Our choice for a visit to the Florida Keys is Little Palm Island. It's hardly surprising that the makers of PT 109, the classic movie about President Kennedy's wartime experiences, chose Little Palm Island to fool cinemagoers into thinking it was shot in the South Pacific. This is five acres of film-set perfection. Over 100 miles from Miami, the island is a short boat ride from the Keys' arterial road, but it seems a lifetime away.
It's worth the trip just for the drive. Made up of over 200 islands, 34 of which are inhabited, the Florida Keys are linked by the scenic Overseas Highway (also known as US 1), 112 miles of single-lane road and 43 bridges spanning the endless turquoise waters. When you reach the end, you are closer to Havana than Miami.
This is a superbly run resort, with a staff-to-guest ratio more in keeping with the Far East than the West. Its location is unbeatable, the wildlife amazing and the environment unusual - it couldn't be further from your mainstream American hotel. There are no cars here; the only sounds are the splash of fishing pelicans and the occasional passing boat. It's the perfect base for exploring the Keys, and there is no place better for discovering the area's best diving.
There are two types of diving here. The first is gentle, shallow and very easy - ideal for beginners. The second is exciting, deep wreck diving, often swept by currents, and is only for more advanced divers. Regardless of your experience, this is excellent diving with something for everyone.
Located in Little Palm Island's sheltered harbour, where Hollywood's PT 109 used to dock, the dive centre is just behind the spa and, like everything else, a short walk from any of the rooms. It may be small, but it has an excellent range of equipment that is regularly replaced. The whole operation is designed to make diving here as painless as possible.