Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Miami and Key West Trip

I've been holding off on writing this because I don't want to admit the trip is over and gone :) but its getting to the point were a little reminder of an amazing trip is nice. I want to remember the whole thing forever so be prepared for a long post.

Day 1-Fly to Miami
We stayed in the Yve hotel in downtown Miami. I really had no idea how lucky we were going to get with the location here. I booked it purely because it was downtown and it was a groupon hotel. A very hip, little boutique hotel. When we arrived in Miami, we checked in and then on the advise of the front desk guy went over to the Biscayne Bay Mall. We headed out at around 8 at night and the place was hopping. It was so fun. We had what we now call Mega Mojitos and ended up being pretty tipsy afterward and listened to some fun Latin music until around 1am.

Day2- Miami & Everglades

Since the likelihood of us going back to Miami, or at least without a dog in tow, was quite slim I was adamant that we go see the Everglades. We went on a fun airboat ride and saw a little alligator. 

If there was one thing I would change about the vacation it would be this. I would have done the tour with a different company. We went on a tour with the Safari Tours Inc.  Every stage (bus, airboat, show after, bus again) we were begged for tips...really annoying to me and nothing makes me want to tip less than being asked. 

The tour was significantly shorter than I thought it would be. I thought we'd be gone all day when the whole thing could have been done and over in 2 hours. 

We got off the bus at the mall and went and had a very late, very large lunch at a mexican restaurant. Then that night we went out for more music.

Day 3- Drive to Key West
We picked up the car at 10am from a Hertz around a 5 minute walk from our hotel and began the long drive down the US1 to Key West. This is billed as one of the best drives in America. The first half, not so much because we took a slower road to avoid tolls (rental companies charge out the wazoo for tolls). When we started to hit the Keys it became more and more beautiful. Toward the lower Keys we drove along the 9 mile bridge and the views were stunning.

We arrived in Key West and stopped at Publix for food on the way. We got to our condo and fell in love. It was a tiny one bedroom apartment with a deck but it was so beautiful. We felt right at home the minute we walked in and loved all the nice coffee, salt pepper etc in the kitchen. The washer and dryer also came in handy on a beach trip. Considering how nice it is this place was an absolute steal compared to some of the other condos I looked at. That night we walked half of Duval street (all shops and restaurants) arriving at Mallory Square (Gulf of Mexico side) in perfect time to watch the sunset. A few drinks and our first sampling of Key Lime pie and we were done for the day.

Day 4 - The boozy day
We started off the day with a nice breakfast on the deck with mimosas. We decided to walk the other half of Duval street and make our way towards a dog friendly bar (Louie's Backyard) and beach that I found when we were thinking of bring Boomer. We chilled out there with a drink or two. We walked a different way back to the condo and took in the Southermost point, a lighthouse and Ernest Hemingway's house. 

That afternoon we went to Zachary-Taylor state park to see the fort there and go to the beach. The beach was pretty small and a little rocky but what I didn't know before this trip was that none of the beaches in Key West are natural so even its best beach was small. What the beach lacks the beautiful water makes up for...I could have sat all day and just looked out at those gorgeous colors.

Day 5 - Dry Tortugas National Park

Named after the turtles that live here and the fact that it has no drinkable water (dry) this place was amazing. I've already posted about this trip. If you go to Key West you have to do this trip. We were so spoilt the entire trip it completely made up for the crappy Everglades tour. We made it again to Mallory Square for sunset and had fun watching some of the street performers.

Day 6 - Kayaking

I was on a little high after our trip so I immediately wanted to do another tour. We went on a 2 hour kayaking trip through the mangroves with Lazy Dog tours. Again we got to see lots of sign of the manatees that I wanted to see but we did see some giant tarpon. This was fun, educational and good exercise.

Day 7- Another boozy day
We walked to go see the graveyard (weird I know) because they had above ground graves. While there we got to see more chickens, which are everywhere on Key West, and some beautiful but shy green iguanas. Imagine finding one of these guys in your house!!
It was hot and we were thirsty so we made our way back to Louie's Backyard and sat for hours eating appetizers and drinking. Then we did a little swim and sunbathing at the beach there. It was an early evening and we caught up on some TV as I had to be up early the next morning.

Day 8- Southernmost Half
I ran the race in the early morning. We spent the morning at the pool that was part of our condo complex it was lovely. That afternoon we went back down to the state park.
That evening we mostly went shopping and spent some time in the Green Parrot Bar for Martina to finish off her Key West Cocktail Tour. What won't we do for a free t-shirt ha, ha!

Day 9-last day in the Keys 
We left Key West early because the drive takes longer than you'd think and we wanted to stop off along the way. We stopped at Bahia Honda State Park. This is meant to be the place to go to on the Keys for snorkeling and diving. This was a recon for future possible trips to the Keys. It was gorgeous. The water was even clearer than Dry Tortugas (but that might have been more effected by the hurricane). We went to the shop here and bought lunch (really good sandwiches), sat and looked over the water, followed by a walk on the beach.

Day 10 and 11- Miami Part 2 and home
We stayed in the Thompson Miami on Miami Beach for the last two days so we would get a different Miami experience. This place was expensive but well worth it. Everything you could want was right there towels, loungers, drinks etc. The first morning we found a cute cuban restaurant for a huge breakfast and some tasty cafe con leche. We spent the day on the loungers at the beach. A really nice way to finish off the vacation. The next day was mostly packing and airport time.

Miami was fun but Key West was amazing. Its was so relaxing because even though we took a rental car we used it twice. Once to go food shopping and once to go to a tour company for kayaking. If you can go, you won't regret it.I'm so glad we did this trip it was unbelievable and a huge thank you to my parents for funding it!!


  1. What a fantastic (and LONG! yay!) trip! You had the perfect amount of relaxing and activities, imo :) Totally lame about companies begging for tips though. That makes me crazy, too!

    1. Thanks it was fun.I like to be busy enough to prevent myself from getting bored but not so much that I come home tired...I enjoyed the balance on this trip.