Set sail for the Dry Tortugas archipelago in the stunning Florida Keys

It might surprise you, but the most isolated and least visited national park in the US of A doesn’t involve mountains, pine forests or lakes. The trees aren’t very tall there and there’s not a grizzly bear in sight, but you will find sea turtles, frigate birds and schools of colourful fish. Yep, we’re talking about the Dry Tortugas Islands, located in the stunning Florida Keys off America’s south-eastern tip. Join us on this special sailing expedition as we chart a course through tropical archipelagos and atolls – snorkelling and beach-bumming in the uninhabited Marquesas Islands, visiting historical Fort Jefferson and letting your hair down for a night of fun in Key West.


Start
Key West, United States
Finish
Key West, United States
Country
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Sailing
Code
SSSF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 8

Why we love this trip

  • This brand-new trip ventures to one of the USA’s most remote and least-visited national park – a world away from the well-beaten tourist trails

  • Spot pelicans, boobies, terns and plenty more bird life off Garden Key

  • Pop on a snorkel and meet some of the Tortuga's colourful sea life, including the chance to spot sea turtles and dolphins

  • There’s flexibility and room for spontaneity. Join us in shaping this new and exciting adventure while it’s still in its experimental stages

Is this trip right for you?

  • As the majority of this trip takes place on a sailing boat, you’ll need to feel comfortable with moving about the vessel, including the use of stairs. With that said, sea legs come naturally to some but not so much for others. Your friendly crew will be able to help with the effects of sea sickness if needed.

  • A zodiac is used to transport passengers from the boat to the islands, with landings taking place at piers (dry landings) as well as on beaches (wet landings). Zodiacs can sometimes be awkward to climb in and out of, but a sense of humour and can-do attitude is all you need.

  • This is an adventure on board a real yacht, which means living spaces, cabins, bathrooms and showers need to be shared with other passengers. Sleeping quarters can be quite compact, but you will be spending the majority of your time above board in the open air.

  • Time on the water also means time in the sun. Remember to pack sun protection, such as sun screen and a hat, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. See ‘Essential Trip Information’ below for a full packing list.

  • Please note that smooth sailing is dependent on the weather, so itinerary changes may occur at the last minute if the weather becomes unfavourable. If any changes are made, you can trust in your knowledgeable skipper to choose an alternative route or activity.

  • Due to the size of the yachts, sound carries easily from one side to the other and can wake your fellow travellers. If you’re planning to have a late night, it’s a good idea to head into town and experience the local night life.

Itinerary

Welcome to Key West, the southernmost city in continental USA. Located in the Florida Keys – a coral cay archipelago extending southwest from Florida’s south-eastern tip – Key West attracts an eclectic mix of residents and visitors: artists, writers, yatchies, retirees, holidaying families and partying students. More than 1700 islands make up the archipelago, the majority of which are part of National, State or Marine parks. Key West is in fact closer to Cuba than it is Miami!

Meet your skipper and fellow travellers at the marina at 4pm. Take some time to wander around town, enjoy an early dinner and perhaps head out on the town for a taste of the night-life. Keep in mind that tomorrow’s start is very early!
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning we'll be setting sail for the Dry Tortugas well before dawn, mostly likely leaving around 4am to make the most of your time (approximately 70 nautical miles).

The coral cays were once underwater reefs that, over time, emerged as low-lying islands when water levels started dropping some 25,000 years ago. The Dry Tortugas, located at the southernmost point of the keys, are the most remote of America's National Parks. Both the Dry Tortugas and Marquesas are a haven for marine and bird life, with green sea turtles and manatees nesting in the area.

The plan is to spend two nights in the Dry Tortugas, though this is flexible (If the weather deteriorates, the boat may return to Key West early). As the most isolated and least visited national park in the United States, Dry Tortugas has very few services on it and your group will be completely self-sufficient during your time here.

Heading ashore at Garden Key, tour the Civil War-era Fort Jefferson National Monument, which had been converted into a prison. Snorkel the surrounding reefs in search of sea turtles, coral and colourful fish, perhaps swimming to shore at Loggerhead Key or Hospital Key for a look around (just be sure to clean up well and minimise your footprint). Bush Key offers great bird-watching, which can be done from the yacht. As this is a bird sanctuary, landing here is prohibited.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Depart the Dry Tortugas early in the morning and make sail to the Marquesas (approx. 44 nm). As you'll be arriving before dark, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of these uninhabited islands and turquoise lagoons as you approach. The swimming here is excellent, and the 300-foot no-motor zone established by local authorities has helped protect such creatures as nesting turtles and birds. Keep your eyes peeled (and your camera ready) for red, blue and masked boobies.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Sail to Key West, stopping off en route for some fantastic snorkelling at dive buoys moored along the reef (approx. 26 nm). Tonight we spend either harboured in Key West Bight Marina or anchored out in Man of War Harbor. Perhaps check out some of the bars, restaurants and cafes this ‘end of the road’ destination has to offer, calling in at La Te Da for cabaret or heading to Porch or Virgilio’s for a drink.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Farewell your fellow travellers today as your trip comes to an end back in Key West. There are no activities after breakfast, and you’ll be disembarking the yacht by 10 am.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Boat

Accommodation

Overnight boat (6 nights)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Please provide full passport details at time of booking including exact name as per passport, date of birth, nationality, issue and expiry dates as these are essential for booking services on this trip. If not available at time of booking, we must have these details a minimum of 12 days prior to departure. The passport details that we are advised, MUST be the passport that you will be travelling on.
DIETARY REQUIREMENTS:
Dietary requirements are required at the time of booking so that any included meals can be properly catered for.
MINIMUM AGE
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 18
PARTICIPATION
You don't need to hold a recreational skippers ticket or any sailing experience at all to join this trip however it is expected that you help keep the bathrooms, communal areas, the galley and your own room clean. You will also be asked to chip in at meal time, either helping out with food preparation, cooking, setting or clearing the table and washing up dishes. You are more than welcome to participate in the sailing as much as possible.
NATIONAL PARK FEES
There is a US$10 National Park Fee for the Dry Tortugas to be paid to your skipper on day 1.
ITINERARY CHANGES
***The beauty of sailing is that each day is unique and, while we have a destination to reach, if the weather changes or something takes the group’s fancy, we are flexible on the day's itinerary***

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Key West & Dry Tortugas Sailing Adventure trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Key West & Dry Tortugas Sailing Adventure, March 2017

Raymond Cioci

Key West & Dry Tortugas Sailing Adventure, March 2017

ksenija jovanovic