A few weeks ago I took a quick 72-hour trip to Orlando to meet up with my parents. My dad was working so my mom was looking for a Disneyworld buddy and I was happy to oblige. The final day of my trip however my dad was off of work so he got to make the call on what we should do and he made a great choice; snorkeling with manatees in Homosassa!
After a two hour drive from Orlando we arrived in Homosassa with a bit of time to spare before our manatee tour so with nothing planned I turned to the internet. Turns out there isn’t a ton to do in Homosassa but Tripadvisor did recommend Alpaca Magic, a quick 5 minutes up the road.
A woman raises alpacas here and sells products made from their wool in her shop. The grounds were beautiful and the woman was incredibly friendly, letting us stand in the feeding pen with some two week old babies and adults and giving us a whole run down on what makes alpacas so neat, such as the fact that their coats are hypoallergenic, water resistant and flame resistant!
Not worth a tour on it’s own but definitely worth the stop if you’re in the city or passing through. I bought this neat little alpaca toy made with alpaca fur for my office shelf. Totally unnecessary but adorable.
We made it back to the Native Vacations shop by 11:30 for out manatee tour. After a quick video on the do’s and don’ts of swimming with manatees we got suited up and headed for the river. This was a really neat experience and that part of Florida is the only place in the country where you can interact with an endangered species in it’s natural habitat.
Because of this there are some basic rules that boil down to one thing, let the manatees decide how/if they want to interact with you. You can get fairly close to them but you can’t approach them or touch them without them coming to you. Once they come to you you’re able to touch them on the back with one open palm. Unfortunately on our trip they weren’t in the playful mood our tour guide described but we did get to hang out with a few as they slept and there is something incredibly intimidating about floating near something that large.
Winter is the best time to go on a tour like this because the manatees move up the river and away from the ocean as it cools off. At only $60 a person and a two hour drive from Orlando I think it’s worth the time of anybody visiting the area.
Great Food & a Great View
After the tour we changed our clothes and decided to grab some food at the Riverside Crab House. As you can imagine for the location the seafood was fantastic and it was very reasonably priced. I would recommend it to anybody. But outside of the food the view was what was spectacular.
Our table looked out over ‘Monkey Island‘ in the river which our tour guide was kind enough to give us a brief history lesson on while we boated past it. A family of five monkeys live on this island are taken care of by the Homosassa Riverside Resort. In the 1960’s this part of the river was mostly rocks and the resort owner built it up to an island so boaters could
Back then there were some monkeys causing trouble around the town from nearby attractions so they were basically rounded up and put on this island as a sort of respite for both them and the citizens of the town. Some of the monkeys living on the island today are descended from those original
primates, and some have been rescued from other places.
Want to share? Pin the picture below!