It’s also at the southernmost tip of Florida in its chain of islands.
Because it’s as far south as you can travel in Florida, you may wonder if you’re able to see Cuba from that point.
Here’s what you need to know about whether you can see Cuba from Key West or not.
Can You See Cuba From Key West?
No, you cannot see Cuba from Key West.
That’s because Cuba is 94 miles from Key West.
It’s impossible for the human eye to see that far.
According to Live Science, the naked human eye can see the glimmer of a candle’s light at 30 miles when it’s dark, but since Cuba is a good 94 miles away from Key West, it’s impossible to see the island with your own eyes at ground level.
That said, if you were to get high enough on the island, then you might be able to get a glimpse of Havana’s city lights.
That’s because, at a high enough altitude, you’re able to perceive shapes for hundreds of miles.
The issue stems from the fact that Key West doesn’t have a high enough mountain for you to climb and see Cuba.
Unless you were on a helicopter above Key West or if the island ever builds a very tall watchtower, the curvature of the earth and Cuba’s distance makes it impossible to see the island.
Why Can’t You See Cuba From Key West?
There are a few reasons that make it difficult, if not impossible, to see Cuba from Key West.
Here are some of the reasons why you can’t see Cuba from Key West.
1. Curvature Of The Earth
The Earth’s surface curves out at 3.1 miles.
At this distance, the horizon is no longer in sight at ground level.
If you’re attempting to look at Cuba, which is 94 miles away from Key West, from ground level on Key West, then the curvature of the Earth is going to be a problem.
Essentially, Cuba is going to fall out of sight at ground level.
If the Earth was flat, then there’s a possibility that you could see some hazy lights in the distance.
However, since the Earth is a sphere and curves, you can’t see Cuba at ground level.
2. Lack Of Mountains
The highest point in Key West is at Solares Hill.
It’s only 18 feet tall which makes it 5.5 meters above sea level.
That isn’t going to be tall enough to see Cuba.
Even more problematic is that the hill has several buildings and trees around it, blocking your view of the ocean.
To be able to see Cuba, you’d need to get high.
Key West doesn’t have any mountains for you to climb and see over the curvature of the Earth.
At most, it has a small hill.
Since it doesn’t have any mountains, the only way you could overcome the obstacle of the curvature of the Earth is with a man-made tower, and at this moment, there isn’t a tower high enough on Key West to see Cuba.
How To See Cuba From Key West
If you absolutely want to see Cuba from Key West, then there may be one way that you can do so.
The biggest hurdle you’ll need to jump is the curvature of the Earth.
Since Key West doesn’t have any tall mountains or towers, you’re going to need to take a helicopter ride.
With the helicopter flying high above Key West, there’s a chance that you might just see the city lights of Havana.
The higher the helicopter climbs, the better the chances since you’ll be able to see past the curvature of the Earth a bit more.
You’re essentially substituting the lack of a mountain, which can allow you to see for over a hundred o miles, with a helicopter.
That said, if the helicopter climbs too high, then the clouds might obscure your view.
It’s also helpful to take the helicopter at night as it’s easier to see lights in the dark.
Taking a helicopter above Key West at night might give you the right conditions in which to see Havana’s lights in Cuba.
Is It Possible To Swim To Cuba From Key West?
While you may not be able to see Cuba from Key West, you may wonder if you can swim there.
Technically, it is possible, but it isn’t recommended.
Diana Nyad swam from Key West to Cuba when she was 64 years old.
She swam for 53 hours without stopping or a shark cage.
While she proved that it is possible to swim from Key West to Cuba, it doesn’t mean that you can.
Here are a few obstacles that might stand in your way from completing the journey.
1. Physical Fitness
To make it to Cuba from Key West, you’re going to need to swim 94 miles.
Swimming is comparable to running if you’re running at six and a half miles per hour.
You burn about the same calories.
However, swimming uses more muscles than running.
Because of that, you must have a good level of fitness.
It isn’t enough that you have strong arms or legs or a good core.
You need all of those things to make the swim.
Diana took 53 hours to swim, and she didn’t stop except to eat and drink water.
If you don’t think you can swim for 53 hours straight, then making the trek to Cuba from Key West may not be ideal for you.
The ocean splits Key West from Cuba.
There are lots of sharks in the ocean along with other dangerous sea creatures.
The fact that Diana made it without encountering a shark is remarkable.
She even did so without using a shark cage for protection.
You’ll have to face down Great White Sharks and other aggressive sharks in the water.
To a shark’s eye, you look like a seal or some other prey species for it to eat.
The worst part is you may not even know a shark is hunting you until it nibbles on you.
Most sharks take a bite out of someone to see if it’s worth eating.
It’s how they distinguish between food and trash.
If they decide you taste good enough, then they’ll come back for another bite.
Sometimes sharks already know that they want to eat you.
If they see you as prey, then they won’t bother with a nibble.
They’ll launch themselves at incredible speeds from below you.
The Great White Shark, for example, likes to stun its victims this way.
When they’re stunned, they’re not able to get away as quickly.
This allows them to quickly backtrack and get the kill.
Since they can see you quite well from the depths of the ocean, you won’t know it’s coming for you until the impact.
Swimming to Cuba from the Key West isn’t ideal since you’ll have to contend with all the sharks.
3. Medical Help Is Far Away
If something does happen on your swim to Cuba, then you could be out of luck.
Even if a boat travels alongside you, they may not have the medical equipment you need.
For example, if a shark bites you, they’re only going to be able to stop the bleeding so much.
Then they have to take the long drive back to either Key West or Cuba.
If Cuba doesn’t accept you into their hospitals, then you’re going to have a long ride back to Key West.
By the time you get there, it may be too late.
You may encounter other health problems while taking the swim, too.
The exertion might send you into cardiac arrest.
If you do have a heart attack in the middle of the ocean, then the boat driver might not be able to get you to the hospital in time.
If there isn’t anyone with you there, then you’re out of luck entirely.
There’s also a risk of drowning.
If you get a cramp or even if you just get tired, you may not have anything to rest on.
If you’re looking to break Diana’s record, for example, then you can’t get on the boat.
You have to keep swimming.
The pain may be too much or your body might lock up.
As such, you might not be able to swim and end up drowning.
If you’re not with anyone to help you, you can definitely count on drowning.
Whatever might happen, the fact that you can’t receive immediate medical care is a reason why you shouldn’t swim to Cuba from Key West.
How To Travel To Cuba From Key West
Since swimming is certainly out of the question, you may wonder what the best option to get to Cuba from the Key West is.
Your first thought might be to fly.
The problem with flying is that there isn’t a commercial airline that takes you directly from Key West to Cuba.
The demand is too low for an airline to take on that sort of expense.
Instead, if you wanted to take a commercial airline, then you’d have to go to the Miami airport.
From there, you can get a plane to Havana.
That said, there are two other methods to get to Cuba from Key West.
1. Private Air
While you can’t get to Cuba on a commercial airline, you can find some private charters that will take you.
Because they’re private, not everyone has the best airplanes or service.
It’s worth researching the services and looking at reviews to determine their quality.
Considering you’re going to be flying over the ocean, it’s sometimes worth it to pay a little more to ensure you get an excellent pilot and a safe plane.
That said, several private charter airplanes make the trip between Key West and Cuba all the time.
They make their money by transporting tourists who want to see the best of both places.
During the summer, the demand for a private airplane is high.
It’s worth making your reservations early to ensure you have a seat on the plane.
This is also the fastest way to get to Cuba from the Key West.
It’s a direct flight that takes around an hour to complete.
If you want to spend as much time in Havana as possible, then you might want to consider getting a private plane.
Traveling by air through a private charter plane is one of the best ways to get to Cuba from the Key West.
The other primary way to get to Cuba from Key West is on a boat.
There are several ferries both from the Key West and from Cuba that can take you between the two islands.
Some offer a more luxurious ride over to Cuba while others give you a basic ride on a boat to your destination.
Depending on your budget, you might prefer one over the other.
Some of the services might include food and drinks.
Others might have a relaxing sitting room where you can relax as you make your journey across the ocean.
As with private airplanes, there are always some cheap ferries that may be a little dangerous to use.
To ensure you arrive safely, you might want to invest in a reliable ferry company.
That said, demand for ferry rides is also high.
Many of the boats require you to make a reservation, so you’ll want to book early to ensure you get a seat.
Traveling by sea takes just under four hours.
It’s a little bit longer of a ride, so if you only have a little bit of time to spend in Cuba, traveling by sea may not be the best option.
However, if you plan on spending a few days on the island, then the ferry may be a great pick.
At the very least, it’s a relaxing way to make your journey across the ocean.
If you want something a bit more budget-friendly, then traveling by sea is another great option to get to Cuba from Key West.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Key West?
Planning your trip to Key West begins with determining when the best time to visit is.
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, and you don’t want to be on an island when a large hurricane passes through.
Hurricane season runs between June and November.
The most powerful hurricanes tend to come during the August, September, and October months.
To avoid hurricane season, the best time to visit the Key West is between March and May.
This is an ideal slice of time because it’s when winter ends.
Visiting the Key West after experiencing a cold and dreary winter is a great way to remind yourself that summer is on the way.
The temperatures tend to be a bit warmer and the flowers start blooming.
April can be a little rough since there are more tourists during that time thanks to Spring Break.
May is a great month since the temperatures start to get really warm.
It’s also the month right before hurricane season starts.
If you want a safe trip to the Key West, then March, April, and May are the most ideal months to go.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Cuba?
If you’re planning to visit Cuba, too, then it’s worth knowing when the best time to visit the island is, too.
The good news is that Cuba has a wider window for the best time to visit.
Cuba’s most ideal time to visit is between October and April.
March and April, in particular, have the best weather
The temperatures are warm, it isn’t too humid, and there’s plenty of sunlight.
Since Cuba is in the Caribbean, it’s always warm.
However, between October and April, the temperatures are just right and the weather is ideal.
It isn’t possible to see Cuba from Key West with your own eyes.
You’ll need to take a helicopter to get high enough above Key West to see Havana’s city lights at night.
If you want to visit Cuba from the Key West, then you can take either a private plane or a ferry.