South Florida and KEys
Once again the travel fever leads us to the USA. This time we did a two week trip to south Florida. First we stayed 4 nights in Miami Beach, then we go by greyhound bus to key west and stayed there further 4 nights. After we come back to Miami by bus, we get our rental car and visit some more cool spots like Naples, Fort Lauderdale and again the Keys.
We had a very awesome time in Florida and we want to show you some more of our trip and some very nice recommendations to give you an idea what to do and what to eat in Florida.
As mentioned we started in Miami Beach, we stayed at “THE BETSY” Hotel. Its directly on the ocean drive and we had a very good time there. Its a bit of old luxury. I loved that two very nice guys open the door for your each time you arrive and the live music every evening in the lobby, also the concierge were very helpful and arrange everything for us. We had delicous breakfast every morning on the terrace and enjoyed the morning sun.
We visited little Havanna and do a little walk there, unfortunately we were to early, as all shops and bars were still closed. If you want to feel the live in little Havanna you should visit it in the evening. We found a small fruit store and bought some “plantaines”. They told us it looks like small bananas, it taste like bananas but its no banana, its a plantain. You get them very often as chips in the restaurants. On this day we had dinner in the “Havanna 1957”, its seemed very traditional and tasted very good. Next day we did a UBER ride to Wynwood. Formerly it was an old and unfashioned district with a lot of warehouses and big storage halls. But then somebody bought it and creates an art district. Every wall is airbrushed or with very complex graffiti. Also in the evening, every single storage hall shows you a art gallery and nice bars and cafes. You should definitly visit it in the evening.
On this evening our concierge at the Betsy organized a sunset helicopter flight for us. We did a private 45 minutes tour down to key biscane over the whole miami beach area and back to fort lauderdale over the downtown district and all the private islands with the estates from a lot famous people. Our pilot cames from munich and so the language barrier was not too big. The Tour was from Tourhelicopters.com. Thank you for an awesome ride.
Michael felt in love with ” Five Guys” since our visit in New York, fortunately we had a Five Guys right arround the corner from the hotel. So we had more then one time dinner there. And yes they had some of the best burgers in town.
We wanted to do a Everglades tour and first we asked arround in the tour agencys, they offer us a excursion to a “everglades zoo” where we get a alligator show and air boat trip, and can hold a small alligator thats mouth is taped. “”AARRGGHH”. That was definitly not what we want to do.
Thank you again to the concierge team from the Betsy, as they arrange also our full day trip to the everglades with “Wild Lime Adventures”. One of your best invested and awesome trips during our stay in Florida.
Lance, our tour guide for this day, picked us up at the Betsy at 7:30 a.m., then we picked up 3 other tour members at there hotels. So we luckily were only 5 people on this day. Awesome. We drive into the everglades and make a small toilet stop at the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor center and saw alredy our first wild live alligators. The Everglades National Park is very well organized and offers a lot of free board walks right next to the Tamiami Trail. You can simply park on the parking spot and walk on wooden boardwalks right into the swamp and the graslands and hopefully you can see a lot wild living animals. Lance also explains a lot of interesting stuff to us, like why the everglades look as they do, what the government has done the last decades, first to channel the water and now to rechannel the water as they recognize the consequences. The history of the Miccosukee indians (the want to called indians and not native americans) and there way to live in the gras lands. Also Lance knows all about the wild live in the everglades and we saw so many different species. You will find a lot of picuters down in the gallery, all animals on all pictures were wild living. No zoo, no cage nor taped mouth.
From Big Cypress Oasis Center we drive to the Kirby Storter Roadside Park. Its one of this boardwalks and we loved it. You start in a kind of grasland and walk in just 500 meter into the swamp. If you go slow and silent you will see so many animals and plants. We also saw another aligator, turtles, birds and caterpillars.
From there we go to Everglade city and had a delicous Havanna Sandwich for lunch, also included into our day trip. Then we go to Chokoloskee and to the Small wood store. Chokoloskee is the end of the Road and there live only a few families but this since decades. They live from the stone crabs and some tourists. At the smallwood store we go aboard of the small but fast boat that brings us to 10.000 islands. Thanks to our guide and boat driver we saw again eagles, dolphins and so many other animals in wild live. We made some great pictures, take a look at the gallery in the bottom of this site.
From Smallwood we went back to Everglade City and get the chance to taste the famous stone crabs at the Triad Seafood Market and Cafe. They taste awesome and also the service is very nice. Next stop was an airboat trip with a Miccosukee indian. We also saw some of there traditional houses and village centeres. We lucky ones saw some baby alligators. So cute. After this boattrip our guide brought as back to our hotel. It was such an awesome and mind-blowing day. Thank you soooo much for the chance to see all this nature in wild life. On this evening in my opinion we had the best burgers in town. We were at the 11th street diner. AWESOME. The shakes and burgers are delicous. We can recommend this diner to everyone.
Our next day was a bit calm, as we just checked out and went to airport by uber. We get some tickets for the grey hound bus and go to Key West. 4h ride, just 2 stops, 20 bugs per person. Exactly what we were looking for. For our 4 day stay in Key West we decided to stay in one of the old hotels next to Duvall Street – Old town manor. A very fine small hotel with a nice backyard and a awesome breakfast. We had a very nice time in Key West.
For Tuesday we had booked two tickets on the Yankeefreedom II (never ask what happens to Yankeefreedom I) and went to Dry Tortuga Island. We had a great day with snorkling and visiting the old Fort Jefferson. Its an awesome snorkling area, unfortunately we had some wind and waves and so a lot of sand in the water.
We also made a “Secret food tour“ trough Key West and we can recommend this to everybody all around the world, you get so great food and a lot of background stories to the cities. We had very delicous peanut salad and crab sandwiches, and a Mahimahi sandwich. Which is also called dolphin but isnt one, so ne stress if there is dolphin on the menu.
As you can see in our travelvideo from Florida, we also do parasailing and a little kajak tour on smathers beach. For this day we rented some bikes.
After all these great days in Key West we went back to Miami Airport by grey hound bus and checked there our rental car for the last few days. A Ford Mustang, its a great experience to drive this cabrio trough the aligator ally.
As short summery, we loved our trip trough south Florida, we had a great time and made some awesome experiences. A great and warm thank you also to Vicky Winters, our travel agent that arranges a lot of great benefits for us.
Ps: see also our travel video from Florida – Videos
Recommendation list - Florida USA
11th Street Diner – Miami Beach – http://eleventhstreetdiner.com/
Carolines Cafe – Key West – http://carolinescafe.com/
DJ’s Clam Shack – Key West – https://djsclamshack.com/
Garbos Grill – Key West – http://www.garbosgrillkw.com/
Triad Sea Food Market – Everglde City – https://triadseafoodmarketcafe.com/