Florida Manatee Tour



I keep on driving from Naples to Fort Myers Beach for months and keep seeing the Tim Martell’s with travelers by the mangrove lash , so I stopped!   Yes, I have seen a Manatee myself.  It is on TOP 10 things to do while you are in Florida.  Tim operates very close to Ella’s Vacation Rentals, especially the location where PINK SHELL HOME!  It is only a couple of minutes drive!

So what is manatee?

Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows.  Are you up for chasing Sea Cow? LOL Read on . . .

Tim Martell

Certified Florida Master Naturalist


( I love nature, but I am not a naturalist.  I get a lot of questions from my guests about the Sea Cow, but it is better to get the answer from the master – naturalist himself.  FAQ were taken from Tim Martell’s website.  He has being awarded by Trip Advisor in the past few year!)

1. How long is the tour and how far do we paddle?

The tour is a minimum of 3 hours in length and you will travel a minimum of 2 miles each

direction for a total of at least 4 miles paddling. Expect more.

2. What time and where does the tour start?

Reservations are required a minimum of 24 hours in advance. The tour leaves the shore on

Estero Bay every day from March 1st to December 15th @ 8:00 A.M. (dates subject to

change) We meet at 7:45 A.M. so we can get everyone signed up and on the water on time.

Some may find this early, but we have consistently found that the best tours happen in the

A.M. hours. There are not many boats around, the wildlife is behaving naturally, it’s quiet,

usually the weather is calmer in the morning, the heat is manageable and the sun is not too


From December 15th to February 28th (dates subject to change) , we launch from the

Orange River at 9:00 A.M. and meet at 8:45 A.M.

Updated directions can always be found on the homepage of our website at


3. Is the tour physically demanding?

It mostly depends on wind speed and direction. On a calm day the tour is quite leisurely, but

when winds exceed 15 M.P.H it can be quite a strenuous physical effort. When we

occasionally do tours on the Orange river during the winter months, it is generally

considered to be easy for most people. The tour in Estero Bay takes greater stamina and

endurance as the search for animals will encompass a much wider area. The Estero Bay

tour is not for the couch potato. You will be exposed to physical activity and the

elements. You will experience exposure to sun for hours with little or no shade. A wide

brimmed hat and good sunscreen is strongly recommended.  If you have health

conditions, SPINAL COLUMN ISSUES OR OTHER BACK PROBLEMS, heart issues, have

had recent surgery, rotator cuff issues, arthritis, asthma, diabetes or are pregnant, you

should consult with your doctor before considering a tour with Manatee Guides in Estero

Bay. Manatee Guides operates out of Estero Bay at least 9 months of the year. It is safe to

say that if you take a tour with us, you should be in fairly good physical condition.

4. What should I bring?


Water, sun hat, waterproof snack, clothes that can get wet and good protective water shoes.

5. Why does this site say that this activity is ideal for people 10-60 years of age?

In the past we have found that people over 60 and under 10 years of age may have difficulty

completing our tour. We have found that people under 10 years and over 60 years often find

the tour physically demanding due to the length of paddling distance, sun exposure and

young children sometimes have a hard time sitting through the educational parts of the tour.

6. There are people in our group who are outside the ages of 10-60 years old, can we still


Yes, If the participants have a good physical ability, are able to endure long exposure to the

elements and are confident they can complete the tour, then we would be happy to have

them along.

7. Can I touch a manatee or dolphin?

In Lee County, chasing, corralling, blocking passage, feeding, touching or giving water to a

manatee or dolphin is considered harassment and is punishable by fines and/or

imprisonment. We do not allow anyone to touch a manatee or dolphin.

8. What do you provide?

We will provide you with a life jacket, paddle, a seat in a kayak and a professional guide. We

have water if needed and we will take some pictures of your day on the water! Free of

charge! Just like us on facebook and enjoy!!

9. What should I do with my electronics? Can I bring them along?

We recommend that you don’t bring any electronics on the water unless it is certified

waterproof. Salt water will destroy any electronics it comes into contact with. Lock them in

your trunk and bring a waterproof ziploc bag for your keys.

10. Do you guarantee we will see a Manatee?

We do not guarantee that you will see a Manatee on our tour. The guides will show you

everything that they are able to, every single day. The Manatee is an endangered species

and recent skyrocketing mortality rates have threatened the Manatee further. Your

expectations should be set accordingly. We will make every effort to locate and bring you to

at least one Manatee, but to expect that mind blowing encounters with huge pods of

Manatee happen every day is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic to EXPECT a Manatee to approach

you. They are wild animals that will do as they please.

Please come prepared to enjoy your day with us no matter what you do or don’t see.