KEY LARGO, FLORIDA Dol­phin Points Villa

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Inside This Issue - BY: PAOLA ARENCIBIA

The laid back pas­tel feel of The Florida Keys makes if feel like it is spring­time there all year. Af­ter a chal­leng­ing sum­mer in 2017, watch­ing the patented ease of the Keys get tus­sled by Hur­ri­cane Irma, I was left won­der­ing if the ex­pe­ri­ence had some­how damp­ened or changed the char­ac­ter of the place.

It has not.

Dol­phin Points Villa is a romantic quiet luxury get­away nes­tled right off Overseas High­way. It is el­e­gance Key’s style, which means you’re just as wel­come in your flip-flops and jean shorts as you are in your Sun­day’s best.

The magic of the Keys is as much about what you get to do as it is about all you don’t have to do. Every­thing is only min­utes away - just take a left or a right on the high­way. That is, if you want to leave the prop­erty at all. On im­pact, the villa looks like an invit­ing plan­ta­tion style home in on the area’s sig­na­ture pale blues. There are six such vil­las, and while the prop­erty feels tight nit and in­ti­mate, you feel miles away from each other too. Per­haps it’s be­cause what you don’t have in hor­i­zon­tal dis­tance is made up for in height. My fam­ily and I were in a spa­cious two story, three-bed­room villa with a wrap-around bal­cony. The vaulted ceil­ing went up an­other story. The open lay­out gave you a view of the kitchen, din­ing room, fam­ily room and seat­ing area in one glance. Each room had its own TV, spa­cious closet and bath­room.

A quick walk down the gravel drive­way brought us to the dock. To the right was a gor­geous sandy lot that lends it­self to pic­turesque wed­ding cer­e­monies, quiet sun­set views or a play area for large col­or­ful igua­nas who dip in and out of the wa­ter with aban­don. To the left is a small strip of beach from where we kayaked, pad­dle boarded and tossed sand­bags dur­ing rounds of corn hole, all be­fore noon. In the back­ground we could hear the dol­phins from Dol­phin Plus chirp­ing in the back­ground.

Dol­phin Plus is a ma­rine mam­mal home and re­search and ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter ad­ja­cent to Dol­phin Point Vil­las. Our guest re­la­tions’ man­ager, Sharon, made ap­point­ments for us to swim with dol­phins on our first day. They pro­vided us with wet suits, a short ed­u­ca­tion ses­sion and then we were off. We got to pet, train, kiss and ride the dol­phins. While the chill of the wa­ter took our breath away, we were quickly en­thralled by the beauty of the an­i­mals and the bond they have with their train­ers.

When it was time to eat, din­ing op­tions are clev­erly cu­rated right off­shore. Many restau­rants along the strip of­fer all man­ner of lob­ster, scal­lop and shrimp dishes. Some lo­ca­tions even of­fer to cook your BYO catch. And of course, the key lime pie is a must. We had more than a lit­tle of each at the Lazy Lob­ster, which of­fers fine din­ing op­tions, in­door or out, in T-shirt or but­toned down. We also took ad­van­tage of the fully stocked

and com­fort­able villa kitchen. We had both a Publix and a Winn Dixie just min­utes from us to pro­cure items for pan­cakes, sand­wiches and san­grias.

The next morn­ing af­ter drink­ing our cof­fee on the ve­randa and look­ing for man­a­tees on the dock, we drove six min­utes to the African Queen. This is a canal cruise on the ac­tual African Queen from the Kather­ine Hep­burn and Humphrey Bog­art movie of the same name. This is an hour and half canal cruise aboard a sea­wor­thy his­tor­i­cal land­mark. The ride takes you through wa­ter­front man­sions into open wa­ter and back again. You learn about the his­tory of the boat and lit­tle bit about its most fa­mous pas­sen­gers.

Guests of Dol­phin Point Vil­las can count on the staff as both ex­perts and lo­cals for get­ting in­sider ad­vice on liv­ing the easy life in Key Largo even if it’s just for a few days.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Dol­phin Point Vil­las, visit dol­phin­pointvil­las.com.

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