A tourist town post hurricane

The Keys are definitely in a catch-22 situation right now. It’s been widely advertised that the Keys are open for business. The economy here needs tourists to survive and recover but you should know what to expect when you get here. I haven’t been down to Key West yet but I can tell you the Upper Keys are still very much in the clean-up phase.

Here’s a look at what’s going on here almost 4 weeks after Irma, what’s open and what’s not…

If you’re looking to dive, snorkel or fish then grab sunset drinks and dinner and maybe chill around your hotel’s pool a bit you won’t be disappointed. All of those are possible right now!

What to expect…

We were recently directly hit by a category 4 hurricane and the damage left behind was severe. The news coverage stopped when the storm did but that doesn’t mean everything magically snapped back to normal.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Interesting smells – the combination of trash piles, rotting seaweed and plant material mixed with the rain we’ve been having lately has cast quite a scent cloud over the island. It’s not bad per se but it is strong in some areas.
  • Mosquitoes – I’ve never seen a mosquito population like this in my life. Bring some hardcore spray with deet. They’ve been spraying but there are just too many places for them to hide right now.
  • Debris piles – there are huge staging areas like these as well as piles lining every side street. They’ve done a good job cleaning up US 1 so if you don’t venture into the neighborhoods you can miss a lot of it.

Debris piles like this are everywhere – parking lots, city parks, etc

What’s open?

  • Most restaurants are open. If your favorite place was on the ocean side you might be out of luck. There are a lot of great places on the bayside to check out though and that’s the side the sun sets on anyway.
  • Most dive operators are open and running trips. The weather this week sucks but the diving has been getting better and the sites are starting to recover.
  • Some activity shops are open. Paddle! The Florida Keys is open and would love to see you!

 

What’s not open?

  • Every state park in the Florida Keys is currently closed indefinitely.
  • All of our city parks are closed.
  • A lot of hotels are closed especially in Islamorada. Some will never reopen.
  • A lot of boat tours aren’t operating due to damaged boats or damaged docks where they operate out of, call ahead to make sure the activity you’re looking for is running.

 

The Keys need tourists right now and I’m not trying to deter you from coming here. But if you’re coming here on vacation it’s fair to let you know what to expect. Considering Irma was the strongest hurricane to hit the Keys in decades I think we’re in pretty good shape!

 

So come on down and enjoy what we have to offer!

 

Until next time…

 

Stay warm!

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