It’s common for anyone who has visited the southernmost point of Key West to answer this question with “No, we couldn’t see Cuba from Key West”, and unfortunately we have to agree with this! The reality is that you generally cannot see Cuba from Key West or any part of Florida.
This is essentially a question of gazing at the lands of one country from another – which, given Cuba’s settlement at about 90 miles from Key West seems pretty impossible (at least through the naked eye).
You would think climbing the Key West lighthouse would help – but it really doesn’t because the maximum you can see atop the lighthouse is a distance of 30-35 miles (The human eye obviously isn’t that strong).
And if you’re at ground level? Even less. But should this stop you from taking the nearest flight to Key West’s savvy but merry lands? Absolutely not! But really it’s just so close that it would be a waste not to sneak a peek at Cuba while you’re drinking away in the Key West. Curious now? Keep reading!
You might find this related article helpful: Things to do in Key West
How Can You See Cuba From Key West? (If You Really Want To!)
The fact remains that you cannot see Cuba from Key West – through the naked eye that is. With the aid of the right instruments though, your chances of catching a glimpse of Cuba from Key West might not be a dream anymore.
There are a few conditions though. Among them,
The weather absolutely cannot be cloudy or drizzly which could result in indistinct visibility. If your visit to the Key West was during a rainy season, then please kiss goodbye towards your view of the horizon. Making sure that the weather is clear and stark is of utmost importance.
Time of the Day
Choosing the right time of the day is also an essential aspect of nailing that Cuban view. For the ideal view, one must get into it right before sunset.
You will need a telescope or binoculars. As Cuba is only 90 miles south of Key West, with a high-powered telescope, your shots at viewing the streets and lights of Havana might not be an impossibility.
Despite all this, it has to be mentioned that time and time again people have failed in their attempt to take in that legendary Cuban view from Key West. Thus, none of the above-mentioned measures guarantees the Cuban view. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Check out these related articles:
Can You Swim From Cuba To Key West?
If swimming in the waters of the Arctic ice between Cuba and Key West has been one of your life goals – please don’t. It is well known that the ocean stretching across the Florida straits to the Cuban waters is home to all kinds of fatal sharks. Florida is also called the ‘shark attack capital of the world’.
That said, you can swim the waters between Cuba and Key West, just as 64-year-old Diana Nyad did in 2013. She dived straight into the balmy waters and swam non-stop for 53 hours without a shark cage.
If Diana could do so much as a long-distance swimmer without a shark cage, then maybe swimming from Key West isn’t that dangerous.
It has to be noted that even though shark attacks are rare, long-distance swimming violates all conditions and tips for reducing the risk of shark attacks, such as swimming close to the shore, swimming in the daylight etc. So it is best avoided.
But if sharks are your thing and you want to be the next record-setter, who’s to stop you?
Can You Drive From Key West To Cuba?
Remember that Cuba is an island surrounded by water and ‘driving’ in that water from Florida, let alone Key West isn’t exactly what any average person would want (No, seriously you can’t drive on water).
But did you know that there were actually a group of people who ‘drove’ from Cuba to Florida? Yes, these ingenious people built a ‘Floating Truck’ to cross the strait and please don’t laugh before you know the truth – they were actually successful in doing so. So if anybody wants to ‘drive’ the waters, please seek relevant advice from them.
If you are adventurous enough, you might even want to hire a water car and ‘drive’ your way into Cuban lands – if the Cuban government overlooks your enthusiasm and effort that is.
In all seriousness though, driving from Florida (Key West) to Cuba requires drastic measures and efforts, none of which a regular tourist would want to do.
Ultimately even if you do manage to pull off a miraculous hydraulic land vehicle, the legal restrictions from the Cuban government about sailing ships should make you rethink your choices. It is an impractical reality anyway.
So How Do You Actually Travel From Key West To Cuba?
Day trips from Key West to Cuba are very much legal and numerous services are rendered in its course. So even if you can’t exactly ‘drive’ to Cuba from Key West there are other ways to go about it.
Reaching Cuba from Key West by Air
At the time of writing this article, there are no direct flights from Key West to Cuba and the only available commercial flights would take you to a distant airport like Miami, forcing you to take another flight to Havana.
That said you can always hire a private or charter flight directly from Key West to Cuba and be done with the whole journey in less than an hour- a method that can end up hurting your wallet.
Reaching Cuba from Key West by Sea
This is definitely the simplest method. Ferry companies such as Havana Ferry Partners and Cuba Ferries are on board with their services as soon as travel restrictions are lifted between the two countries.
Direct services from Key West to Cuba are offered with the journey lasting less than 4 hours and all you have to do is to book your spot when these services become available.
Happy journeying if this article convinced you to take your chances with either Key West or Cuba (or both!).
Enjoyed the article? You might also be interested in Places to Swim in the Florida Keys
Frequently Asked Questions About Cuba And Key West
What is the Best Month to go to Key West?
March to May is generally considered to be the best time to visit Key West, with the dwindling winter crowds, pleasant weather conditions and reasonable accommodation rates.
Is Key West Worth Visiting?
Key West is a great place to visit with Caribbean-type beaches, coral reefs, historic national parks and a laid-back atmosphere to relax and enjoy!
This southernmost continental city of the United States is also famous for watersports and lively nightlife, so one could call it an all-round destination that tailors to all types of visitors.
How far is Cuba from Florida?
The straight line distance between Cuba and Florida is 450 miles or 724 kilometres.