Can you see Cuba from Key West is one of the first things American tourists ask when they arrive at this southernmost part of the US. Sounds strange to foreigners, especially those who have visited Cuba and could not care less whether they can see it from anywhere. But for Americans, Cuba has a bit of a mystique.
Like with all things we cannot have, they are weirdly obsessed with Cuba. So, since they cannot go there, they at least want to see it. And what better place to take a peak than from the closest spot on American soil. They generally do not like the answer.
Key West Island | Can You See Cuba From Key West Florida?
The answer the Americans do not like is “no, you cannot see Cuba from Key West. “ The problem is that the earth, being round, curves and Cuba, which is about 90 miles from Key West, falls below the horizon when you look towards it from Key West.
It means that regardless of how great your eyesight is, and how clear the day is, there is no way you can see Cuba from anywhere in Key West. Binoculars or even telescopes would not help you to check out Havana while vacationing in Key West.
This does not prevent enterprising hotel and bar owners to advertise their spot as just perfect for seeing Cuba.
The Southernmost Point Buoy is the popular Key West landmark tourists love to take photos in front of. The buoy marks the southernmost spot in the continental US.
Well, technically, the tiny island called Ballast Key is the true southernmost post, but since nobody can take photos there (it is privately owned), the Southernmost Point serves just as well.
Southernmost Point is located near the 24 North Hotel, which takes full advantage of this fact.
What would it take to be able to see Cuba from Key West?
Some people do not take “no” for an answer, so they are looking for any way to see Cuba from Key West. Well, there is a way, but you would have to build a 5000ft (1524m) tall tower.
There are technical problems with that, regardless of how much money you throw at the problem. Currently, the tallest manmade structure in the world is the 828-meter-tall (2,717 ft) Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.
How Far Is Cuba From Florida?
As the bird flies, Cuba, including its capital Havana, is about 90 miles from Key West. It sounds close enough, especially since Havana is closer to Key West than Key West is to Miami.
And that is another question people like to ask: if you cannot see Cuba from Key West, can you see Cuba from anywhere else in the US? It sounds self-explanatory, but sometimes it has to be said: if you cannot see Cuba from the southernmost spot in the US, you certainly cannot see it from anywhere else.
Things To Do In Key West | Florida
Once visitors give up the obsession with spotting Cuba, they can really start to enjoy Key West.
This lovely island city, a part of the Florida Keys archipelago, is famous for its historic conch-style pastel-painted houses, lovely beaches, great reefs for diving, stately palm trees everywhere, and great day and night entertainment. If you are a fan of nalture, Florida has many stunning national parks you can explore.
Watching the sunset is one of those things everyone does every day in Key West. You always wonder if today’s sunset can possibly be more beautiful than the one yesterday.
The place to do it from is Sunset Pier, a popular restaurant with the best seats in town. It is located off famous Key West Mallory Square. The pier stretches out into the ocean from the Ocean Key Resort & Spa.
Whether you watch the sun going below the horizon from a bar stool at the massive bar or relax in one of the comfortable, colorful chairs, you will get a spectacle nature throws out every day worth every penny.
While enjoying the sunset and sipping a rum cocktail, do not miss sampling some of the great food this restaurant offers. When in season, the raw oysters are a must. There is fresh seafood every day. Live music makes everything even more magical. Do not be surprised if it all develops into a dance party. You are in Key West after all.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
Famous writer Ernst Hemingway made Key West his home in 1931. He and his wife Pauline lived in a lovely Spanish Colonial mansion made from the native rock in 1851. The house is today The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
You can visit the house and see Hemingways’ personal things and the beautiful antiques the writer and his wife collected. There are the animal skins and trophies he brought from his hunting expeditions and African safaris.
One room in the house used to be Hemingway’s studio where he wrote several of his magnificent books such as “To Have and Have Not.” Cat lovers will be happy to know that the museum is home to the many descendants of Hemingway’s famous six-toed cat.
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Mallory Square is the heart of Key West. This waterfront plaza is located in Key West’s Old Town near Duval Street. Every night the square fills up with artists, street performers, psychics, craft exhibitions, food and drink vendors and thousands of tourists, for the daily Sunset Celebration.
It is a must when visiting Key West. Practically the whole town gets together for music, food and fun. It is the quintessential Key West.
Harry S. Truman Little White House
The Harry S. Truman Little White House was the winter home of President Harry S. Truman. He visited the Little White House 11 times. Many subsequent presidents visited the Little White House to rest and unwind.
The house had an interesting history even before president Truman. It was built in 1890 during the Spanish-American War and served as the command of the naval station during both world wars.
To this day the Little White House is used as a business venue and a retreat by the country’s leaders. It is also a museum open to the public. There are guided tours that bring to life that part of the history, as well as the life of President Truman.
Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is occupying a magnificent mansion Captain John Huling Geiger built for his family in 1840. The house was abandoned for a while and in 1958 was scheduled for demolition.
Sad to see the beautiful old house go down, the Mitchell Wolfson Family Foundation bought it and restored it to its original glory. It is now a museum that tells the story of lifestyle of a rich Key West family at the end of the 19th century.
The house is filled with wonderful period furniture, and a large collection of original lithographs painted by the naturalist John James Audubon.
Probably even more beautiful than the house is the surrounding garden. You can stroll along the lovely brick pathways surrounded by crotons, orchids, bromeliads, and palm trees.
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Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy is a magical oasis of tranquility in the heart of the busy Duval Street. It is home to a wonderful collection of about 60 species of butterflies and about 20 species of exotic birds. The Conservatory recreates their native habitat – humid and lush, full of fragrant blooming bushes and trees.
It is a very special experience to watch colorful butterflies hopping from flower to flower. You can watch caterpillars feed on plants and transform from stage to stage until they finally emerge as butterflies.
You can buy the butterfly-inspired compositions made by the artist Sam Trophia in the Conservatory’s gift shop.
Lazy Dog Adventures
Being on an island, it is natural that you will want to explore the coasts and the waters all around the Key West. Lazy Dog Adventures offer kayaks, paddleboards, and all necessary snorkel equipment to help you in your quest.
You can go on your own or they will guide you through the lush mangroves and hidden waterways, teach you to run paddleboard, or give you a map and point you to the most interesting spots. They are located at the Hurricane Hole Marina.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum
Kids love roaming the 50-year-old CGC INGHAM, trying to imagine the sounds of a battle this old war horse experienced throughout its long, useful life. This Coast Guard Cutter has seen too many wars and battles and played an important role during the entire 20th century.
Ingham was working from 1936 to 1988 and took part in both world wars. Today Ingham is the Maritime Museum & National Historic Landmark.
The ship is located at the western end of Key West, on the Truman Waterfront.
Diving the Vandenberg
Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities while in Key West because of the rich coral reefs surrounding the islands. But, too many tourists endanger fragile corals.
To redirect their interest, local authorities decided to create an artificial reef by sinking the Vandenberg in 2009 to the 150 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The Vandenberg wreck is located about seven miles from Key West. It now provides a home to hundreds of fish species and provides a base for corals to build on. Diving wrecks is one of the most popular diving activities so this new location provides a lot of fun for divers. It is also a great location for research and education.
The Vandenberg deserves this new lease on life. It is a former United States Navy ship that worked as a military troop transport and as a missile-tracking ship.
If you wish to dive the Vandenberg, visit one of many dive shops in Key West and they will be happy to arrange the dive for you and provide you with all necessary equipment.
Historic Seaport at Key West Bight
The Key West Historic Seaport and Harbor Walk also called the Inner Harbor or Key West Bight is the thriving center of the cultural and economic life of Key West. It is located on Key West Bight Marina.
The seaport has been around for almost 200 years. It was actively used by the coastal shipping boats and the local fishing boats until the 1990s.
Since then it has been converted into a thriving tourist spot, where they can stroll along Harbor Walk, shop, eat in the waterfront restaurants, or take one of the boats to go watch dolphins, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Or you can go kayaking, jet skiing and parasailing.
Can you see Cuba from Key West with binoculars?
The fact that Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West makes people sure that they could see Cuba as long as they had a high-powered telescope. But the problem is not in your eyesight or your tools. The problem is that Cuba is below the horizon as the earth curves.
Every now and then people claim that they managed to see Havana’s city lights at night, but they have failed to prove their claim.
Can you see Cuba from Key West at night?
No, you cannot see Cuba from Key West at night, during the day, on a clear day, not from Key West and not from any part of Florida or the US.
Can you see Cuba from the Bahamas?
The Bahamas is located 392.53 km or 244 miles from Cuba. If you cannot see Cuba from Key West, which is 90 miles away, there is no way you can see Cuba from the Bahamas.
Can you see the Bahamas from Key West?
Key West is located 239 miles from the Bahamas. If you cannot see Cuba, which is 90 miles, you certainly cannot see the Bahamas, which is much further.
Can you see Cuba from Miami?
As it says on the Southernmost Buoy, Key West is 90 miles to Cuba. But Key West is located 150 miles from Miami going north. That means that Miami is located 240 miles from Cuba. If you cannot see Cuba from Key West, you certainly cannot see it from Miami. Duh, as the kids would say.
Can you swim from Key West to Havana?
Whether you can or cannot depends on your skills and stamina. But some people can and did. In 2013, 64-year-old Diana Nyad swam from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida, without any protection or shark cage. She did the 110-mile swim in about 53 hours through the shark-infested Straits of Florida.
Is Key West closer to Miami or Cuba?
Key West is closer to Cuba than to Miami. It is 90 miles to Cuba and 150 miles to Miami. But you can sit in your car and hit the Overseas Highway and be in Miami in no time. You cannot go to Havana unless you have some very special permits.
Can US citizens go to Cuba?
One big reason for the fascination Americans have with Cuba is the fact that they cannot go there as tourists. They can go to Cuba if they have a special reason and can get a special permit. There are 12 categories that allow an American to go to Cuba. Check if you fit in one of them.
Can You See Cuba From Key West | Final Thoughts
While American tourists always ask ‘Can you see Cuba from Key West”, they soon find the consolation for the fact that Cuba remains hidden from view. They discover that Key West has much to keep them happy and occupied. There is much history, unique culture, natural wonders and endless fun at this end of the US.