Although some travel companies use the term loosely to mean 'adventure travel' or 'travel to nature', standards have been set to establish
the definition of 'ecotourism'.
An ecotour is a small, individually guided tour that takes into consideration conservation and preservation issues, donates to the local
economy, and teaches the travelers something about the nature and culture of the area in which they are located.
An ecotour will among other things always:
* Minimize impact,
* Emphasize passive observation,
* Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect,
* Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts,
* Provide direct financial benefits for conservation,
* Raise sensitivity to the host area's political environmental,
and social climate.
An ecotour will never encourage you to intrude on wildlife and never, ever encourage you to pet or feed wild animals.
At Aardvark's Florida Kayak Company, we are founded on the core principles of Environmental Ethics and Sustainability. We believe that
true ecotourism is an ethic, not just a marketing tool.
|Kayaking & SUP Tours
Do Not Disturb Manatee Tours
Paddle with Manatees Seasonal
With the onset of winter, these gentle giants migrate to the spring fed waters of Crystal River to seek
shelter from the cold. At a balmy 72 degrees, the springs provide them with life sustaining warmth. As
spring moves to summer, most manatees leave the area to feed in the shallow coastal waters ranging
from Tampa Bay to the Gulf Coasts of Texas and Louisiana. Learn about this unique marine mammal from
our marine biologist guide and master natuarlists.
Keeping with the principles of true ecotourism, our encounters feature passive observation and a hands
off approach. We donate 10% of our tour fees from SMC members for manatee conservation.
"Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish
to let them live normal lives, love them more." (Edwin Way Teale)
Public Manatee Tours (Participants must be at least 13 years of age).
Private Manatee Tours (No age limit).
Kid Friendly Manatee Tours
|Copyright ©2003 Aardvark's Florida Kayak Company All Rights Reserved HOME
|Tours run on Wednesday through Sunday by reservation only. The tour location is decided on a first reserved, first choice basis. Public
tours leave at 9 am and run about 3 hours. Launch times and durations may vary on Private tours. Tours include basic instruction and all
recreational kayak gear (Kayak, PFD & Whistle, Paddle). We do not issue spray skirts or dry bags. PFDs must be worn.
Public & Private Tours are available. A public tour is one where you may be paired with other paddlers up to a
maximum of 10 paddlers. A private tour is limited to those in your party only. There is a 2 person minimum
charge for any tour. We also offer a private kid friendly tour that is tailored to families with smaller children and
is abbreviated, spending just 2 hours on the water. Public tours are limited to paddlers 13 years of age and
older. Parties with children 12 and under may book either a private tour or a kid friendly private tour.
Children are welcome but expected to be well behaved and under control at all times. The guide has the right
to terminate any tour based on behavior out of respect for others on the water. No refunds are available. There
is no age limit for children when riding in a double kayak with an adult parent or guardian.
|What exactly is an Ecotour?
|Kayaking & SUP Tours
Rainbow River & Spring Tours SUP or Kayak
The Rainbow Springs run is one of the largest spring runs in the world. It averages a discharge of over 400
million gallons of water per day.
Its waters have an average temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
Our guided tour takes you upriver to the head springs and back. No shuttle required. It is an easy paddle
from most everyone and it is possible to mix SUPs and kayaks on this trip. Wildlife is abundant with fish and
turtles highly visible. Learn about Florida Springs and their inhabitants while enjoying a lazy day on the river.
In the warmer months, swimming is possible at several springs.
Public Rainbow River & Springs Tours*
(Participants must be at least 13 years old).
Private Rainbow River & Springs Tours (No age limit).
Kid Friendly Rainbow River & Springs Tours
Chassahowitzka River Tours*
The Chassahowitzka* (AKA Chas for short) is a mini amazon. Our tour starts at the upper reaches which are
formed by 7 Sisters and the Devil's Punchbowl spring heads within the Withlacoochee State Forest. There
are many different routes to run depending on water levels and season.
Some routes will take us downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico where we may enter the Chassahowtizka
National Wildlife Refuge. As Special Use Permit holders, we practice passive observation and a Leave No
* Chassahowitzka is derived from Seminole-Creek meaning hanging pumpkin.
Public Chassahowitzka River Tours
(Participants must be at least 13 years of age). *
Private Chassahowitzka River Tours (No age limit).
Kid Friendly Chassahowitzka River Tours
St. Martins Marsh Back Country Tours
The 23,000 acre St. Martins Marsh was designated as one of the original Aquatic Preserves in 1969
because of its pristine nature. Thanks to the establishment of the Crystal River Preserve State Park on the
surrounding islands, it remains that way today and is the crown jewel of our backcountry.
Uncrowded and unspoiled, it is one of our best places to paddle. The tour leaves from the Ozello area, deep
in the heart of the preserve. We explore islands, middens, creeks and sand bars in loop route that can
cover anywhere from 3 to 5 miles during our 3 hours on the water.
We may encounter sea turtles, rays, dolphins, and manatees in the warmer months and white pelicans and
bald eagles during the winter migration.
The one thing you won't see is lots of other people.
Public Back Country Tours
(Participants must be at least 13 years of age).
Private Back Country Tours (No age limit).
Kid Friendly Back Country Tours
|Personalized Tours & Packages
Hiking and Other Custom Tours
Ecotours are our specialty both on and off the water. Whether your interests lie in hiking or paddling,
natural or cultural resources, birds or marine mammals, we can show you the way.
With our extensive knowledge of the area and our natural resource backgrounds we will create a custom
private tour for your group.
We can create tours for groups as small as 2 to up to 20 individuals. We have serviced large paddling
clubs, visiting guides, and even university classes.
We can even create multi day, land/water based itineraries. At this time, we do not offer overnight trips.
Water Based (SUP or Kayak)
- Manatee Watching (In season)
- Dolphin Watching
- Ecology Classes
- Shell Mound Exploration
- Alligator Watching (In season)
- Nature hiking the Florida State Parks & Preserves
- Birding on the Great Florida Birding Trail
- Biologist led Manatee tour at Homosassa Spring Wildlife Park
- Ranger led tour of the Crystal River Archaeological State Park
Aardvark's offers guided kayak and SUP outings to many
destinations along the Nature Coast. Tell us what you'd like to
see or do and we'll create a personalized tour just for you.
Personalized Eco Tours are offered only as full day private
tours* There is no age limit on private tours.
* Certain Tours may have additional fees added at
checkout. IE: Park entry, parking, etc.