“Cuban Chugs”

In the Key West Botanical Gardens, there’s an “exhibit” with a bunch of “Cuban Chugs.” I say “exhibit” because it doesn’t really look like an actually display of anything, more like a bunch of old boat parts sitting in a yard. It turned out to be one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen in Key West. A “Chug” is a term for the vessels used by refugees leaving Cuba.


It’s hard to believe that some people are so desperate to leave their country that they’d risk their lives crossing 90 miles of open water in one of these things, just to get to America.

The motor below is actuallyΒ  built from regular boat motor parts and the engine from a lawnmower, cleverly welded together…



Many of the boats were just tarps and wood scraps that had been filled with some type of foam insulation…





This boat actually used a tree branch as support for one of the seats. Not lumber, but a tree branch…


Imagine sitting on this thing for an extended period of time…


You don’t even have to pay the entrance fee for the gardens to see this exhibit (although I do recommend going into the gardens themselves), so there’s no reason you should miss out on this fascinating display…



2 thoughts on ““Cuban Chugs”

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Things to do in Key West | Two Thumbs

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