On the tip of the Florida Keys, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, lies the historic island city of Key West. Situated as it is at the gateway to the Caribbean and in close proximity to Cuba, this island supports a vibrant community and a long seafaring and naval tradition,
Key West, also known as the 'Conch Republic', has a distinct Caribbean flavour. The streets of its old quarter are lined with palms and pastel-painted, wooden colonial 'gingerbread' houses. It has been the favoured holiday haunt of greats like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and Harry Truman. This is because of its relaxed atmosphere, colourful neighbourhoods, legendary bars and restaurants, offshore fishing opportunities, and lively nightlife. The city also hosts innumerable pageants, parades and festivals, has an active theatre culture, and several heritage museums.
The streets of Key West are attractions by themselves; buskers providing impromptu entertainment for those at sidewalk cafés or browsing the many stores. Visitors on holiday here flock to 'The Bight', the old harbour, to arrange sea trips for fishing, snorkelling, or diving. Nightlife in Key West starts with sunset drinks on the Mallory Dock, before moving on to areas like Bahama Village, and along Duval Street.
Most of Florida is GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November), but a small portion of northwest Florida is GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are mainly the type with two flat pins, though three-pin plugs (two flat parallel pins and a rounded pin) are also widely used. European appliances without dual-voltage capabilities will require an adapter.
English is the most common language spoken but Spanish is often heard in the south-western states.
There are no specific health risks associated with travel within the USA. Medical facilities are excellent, but expensive. Only emergencies are treated without prior payment and treatment can be refused without evidence of insurance or proof of funds. Good medical insurance is essential.
A 15 percent tip is expected by taxi drivers, bartenders, hairdressers and waiters, but don't tip in fast-food or self-service restaurants. In expensive restaurants or for large parties, tip 20 percent of the bill. It is normal to tip staff such as valets and porters in hotels; this is discretionary, although a minimum of $5 is expected. Most services are customarily tipped if the service is good.
Travel within the United States is generally trouble-free, however, travellers should be aware that the US shares with the rest of the world, an increased threat from terrorist incidents. Security has been heightened, particularly at airports. Restrictions on hand luggage apply and travellers are advised to check on the latest situation with airlines in advance. Travellers should also be alert to the dangers of car and street crime in cities and should use common sense and take basic precautions. Hurricanes are common between June and November, putting the southern USA, including the Gulf Coast and the eastern US at risk. There is a risk of wildfires in many dry areas in the US, particularly on the West Coast from March to November.
Laws vary from state to state, including speed limit, fines and punishment. The age at which you may legally buy and consume alcohol is 21 years.
Explore one of the world's most scenic and intriguing archipelagos at Key West. The island is a perfect destination for families, as it combines the opportunity for dozens of water-based activities with some cultural and educational sightseeing.
Just beyond Key West are other islets along the Florida Keys chain, perfect for a day trip. Key Largo is known as one of the best places to go scuba-diving. Children can enjoy up-close interactions with marine life at the Dolphin Research Center and Turtle Hospital in Marathon.
Key West is fun destination by day and and even more-so at night. After the sun sinks into the western horizon, the sky turns a million different colors before fading into night and the island comes alive with revelers on Duval Street, patrons of the arts heading to the theater and curious travelers delving into the island’s haunted past.
The city is famous for its raucous nightlife, so bar hopping on Duval Street is a natural pastime after sunset. Lower Duval tends to be wilder with bars and nightclubs like Sloppy Joe’s and Rick’s, while Upper Duval has a more sophisticated side with wine bars and cocktail dens like Grand Vin and Point Five. Smack dab in the middle, you’ll find The Porch and The Other Side for craft beer and cocktails with a cool locals vibe.
Key West enjoys a tropical savanna climate, with two main seasons: it is hot, wet and humid between June and October, and drier and cooler between November and May. In the hottest months, between June and August, temperatures average between 78°F (26°C) and 89°F (31°C), and in the coldest months, between December and February, temperatures average comfortably between 64°F (17°C) and 76°F (24°C). August and October are hurricane season.
The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people differ hugely across the country.
Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.
06 November 2021 - 7 Nights
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On the tip of the Florida Keys, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, lies the historic island city of Key West, this island supports a vibrant community and a long seafaring and naval tradition.