Is Key West expensive? What can you buy to bring back for friends at home? For myself? What should one do? Any other tips for a better-than-average-vacation in Key West?  

The answer to the first question is that it can be but it doesn’t have to be; To the second and third, some very nice things that will be appreciated. And to the last, let’s look at an actual day-by-day vacation to use as a tentative itinerary for one person.


  Sunday noon, arrive at the Key West Airport from Tampa.

$16.00 - Metered Taxi plus tip for one person from the airport to the Pier House. A single person will be charged by the meter for a ride from the airport to anywhere on the island. Two or more people will be charged $7.50 per person. If you are alone, try to share a cab with someone or with a couple to save a few dollars.  Always ask the driver for recommendations for a few places to eat. They will at least give you some ideas, but they may also give you a few coupons to be used at these places. It’s worth a try. When you get to your hotel, ask the driver for a business card. Most taxis will give you a discount if you use them for the return trip to the airport or if you need a taxi during your stay.     

$17.00 - Half Shell Raw Bar for 1/2 lb shrimp and two beers (one free). There is a coupon in the See Key West Magazine for a free drink to be used with an appetizer or dinner here. Grab a handful of these magazines at the airport or on the street, making sure that you get the correct one – English or Spanish


$15.00 at Conch Republic Seafood Co - a grouper sandwich and two beers, one
free. “Buy-one, get-one-free” is the policy here during happy hour. 


  Monday , the first full day in Key West. If you are staying for a week, use this day to relax and not do anything special since this will make your vacation seem longer. Or at the most, look into a sunset sail.

$14.04 at Turtle Kraals - breakfast. (How did that 0.04 get in there? Always tip for good service then round up to the nearest full dollar)
$14.00 at the market at the Key West Bight for beer & soda to be used in the room. The Waterfront Market has a great selection of beer, wine, soda and food. It’s at 201 William Street but if you are not picky you can do better at a convenience stores on Duval Street. 

$18.00 – Big Daddy Conch’s for a bowl of conch chowder, a dozen oysters and two beers, one free. (Now Closed--4/08)
$13.40 at BO's –a fish sandwich, fries and a Corona. No tipping at BO's so
price does not get rounded. B.O.’s Fishwagon, on Caroline, is the kind of places that 1) you pass by and wonder why they haven’t torn it down, yet, 2) is fun to sit at the rail with a bottle of beer and watch other people walk by and wonder, and 3) has the best seafood in Key West. The standard joke here is “Hey, BO! Any damage from the storm?” BO, looking around: “We can’t tell.” Things to try include grilled shrimp, the fish & chips, and grouper sandwich. 


  Tuesday

Best Breakfast in Key West can be had at Camille's.  $15.00.  Learned to avoid the ramshackle Pepe's (not the Pepe's Casa Cayo Hueso in Mallory Square, but th one which bills itself as "the oldest eatery in Florida").

$28.00 for a T-Shirt. This is too much for a T-Shirt in Key West, but it was a present for a friend who could not make it this trip. It is from Gatoville Gallery at 1121 Duval where the man makes hand-painted T-Shirts. This one is Key West Colors and has a kind of a slice of a rainbow on the front. Look for his window display. The other place for good clothing-related gifts – shirts, caps, a fisherman’s shirt, a tote – is Summersalt on Front Street. Their fabrics and colors are simply better than any other’s. For a more expensive gift, look at Towels of Key West, 806 Duval, for blankets or robes.
$10.00 Pepes - Two Bloody Marys.
$17.00 for a fish sandwich and fries and a beer at the Meteor Grill. It was
terrible but the people were putting away a lot of baby-back ribs here. Seafood was a mistake there, but you never know till you try.
$5.00 for a cookie! From the shop on Duval near Ripley's. It was worth it, but if you need a cookie go to the store around the corner towards Whitehead or to the Damn Good Food Co. and save $2.50.    

  Wednesday           


 $79.55 for Sebago Island T'ing (this includes tax and a discount for prior
booking the day before. Add $5.00 tip after trip.) People look at the costs of this trip and for the other all-day sailing / kayaking trips and think that it is too high. But if you spend a day in Key West you will spend approximately the same amount but you won’t have half the fun.  
$8.00 at Kelly's - a marguerita and an order of chicken wings. That’s right - $8.00 which includes the tip.      

  Thursday
.
$14.00 at Two Friends for breakfast – a nice seafood omelet and lots of coffee.       $15.00 for three books at Key West Island Books at 513 Fleming Street There is a 25 % discount on Thanksgiving, but they have the best prices anywhere.
$34 for dinner at Pepe's el Meson Casa Cayo Hueso in Mallory Square.  Thanksgiving dinner for one with drinks. (Blue Heaven was closed) Blackened grouper platter with black beans and yellow rice and a Bloody Mary.          


  Friday
        
$22.00 for breakfast at Blue Heaven. You can spend less but might want to splurge for the eggs Benedict over a small rib-eye steak. On Sunday Martins has the best eggs benedict. The shrimp is afbulous for $12.95.
$40.00 for the Fury snorkel / sunset sail combo. Plus a $5.00 tip for the crew. Use the coupon in you See Key West Magazine.
$21.00 for fish & chips and a Corona at BO's 

      $21.00. for cookies! Not really. These are Key Lime Coconut patties that make great gifts to bring for one friends and neighbors or co-workers. The least expensive are at the CVS on Duval and Front – $3.99 per box. Other good gifts are small bottles of Key West spices or hot sauces which are easier to pack and bring home. Shop at Peppers of Key West at 206 Greene Street. Another favorite is the Key Lime mustard.


Saturday

        
$18.00  at Turtle Kraals for another breakfast and a small Turtle Kraals pin as a gift - $4.00.  
$11.00 at Sloppy Joes' for a couple of Key West Sunset Ales.
$34.40 for another present - a gecko pin with silver backing and green eyes
at the jeweler at 1000 Duval Street . It was very much appreciated.
$7.00 for Cuban coffee and Key Lime pie at the Blond Giraffe. 

Sunday

$15.00 taxi back to the airport, again for a single person.
$11.00 for breakfast at the Conch Flyer which is kind of a tradition and they serve very good Bloody Marys.