Key West is the southernmost inhabited island of the United States. It's located only 145 kilometers (80 miles) from Cuba and thus has quite some influences from the Caribbean countries. The relaxed, sparsely populated Key West is in stark contrast with Miami. However, there also are a lot of similarities. For one, people here also like to party and enjoy the sun filled days around the island.
For many people, Key West is paradise on earth. Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams spent a big portion of their lives here. Even Harry Truman (an ex US president) had his own home on the southernmost inhabited island.
Spending some time in the house of Hemingway or the little White House from Truman is definitely a must do while visiting Key West.
Funny fast: on the island, you'll find a bunch of freedom fighting chickens. These free roaming animals escaped from people's gardens and nobody really cares. The becoming illegal of rooster fights also has something to do with it though.

Key west sign post

The Key West ‘sign post’.

  Average costs

Stay – The island is tiny, so don’t expect to find thousands of places to stay. Tourism is still their main income, so don’t think that there’s no choice either. Well… Only if you’re searching for hostels. On the whole island, there is only one hostel. (the Seashell Motel en Hostel), but to be fair, it is located on a pretty good location. For a shared room you have to pay quite some money. For one person, you’ll need to pay at least $44 (€40). A single room will cost you $100 (€90) or more.

For a hotel with a bit more luxury, expect to dig a little deeper in your wallet. Averages are between $140 – $150 a night (€125 – €135).

Check this page to see pricing of all hotels, hostels and other accommodations around the island.

Eat  Just like everything, food in Key West is pretty expensive. For a simple meal, expect to pay $17. A more extensive meal will cost anything around $30 to $40 (€27 – €36).

Transport  Key West is tiny. The cheapest way of transportation is to hire a bike for only $10 a day. For the less sporty people there are some other possibilities too. Scooters, cars or even golf carts.
You can hire a taxi too, but only if you make reservations. Also, they are very expensive. So if you don’t need one, don’t use one.
For the public transport (busses) you’ll pay $1 a ride.

From Miami to Key West (click here for tickets and prices) you’ll pay around $50 (€45) with bus transportation.

ernest hemingway huis key west

The Ernest Hemingway house in Key West.

  Saving money

Leave from Miami  Fly into the airport of Miami or Fort Lauderdale and then drive to the Keys. Flying to the airport of Key West might save you some time, but eventually will cost you a couple of hundreds of dollars more.

Go eat in chains  The food is a lot cheaper and pretty good too. In Duval street you’ll find most opportunities. Subway and Wendy’s are the cheapest option, but there are a couple more. Cooking yourself is even cheaper.

Don’t stay too long  One day might be a little short, but two to three days are more than enough to explore the island. Keep your costs low by not booking too much.

Ga during summer or spring  Then it’s off-season in the Keys. On average, this also is the warmest time of the year to go there and you’ll find the least amount of tourists. Because of this, costs go down quite drastically. Too bad it’s still not dirt cheap…

De haven in Key West.

The harbour in Key West.

  Do’s

Diving or snorkelling – The waters around the Keys are full of fish. Book a snorkelling- or diving tour and surprise yourself by the beautiful corals and sea creatures. On my tour I saw two sea turtles, a small reef shark, a much bigger hamerhead shark and lots of tropical fishes. If I think back on it, my heart is still pounding!

Biking – Rent a bike and make your way to the beautiful beaches, the cosy street and the unique houses. This all with the immer present sun will definitely result in a smile from cheek to cheek.

Ernest Hemingway House The famous writer from ’The Old Man And The Sea’ among other things, lived in Key West for a long time. In this house you’ll get to see how he lived and read more about his decadent life style. You’ll get to meet his cute little grandchildren too: his famous six toed cats.

Sundown at the docks  Go to the dock to see the famous sundown of Key West. During the evening there are plenty of things to do in this area (Mallory Square). Go see the local artists of check what the many street artists can do. Juggling cats of swallowing fiery swords; whatever you like!

Dry Tortugas The Dry Tortugas is one of the many national parks in the USA. It is a beautiful island where a nineteenth century fort has been built upon. The income is only $10, but to get there you’ll need to pay a lot more… Unless you own a boat, there only are two options. The cheapest way of transportation is with the ferry. For $175 (you can book here) you’ll get transported from Key West to the Dry Tortugas. Luckily, the entrance fee, breakfust and lunch are included in this steep price.
If you want to spend more, you can use a Seaplane to get there.

Key West, onderdeel van The Keys.

Key West, part of The Keys.

   Don’ts

Book too many days – In Key West it’s most of all beach activities that will fill up your days. If you want to do more than just lay at the beach, you don’t need to stay longer than two or three days. Besides, it gets quite expensive to stay there for a longer time.

Don’t wait at the buoy – Probably the most famous photo location is the Southernmost Point buoy at the south of the island. Most of the time there are many people waiting to take a picture over there. Just bike around the area sometimes until there’s no one to wait for.

Dry Tortugas.

Dry Tortugas.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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