Key West is an extremely popular holiday destination for Americans and visitors alike, I had an incredible time there with my boyfriend and I wanted to share my tips for saving money and getting the most out of your stay in this truly unique place.
The first thing I would recommend is the hotel we used. The Saint Hotel. This hotel is very quirky and is more of a romantic weekend away place than family friendly, but they have very friendly staff, the rooms are really nice and the pool is so beautiful. It’s a tranquil, meditative space in the middle of the madness which is Key West.
The second thing I would recommend is the best and cheapest place to eat on the island. Garbo’s Grill. The thing about Garbo’s is that it’s behind quite a shabby looking bar down a side street, but don’t be fooled, it is the best value for money and the food is so delicious you will be blown away. They basically only make two things- tacos and burritos but they are SO good (see mango fish tacos below). Kenzie and I ate there for either lunch or dinner every day. It is well worth a visit and I would give it a 10/10 even on a bad day.
Something that all visitors have to try is Kermit’s Key Lime Pie on a stick. It is a little eccentric but obviously, Key Limes are from the Florida Keys and Key Lime pie is somewhat of a delicacy in Key West. In Kermit’s shop they take it one step further and dip slices of pie in chocolate and mount it on a stick for an odd, but none-the-less delicious treat. It’s sort of a strange tradition but it is a wonderful way to beat the mid-day heat.
The beaches in Key West are… pretty full to say the least. I hate busy trash filled beaches and I assume most people do too, BUT, I did find a hidden gem that is not overly full and has a nice atmosphere. The beach that you need to visit is ‘Fort Zackery Tailor Beach’. It is a little bit of a walk through this strange no-mans land and you have to pay a small fee to get in (I think it was about $3) but it is a really pretty beach that it is not too overcrowded and has a cute little café and campground.
The sunset festival is definitely worth a visit as well. It’s not an actual festival, its just tradition that locals and tourists alike celebrate the end of the day by walking down the pier and watching street performers. But be warned, get their early, it fills up quickly and it can be difficult to get a place to sit.
Finally, Key West is an island, and the ocean is there to be enjoyed. If you’re like me and love to scuba dive, I would recommend using Dive Key West. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about local species and went out of their way to take me free diving to find a nurse-shark after our dive was over, at no extra cost.
If you prefer to remain on land, the Aquarium is well worth a visit. Seeing a lot of local wildlife is always nice, but seeing the turtle-rehab centre is a real treat, they also have several baby sharks that you can go and watch including hammerheads and nurse sharks.
You can’t see very well but the turtle pictured to the left is missing parts of his flippers. All I would ask is that you do not use the ‘touch pool’ inside the aquarium with molluscs and urchins etc as it is unnecessarily cruel to aquatic life.
Key West is a beautiful, quirky and crazy island that is so fun to visit and hopefully, my experiences will help you get the most out of your time there.