How Far Is Cuba From Miami?

Sharing a pelagic border with the US, it’s a straight shot from the paradisiacal coast of the island nation of Cuba to the golden coast of Florida.

And being that Miami is situated right on the southeastern point of the Florida coastline, it’s arguably as close to Cuba as many Americans got for a long time.

How Far Is Cuba From Miami

Once the ban on American tourism was established in 1963, it must have been a strange feeling for Miami and Key West locals, being so close to something whilst it being simultaneously – due to political and economic reasons – completely out of reach.

The question is, just how far is Cuba from the hustle and bustle of Miami? Would it be a long trip in a suitable boat? Could you swim the distance? Can you see Cuba from Miami?

Read on and all will be revealed!

The Distance Between Cuba And Miami

If you’re charting a beeline across the Caribbean Sea from Miami to Cuba, you’ll be traversing a whopping 330 miles of salty water — not so close after all, ay?

Yep, it may seem like Miami and Cuba are relatively close geological acquaintances on a map, but in real life, there’s still a significant gulf between the city of Florida and the mysterious island of Cuba.

Even Key-West, which lies on the very tip of south Florida, at its closest point, is just over 100 miles from Cuba.

I Heard Florida Was Only 90 Miles From Cuba

There is indeed an old assumption that the closest point between Florida and Cuba is just 90 miles, but this measurement actually refers to nautical miles and is only ever used by large ships making the trip.

For the uninitiated, nautical miles aren’t exactly analogous to land miles. Each nautical mile is precisely 0.1508 miles longer than a standard earth mile. So in actual fact, this 90 miles is longer than many first assume.

Besides, Florida is a massive state, and its southernmost point is a long way from Miami, so the distance between Miami and Cuba is something more along the lines of 200 nautical miles.

Can You See Cuba From Miami?

330 miles is an awfully long way, but how does the human eye stack up against such distance? Well… not great.

Unfortunately, if you head out to Miami Beach and peer into the southeastern distance, you will not see Cuba in any way, shape or form.

The chances are, besides the odd boat and paddle boarder, all you’ll see is the horizon, glistening under the Miami sun.

Can You See Cuba From Miami At Night?

We’ve all heard that nifty fact about the human eye being able to see a candle in the dark from up to 1.6 miles away, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that you might be able to see an entire island lit up from the Miami coastline, but, again, you won’t see anything.

The distance between Miami and Cuba is simply too expansive. The human eye doesn’t stand a chance, even in the dead of night, and it’s as much to do with the curvature of the Earth as it is to do with the ocular limitations of our species.

To see Cuba from the Florida coast, you’d need to be standing at an elevation of roughly 5000 feet, and being that the tallest skyscraper in the world measures just 2717 feet, it’s not exactly a realistic scenario.

That said, you might see Cuba from a plane if you were at the right altitude and the weather was forgiving.

How Long Would It Take To Sail From Miami To Cuba?

How Long Would It Take To Sail From Miami To Cuba

Of course, the time it will take to get from Miami to Cuba in a boat will be determined by a multitude of factors. You’ll be at the mercy of the weather and your boat’s speed and ability to overcome the natural variables, for example.

But, generally speaking, if all goes well and your vessel is swift and true, you might be able to pull it off in as little as 8 hours, but that’s still the better part of the day going hell for leather on the water.

In less than stellar conditions, you’re looking at something more to the tune of twice that.

So, if you’re planning this kind of excursion, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and supplies — You might be sailing on the big blue for longer than you’d like.

How Long Would It Take To Fly From Miami To Cuba?

From any of the three airports in Miami, it would take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes before you touched down in Havana, which is certainly preferable to spending an entire day on a boat — unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Can You Swim From Miami To Cuba?

For most, swimming even a fraction of the distance between Miami and Cuba would be impossible. Swimming across open water is incredibly dangerous, and many drown by overestimating their aquatic abilities.

What’s more, the stretch of ocean between Miami and Cuba is widely considered to be one of the hardest to swim on the entire globe; however, technically speaking, swimming from Miami to Cuba or the inverse is not totally out of the question.

Marathon swimmer and real-life superhuman, Diana Nyad, managed to traverse the entire distance over the course of 40 grueling hours, but she is a highly trained athlete, beyond anything the average Joe would ever conceive of as possible.

Final Thoughts

How close is Miami to Cuba? On a macroscopic scale… pretty dang close, but taking a more precise look at the distance between the city and island nation reveals a much larger separation than many would at first think.

Setting sail on a powerful boat in favorable conditions would get you to Cuba from Miami in roughly 8 hours minimum, but 14–16 hours is much more realistic, as it’s a notoriously turbulent stretch, and weather conditions are likely to be slightly less than perfect at some point of the journey.

Needless to say, a plane will get you to Cuba quicker than a boat, but you’re still looking at roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes in the air.

Jim Stanton
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