Monday, February 11, 2008

Tampa to Key West

I'm back from Key West, an amazing trip! The Key West Ferry is a must if you dont want to shell out $500 for a round trip air ticket, or drive the loooong 7 hour trip from Tampa. A quick 2 hour drive to Fort Myers beach from Tampa and you board a very modern, high speed ferry service, with an upscale like lounge and bar area, dining area, 2 indoor levels, with booths, rows of comfy tall back reclining chairs with individual tray tables, and also 3 levels of outdoor areas and a rooftop seating area. There are large flat creen tv's mounted throughout the ferry where tv and first run movies play during the 3.5 hour ride through aqua blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico to Key West, very professional and fun staff. Mimosa's in hand as the boat pulls away, we were off to 3 full days and two nights of paradise, Key West style! The Ferry leaves around 9am from Fort Myers Beach, and returns from Key West daily at 6pm back to Fort Myers Beach.

Just a quick synopsis on Key West..stayed at Duval Quarters, a small B&B on Julia Street and southern end of Duval Street, walking distance to everything, but bikes, scooters, pedicabs, etc. are all readily available, and the island living is at your doorstep. Becky and Chris were as laid back as two Boston transplants could be, and made us very comfortable.
A 3 block walk to the Southern Most Cafe and Beach Club, we had a great lunch, and relaxed on the small beach for a few hours. On the way back we picked up a couple of bikes to keep for the weekend, and rode down to Mallory Square(about 10 blocks) to meet some friends we met on the Ferry.(By the way, it's a small island, so your bound to run into lots of people from the Ferry, another couple we met was also staying at our B&B). With the freaks on hand displaying all kinds of acts, and the sun setting in the distance, and a few mojitos in hand..it made for a great start to the first evening in the Keys. We stopped by Historic Cigar Alley, a great wine and Cigar shop in old town owned by our B&B proprietors Becky and Chris. A quick clean up after sunset and it was off to La Te Da for a Female Impersonator Show...very classy Cabaret Show, we had some cocktails on the front upper porch over looking Duval Street. The show was hysterical, and Chris the impersonator kept calling out to our table all night, as we were right next to the stage. The show was over around midnight, and decided to do the Duval Stumble, patronizing about a dozen or so establishments meeting all kinds of all over the globe.

Saturday morning was a little rough waking, but knowing we were going on a half day Sailing Excursion that included Snorkeling and Kayaking made us get right up, on the bikes, and off to the docks to set sail with Danger Charters. A great happy crew awaited us, Don, Christie and Keith, along with about 8 other friendly strangers, it was nice to go out with such a small group. As we helped to hoist the sails, and set out on this amazingly beautiful morning, temps were about 75, and blue blue skies, Don was slicing up fresh fruit for all. On the way out to the Coral Reefs, Keith showed us a map of the Florida Keys, and explained in detail the History of the keys, fishing, treasure, etc. Snorkeling in the Crystal Clear Blue warm waters was amazing, like being in an aquarium, all colors and types of fish, we saw Sea Turtles swimming around, very rare, and live lobsters. I never seen so many types of species and colors of fish...Don and Christie were able to point lots of stuff to the group. We then opened up the wine and beers, Chips with Fresh Hummus and Salsa on our way to the Mangrove Islands to go Kayaking...another incredible experience, as Don guided us around the Mangrove Islands, to descibe all the types of birds, and animals on the islands we saw, we even ran into Sting Ray's and Nurse Sharks along the way, and just kayaking out in the Carribean is an amazing scene. We biked around the Keys when we got back by 3pm, checking out lots of interesting areas, and had some lunch at Cheeseburger on Duval Street. There are always guitarists and musicians playing at the many outdoor cafes. Dinner Saturday night was at A&B Lobster House, very fine dining that you can be dressed in flip flops and shorts for along the Marina and Key West Bight area, great views and again perfect evening weather with a warm tropical breeze that occurs along the waterfront day and night. We all dined on some sort of Lobster, as it is in Season and they pull them daily from the Ocean here in Key West.
Sunday was a relaxing day on the scooters, we had some excellent Omelets at Pepe's, the oldest 'Eating House' in Key West..not quite sure what that means, but the place was an outdoor shack of sorts, been around since 1909, and had to be the best breakfast on the island(lots of people waiting after we left). After late morning eats, we travelled around the island, stopping off at places like the Historic Cemetery, Higgs Beach and the the other many beaches along the South Shore, and the beautiful waterfront resorts like The Reach, Casa Marina, Southern Most, Hyatt and Westin. Toured the Truman Annex area and Fort Taylor State Park. We met up with our friends later before the Ferry was to head out for some last cocktails and people watching along Duval Street. At 6pm Sunday evening, we were saying goodbye to a beautiful, relaxing, weekend in Key West.
A Key West Sunset!

8 comments:

Gene said...

Great information on your Key West trip. I am thinking about surprising my wife with the ferry to Key West based on your reviews. She is from Boston and has been wanted to get to Key West forever. We are currently in Orlando, and I think the 3 hour drive to take a 3 and half hour ferry could be worth it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

hey sounds great....key west the only place in the world i fit in perfectly,,,well amsterdamn...
anyway is this a car ferry.....?
thanks.
mhuff

Anonymous said...

Is the ferry from Tampa still running?

Tampa I Am said...

The Ferry runs from Fort Myers, about 2 hours south of Tampa.

Anonymous said...

how far away is this from ft myers airport?

Anonymous said...

how far away is this from ft. myers airport?

Anonymous said...

how far away is this from ft. myers airport?

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