February Newsletter

 Tips for Making the Best Hotel Reservation

  • Do some research before making the reservation.  Where and what are the things you are most interested in doing? Is the hotel located conveniently to all of it? 
  • What amenities are provided. Is there complimentary breakfast? What's on the menu? What amenities are in the room? Refrigerator, hairdryer, shampoo? Most websites will address these questions but just call or email to be sure. 
  • Know the parking situation. In many Old Town areas parking is limited and you will need to pay. Always call and ask.
  • Most B&Bs still have a "real" person familiar with the property answering the phone. This is not always the case in a larger facility, an Air B&B or Vacation Rental. This is the advantage to a smaller property.
  • ALWAYS compare prices. Check the actual hotel website against any third party. The prices almost always will be cheaper through the hotel website or direct booking. 
  • Third party reservation companies make their money through commissions the hotel pays, so many hotels now make that up by charging "resort fees", "destination fees", "processing fees". These add-ons allow the hotel to publish a "tickler" rate as a come-on and then the rate can actually be double the published charge. 
  • Know before you go. The best way to achieve that dream vacation is to be well informed. Call Mari at Caribbean House (877-296-0999); she'll be your best resource.
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Sign for Caribbean House

5 Things You Did Not Know About Key West and The Florida Keys

#1.  The 7 Mile Bridge
The original Seven Mile Bridge was part of a railroad, the first solid transportation route built from southern Florida to the Keys by Henry Flagler in 1912. To connect Florida to other industrial networks, he envisioned a grand railroad, eventually known as the Florida East Coast Railway. In 1935, that railroad was taken over by the US government and turned into a roadway. 
The most impressive stretch of this railway was known as the Seven Mile Bridge, one of the longest segmented bridges in the world. In 1935, however, it was badly damaged in a hurricane and sold to the United States government. The government rebuilt and widened it for automobile use, and added a section that could open to allow for passing ships. This new road was also heralded as a marvel of modern engineering, built over the constant challenge presented by construction in even the calmest of waters.
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View of 7 mile bridge
#2 Key West Was Known as Cayo Hueso
The Spanish were the first Europeans to settle in Southwest Florida. They named the island Cayo Hueso, which means "bone key." This is supposedly because of the human remains found on part of the island by Europeans visiting the region for the first time. These bones are thought to have been remains from a battle fought between the Native American peoples of the region. Eventually, the Spanish "cayo" was turned into the English word, "Key".
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Spanish Galleon
#3 Largest and Wealthiest City in Florida
Due to its strategic location and it being a natural stopping point for shipping while also providing a wealth of marine resources, Key West was once the largest and wealthiest city in Florida. In addition, its abundance of salt ponds produced very large volumes of salt, a valuable commodity. This lucrative industry continued until the it was wrecked by a hurricane and salt mines on the mainland out produced Key West.
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Key West View
#4 Key West Declares Independence From the US
In 1982, in response the Mariel Boat Lift and a mass influx of Cuban Refugees, the US Border Patrol instituted  an unprecedented blockade.  This resulted in massive traffic jams and was devastating to the tourism economy of Key West.
Key West declared its independence, declared war, immediately surrendered and asked for reparation from the US government. In commemoration of the event, each year Key West celebrates Conch Republic Independence day on April 23.
This is a week-long festival, which is aimed at perpetuating the sense of humor that marked the declaration of independence, is enjoyed by tourists and locals year-after-year.

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Flag of Conch Republic
#5 Key West Chickens Roam Free and AreProtected
By 1860, Cubans were moving to Key West and with them,  they brought their "Cubalaya" chickens and their love for cock fighting. Luckily, the southernmost city outlawed cockfighting in 1970's, which turned the chickens to the streets of Key West. Now,  forty years later, Key West has  what are called "Gypsy Chickens."  They are still protected, and make Key West the truly unique place that it is!
Taken from "Michigan Traveler Blog: "It is against the law in Key West to kill the local chickens. Local folklore says the law dates back to voodoo practices involving the sacrifice of chickens. And while the chickens make Key West a unique place, some of the locals are very unhappy with them. Over a period of time, chickens roaming freely and "letting nature take its course" can make for a lot of chickens. "

Caribbean House has Great Deals on Rooms in January and February
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5 Tips to Travel Safely During COVID:

Believe it or not, Americans have made over 800 Million trips between July 2019 and September 2020 according to a Health Matters, New York Presbyterian article. But travelers have been compelled to examine how to safely travel. The main questions are:
* Where can I safely go?
* How can I get there safely?
* What do I need to bring or have with me to be safe? 

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We've taken our research on the road within the last 3 months. What we have found in hotels is a wide variety of ways hotels are handling COVID. Initially some rooms were stripped of all amenities and information. We found this annoying and frustrating. It felt like we were on Mars! The hotels had obviously taken measures for cleanliness but forgot that guests were actually staying there. Some handed you a baggie with your bathroom amenities, like someone had not touched them and they could not be left in the room by that person? Of course, not all restaurants were open but ones that were did not always follow mask rules and distancing. One waiter pulled his mask down to tell us about the menu and then pulled it up as he walked away.

Some good experiences we took away were those situations where the staff actually were still trying to make the situation friendly while still practicing good technique.

Here's how we think you can beat COVID Fatigue and travel safely now:
1. Take a Road Trip
Plan a great getaway within a day's drive of where you live. You can go from home to your destination with less chance of interaction and uncomfortable interactions. Wear a mask in situations where you cannot distance and when entering pit stops along the way. Travel on off-peak days (Sunday to Thursday) and go at off- peak hours (early morning or late afternoon. Make sure the place you stay has arrangements for off-hours check-ins. Have sanitizer and masks on-hand.

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2. Airline Travel
You may be thinking, "why on earth would I get on an airplane right now?" The thought of being in a narrow tube with a bunch of strangers seems counterintuitive but it really is safer than you think.
According to MIT Medical, "For starters, the air quality on a commercial airliner is actually quite high, with the air volume in the cabin being completely refreshed every two to four minutes. Air flows into the cabin vertically — it enters from overhead vents and is sent downward in a circular motion, exiting at floor level. Once air leaves the cabin, about half is dumped outside, and the rest is sent through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, similar to those used in hospitals, before being mixed with fresh outside air and entering the cabin again.
There is real and proven evidence that masks are effective in this situation.

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3. Choose a Hotel Wisely
Do your research. Choose a place to stay that has instituted strict cleanliness policies, uses guidelines for your safety and does a touch-less check-in. Stay in a smaller place like a B&B or Inn to avoid elevators and large gathering places. In B&B you are likely to be able to speak to an Innkeeper who can address all your concerns, as well as tell you the straight scoop on what it is like in the area and how safely are the rules being followed. We, at Caribbean House use n Ionizer in all rooms prior to check-in. This process takes a bit longer but we feel it is worth it

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4. Travel to Places Where Outdoor Activities Are The Norm

You would love to go on a Caribbean Vacation but feel you can't do that right now. Did you know you CAN experience a Caribbean Island by car? Key West is a 2 mile by 4 mile island, part of the Continental United States and it is accessible by car. Take the scenic drive down The Florida Keys Highway, touted as one of the most scenic drives in America by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

5. Avoid Public Transportation; Use Bicycles

To avoid crowded transportation or close-quarter taxi or Uber rides, stay in a place that is accessible completely by walking or bicycling. Places like Key West where outdoor living is year-round and most every bar and restaurant has outdoor seating. Our guests have told us they love going to the Zachary Taylor State Park Beach as it is easy to distance and there is shade and a great little beach shack for snacks and drinks.

Start thinking about travelling again. Just do it to a place closer to home.

Domestic Flights are safer than you think.

B&B's are a great choice for distancing and feeling at home while still being safe.

Pick a place where outdoor activities are plentiful.

Take a walk; ride a bike; see the places you visit in a new way.

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New Year Picture

January 15, 2020
Happy New Year from Caribbean House 

What did the little champagne bottle call his father? Pop!
What is a good New Year's resolution? One that goes in one year and out the other.
Another good resolution? To be more optimistic by keeping my cup half: full with either rum, vodka or whiskey.

Okay, okay – the jokes are bad but the laughter and smiles are abundant down here in Key West: we always have something to smile about and the weather keeps us in a good mood!. Caribbean House kicked off 2020 in style: we're ready for a very busy winter and spring ahead and hope you'll share it with us!

We've got a new neighbor on Petronia Street: Bad Boy Burrito relocated from their take out window on Simonton to a full fledged restaurant just up the block, between Whitehead and Thomas. They're open breakfast, lunch and dinner, and, while they don't offer delicious free mimosas like we do, they're a nice addition and we're happy they're here. Keep your eyes open for more info – we're working with them on some special offerings just for Caribbean House guests. We're always considering new ways to provide you with special value and keep you staying with us!

If you've kept up with our Facebook and Instagram pages, you've seen that we're celebrating National Days this month by pointing out the national day and sharing something Key West and Caribbean House have in common. Tweety, our breakfast nook bird, was celebrated on National Dress Up Your Pet Day, the Key West Police Department thanked on National Law Enforcement Day and Key West's "Skip the Straw" campaign highlighted on National Drinking Straw Day. We've still got two weeks left in the month, so more National Days will be featured! There are plenty of fun connections to be made, so be sure to like and follow us on social media!

With the coldest of winter days ahead, it's crunch time to plan for your getaway – reserve any 3 mid-week nights in March and April and receive $10 off/night (based upon availability). Reach out to Mari & Karin at 877-296-0999 or book directly right here! And if you've already booked, message Southernmost Guest Services at 305-767-3081 to schedule your transportation, activities and good times for the visit ahead!

Our 2020 wish is for good health, good company and good experiences for each of us – we hope your 2020 adventure includes Caribbean House!

Sending the best from Key West,
Your friends at Caribbean House


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Christmas Bike

Holiday Excitement at Caribbean House!

The ho ho holidays are off to a big start down here in Key West and we hope you are having as much fun as we are getting geared up for Christmas and New Year's!

Few towns are as parade friendly as Key West – it doesn't take much to get us to dress up and prance down the street! We kicked off the month with the Wesley House 10th Annual Lighted Bike Parade last Wednesday. Wesley House Family Services supports the safety, well-being and education of children and families by managing the child welfare system in the Florida Keys. Monroe County's adoption, foster care and family services are managed by this remarkable organization and we were pleased to support them with holiday gift donations and illuminated riders! Click HERE to view video of the parade on our Facebook page!

And if one parade is good, two would be better, right? The second parade for the week was the Hometown Holiday Parade that took over Truman and Duval on Saturday night. The Sherriff's Farm, Key West High Marching Band, Boys & Girls Club, MARC House and more brought candy and cheers to all the good girls and boys in town – even the naughty kids got to enjoy the holiday spirit! We really enjoy seeing the SPCA group and all the eligible dogs and cats ready for their forever homes – we know 2020 will be an especially good year for them! The Miata Club always makes a great showing and it's fun to see these tiny roadsters decorated for the holidays! Next Saturday brings the 6th Annual Parade of Paws and the Lighted Boat Parade – be sure to take a look at our Facebook page for photos and details on coming out to support our favorite boat, the Abbey Joy!

We've got some nice deals available for remaining dates in January and February – if you don't have your next visit planned, give Mari & Jennifer a call at 877-296-0999 or book directly right here! And if you are already booked, reach out to Abbey at Southernmost Guest Services to schedule your transportation, activities and good times for your visit ahead!

Sending the best from Key West,
Your friends at Caribbean House

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Caribbean House signage, Mari in streetside cutout and Goombay parade dancer.

November 15, 2019
Welcome to the Caribbean House Blog!

Welcome to our blog, everyone! We're so excited to share everything that's happening down here in Key West and hope to keep you informed until your next visit!

October was a very busy month: the Goombay Fest is our favorite event, as it takes place right here on Petronia Street and kicks off our season. Locals and guests alike stopped by to take photos in our street side cut-outs and enjoy a cocktail. Our friend, Janet, from Angelina House had beautiful air plants in painted shells for sale and we chatted with folks from around the world. Fantasy Fest kicked off at the end of Goombay, so we enjoyed a week of costumes, wigs and make up!

The beginning of November ushered in lovely fall weather – temps in the 70s with cool, breezy evenings, all the better to enjoy our new and improved breakfast nook! We're in love with our new Tiny Tiki Bar and bigger, better breakfast selection of egg sandwiches, waffles, turkey bacon and new coffee. Such good coffee! Add in the free mimosa and your morning couldn't be off to a better start!

We've also partnered with Southernmost Guest Services to help manage your activities, dining and transportation while in town. You'll find Abbey stopping by during breakfast to assist with anything you need during your stay: looking for the best happy hour or a perfect sunset cruise? Would you like to go to the Dry Tortugas or try the best key lime martini in town? She can make it happen! Need airport transportation or want to schedule everything in advance? Call, text or WhatsApp anytime at 305-767-3081 or abbey@southernmostguestservices.com.

The season ahead will be our best one yet and we look forward to you being a part of it! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and reach out to us for your next reservation at 877-296-0999 or CLICK HERE to check availability.

Sending the best from Key West,
Your friends at Caribbean House