In many ways Key West feels like another country. It is only 90 miles from Cuba and has a distinct Caribbean feel to it. The original settlers were Spanish, and it has that element as well. Finally, the party atmosphere on some streets reminded me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Music is everywhere, this time more “Jimmy Buffett” style. Key West has a rich history, it’s been home to famous writers (Hemingway), adventurers, and pirates. At one time it was the richest per capita place in the US due to the successful salvage operations. They estimated at least one ship wreck a week, or at least a ship that had to be towed off the reefs for the outrageous price of 50% of the cargo. It was a very lucrative business.
The island is only 4 miles long by 2 miles wide, easily navigated by bicycle. We found lots to do from beach relaxing, exploring ruins, nature conservatories, botanical gardens, sunset cruises, fishing, snorkeling, exploring art galleries, restaurant hoping, and people watching. Duval Street definitely has a party atmosphere.
The hope is that travel restrictions between the US and Cuba are loosened. If that happens it is anticipated that ferry service could start between the Keys and Havana later this year.
Here are a few pictures from our Key West Adventure.
One of our most interesting visits was to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. Now, I’ve been to butterfly conservatories before. But never have I seen the variety and number of butterflies I saw in Key West. Here are some examples.
There was even a pair of lovesick flamingos in full plumage.
And the food, excellent seafood in settings that are not much more than shacks. Most everywhere is very informal, shorts, sandals and T-shirts.
Chickens have the run of the place and the roosters will wake you at all hours, not just dawn. They are protected and navigate the crowded streets freely, a line of chicks in tow.
Other wildlife includes the 50 cats at the Hemingway House, all with at least one extra toe.
They all have names of famous actors and actresses, I believe this one is Spencer Tracy.