Tuesday EXPERIENCES in the Florida Keys with KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts Villas & Marinas

Tuesday EXPERIENCES in the Florida Keys…….

Every part of the Keys is an adventure experience waiting. Diving, Fishing, and Snorkeling in the Keys: Key Largo is the Dive Capital of the world with diving spots aplenty, Sportfishing Capital is Islamorada, Diving in Marathon and diving for buried treasure and sunken ships in the Lower Keys…


The Upper Keys:

In Key Largo and Islamorada, where KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has two exclusive locations, Mariners Resort Villas & Marina and the Historic Tavernier Inn


Key Largo Diving & Snorkeling

KEY LARGO – MM112 – 90

Key Largo has had a long history of marine conservation. beginning in 1960 with the creation of the nation’s first undersea preserve, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and then with the designation of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in 1975, Key Largo has been protected from spearfishing and coral collection for four decades. Now, as an integral portion of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Key Largo features six unique Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPA’s) where even hook and line fishing is prohibited. Nowhere on earth has more friendly fish than Key Largo, creating an absolute paradise for underwater photographers!

Some of the most iconic dive and snorkel sites off Key Largo include:

* Statue of Christ of the Abyss – This famed bronze statue rises so close to the water’s surface that it can be easily viewed by snorkelers as well as divers. The statue is nestled between the coral formations of Key Largo Dry Rocks reef in just 25 feet of water.

* Spiegel Grove – This 510-foot Navy transport ship was sunk in June 2002 as the latest addition to the Key Largo area’s impressive shipwreck portfolio.

* Molasses Reef – High profile coral heads and massive congregates of tropical marine life define this popular reef.

* Benwood Wreck – A casualty of World War II, this shipwreck is now home to huge schools of grunt and porkfish.

* The Elbow – This reef offers several historic shipwrecks, as well as the thrill of face-to-face encounters with friendly moray eels and barracuda.

* Bibb and Duane – These twin 327-foot US Coast Guard cutters were sunk intentionally as dive attractions in 1987 and now are virtually cloaked in colorful coral and gorgonian.


Islamorada, long recognized as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World,” is now an icon among sport divers for much the same reason, a massive population of tropical marine life. High profile coral heads and broad ledges shelter huge congregates of French grunt and goatfish, while regal queen angelfish casually graze amid the reef recesses. Friendly green moray eels swim freely along the spur-and-groove channels, and reclusive nurse sharks lurk beneath the overhangs. Islamorada offers a wide variety of shallow coral reefs, mini walls, shipwrecks, and even an underwater habitat for scientific research, the Aquarius. To learn more about Islamorada or any other manner of local lore, stop by the Chamber of Commerce at mile marker 82.5 or dial 1-800-322-5397.

* The Eagle – This 287-foot ship was intentionally sunk in 110 feet of water as a dive attraction and rests on her starboard side cloaked in a colorful patina of encrusting sponge and coral, populated by huge schools of grunt, tarpon, and jack.

* Davis Reef – This reef is revered for its incredible concentration of grunts and schoolmaster snapper, as well as several amiable resident green morays, long accustomed to benign interaction with the dive masters.

* Alligator Reef – Now marked by a 136-foot-tall lighthouse, on this spot in 1822 the USS Alligator grounded and sank while protecting a convoy from pirates. Now all that remains of the wreck are the twin piles of ballast stones, but the coral reef – in just 25 feet of water – is vibrant and alive.

* Conch Wall – Offering an exciting change of pace from the normal spur-and-groove profiles of most Keys’ reefs, Conch Wall presents a precipitous sloping wall and captivating concentrations of barrel sponge and gorgonia punctuating the seafloor.

* Crocker Wall – A 450+-foot-long wall in 50 feet of water. The wall has a thirty-foot decline and features grunts, yellowtail and grouper with spur-and-groove coral and block coral on the wall.

* Pickles Reef – For macro photo enthusiasts, Pickles provides a wonderful opportunity to encounter the reef’s minutia, from flamingo tongue cowries to banded coral shrimp, all amid a dynamic coral reef in only 15 to 25 feet of water.



The Middle Keys:

In the Middle Keys,  KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Village at Hawks Cay Villas on Duck Key, Indigo Reef Resort Villas & Marina and the Coral Lagoon Resort Villas & Marina vacation rentals in Marathon


Phone: 305-743-5929 *  Toll Free: 800-331-HALL *  Fax: 305-743-8168
Email: thepros@hallsdiving.com
5050 Overseas Highway
Marathon ,  FL  33050
First class, full service diving with all the amenities. Diving diversity from marine life interaction to deep wreck on Nitrox on the largest coral reef system in the U.S. Ride our submarine, use our DPVs, or try a rebreather system. Halls has it all!

Phone: 305-743-5544 *
Email: diver329@aol.com
214 Bruce Court
Marathon ,  FL  33050
Let us take you to one of our many dive sites, teeming with marine life, on our spacious 2005 30’ Island Hopper. We are the closest dive boat to the reef, which means a short ride to your 1st splash. 2, 3 & 4 tank, custom charters available.

Phone: 305-743-7255 *  Toll Free: 888-SCUBA-FL *  Fax: 305-743-7257
Email: tildenb@bellsouth.net
4650 Overseas Hwy (MM 49.5)
Marathon ,  FL  33050
Tilden’s has been Marathons favorite dive shop for 25 yrs; Snorkel, Snuba, Scuba, One Day “Resort Courses”, Lessons, Rentals, Retail, Air & Nitrox, Scuba Rangers Kids Club (ages 8 to 12), Group & Dive Packages.

Phone: (305) 743-2126 *  Toll Free: (800) 457-0134 *  Fax: (305) 743-7081
Email: info@abyssdive.com
12565 Overseas Hwy.
Marathon ,  FL  33050
Abyss Dive Center welcomes the opportunity to take you diving! By limiting the passenger load to 6 divers on board a large, 34 foot, customized dive boat… you will experience the ultimate in safety, comfort and attention!


Phone: 305-743-2444 *  Toll Free: 1-800-CPT-HOOK *  Fax: (305)289-1374
Email: info@captainhooks.com
11833 Overseas Hwy. (MM 53)
Marathon ,  FL  33050
At Captain Hook’s, we provide a complementary divemaster on every dive trip so you can dive with confidence over Marathon’s abundant marine life. Don’t want a guide, it’s all up to you. Lessons, eLearning, Group Discounts and Packages available.

Phone: (305) 743-2400
10800 Overseas Hwy.
Marathon ,  FL  33050

Phone: 877-FUN-DIVE
MM 61
61 Hawk’s Cay Blvd.
Duck Key ,  FL  33050

The Lower Keys:

In the Lower Keys, KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas has the Coral Hammock Resort Villas and Kings Point Marina & Condominiums vacation rentals


Phone: 305-872-2215 *  Toll Free: (800) 942-5397 *  Fax: (305) 872-3786
Email: looekeyresort@bellsouth.net
PO Box 509
Ramrod Key ,  FL  33042
Located on the canal w/boat ramp & dockage, you can board our dive boat right outside your back door & enjoy a day of diving & snorkeling on the #1 Reef in the U.S. Featuring a pool, sundeck, restaurant, tiki bar & five star PADI dive center

Phone: (305) 872-9863
29675 Overseas Highway
Mile Marker 29.5 bayside
Big Pine Key ,  FL  33043

Phone: (305) 872-2700
Mile Marker 30.5, oceanside
Big Pine Key ,  FL  33040

Phone: 305-872-2319, 800-538-2896
Mile Marker 29.5, oceanside
Big Pine Key ,  FL  33043

KEY WEST – MM4 – 0

Key West’s largest and most pristine reefs are located several miles off shore and are best visited with the help of professional dive and snorkel charter services. However, fascinating snorkeling is also available from shore along the south side of the island in the Key West Marine Park The park is operated by the non-profit group Reef Relief and the City of Key West.

* Sand Key – One of the many popular reef destinations off Key West. This islet, marked by a large iron lighthouse delights both snorkelers and scuba divers with an abundance and variety of coral and marine life. With over ten miles of coral reefs of varying depths. Sand Key offers visitors endless opportunities to enjoy some of the best diving in the Caribbean!

* Joe’s Tug – This classic tugboat sits totally upright in just 65 feet of water, an idyllic setting for close encounters with Goliath Grouper, spotted morays, barracuda, and horse eye jacks.

* Ten-Fathom Ledge – Here, unusual coral caves and dramatic overhangs provide refuge for both lobster and grouper, while pelagic life frequently parades in the blue water to seaward.

* The Cayman Salvor -This 180-foot. steel hulled buoy tender, also known as the Cayman Salvager, was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in 1985. She now sits upright with cavernous open holds providing refuge for baitfish and grunts, as well as a resident jewfish and green moray eel.

* Nine Foot Stake – This patch reef in 10 to 25 feet, is perfect for either scuba or snorkel exploration and is noted for beautiful concentrations of soft corals and juvenile marine life.

* Kedge Ledge – One of the highlights of this lovely reef is the remains of a pair of coral encrusted anchors lost from 18th century sailing vessels.

* The Atocha – While not a local dive site, the Atocha was discovered by treasure hu nter Mel Fisher in the waters off Key West. With so rich a wreck nearby, its hard to dive these waters without wondering what bit of history or bounty might be concealed beneath the convoluted corals and vast reef structures.

* Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg – Since being sunk to the bottom in under two minutes’ time on May 27, 2009, the second-largest ship in the world to be made an artificial reef sits encrusted with Gorgonian corals and algae.

More than 100 confirmed species of fish have taken up residency, such as parrotfish, yellow and blue tangs, barracuda, a variety of snapper, mackerel and hogfish, as well as deep water pelagics. Vandenberg sits upright approximately seven miles off Key West in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, welcoming divers from all over the world to explore its massive superstructure. The ship represents the southernmost part of the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, a series of intentionally sunk vessels that begins off Key Largo with the former Navy landing ship dock Spiegel Grove.




These are some of my favorite experiences this week in the Florida Keys. If you’re coming down to visit and stay with us at the KeysCaribbean Luxury Resorts & Marinas in our vacation rentals, share your favorite experiences with us in the comments section of our blog…


Visit our blog next Thursday with updated experiences in the Florida Keys…






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