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Reviewed by Java Davis for Readers' Favorite
If you’re like me, you read travel guides for pleasure. Key West & The Lower Keys Travel Guide, by local residents Karuna Eberl and Steve Alberts, is one of the best travel guides I’ve ever read. To say that it’s entertaining doesn’t begin to cover how much I enjoyed reading this book. How I wish I could just copy and paste this entire travel guide to the Florida Keys, one of the most unique communities in the USA, but that wouldn’t be much of a review, and sales would significantly drop off. The book hits the typical highlights of local places to stay, restaurant recommendations, local activities, and small businesses. Need a dog-friendly place? There’s a list. But this unique guide doesn’t just suggest a vacation in the Keys, it suggests that you might like it so much, you may consider moving to what the locals call the “Conch Nation.” There is a wonderful glossary in the back of words you might hear in the Keys. There is also a comprehensive list of the wildlife in these areas.
The Florida Keys has a reputation for being relaxed about laws that might hinder the party lifestyle. It’s fairly safe in most places to pass out drunk wherever you’ve landed. If you’re traveling on a budget, try finding a friendly local for some couch-surfing. Be sure to talk to the natives that you meet. Most of the residents have an interesting story to tell. The local catchphrase is “One Human Family.” There’s plenty of humor and stories of local color that made me wish I had a plane ticket. Eberl and Alberts’ Key West & The Lower Keys Travel Guide is also an instruction manual for spending time in the area, including tips on being as eco-friendly a visitor as is humanly possible. Locals care deeply about people, animals, and sea life, including the coral reef. Here is a short instruction list that may give a better idea of the passionate writing style of this unique travel guide:
• Ditch plastic bottles for reusable water containers.
• Free yourself from disposable plastic bags. Get canvas.
• Use reef-safe sunscreen everywhere, not just by the ocean.
• Resist jewelry made from coral and sea life, often illegally harvested.
• Don't buy tropical fish, many are captured illegally.
• Eat sustainable seafood. Seafoodwatch.org has an up-to-date guide.
• Never touch coral or animals, as it can stunt growth or kill them.
• Use non-toxic household cleaners and garden products.
• Walk more, drive less.
• Eat less meat and buy as much locally sourced food as possible.
• Choose products with minimal or no packaging. Buy in bulk.
The photos are also stunning, and these two authors have made this guide a community project. Several local businesses helped with the funding as well. I have only touched briefly on all the material contained in this travel guide. I recommend Key West & The Lower Keys Travel Guide both for travel information and also for some fun reading.