Cheeca Lodge Donates to Guides Trust Foundation

Fish the 2017 Hurricane Cup and Help our Florida Keys Guides

Hurricane Irma significantly impacted the entire Florida Keys. Our island community has proven to be the resilient, and we are grateful for all of the help and support we have received from so many.

Cheeca’s 6th Annual All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament was cancelled this year due to Irma. Typically held over Veterans Day weekend, the tournament was set to host two war heroes, with proceeds benefitting the Guides Trust Foundation (GTF), a locally-based nonprofit supporting Florida Keys fishing guides in need. Since the tournament cancellation further affected local fishing guides, Cheeca and its owners, Northwood investors, are donating $10,000 to the Guides Trust Foundation to help Florida Keys guides and their families who were most impacted by Hurricane Irma.

We are excited to report that several tournament sponsors have also pledged to donate to the GTF. More information on the GTF, including the ability to make your own donation to help Florida Keys guides in need, can be found at GuidesTrustFoundation.org. We encourage people to give whatever they can. Another way to show your support is to fish the 2017 Hurricane Cup on October 28 from 7am-3pm. All proceeds from this tournament will go to the GTF. See the tournament Facebook page more details.

We look forward to continuing the rebuilding process. It has been remarkable to see the island spirit at work, and we know we will come back stronger than ever thanks to the kindness of others.

Florida Keys Family Vacation Planning 101

Planning an unforgettable Florida Keys family vacation—one that will delight all ages—is easier than you may think. It all hinges on finding that just-right combination of family-friendly, kid-friendly, and adult-friendly activities. At Cheeca, we make it easy to plan your stay by offering spacious guest accommodations, three dining options, and plenty of experiences to satisfy everyone in your family.

Learn more about the abundance of on- and off-site offerings at our Florida Keys resort below.

  • Fun for Everyone: From snorkeling tours to Hobie Cat sailing to fishing excursions, the whole family can embark on a variety of outdoor adventures in Islamorada, also known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World. Beach cruiser, paddle board, and sea kayak rentals are also available at the resort. For a more low-key, relaxing afternoon, unwind by our two heated swimming pools and saltwater lagoon, or set up camp along our beautiful, 1,100-foot palm-lined beach.

  • Just for Kids: Our environmentally-focused Camp Cheeca offers a rotating daily schedule of activities that are both fun and educational. Available for children ages 5 to 12, this on-site program is offered Monday through Saturday, with both full-day and half-day options. Plus, a special four-hour Kids Night Out is offered on Friday and Saturday (great for date night). In addition to our camp, kids will also enjoy our game room, Xbox arcade, DVD rental library, and “Take One, Share One” book collection.

  • Especially for Parents: While the kids are at camp, adults are free to enjoy a little R&R at Cheeca Spa. As the premier Florida Keys spa, this tranquil oasis provides indulgent treatments, a fitness center, a heated lap pool with butler service, and more. Adults can also head to our sea-side, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course for a challenging round of golf, or grab a tropical cocktail and unwind at our open air Tiki Bar.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your time at our family resort in the Florida Keys, we recommend planning early. With our exclusive Paradise on Sale offer, you can enjoy up to 15% off when you book your Islamorada vacation at least 7 days in advance.

Cheeca Goes Green: Discover Our Eco-Friendly Florida Keys Resort

The Florida Keys are one of the most pristine and environmentally sensitive regions in the world. The tropical climate, living coral reefs and vast array of marine life are precisely the reasons why tourism is the biggest industry in the Keys.

Cheeca Lodge is dedicated to becoming the eco-friendliest resort in the Keys. As a steward of our environment, we have launched a number of programs to make our resort more environmentally sound:

  • Cardboard: Cheeca recycles 100% of its cardboard, which has reduced garbage disposal costs. According to our recycling company, Cheeca produces and recycles the most cardboard in Islamorada.
  • Glass: Cheeca also recycles its glass.
  • Water: Cheeca’s wastewater treatment plant recycles 31,000 gallons of water each day through a water reuse plant. This grey water is used for irrigation of the gardens and golf course. When the new lodge was built, water cisterns were added under the lodge to collect rain water from the main lodge tower roof and the air-conditioning drain lines. This water is pumped into the irrigation lake.
  • Scrap Materials. Scrap metal, wood pallets, golf cart and car batteries are recycled. Fluorescent light bulbs, small batteries, old paint and chemicals are taken to the Monroe County Landfill for recycling.
  • Cheeca Lodge does not allow jet-skis and other thrill craft in the waters surrounding the resort. They destroy sea grasses and endanger marine life. They are also a source of noise pollution.
  • Cards in rooms encourage guests to save water and detergent by giving them the option of how often they would like their sheets changed and their towels replaced.
  • Our Camp Cheeca Environmental Awareness Program for children ages 5-12 teaches campers about the fragile Florida Keys environment with a wide variety of entertaining and engaging activities.

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  • A sign at the end of the resort’s trademark fishing pier encourages “catch and release” fishing, discourages discarding fishing line and garbage into the water, explains proper fishing etiquette and instructions on who to call if an injured bird or other sea life is spotted.
  • Cheeca uses biodegradable and low-phosphate cleaning products whenever possible.
  • Our restaurants limit the use of disposable items like Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils whenever possible.
  • Cheeca Lodge supports numerous local, regional and national environmental conservation groups like the Turtle Hospital and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, among others.

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  • The resort dims and limits the use of outside lights on the beach during turtle nesting season.
  • Cheeca is changing all lighting throughout the property to LED which consumes up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs.

In our next post, we will highlight some ways you can help protect the Florida Keys’ ecosystem and wildlife on your next visit to paradise!

Captains for Kids & Purple Island Parasail Fly High at Cheeca

Orphans, autistic, and specials needs children flew high with Cheeca’s parasail company, Purple Island Parasail, while participating in Captains for Kids

On Saturday, September 10th, Cheeca participated in the first ever Captains for Kids event held in the Florida Keys.  Organized in Islamorada by Cheeca’s parasail company Purple Island Parasail, Captains for Kids started four years ago by Captain Steve Potate, a Destin parasail charter boat owner. The mission of Captains for Kids is to make a child smile by providing a free day of fun on the water for kids with special needs and illnesses.

“As soon as I heard about this event, I knew we had to help get it started here in the Keys,” said Purple Island Parasail’s owner and operator, Captain Bryan Weirich. “Some of my favorite days flying people have always been when I’ve been flying veterans or people with specials needs” he said.  “It makes me feel so proud to be able to offer a service that brings joy to people who are overcoming such adversity in their life.”

Children participating in Captains for Kids in Islamorada started their day at Cheeca with a free parasail flight, including a photo package. They then enjoyed some complementary gelato on the beach and received a gift bag full of little surprises like sunglasses and stickers. Afterwards, if the kids wanted to go fishing they were offered a free 4 hour fishing trip including tackle, gear and fish cleaning on the Captain Michael at Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada, who also agreed to participate in the event with Captain Bryan.

“The entire island really pulled together to help make this work, just like they always do,” said Capt. Bryan.  Upon hearing about the event, the Captain Michael from Robbie’s Marina was happy to participate by donating the free fishing trip.  Local radio host Joey Naples helped promote the event on his weekly SUN FM “Hog Tide” and “Chochtails” radio shows, the Islamorada and the Marathon Chamber of Commerce shared the event on their social media pages, the Keys Weekly provided free add space, and Keys Custom Tees provided the all the crew’s t-shirts at a discounted price.

In addition to Islamorada, captains from Key Largo also participated in the event. Keys Adventures operating out of the Marriot and the Big Chill in Key Largo donated their time and services. “The entire event was so much fun and really a huge success,” stated Capt. Bryan.  “Next year we are hoping it takes off all over the Keys.”

For more information on future Captains for Kids events, call 251-923-2225, visit them online at www.captainsforkids.com, or find them on Facebook.

Team Building…Island Style

When we host a corporate group or retreat at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, we know that team building is an essential part of any successful meeting. Our Guest Adventures and Group Sales teams have taken team building activities to the next level with a special Cheeca twist. With a mixture of fun and just the right level of competition, our team building activities are sure to be a hit with your group!

Below are some of the unique team building activities Cheeca is proud to offer to groups:

  • Coco-Bowling: This is bowling, island style! With rules similar to traditional bowling, players roll real coconuts down the lane to knock down pins. The player or team with the highest points wins. Coconuts may be painted in your company or team colors.
  • Raft Race: Teams must cooperate and strategize in order to build a seaworthy raft out of limited materials, then board their craft to navigate a marked course near shore.
  • Paddle & Run Relay: Two members of each team (4-10 participants each) launch sea kayaks from south beach, paddle around Cheeca’s 525’ fishing pier, then continue on to north beach where they must carry (or drag) the kayaks back on land and race back to the starting line. Teams must work together to determine individual strengths and create complementary pairs. The relay continues until all team member pairs complete the relay.
  • Balloon Tower: Teams must work together to carefully build a freestanding tower cannot be anchored down – made exclusively from 100 balloons and a roll of masking tape. How creative can you get?
  • Island Scavenger Hunt: Teams of 4-8 participants each will be given a time frame and clues to find a checklist of items that could be located anywhere on Cheeca’s 27 lush oceanfront acres. Teams utilize mobile devices (or Polaroids) to document their expedition.

To learn more about all of Cheeca’s unique and fun team building exercises, contact our Group Sales team at (305) 517-4449 or submit an RFP online.

Experience the Culture of the Florida Keys at Morada Way

The Florida Keys have always been a unique natural paradise…but did you know they’re also becoming a renowned cultural center? That’s thanks in large part to the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District in Islamorada, a thriving creative community just steps away from Cheeca Lodge & Spa that is drawing artists, musicians, and tourists of all ages to the beautiful isle.

A six-block corridor bounded by the iconic Green Turtle Inn and the Hurricane Monument, the district, which was established in 2010, is attracting more and more attention thanks in large part to its Third Thursday ArtWalks. This indoor/outdoor street festival, held throughout the year from 6-9pm on the third Thursday of the month, draws over 1,000 visitors who come to enjoy the live music, performance artists, and shops and galleries that stay open well into the night on this special evening. There’s also plenty of eating and drinking to be done as you soak up the local culture—the district is home to some of Islamorada’s best spots, including Chef Michael’s and the Florida Keys Brewing Co. Guests of Cheeca Lodge & Spa can catch a free Island Time Trolley ride right from the resort to the drop-off at Hurricane Monument.

Want to check out this exciting new Islamorada destination this fall? Cheeca is offering a range of special offers to make a vacation at Islamorada’s most legendary resort even better, including a $200 resort credit for select suites based on a minimum four-night stay.

Now is the perfect time to check out all that the Florida Keys have to offer with a getaway at Cheeca. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Spiny Lobster Sport Season Is the Perfect Opportunity to Visit Cheeca

It’s almost that time of year again for a favorite Florida Keys tradition: spiny lobster sport season! The annual event, which begins at 12:01am on Wednesday, July 27 and ends at midnight on July 28, attracts a wide array of visitors from far and wide to the Keys, where they try their hand at scooping up their fair share of these tasty ocean dwellers.

Spiny lobsters are just one of seafood specialties that the Florida Keys are famous for. Many gourmets recommend simply grilling them with butter to showcase their delicate and unique flavor—and spiny lobster sport season gives seafood enthusiasts the opportunity to take home enough lobsters for a fun-filled party for friends and family.

If you’re planning to participate in this year’s festivities, why not build a vacation around it with a stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa? Seafood lovers can find no better getaway destination than beautiful Islamorada, which is often called the “sportfishing capital of the world” as it’s where the Gulfstream, Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and Gulf of Mexico converge, making it home to over 500 varieties of fish including hogfish, grouper, and cobia. If you bring back a fresh catch after a day fishing the isle’s clear blue waters, the chef at Cheeca’s celebrated seaside restaurant, Atlantic’s Edge, will prepare it in any way you like. You can even ask the chef for his recommendation on how to prepare your spiny lobster catch should you decide to join in this year’s popular event. And Cheeca is offering a range of specials that make this summer an ideal time to visit our iconic island paradise.

In Monroe County, where Cheeca is located, the bag limit for spiny lobsters is six per person per day, and a recreational saltwater license and a crawfish permit are needed for harvest. For more lobster harvesting regulations for Monroe County, you can call the Marathon Law Enforcement office at (305) 289-2320.