Although we like to relax on vacation, we are an adventurous sort and are always looking for interesting and exciting things to do. We knew we anted to go somewhere warm, so we chose the Florida Keys. December is the perfect time to visit the Keys, when the weather is a balmy 72 to 76 degrees, and there is a lot of sun. We have both spent time in the Orlando area before, playing at Disney World, touring the Kennedy Space Center, and searching for alligators on a swamp tour. In an effort to find something we haven’t done before, we decided to visit the Florida Keys and came across Jules Undersea Lodge. We were imediately intrigued and had to experience it!
Did you Know?
Florida has the only underwater hotel in the world that you have to scuba dive to get to?
What was previously a La Chalupa research laboratory, used to explore the continental shelf off the coast of Puerto Rico, now rests at the bottom of a mangrove lagoon. The research hub was filled with compressed air, which prevents water from flooding the rooms, and placed under the sea. Bassically, it is a marine research lab converted into a hotel!
What is it like?
We arrived at the office where we were given a tour of the lagoon, and learned about the history of the lodge. After we were briefed on the logistics we donned our wetsuits and diving gear, and were sent off to the lagoon and scuba dived to the five by seven foot “moon pool” entrance in the floor of the lodge. Our stuff came with us in an airtight case. We surfaced into the wet room, where we left our gear and took a hot shower. The wet room is the only room that the people in the lodge have video cameras in and put nder 24 hour surveillance. We also had phones throughout the lodges as alternattive ways to communicate if there were ever an emergency. The hotel is fairly small and consists of two bedrooms and a livingroom/kitchen area. The hotel was equipped with all you needed–it even had wifi and room service! And by room service, we mean someone someone scuba diving us our favorite pizza.
Picture: Living Quarters.
Our night consisted of cozying up in blankets and watching videos, observing the fish and diving cormorants through the port holes, and consuming tea/coffee and a multitude of snacks. We were given extra tanks down below and had the option to night dive anytime we felt like it. All we had to do was assemble our gear and go! It was our first night dive, so it was very exciting! We got up the next morning, ate a small breakfast and got ready to scuba out of the hotel. It all felt so surreal, but was definitely an experience worth taking! We highly recommend it!
Picture: Outside our underwater hotel.
If it is your first time visiting the Florida Keys, don’t forget to have some key lime pie and stone crab (their specialty!) and catch a beach sunset!
Picture: Florida Sunsets
Pic: The old railroad bridge at Bahia Honda State Park