Information & Facts
There need never be a dull moment for anyone on holiday in Key
West. The only problem likely to be encountered is that you run out
of time before indulging in all the attractions, excursions, tours,
walks, experiences and events on offer. Some of the more
fascinating activities include swimming with dolphins, a
lantern-led ghost tour of the Old Town, a sunset sail on a tall
ship, taking part in the 'southernmost city scavenger hunt', or
riding the Conch Tour Train through 400 years of history. There are
also innumerable attractions to visit while on holiday in Key West,
such as a butterfly conservatory, aquarium and a variety of
interesting museums. Then, of course, there are lovely beaches to
be enjoyed, all equipped with picnic tables and facilities, along
with a host of watersports offered by local operators, not least of
which are big game fishing and scuba diving.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance and travellers are advised to take
plenty of repellent.
The beat goes on in Key West long after the legendary sunsets,
with a wide spectrum of bars, taverns, grog-shops and dance clubs
partying until the following morning. Just a walk down Duval Street
will assail the ears with a variety of music from Techno to Hip Hop
and Jazz to Retro. Visitors are advised to pack their favourite
hangover cure. One of the most popular Key West night spots is the
Hog's Breath Saloon on the corner of Duval and Front Street, where
live blues and rock music is washed down with copious amounts of
ice cold beer on the packed dance floors. On The Bight waterfront
the Conch Republic Seafood Company is reputedly the largest rum bar
between Miami and Cuba, offering more than 80 brands to sample in
its boat-shaped emporium. Another hotspot is the 801 Bourbon Bar,
renowned for its saucy Drag cabaret shows.
Pure pleasure for the palette, no-one will leave Key West
without the memory of having dined deliciously at some of the
world's top-class restaurants on dishes prepared by award-winning
chefs. The choice is vast, from formal gourmet establishments to
seaside cafes along Duval Street, the waterfront or tucked away in
the old town. Fresh seafood predominates, along with tangy Florida
citrus fruits and exotic Caribbean additives like plantains and
black beans. There is also a marked Cuban influence on the Key West
cuisine. The absolute delicacy of the island is the locally
harvested pink shrimp, served up in every guise imaginable in a
wide variety of establishments, from waterfront kiosks to five star
restaurants. Also sought after is the famed dessert, Key Lime Pie,
made from the pulp of tart local limes and topped with meringue.
Square One restaurant in the old town is regarded as one of the
most outstanding eateries on the island, while for more casual but
no less tasty feasting the Half Shell Raw Bar in the historic
seaport serves up its delights in baskets in a 'crab shack'
Shopping in Key West is an invigorating holiday experience, with
hundreds of boutiques and specialist stores concealing a
treasure-trove of unexpected merchandise. Browsing will reveal
surprises like Florida fruit wines, rare seashells, originally
printed artistic tee-shirts, hand-painted glassware, or famous Key
Lime Jelly. There are shopping centres and malls, bargain outlet
stores, souvenir shops, designer labels, and fine jewellery
establishments. Key West is regarded as a Mecca for shoppers after
the unique, exceptional and even outrageous.