I guess the last time I was in Key West, cruise ships did not port there. This time, however, there was an impressively large Disney Cruise Ship there, along with a slightly smaller cruise ship, and this made a huge impact. I have never seen Key West so completely swamped with tourists! Now, I live in Orlando, so of course I appreciate the value tourism brings to a local economy, but I guess I was unprepared for how crowded the extra couple of thousand people make in the small space around Duval Street. But for the artists selling their craft, the many Conch Tour Trains and trolleys, as well as the souvenir shops and restaurants, the influx of people is highly welcome!
Tourists aside, Key West is still a world to itself, transporting you to a Havana-like feeling. The flavor of the people and shops still abounds, gorgeous Key West style houses still line the quaint streets as pedicabs go by. The banyan trees still drip down roots to slowly cover brick walls and roosters still strut the streets. (But these chickens have nothing on Oviedo’s!) The Southernmost Point is still the closest you can get to Cuba (90 miles), and Ernest Hemingway’s house is still as beautiful as ever. So, I guess not that much has changed about Key West after all!