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Miami and the Keys

Published on 21 august 2015 at 0h00

Florida is a rather special world. A unique and fascinating universe, in which we find completely protected areas, and one of the craziest towns in the world. Cruising from Miami to the famous Keys is a unique experience, to be experienced in a catamaran, of course!

Logbook

On arriving at Miami international airport, the tone is quickly set: you are in a town where everything is possible. Miami is well-known for the festive atmosphere which reigns there all the year round. It must be said that the climate there is pleasant, which makes it one of the favorite holiday spots for North Americans, as well as tourists from all over the world. So don’t hesitate to spend a few days in town, before going to your charter company’s base to embark aboard your catamaran. Miami really is worth the detour; with its skyscrapers, the art deco district and of course the mythical Ocean Drive, which borders a perfect beach, the atmosphere is quite unique. After a few festive days (the town is alive 24/7, and there will inevitably be a bar / restaurant / night club where you will feel comfortable), it’s time to embark aboard your catamaran. Rediscovering the town from the sea is then a really disorientating experience for your crew, before you set off to cruise along the famous Keys. Because what characterizes a cruise leaving from Miami is of course the discovery of the string of islands starting from the mainland and stretching languorously in a dotted line towards the south, offering a vast number of anchorages, discoveries and unique encounters. Here, between the mangroves and the white sand beaches, each of the islands will inevitably remind you of a film or a book; an atmosphere which is often dreamed about and which you can finally experience to the full!

There are 150 miles to be covered between Miami and Key West. The weather conditions are often good, but the wind only rarely exceeds 15 knots. If you want to go to the most southerly point of the USA (Key West), you will therefore have to allow enough time...

Itinerary

Whether you leave from Miami or Fort Lauderdale (situated 18 miles further north), you will inevitably begin your discovery of the Keys by Key Biscayne, one of the most famous spots, both for diving with mask, snorkel and fins, and the beaches. A first heavenly stopover.

The next day, a little trip to Elliott Key will allow you to discover some beautiful dive sites, but to spend the night, it is best to continue to Pumpkin Key. You won’t regret it!

You then continue the descent of the string of islands, to discover Islamorada, renowned worldwide as the capital of deep-sea fishing. You will perhaps be lucky enough to be present at a tournament, and see the ‘champions’ land some impressive specimens. In any case, it’s the moment to get your trailing lines out!

Still further south, there is Marathon. It is considered to be the heart of the Keys, as the island is almost in the center of the Florida Keys chain, between Miami and Key West. Not to be missed: snorkeling on the Sombrero reef and of course walks to Long Key, the Conch Keys, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Boot Key, Crawl Key and Pigeon Key...

If you only have a week, it is time to sail back north, stopping at Plantation Key, before the stopover at the mythical Key Largo. More than the film made famous by Bogart and Bacall, it’s the National Park and the Marine Reserve which will appeal to you.

 If you have more time, you can continue the descent to Looe's Keys (a national marine sanctuary), a wonderful dive site, but also very suitable for snorkeling.

Finally it’s time to set off to discover Key West (a 27-mile sail) and visit this island, which is as charming as it is disconcerting. Don’t miss Hemingway’s house, which is still inhabited by the descendants of his cats, recognizable by their... 6 claws!

Finally, 26 miles from Key West, go and visit the Marquesas, a group of uninhabited islands where you will find peace and tranquility again, off the white sand beaches.

Practical info

  • Getting there:
    Miami is situated in Florida, in the south-east of the United States. Miami International Airport is served by more than 90 airlines... There are direct flights to this destination from almost everywhere in the world. Another solution: Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
  •  When:
    You can sail all the year round in this area, whose climate is semi-tropical. The winter is drier and the summer wetter and hotter. The water temperature varies between 22°C in January and 30°C in June, whilst the air temperature is around 20°C in January and 30°C in summer. The wind is more or less easterly, and blows at between 3 and 15 knots.
  •  Official language:
    English, but Spanish is very useful in many districts of Miami...
  •  Currency:
    US Dollar
  •  Note:
    European citizens must possess a passport valid for at least six months after their return, and must have completed an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) before their departure on the esta web site: cbp.dhs.gov/esta. All travelers, including minors, must have their own passport and ESTA. As the rules tend to change often, you must find out from a travel agent what papers are necessary...

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