn about the life-giving resources the springs of Kings Bay provide to both human residents and wildlife.

This adventure is designed for women to learn, explore, and discovery in a safe and supportive atmosphere. All skill levels are welcome. In addition to a fun trip, expect lots of laughs and to meet future life-long friends!

The setting is located at the Plantation Resort in Crystal River Florida. From here, we will take day trips to the lesser traveled parts of Florida for an experience that will make you feel like an explorer, not a tourist.

March is a great time to snorkel with manatees. When the water temperature of the Gulf of Mexico drop below 68 degrees F the West Indian Manatee comes into Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge for seeking warmth is the constant 72 degree water temperatures. This is where you will be introduced to these sweet sea cows. Using passive observation and always under the watchful eye of a local guide, we allow the manatees to come and interact with us. Participants float on a noodle with mask and snorkel and watch behaviors like feeding, grooming, and sometimes mating. Some manatees are just as interested in us as we are to them. You may get manatee kisses or be asked for a belly rub by one of them. While many of the tourist snorkel with manatees in Three Sisters at Crystal River, we will have a quieter experience at the Homosassa Springs.

Trip Highlights:

  • Life-changing in water guided encounters snorkeling with wild manatees.
  • Go kayaking in the wild Chassahowitzka River, Florida’s Amazon.
  • Step back in time with a historical walk at the state Archaeological Park.
  • A thrilling airboat ride over wetlands and through rivers to see wildlife not accessible by the prop boats.
  • Take a walk on the wild side with naturalist-led hikes to learn about ecology of upland Hammock Forests.
  • 60 minute massage at Spa Bleu
  • Visit to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park for a closer look at native Florida flora and fauna.

Tour Map

Meet Your Guides

Tara Short

Tara Short

Trip Facilitator / Guide

Tara has 17 years of experience in eco-tourism, guiding and educating students of all ages in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Iceland. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education/Interpretation. Tara has worked for notable educational, scientific, and conservation organizations and institutions such as the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry, USDA Forest Service in the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, and Wild Studies in the Bahamas. Tara is a PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and has specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level diver and Night Diver.

Kristen Hoss

Kristen Hoss

Florida Master Naturalist / Youth Environmental Alliance

Kristen is an engaging and passionate educator who leads the Florida Master Naturalist program in Broward County, Florida. She creates science education and interpretive programs for students of all ages, and provides expertise for ecological surveys and monitoring through her non-profit Youth Environmental Alliance. She has a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a Masters in Conservation Ecology and Wildlife Sciences, and more than 28 years in the field of ecology (marine, aquatic and terrestrial) and the management of natural areas and wildlife. Kristen’s passion is making a difference in peoples lives, to the environment and to wildlife through working and partnering with like–minded people and organizations that share her vision of promoting sustainability through self empowerment and education.

Tour Itinerary

►Where do we stay?

The Plantation Resort on Crystal River. The Plantation on Crystal River is a 4 start eco-friendly resort offering comfortable accommodations and is surrounded by the natural springs of Kings Bay.

►Day 1: Welcome to the sunshine state!

Participants will fly to Orlando Airport.  We will drive about 1.5-2 hours to the Florida’s Natural Coast. Move in. Orientation. Swimming. Enjoy hotel amenities. Dinner.

►Day 2: Kayaking on the Chassahowitzka River & Airboat Ride

Morning:
Called by many, the Amazon of Florida, we will paddle up lazy streams meandering through breathtaking scenery on clear water. Chock full of wildlife, this is the best way to see dozens of bird species, and possibly elusive wildlife like river otters, alligators, deer, and manatees.

Afternoon:
This is an adrenaline pumping 1.5 hour adventure. Lets go looking for more Florida wildlife. Maybe we will see a gator? Slide, twist and turn along the cedar, palm and mangrove covered islands, creeks and rivers. This ride takes you on a portion of Battle Creek, Petty Creek, Sam’s Bayou, the Little Homosassa River, Salt River and thru Shivers Bay.  All of these are connected to the main Homosassa River and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Then the tour continues thru the backwaters, estuaries and saltwater marsh past Indian shell mounds. Reach the shallow clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and view the sponges, corals, fish and possibly dolphins.

►Day 3: Snorkeling with Manatees & Guide Hike at Archaeological Site

Morning: 
It’s an early start, but well worth it. After breakfast we will head to the Homosassa River for your first encounter with manatees. Your captain and first mate will take you out into the springs on a pontoon boat in search of manatees in the calm water of the Homosassa River. You pass by Monkey Island and see spider monkeys and learn about why monkeys are living on that island. Then the “hunt” begins. Once the manatees are spotted, your captain will anchor and everyone will get in the water for a life-changing snorkel with manatees.

Afternoon:
Lunch at a restaurant in Homosassa.

Late Afternoon:
Walk in the footsteps of Native Americans and learn about the cultures that congregated, lived, and traded in Crystal River. See remnants of burial sites and learn about medical plants.

►Day 4: Manatee Snorkeling Round 2 & Afternoon of Pampering at Spa BLEU

Morning:
Here is another opportunity to get in the water with friendly sea cows. To ensure you have the best possible chance to interact with lovely manatees and to get photos that your friends will be so jealous of.

Afternoon:
Lunch at the Plantation Resort.

Enjoy being pampered with a Fusion Stone Massage (60 min). Experience the aromatic power of traditional Native American plants fused with the sensation of smooth stone massage. Avada brand aroma oils encompass the senses and enhance skin hydration. Sensations of warm stones fused with massage techniques balance, soothe, and invigorate your body.

Choose to upgrade your spa experience with a facial, pedicure, manicure, or some of the others services provided at the resort.

►Day 5: Homossassa Wildlife Park & Departure

Morning:

Breakfast at the resort.
Homossassa Wildlife Park is a refuge has all orphaned or injured wildlife that represent Florida (and a few other interesting residents). This is a perfect place to learn about some of the Florida birds, reptiles, and other wildlife that you may have not seen or had the chance to photograph.

Group Transfer for afternoon flights from Orlando. End of tour.

Please note: The activities and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development, or onsite for the safety of participants.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Included:

  • All meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day.
  • Guided snorkeling with manatees in the Homosassa River.
  • Get into the backwater on a fast airboat ride!
  • Kayaking trip into the Amazon of Florida.
  • 60 minute massage at hotel Spa BLEU
  • Guide hike at a Native American Archaeological Site.
  • 4 nights lodging in double accommodations in 4 star hotel.
  • Entry to Homosassa Wildlife Park
  • Group ground transpiration via buses, vans, and cars.
  • Permits.
  • Onsite logistics support by Green Edventures.

Excluded:

  • Airfare to Orlando and baggage fees.
  • Additional activities, meals, excursions.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Gratuities.
  • Personal spending money.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Additional expenses at the resort not included in the program package.

Payments

$400 Deposit

Two installments of $647.50 due November 15th and January 15th.

To sign up, click the Book Now button. You will be taken to a 3rd party payment processing platform. Pay via bank transfer or credit card.

All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. Participants are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances that may interrupt or cancel the trip.

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