Babymoon: last trip before baby comes.
If you know me at all, you know this is far from my last trip. But we still wanted a celebratory trip, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This winter was rough… I found myself indoors a lot, and being able to sit by the pool/beach for 5 days was exactly what I needed.
We chose Islamorada, FL in the Florida Keys (Matecumbe, Calusa and Tequesta territory) because of the Zika risk out of the country. Currently, the only Caribbean destinations that are Zika free are the Bahamas and Bermuda. You can find out more information about Zika and travel here, although I noticed that the site changed and provided far less information after the government shutdown in January. Some people still choose to travel to areas with potential Zika, but for me, the benefit didn’t outweigh the risk and I had just as much fun within the continental United States.
Day 1: From Denver, we took a 3.5 hour direct flight to Miami where we picked up our rental car and had some delicious Cuban food at Havana Harry’s. We had chicken vaca frita and beef vaca frita with moro rice and sweet plantains. We then ordered two slices of cake to go, which ended up being approximately 7 pounds of cake and 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream. No regrets.
Then we drove down Highway 1 to Islamorada, FL which is the halfway point between Miami and Key West. One interesting fact about the Florida Keys is that there are very few natural beaches due to the abundance of coral reefs which protect the shoreline from crashing waves. Many of the “beaches” you’ll see are man made. These coral reefs compose the third largest coral reef system on the planet, and Islamorada is known as the “sport fishing capital of the world.”
Our final destination was the Amara Cay Resort, which had been recommended as a babymoon destination in a Facebook group. We ended up choosing this resort because it had so many different opportunities for me to lay around and do nothing but read… lounge on the beach, lounge in the hammock, lounge by the pool. It was everything I wanted and I took full advantage of it. The resort also offers free use of their SUP, kayaks and bicycles and has an indoor gym which I utilized most days!
I would recommend taking advantage of the mini fridges in the rooms. Our first morning, we had breakfast at the resort and paid nearly $40 for two yogurt parfaits with coffee/tea. We decided to make a quick trip to Publix to stock up on snacks and breakfast options because I eat about every 3-4 hours and that was bound to get expensive quick.
Day 2: Although I did spend the majority of my time by the pool , we did leave our resort occasionally for a few fun adventures. On our second night, Brian planned a belated birthday dinner at Pierre’s which is known for their outdoor seating, sunset views, French fusion and seafood cuisine. I am a wimp when it comes to trying new seafood and I tend to play it safe and order something familiar… in this case… ravioli. But Brian ordered the snowy grouper and it was to die for. Moral of the story: when you’re in the sport fishing capital of the world, trust that the seafood will be good, and don’t be a wimp. And definitely choose to sit outside. The sunset didn’t disappoint.
Day 3: Alternating beach with pool for the 3rd consecutive day. A dream. This day we ventured off the resort for lunch and ended up at Wahoo’s bar and grill, which sits above a marina and offers seafood that comes right from their docks. I had mahi mahi tacos which came with such a large portion of fish that I was full after just one taco. I recommend sitting outside on a table with a direct view of the marina below because in our short time there, we saw schools of fish including tarpan, sand sharks and manatees and also watched what appeared to be lunchtime for pelicans. After lunch, we walked out to the edge of the marina where we witnessed a school of nurse sharks fight a group of pelicans over some dead fish. It’s no wonder that Islamorada is the sport fishing capital of the world.
Later that evening, we headed over to a marina for our sunset cruise with Captain Sue
from Allergic to Land Charters. She took us through different channels and small islands where we learned about the different kinds of wildlife that inhabit these islands. We ended the cruise by watching the sunset on the Florida Bay with complimentary champagne for those who can partake. Aka not me.
Day 4: On our last morning in Islamorada, we discovered a little breakfast spot called
Midway cafe and coffee bar which offered some of the best selection for the cheapest prices. I wish we had found it sooner! It was 0.5 miles from the resort and had a great outdoor seating area. I had avo toast with a
smoothie. Then we packed up and drove north to Key Largo for the night since we were flying home out of Miami the next night. We stayed at Courtyard Key Largo where we were served warm cookies upon check in. At this point, we had both developed rashes from the sun and decided to lay low. We headed to Skipper’s Dockside for dinner, ordered Key Lime pie to go and called it a night.
Last day: We headed back to Miami for the day. We had plans to visit Historic Virginia Beach which a friend recommended but found it to be closed 😦 . Instead, we found a little beach spot off the highway called Hobie Island Beach Park and hung out in the shade for several hours before our flight. By this point, we were both ready to get back home.
Overall, I was really happy with the destination we chose and found that it had the perfect mixture of relaxation and fun. For those seeking a US beach vacation, I definitely recommend it!
More photos from our trip….