Islamorada, known as "The Village of Islands" since its incorporation in 1997, includes the lower half of Plantation Key, Windley Key, and Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys. Prior to incorporation, Islamorada (which means "Island Home," "Purple Isle," or "Island of Death," take your pick - we prefer "Island Home") was the name of the small town on Upper Matecumbe Key.
Quaint, quiet and refined, Islamorada wasn't always so genteel. After the Spanish "Plate" fleet wrecked along the reefs in 1733 (13 wrecks from that fleet have been identified in the waters off Islamorada), locals decided there was a lot more fun and profit in salvaging wrecks than losing fingers to stone crabs. Following the lead of the resident Calusa Indians, they devised ways to place false markers along the reefs to lure ships onto the coral.
In the 1830's, the tiny island of Indian Key, sitting just offshore between Upper and Lower Matecumbe Keys, became a three-street village of 20 wreckers and their families with its own post office and resort hotel. For a short time, this town of wreckers was even the Dade County seat.
Islamorada is now known as the "Sportfishing Capital of the World." According to Bud N' Mary's Marina, an Islamorada landmark since1944, "More world record fish have been caught from our waters than any other location on earth." Charter fleets, marinas, outfitters, tackle shops and boat dealers are determined to keep it that way. In addition, Islamorada offers classy restaurants, galleries and shops, as well as the famous Theater of the Sea, giving residents and visitors lots of beautiful places to see and lots of unique things to buy.