Archive | July, 2012

48 hours in Key Largo

24 Jul

A couple weeks ago, some friends and I decided that a weekend trip to Key Largo was in order.  Our agenda was simple: an afternoon of boating, snorkeling and fishing, a great dinner of fresh, local catch, and of course, no trip to the Keys is complete without a slice of homemade key lime pie.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Key Largo is surprisingly close to Miami; if you leave before or after rush hour, you can get expect to get there in roughly an hour and change.  We arrived on Friday night around 9pm and grabbed a quick dinner nearby.  Our hotel, Azul Del Mar, was fantastic.  Situated on a quiet, secluded lot right on the water, Azul consists of a handful of small bungalows and lush, tropical surroundings.  The rooms are clean and cozy, and the property features an inviting hammock and various chairs and chaises to watch the sunset.

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On Saturday morning, we started the day off right with a hearty breakfast at “Harriette’s.”  (Don’t be thrown off by the little gingerbread men greeting you on the front door and windows – this place is legit).  The service was good, the food was great (the biscuits are INSANE), but the best tip we got was to try out the fresh, homemade muffins.  We were tempted by all the exotic-sounding flavors, but decided to go with the classic key lime.  It’s almost unfair to call it a muffin – it’s more like a cake, soft and moist, infused with key lime syrup, and topped off with powdered sugar.  In one word: spectacular.  It was just what we needed to kick off a long day in the sun.

With our bellies full, we headed over to Lorelei Marina in Islamorada to meet Captain Kelly of “Two Chicks Charters.”  Kelly is eccentric but kind and determined to show you a great time.  Bring an iPod and she will happily play your favorite tunes.  She took us right to a little spot where she said we could see dolphins and sure enough, a family of dolphins appeared before our eyes, giving us a private show out in the wild.  We snorkeled, fished, and chilled out at a great sandbar.  All in all, it was a perfect boating day.

After taking in a beautiful, pink Key Largo sunset back at Azul, we had an incredible feast at The Fish House, a local staple since 1987.  The staff was friendly and informative, the atmosphere was relaxed and very “Keys-y”, but most importantly, the fish was fresh and absolutely delicious.  I highly recommend their signature dish, the “Matecumbre” – fresh catch, baked and smothered in fresh tomatoes, capers, shallots, basil, olive oil and lemon juice.  We topped off the meal with a slice of ice-cold key lime pie – the perfect end to an amazing day.

On Sunday, before heading back to reality, we stopped by the Dolphin Cove for a swim with the dolphins.  It was an incredible experience and the trainers were friendly and knowledgeable – I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to cross this off their bucket list.

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