Hidden Secrets of Florida’s Keys

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    Everyone knows of the Florida keys or has at least visited once. There’s always two sides to any town, or area, maybe even three. The same is true for the Florida key. The Keys, like anywhere else, has its tourist traps. However, a special knowledge is needed to find the Keys’ hidden secrets and locations. One such enclave lies in Key Largo. The famous island stood as a backdrop for one of Humphrey Bogart’s most well known roles in the movie Key Largo.

    A Mecca for Humphrey Bogart fans on the East Coast, Key Largo also offers a unique experience found nowhere else: an opportunity to sail on the rickety old African Queen, the boat from another Bogart movie of the same name. After 100 years, the vessel still chugs along with the same tenacity as it did when Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn were at the helm.Lance and Suzanne Holmquist discovered the boat several years ago and now charter daily expeditions throughout the Key Largo area. Spending months at a time, the couple restored the Queen to her former glory. Bogart’s son even visited for a ride himself. Aside from the African Queen, the Holmquists run a boat charter company in the keys as well with a fleet of luxury catamarans.

   Further down the US 1, visitors keen on nature can enjoy the great beauty of Bahia Honda park with its serene beaches and impressive portfolio of natural greenery and bi-diversity. The Keys are also home to deer, crocodiles (very few) and even an invasive species of monkeys, a surprise to some. At the end of the road: Key West. The home of Ernest Hemingway and his six toed cats, the destination contains many sites worth seeing, with two deserving special emphasis: the Ernest Hemingway home, an oasis away from Duval Street’s menagerie of shops, and Truman‘s Little White House, where the former president stayed on his vacation time.

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    Hopping on a boat from Key Largo or Key West, the Holmquists luxury catamarans will ferry you to secluded islands and gorgeous Florida retreats. An abundance of tropical delights await those on board. Along the journey, diving and snorkeling may also be undertaken by guests far from the tourists and crowds.Not accessible by car, Boca Grande Key and Woman Key remain two of visitors favorite destinations near Key West. The pristine, white beaches allow for both a fun day in the sun and a splendid venue to celebrate a special occasion such as a proposal or anniversary.

   The Holmquists’ charters may last for just a few hours or several weeks.At each day’s end, brilliant Florida sunsets illuminate the sky as captain and crew wine and dine guests.Coming back into port, sailors may also dine and stay at the picture perfect Sunset Key, where guests of Latitudes receive an unforgettable experience and dine on a feast fit for a king, closing out their adventure.

More information on charters can be found at calypsosailing.com

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